Penny Pass

  • 3 – 4 days loop track
  • Medium

3 day trip from upper Poulter River over Penny Pass between Minchin and Thompson Streams.

Key information
Walking time
3 – 4 days
30 hr
Distance
70.0km
Type
Loop track
Loop track
Grade
Medium
multiple river crossings required so avoid in spring or after and during Nor'westerlies Grades explained
Bookings
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Find it
Starts
Andrews Shelter, Arthurs Pass National Park
()
Maps
NZTopo50-BV21
Altitude
540m – 1,327m
Altitude change 787m

There are tracks most of the way to the head of Lake Minchin. Where it is untracked, travel along the river flats is easy and obvious. From the head of the lake, travel on the true right, then cross to the true left briefly. The track on the true right which bypasses the gorge is recently recut and well sign-posted. From the confluence with Linwood creek, DoC has cut short sections on the true right through the scrub to avoid prolonged wading in Minchin Stream. There is adequate camping by the biv.

From the biv, travel along the track leading to Minchin Pass for about 500m, then as soon as possible cross Minchin Stream to the true left onto tussock flats with speargrass. Just past the junction of a stream with a waterfall (L33 137 234), cross to the true right to avoid a short section of thick scrub. Here travel is mainly on the true right. Where the stream forks, take obvious tussock leads up to the now visible Penny Pass. There are plenty of campsites and tarns on the Pass.

There are several possible routes off the pass into the head of Penny Stream on slopes slightly to the true right. Travel down the stream is easy and obvious to where the forest begins and the stream narrows and increases in gradient (L33 165 234). Keep an eye out for a possible trail through the thick scrub. We didn't and I lost my walking pole on a short section for 30m of pushing through very thick scrub . In the forest, there are many deer trails and if you lose the one you're on, by being attentive you can regain it via minor deer trails.

Aim to travel on the very narrow spur between the now gorged and waterfalled Penny Stream and its final tributary coming from the true right. We travelled on the true right of this tributary and had a steep descent in one section. The spur is indeed very narrow but has beech forest all the way along it. At its narrowest point it is only 1 meter wide and quite exposed.

Travel from the confluence of Penny Stream to the confluence with Cherrywood stream requires multiple but straightforward river crossings. From Cherrywood down to the Poulter, travel is very easy and pleasant. At the hummocky forested old outlet from a former lake formed from a visible slip on the true left , leave the river to go over a grassy hill (Pt 722) to avoid bouldery river travel where the river has cut down though the old outlet. You will need to cross the river after this, but almost immediately recross it again to take advantage of a short, mossy shortcut through tussock flats (L33 176 191).

Travel Times for a party of 8 with leisurely stops and pace: 6 hours to Casey Hut, 8 hours to Minchin Biv, 10 hours to Trust Poulter Hut and 7 hours to the Andrews Shelter

 

 

 

 

 

Map
This track needs a photograph.
ID 3261

About this track

Added 9 December 2008 by HonoraHonora. 2 revisions, most recently 28 May 2011 by iangeorgeiangeorge.
159 views in the past year (13 per month).