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Hodder River


The most common approach to the Inland Kaikōura Range peaks.


Turn off SH1 4km into the Awatere valley. It is about 50km to the Hodder bridge and Gladstone Downs Station. Most of the area is private land, and you must ask permission beforehand. Full details on gaining access across Gladstone Downs station and to Hodder Huts are on the Marlborough Tramping Club website – see external link.
Park just across the Hodder bridge and follow farm tracks for about 3km, past the Hodder-Shin junction, to a rock cairn beside the track, then a steep descent to the riverbed. The Hodder approach is notorious for its 80 or more crossings. Plastic bags, neoprene socks or divers booties inside approach shoes are recommended. Look for a track on the true right over tussock and ribbonwood terraces to bypass a waterfall . It is 6–8 hours and a 1000m climb to the Hodder Huts (6 bunks and 12 bunks). Hut fees must be paid and you must also obtain a Hut Access Number from the Marlborough Tramping Club – see external link.
Note that there are no easy exits if the Hodder is in flood. Tongue Spur and the Shin River could be used, involving a descent to the Shin from a low saddle (map ref. BS27 550 583) and one river crossing onto the east bank, which can be followed to the Hodder bridge, but it is a long route.

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Ben Winnubst