Old Ghost Road

  • 3 – 5 days one way
  • Medium
  • Bookings required

A four or five day tramp from the Lyell Campsite(off SH6 in the Buller Gorge) to the Mokihinui road end (off SH67 near Seddonville). This trip uses the Mokihinui-Lyell-Backcountry-Trust (MLBT) cycle trail.Tramping times given. DOC has information on their website (refer links below) but the most up-to-date information on track conditions will be on the MLBT website.

Lyell Saddle Hut • By ledge. Licence: C.
Old Ghost Road: Key information
Walking time
3 – 5 days
22 hr – 35 hr
One way
One way
The entire route is at a gentle gradient of around 4 degrees as any height gain is extensively benched. Grades explained
Bookings required
There are four Trust huts on the track that need to be booked. They all have separate 4-bunk sleep-outs.
Old Ghost Road: Find it
Lyell Campsite off SH6 in the Buller Gorge. OR...
Mokihinui Road-end off SH67 near Seddonville
100m – 1,350m
Altitude change 1,250m
Old Ghost Road: More information

Day 1: Lyell Campsite to Lyell Saddle Hut. 18km 4-6 hours

Stern Valley Hut Sleepout • By deepriver. Licence: C.

Gentle uphill all the way to the Hut. One narrow section of the track traverses a slip and the Trust has erected gates at either end as a warning to cyclists to dismount. An attempt has been made by the track makers to achieve a very comfortable 1 in 5 gradient with 10% variation. Over the course of the mountain bike track most likely the hardest thing for trampers will be the hard metal (rock/gravel) underfoot.



Lyell Saddle Hut(s) comprise a main hut with 6+4 single bunks and two smaller  huts with two twin bunks. The smaller huts are insulated and cozy without heating. 

Day 2: Lyell Saddle Hut to Ghost Lake Hut 12km 3-5 hours. Ghost Lake to Stern Valley Hut 11km 4-6 hours
Continue the gentle zig-zag climb to the open tops. There is a lunch shelter if the weather is inclement.with a water tank. There is also a picnic table just short of Rocky Tors. Ghost Lake Hut (bunk numbers with two smaller chalets similar to Lyell) is situated in an outstanding position above the small lake which features great views north to the Lyell Range and beyond. It is forbidden to enter the lake which appears to be unhealthily turbid.

From here, the route' zig-zags down a steep spur then climbs back up to the ridge with easy travel through scrub before descending again steeply to Stern Creek. The superlative quality of the 307 steps constructed has to be seen to be believed.

 Day 3: Stern Valley Hut - Goat Creek Hut 13km 4-7 hours - Mokihinui Forks Hut 8.5km 2-3 hours.
Travel up-valley heading north on a tributary towards the aptly-named Solemn Saddle firstly along a spectacular natural causeway between 2 lakes (Grim and Cheerful).

Continue via benched zig-zags followed by a sidle tol achieve the Saddle. On the way there is a rock overhang if you want a scroggin stop. From there the route descends to Goat Creek after a traverse, sidle, and descent through scrub. You may spot goats!

Stern Valley Hut • By deepriver. Licence: C.

From Goat Creek, the track climbs and traverses a low spur via attractive predominantly beech forest.

About 1.5km down valley from there  brings you to the rustic, 4-bunk Goat Creek Hut (DOC) which is sited off the cleared cycle trail across Goat Creek about 500m before the junction with the Mokihinui River. It has an open fireplace if you want to boil a billy quickly for a lunch stop.

Note that the hut’s position is not sign posted. Following the cycle-way from Goat Creek about 1km, cross the Mokihinui River via a bridge that has a protective gate to prevent the possums from the true left crossing to the true right and then snacking on powelliphanta snails.

Follow this cycle trail to Mokihinui Forks Hut (DOC). The hut has been extended and now accommodates 10. It has the standard DoC firebox.

Day 4: Mokihinui Forks Hut - Mokihinui Road end 19.5km 5 - 7.5 hours
An easy day following the Mokihinui River gorge, first to the remarkably-sited Specimen Point Hut (MLBT) (10) plus Red Queen (4) and Rising Star (4) sleep-outs.

Onward, to the end of the cycle trail at Mokihinui Road, traversing spectacular gorged river walls with bridged crossings of brutal gullies and stunning views.

ID 8829

About this track

Added 22 November 2013 by Gpsboy2Gpsboy2. 10 revisions, most recently 28 October 2022 by trampertramper.
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