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Lake Sumner - Hurunui swingbridge tracks & routes

Alert/Important notice

February 2015: Windfalls and slips on Three Mile Stream Route

Route is not recommended and is unlikely to be cleared before winter. Three Mile Stream Track is good from Hope Kiwi Hut to Three Mile Stream hut, but there are a lot of windfalls on the track to from Three Mile Stream Hut to Hurunui Hut.

Track category

Tramping track


Several tracks can be started from Hurunui swingbridge at the end of Lake Sumner Road, including the very popular Harper Pass trip, which crosses the Southern Alps into Arthur's Pass National Park. View a map of the Hurunui swingbridge tracks and routes

Hope Kiwi Track (from Hurunui swingbridge to Windy Point)

Tramping track / Te Araroa

Hurunui swingbridge - Hope Kiwi Lodge (via Kiwi Saddle) - 4 hrs 30 min

From the swingbridge, follow the 4WD track to the forest edge where it climbs easily to Three Mile Stream. Cross the stream, then climb steadily to Kiwi Saddle through red beech forest.

Just before the saddle there is a two-minute side track to a lookout across the lake. From the saddle descend to the swampy grasslands of Kiwi valley. Pick up a 4WD track on the true right of Kiwi River across open grasslands to Hope Kiwi Lodge (serviced 20-bunk hut).

Hope Kiwi Lodge to Hope Halfway Hut - 3 hrs

Follow the poled route from Hope Kiwi Lodge along the forest edge to the Hope River swingbridge about 30 minutes from the hut. The track follows down broad grassy flats before returning to the forest. The track leaves the river and climbs the bank to Hope Halfway Hut (standard 6-bunk hut).

Hope Halfway Hut to Windy Point car park (S H 7) - 4 hrs

The track keeps to the beech forest on terraces high above the riverbed. At the forest edge a vehicle track descends through mānuka and tussock to the swingbridge over the Boyle River gorge. Five minutes down a shingle road is the shelter and car park at Windy Point, beside SH 7.

Harper Pass Route (from Hurunui swingbridge to Harper Pass)

Tramping track / Te Araroa

Note: the full 4-5 day route from Aitkens to Lewis Pass should be walked from the West Coast side.  See full track description on seperate page: Harpers Pass route

Hurunui swingbridge to Hurunui Hut – 30 min

An easy walk along a graded track through beech forest to Hurunui Hut (standard 15-bunk hut).

Hurunui Hut to No. 3 Hut – 4 hours

The track passes through sections of beech forest and crosses river flats, with some sections climbing up the side of the hill to get around the river. A hot spring is approximately 2 hours from Hurunui Hut. From the hot spring the track sidles through the forest and descends to matagouri flats where it is an easy walk to No. 3 Hut (standard 16-bunk hut).

No. 3 Hut to Camerons Hut – 1 hour

The track follows the river through red beech forest to Camerons Stream, which is crossed via a three-wire bridge. The track continues through the forest to Camerons Hut (basic 4-bunk hut).

Camerons Hut to Harper Pass – 2 hours

The track crosses grass sections and beech forest, climbing around gorges to avoid crossing the river. The summit of Harper Pass is approximately 45 minutes further on from the Harper Pass bivvy (basic 2-bunk hut).   

Three Mile Stream Track

Tramping track

Hurunui Swingbridge to Three Mile Stream Hut – 4 hrs 30 min

From the swingbridge travel up McMillan Stream on gravel flats and forest terraces, criss-crossing the streambed as needed. The track then leaves the stream to climb to a low saddle and then descends to the top flats of Three Mile Stream. Three Mile Stream Hut (standard 7-bunk hut) is further down the flats.

Three Mile Stream Hut to Hope Kiwi Lodge - 3 hrs

The start of the track is well signposted down the flats. It climbs steadily to a low bush saddle and passes swampy clearings to reach Parakeet Stream. The track makes a gradual descent to Hope Kiwi Lodge (serviced 20-bunk hut).

Three Mile Stream Route


Three Mile Stream Hut to junction with Hope Kiwi Track -  3 hrs 30 min

From Three Mile Stream Hut follow the poled route downstream. Then pick up the track through bush (marked with orange triangles) where it climbs above the gorge and then descends to join the Hope Kiwi Track.

Mackenzie Stream Route


Hurunui Hut to Mackenzie Hut - 5 hrs

The Mackenzie Stream Route leaves  Harper Pass Track about 1 hour from Hurunui Hut.

The turn-off is signposted approximately opposite the junction with Mackenzie Stream and Hurunui River.  You will need to make your own crossing over the Hurunui River so this may not be possible when the river is high. 

Cross the river flats to Mackenzie Stream and follow it up on the true right. This section is not marked until you enter the forest. Along the route there is a hot spring where a pool big enough for two has been constructed. Mackenzie Hut is a basic 6-bunk hut and does not require any hut tickets.

Getting there

View the Lake Sumner and Lewis Pass access map

Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.

To reach the park via Lake Sumner Road: take State Highway 7 at Waikari to Hawarden, then follow Lake Sumner Road to Lake Taylor. The road beyond Lake Taylor is suitable for 4WD vehicles only to Loch Katrine (camping area).

The 4WD track from Loch Katrine to the Hurunui swingbridge at the boundary of Lake Sumner Forest Park crosses Lakes Station land. There is a locked gate on road by Loch Katrine. There is no restriction for foot or mountain-bike access through this gate, but vehicle access must be gained from Lakes Station.

It is approximately 9 km (2-3 hours walk) from Loch Katrine to the Hurunui swingbridge. 

Plan and prepare

Safety is your responsibility:

  • Have the correct and the most up-to-date information
  • Take a topographic map if going into more challenging country, i.e. something more than a tramping track.
  • Always be prepared for sudden weather changes. Check the latest forecast, especially if any river crossings are required.
  • Equip yourself well and prepare for the worst. Take enough food and water and the right clothing.
  • Ensure someone else knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • If staying in huts, fill in the intentions book. This may save your life.
  • Dial 111 immediately for any fire emergency.

Related links

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Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Canterbury places


Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 318 9211
Address:   State Highway 73
Arthur's Pass
Full office details
Rangiora Office
Phone:      +64 3 313 0820
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