Maling Pass, Lake Guyon, Fowler Pass circuit

St James Conservation Area

  • 2 days loop track with a road section
  • Easy/medium

This circuit is a double-crossing of the St James Range, dropping into the deep Waiau Uwha Valley. The first day's walk is part of the St James Cycle Trail and is easier, smoother walking than the second day.

Waiau Valley • By Matthew. Licence: C.
Key information
Walking time
2 days
9 hr
Distance
35.8km
Type
Loop track with a road section
Loop track with a road section
Grade
Easy/medium
Bookings
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Find it
Starts
Marked car park at Molesworth boundary gate, Tophouse Road behind Hanmer Springs.
()
Ends
Fowlers Hut, Tophouse Road.
Maps
NZTopo50-BT24
Altitude
760m – 1,308m
Altitude change 548m

The barren hills of the St James are in the rain shadow of the Spenser Mountains. Dry beech forests were burned off, leaving a golden country of tussock and herbfields. These hills are steeped in history. The long Waiau Uwha and Waiau Toa (Clarence) Valleys were both traditional Māori routes. European history is represented by several historic huts and archaeological sites along the way.

Fowlers Hut • By Matthew. Licence: C.

This overnight route has track ends that are 10km apart along the Tophouse Road. Close the loop by stowing a bicycle at one end, by swapping cars, or by hitchhiking along the road (north in the morning or south in the evening).

Access

Take the road out of Hanmer Springs over Jacks Pass. Turn off at the Clarence River and take Tophouse Road. The road is dirt and suitable for regular vehicles. However, it may be corrugated, and slow going. The St James Cycle Trail starts at the St James Homestead, which is nearby. Fowlers Hut is further along on the left, clearly visible. At a boundary gate, a car park marks the northern end of the St James Cycle Trail. This is the starting point for the route described here. A toilet and information board is here. The Lake Tennyson campsite is also nearby, just up the road.

The route

The track sections are described separately:

Connecting sections

Map
ID 15659

About this track

Added 12 April 2015 by MatthewMatthew. 6 revisions, most recently 10 January 2019 by MatthewMatthew.
435 views in the past year (36 per month).