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Willberg Range


The Wilberg has a mistique about it that stems from several things. The weather, the walls of green scrub, the gorged creeks draining from it and rock on parts of the range that is shockingly bad, and only held together by plant roots. In other words, its steep thick and loose, just like those attracted to it. (Im one of them). Its also gorgeous, with nifty little spots secreted within it. Wilberg was a draughtsman involved in the West Coast 1880s topographical survey.

POINT (170.6049 -43.2277)
BW17 055 111

For access to or from the Wilberg Tops, see notes on access to the Poerua Valley above. Much of the Wilberg Range can be traversed from Mt Wilberg to Avalon Peak, but in places travel on one side or the other is much easier. Between Avalon Peak and the North Poerua Glacier, pinnacles and loose, friable schist makes travel very difficult in several places. However, there is a practical route with packs from Mt Wilberg to Adams Flat in good weather. Its a route to use for its challenge, isolation and wilderness qualities rather than its speed though. Climbs on Mt Kensington at the top of the range are normally approached from the Gardens and are covered in that section.

Accessed from
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Type Name
Mountain Mt Tri
Mountain Smith Pk
Mountain Avalon Pk
Mountain Artemis Pk


Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 Harold Creek access to the Wilberg tops

  • P1

From SH6, follow the gravel bed of Harold Creek up to the base of the hill and pick up an only intermittently maintained marked route on the true right. GRID REF This leads up steeply to an open rata ridge that continues to the scrub, where the track is getting overgrown. Above the Mt Wilberg trig, the open tops offer excellent travel (and campsites by tarns) through to the main Wilberg Range. A rockbiv is marked on a NZAC 1962 map roughly east of pt 1310m but i havent seen it. The climb onto pt 1665m is steep but straight forward when dry. Time: Road to pt 1665m, 7hrs.

 Rata Ridge access to Mt Ferguson and the Wilberg tops

  • P1

Turn off SH6 along Poerua Valley road. Seek permission from the farmer here, (Keith McKenzie- NOW HIS SON) before continuing along a bulldozed road until overlooking Rata Creek, about 200m up from the river. Cross and pick up the old hunters track which climbs onto a terrace in the bush before heading up the spur on the true left of Rata Creek over pt 469m. The track is only intermittently maintained, and may not be found till some distance up the hill. This is a long climb to bushline, and in the top section the narrow ridge is a little overgrown with flax and scrub. The track finishes at bushline on the straight spur west of Mt Ferguson. The tops offer good tussock travel over Mt Ferguson through occasional rock outcrops to the main Wilberg Range at pt 1665m. There are tarn campsites at pt 1486m. Time: Road to Mt Ferguson, 6 hrs.

 Exit Creek

  • P1

The stream descending from pt 1592m to the Wilberg River was known as Exit Creek. An equally large tributary called Entrance Creek drains from pt 1665m and joins Exit. Both branches can be used, neither is entirely easy. The true right branch (Exit) is reasonable travel on boulders most of the way down, and has a rock biv marked on an NZAC 1962 map at I34 142725 which also names the creeks.

Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint,
in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club