Hurunui Hot Springs

Lake Sumner Conservation Park

  • 7 hr 30 min return via same track
  • Easy

An overnight trip to a good hot pool near Lake Sumner.

Source of the springs • By matthew.
Hurunui Hot Springs: Key information
Walking time
2 – 3 days
7 hr 30 min
Return via same track
Return via same track
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Hurunui Hot Springs: Find it
Lake Taylor, Lake Sumner Road, inland from Harwarden.
620m – 520m
Altitude change -100m

The Hurunui River occupies a long, straight valley following the line of the Hope Fault, and terminates at Lake Sumner. This route sidles around three lakes before turning up the valley to Hurunui Hut, and on to the springs.

Gunnera densiflora • By matthew.

The hot springs are well worth the visit, but the walk in is largely along four-wheel drive tracks, and is a little tedious.


From Harwarden, follow the sign-posted roads into Lake Sumner Forest Park. It takes about an hour of driving along a dirt road to reach the camping area at Lake Taylor (toilet  here).

Some four-wheel drive vehicles may be able to proceed as far as Loch Katrine, but there is a locked gate just beyond the lake. Mountain bikes could proceed as far as Hurunui Hut easily.

Lake Taylor - Hurunui Hut: 5 hours

Follow the muddy road along the banks of the lake into Lake Taylor Station. Vehicles have torn up the landscape in quite a few places, but the hills are pretty. Across tussock farmland, the road soon leads down through manuka scrub toward Loch Katrine. This is a smaller lake with a row of quirky fishing shacks on the shore. Time: 1 hr 45 min from Lake Taylor.

The road  edges around the lake, dropping toward the much larger Lake Sumner, and bending leftward into the valley. Follow the road across grassy flats past the head of the lake to the swingbridge across the river (but stay on the south back). Time: 2 hr 15 min from Loch Katrine.

The road runs out here, and the track heads into red beech forest. Follow it through to Hurunui Hut, located in a forest clearing high above the river. The hut is large, with a balcony and two sets of shelves for sleeping. Time: 30 min from swingbridge.

Hurunui Hut • Standard Hut (DOC). Capacity: 15.

Hurunui Hut - Hurunui Hot Springs: 2.5 hours return

The track behind the hut heads westward up the valley, gradually dropping down to the flats. The track passes a sign marking the route across the Hurunui and up Mackenzie River (time: 40 min from hut) then enters forest and climbs above the river.

The white-stained waterfall where the track returns to the flats briefly marks the hot spring. continue along the track for a few metres, then follow a rocky channel up the hillside. The pool has been formed from rock and concrete halfway up a gentle waterfall. It is very warm, but not particularly large (2-3 persons). Keep your head above water to avoid risks of amoebic meningitis. The source of the water is just a little further up the hill, and there are several other springs in the vicinity.

ID 4076

About this track

Added 9 June 2009 by matthewmatthew. 1 revision 12 June 2009 by matthewmatthew.
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