The Lake Nerine circuit is a rugged tramp through remote parts of Mt Aspiring National Park. The route involves a 6km alpine hike along the main divide crossing over Park Pass at the head of the Rockburn Valley and North Col at the head of the North Branch of the Routeburn. One of the many highlights is spending a night camped by Lake Nerine, a tranquil spot with its rock knolls and outstanding views, it is a very special place to explore.
"Off the beaten track trips appeal to me. Loved the impressive views all the way along. Bivying out. Accessing an area that few people get to see. Being away from crowded tracks. Oh...and the tomato relish :0)))) I'm delighted to have had an enjoyable trip in and out of this hidden gem."
Although not technically difficult, this wild walk is exposed to any inclement weather. The route requires carrying full packs and multiple overnight camps. It is possible to do it as a 5 day trip that gives you a slightly more relaxed pace, and more time to enjoy the route and the highlights along the way.
Clients are to have experience moving through rough terrain (eg tussock, river beds, boulders, scree) and to demonstrate good balance and footwork. Also experience carrying full packs, overnight camping and long hiking days is preferred.
Travel to the Glenorchy Road end and start on the trail through virgin bush that leads into the Rockburn Valley. There are many options of campsites along side the river, or you may choose to push on to Theatre Flat for a shorter second day.
Carry on up the valley through the impressive Theatre Flat, flanked by smooth slabs and jagged peaks. A short climb through the last of the bush brings you into the upper valley and to Park Pass beyond. From Park Pass you follow the steep ridge before descending to the alpine tarns. Your companions along the way are the snowy Fiordland peaks of Madeline and Tutoko. The tarns overlook the Rockburn Valley with views across to the Park Pass glacier and east to the peaks of the Earnslaw massif. Not a place tor rush with plenty to explore before the final short climb over the saddle to arrive at Lake Nerine. Plenty of time in the afternoon to swim, take photos and relax.
Perhaps the most challenging day of the trip. Lake Nerine catches the first rays of the morning sun but you shortly leave these behind as you cross on to the shady western aspects of Nerus Peak, overlooking Hidden Falls creek that drains into the mighty Hollyford River. A traverse route brings you to North Col and the head of the North Branch of the Routeburn. Here begins the challenging long descent to the flats over a variety of rough terrain including scree, scrub and following river beds. Camp next to the towering rock walls of Somnus.
After a couple of long days the final day brings a gentle few hours on improving track out to Routeburn Flats. From here the contrast is felt as you jump onto the busy Routeburn track back to the road end, completing the circuit.
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