The Clyde River and its tributaries offer access to a wide range of country including the Cloudy Peak Range, peaks on the Main Divide, and the Froude and Jollie Ranges. The Clyde River also provides the usual approach to the Gardens of Eden and Allah and the Armoury Range. The Frances River and McCoy Stream drain the head of the catchment and merge downstream at McCoy Hut to form the Clyde River. The Sinclair River is a large tributary bisecting the Armoury and Jollie Ranges. The Lawrence River is a major tributary of the Clyde
Clyde River access
The Clyde River is reached from Erewhon Station. Permission to cross station land should be obtained from Colin and Christine Drummond (phone 03 303 9739) and details left in the intentions book at
the homestead. A 4WD track is followed for about 10 minutes before the Clyde riverbed is reached. In recent years the main braids of the river have been migrating towards the true left of the valley,
now necessitating a crossing of the Clyde River before going any distance up the Clyde or Lawrence Valleys. However, this section of river is highly changeable and information on the latest conditions should be obtained from the runholders. The Clyde River is always swift and floods easily ; it is very seldom an easy crossing.
Occasionally, in good conditions, 4WD access may be possible to the river flats beyond Black Bluff. Cross the Clyde River soon after leaving the homestead and pick a route through the river braids, on the true right of the main river. Head north upriver and find a suitable crossing somewhere around the southern end of a large grassy island, generally aiming towards Erewhon Station Hut, and continue on the true left.
When travelling on foot follow a similar but more direct route, crossing back to the true left before Black Bluff is reached : boulders and a confined channel usually exclude crossing upstream towards
Armada Bluff. If necessary, make a slow, hard scramble through scrub and spaniards on Armada Bluff. Black Bluff should present no problems on foot unless the river channel moves to flow hard against the bluff. If this is the case, a climb of at least 800 metres over the bluff may be required.
If going to McCoy Hut, continue on the true left of the Clyde to McCoy Stream and cross opposite the hut. If it is too deep and swift, continue up McCoy Stream for another kilometre to where the stream braids, and cross there. If bypassing McCoy Hut and continuing up the Frances River, start looking for a river crossing anywhere north of Armada Bluff. However, the best crossing of the Frances is just above McCoy Hut, upstream of where the river cuts into bedrock. The bedrock is fairly easily sidled along the riverbank.
Huts and bivvys
Erewhon Station Hut (private)
Broadleaf Hut, Erewhon Station (private) : Not named on map sheets J35 and BX18, this hut is situated on the true right of the Clyde approximately halfway between Kea Spur and Armada Bluff.
Watchdog Hut (DOC) : A basic four-bunk hut.
McCoy Hut (DOC) : A basic six-bunk hut.
Agnes Bivouac : A rock bivvy augmented with some tin, sited on the north side of Agnes Stream. Not weather proof. Several tent platforms also exist here.
Sinclair Bivvy : A four-person weatherproof rock bivvy on the true left of the Sinclair River, sitting above the riverbed (J35 347567 / BW18 247 951).
in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club