Rabbit Pass Alpine Traverse 4 day


Rabbit Pass links the Wilkin Valley with the Matukituki Valley in the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park

‘What was your favourite part of the trip?’

Matthew Pike, NZ

“The moment you head onto the pass and the whole East Matukituki opens up in front of you. It's a staggering view from what was previously a somewhat enclosed environment. The thrill of climbing the waterfall face would be a close second.”

More Information

Rabbit Pass is located in Mount Aspiring National Park, part of the Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. This four day alpine crossing links two of the region's major river valleys. This area is spectacular, surrounded by high glacier covered peaks, waterfalls and lakes. This is home to many other rare and endangered species including the Kea, the World's only alpine parrot.

Our professional guide will ensure your safety as we explore this remote and seldom visited area.  The crossing of Rabbit Pass is a challenging alpine crossing requiring good conditions to safely ascend and descend steep and exposed terrain. Prolonged periods of bad weather may prevent the crossing in which case the time is utlised exploring the alpine scenery of the Upper Wilkin area. Overnight gear and a delicious menu is provided at our private camps so all you carry is a light day pack. 

Available Dates

2019 Status
4-7 Jan Completed
18-21 Jan Completed
26-29 Jan Completed
15-18 Feb In progress
13-16 March C: 1 place available
23-26 March FULL
31 March - 3 April C: 3 places available

C = confirmed to run

Dates don't work for you? 
No problem.  We only need 2 people to confirm a trip, so if you're already a group of 2 or more, let us know your preferred dates and we'll see what we can do.



To enjoy your Rabbit Pass trek you need to have excellent fitness and some prior specific training may be required. You must have good balance and coordination and not be afraid of heights. There is significant exposure to falling with small footholds and ledges. Sometimes the footing is unstable and hikers need to be good on their feet and be comfortable on rough or slippery ground (you will not encounter deep mud).  Hiking boots are needed for increased security rather than lighter trail shoes. Hikers should be able to maintain a steady pace for long periods of time. Your pack will be considerably lighter without sleeping & camping equipment. There are many sidestreams and river crossings.

Track times and distances in New Zealand can be deceiving.  The tracks here are quite slow progress compared to other countries and the days will be long.  The nature of the terrain means that you seldom get long stretches of fast travel.  Tracks twist through the forest, there are streams and waterfalls to negotiate as well as steep ascents and descents.   In the alpine there can be loose scree or exposed drops. Do not be deceived into thinking that days with short mileage will be easy; days that we travel less that 10km can be more tiring that days we travel considerably more distance.  Call it what you want but it is never dull. 

Price Details

Guide : Client Ratio Price per person
1:2 NZ $2,450
1:3-4 NZ $1,950
What's Included
  • helicopter or jetboat access
  • meals and snacks
  • sleeping bag, liner and other general camping equipment
  • tents and/or hut accommodation
  • national park, landing & guide fees
  • 15% goods and service tax (GST)


Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

We meet with transport and guide at 8:30 a.m. and travel 45 minutes to the small village of Makarora. Here we board a helicopter and fly into the heart of Mount Aspiring Park. A leisurely 20 minute walk brings us to the Top Forks Hut. The afternoon is spent exploring this marvelous area. 

6-7 hrs   500m ascent 500m descent.

Rabbit Pass Hiking New Zealand

Day Two

An early start gets us up to Waterfall Flat. It is not hard to imagine where it gets its name with torrents of water pouring of the surrounding cliffs. The improbable scramble up the Waterfall Face leads to Rabbit Pass.  We clip you into a fixed hand line for 60 meters to give you confidence on the trickiest part of the route.  A long descent through native herb gardens is a magical end to an exhilarating day.  Pickelhaub Camp is an expedition type setup with a cook tent, table and chairs with smaller four person tents to sleep in.

9-11 hrs 900m ascent 650 descent

Rabbit Pass Hiking New Zealand

Day Three

Waking to sound of icefalls crashing off the towering Mnt. Pickelhaub, we have a leisurely breakfast before heading down the East Matukituki Valley. Even with no track the going is easy through this isolated scenic valley. Once we come to the magnificent Bledisloe Gorge the climbing begins again. From open river flats, through ancient forest and up to the alpine, this is a day that has it all. We camp at our incomparable Aspiring Camp with the same comfortable set up as the night before.

7-8 hrs 200m descent 300 ascent

Rabbit Pass Hiking New Zealand

Day Four

It is the last day of the trek, and we all know what that means, that’s right: pancakes, whipped cream and blueberry jam. The trail down to the valley floor winds through tall beech forest with Mt. Aspiring dominating the view. Gradually the track opens out into farm land just before we meet our waiting transport back to civilization and a hot shower.

5 hrs 500m descent

Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for hiking in New Zealand.

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