The Hakatere / South Branch Ashburton River allows access to the commanding Ashburton (South) Face of Mt Arrowsmith and to smaller peaks such as South, Hakatere and Ashburton, as well as the tramping peak Pito at the southern end of the Arrowsmith Range.
Hakatere / South Branch Ashburton River access
Eric or Sally Smith of Mt Arrowsmith Station (phone 03 303 9090) should be contacted for access to the Hakatere River. Access by 4WD may be granted via Mt Arrowsmith Station at certain times of the year : ask the station well beforehand for permission. The 4WD track continues beyond Top Hut following the true right bank, until crossing the river and heading north along the side creek that drains Pt 1686 metres.
The usual access by foot involves an approach from the Cameron River. There is a car park and intentions book on the 4WD track heading west to the Cameron Valley off Hakatere Heron Road. Head up the track alongside the Cameron River and cross the Wild Mans Brother Range via the saddle south-east of Wild Mans Hill. Avoid scrub by sidling up to the gully that drains the saddle. The Hakatere River is usually forded to the true right, which offers good travel to the terminal moraine of the Ashburton Glacier. Good camping is available at the head of the valley (4–5 hours from the Cameron car park).
Top Hut (DOC) : A 10-bunk hut situated just below a prominent terrace on the true right of the river, east of Stumpy Stream. Has a fireplace but no wood locally – bring your own.
Wild Mans Hut (Mt Arrowsmith Station) : A six-bunk hut : ask the station for permission.
in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club