The Whataroa, Butler and Perth river valleys sit between State Highway 6 and the Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moana and provide rugged backcountry opportunities for those with suitable skills and experience.
From the flats of the lower Whataroa River, the network of tramping tracks and routes weave up the three river systems into the heart of the mountains. Rainforest, raging rivers, massive boulders, snowy mountain tops and native flora and fauna feature strongly throughout journeys in this backcountry area.
Be prepared however: these tracks and routes are difficult, and the weather and conditions can change rapidly. With over five metres of rain annually you need to be ready to sit it out and wait if necessary.
Whataroa, Butler and Perth valleys brochure (PDF, 591K).
Butler River (South Branch) swing bridge destroyed
A significant flood/probable river surge event has destroyed the swing bridge across the Butler River (South Branch). The bridge primarily provided access to the track to Ice Lake and for hunting in the area. The bridge was installed in 2009.
Crossing the Butler River (South Branch) on foot is possible in low flow conditions. Do not attempt to cross if you are inexperienced at river crossings or when the river is high or in flood.
The bridge over the Butler River (South Branch) at this location will not be replaced in the near future. Parties planning on tramping or hunting in the area need to be aware that travel beyond Top Butler Hut can only be achieved if the party is experienced and able to cross the river in suitable conditions on foot.