Descriptions based on directions kindly provided by Peter Hurst.
Engineers Camp to Doubtful Hut, 2 hours.
Start at horse paddock opposite Rogers Crescent.
Secure your float and vehicle here.
Take ROW to Boyle River at the end of Rogers Crescent.
Cross the Boyle River 80 Metres upstream and climb up the bank by the cable or 200 Metres downstream by the green horse markers.
Head west on the 4WD track towards the Doubtful River.
Alternatively, leave from the carpark opposite the Doubtful River confluence.
Going this way, when you climb the bank by the DOC sign make sure you turn left and follow the arrows. Don’t be tempted to follow the tramper track here as the small swamp by the sign will swallow your horse.
Generally, follow the green markers up the river on the track.
You will get to a wide boulder strewn creek. The track exit on the opposite bank has been washed away. The track exit on the opposite bank has been washed away. Pick your way around the toe of this creek and re-join the track about 200 metres upstream.
Follow on up the track, weaving in and out of the matagouri and bush. Any green horse markers you see should be followed, easy really. The three-bunk Doubtful Hut is located on the Doubtful River riverbank. Riding time to Doubtful Hut from Engineers Camp is 2 hours.
Doubtful Hut to Doubtless Hut, 1 hour and 30 minutes
Doubtful Hut to Amuri Pass, 2 hours and 20 minutes
From Doubtful Hut follow up the riverbed until you reach the turnoff to Doubtless Hut. From Hut to Hut it takes 1 hour 30 minutes. There are few track markers in the riverbed.
Just keep plodding up the river following any green track markers you see.
From the turnoff to Doubtless Hut here the option is to travel up the Doubtless River to the Doubtless Hut, where a horse paddock is located, or continue on to the Amuri Pass. It takes 10 minutes to ride to the hut from this point.
It will take 1 hour to ride to the Amuri Pass from the turnoff to the Doubtless Hut. Phantom Flat is the favoured camping spot, with ample grass for your horses.
Amuri Pass to the West Coast, 4 hours 30 minutes
There are five crossings of the Waiheke River from Amuri Pass to Slaty Creek Hut. From Amuri Pass follow the track down into the bush and cross three creeks till you arrive at Big Log Creek.
Lead down the track just past Big Log Creek, as marked to the Waiheke River. Cross the river twice to arrive at Torrent Creek.
You are able to camp at Driftwood Camp or proceed along to Slaty Creek Hut, generally on the true left of the Waiheke River. Riding Time from Amuri Pass to Slaty Creek is 2 hours
There is a horse paddock located at Slaty Creek Hut.
From Slaty Creek ride out to the Department of Conservation carpark at Waititi Downs. When crossing the Tutaekeri River head directly opposite the crossing point to regain the track through the gorse.
There is a horse gate at the carpark to enable access. Riding time from Slaty Creek to Waititi Downs is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Enjoy your ride crossing the Southern Alps. Total Distance is sixty-four kilometres.
It is a tough ride and horses need to be fit and well shod. and used to this type of topography and mountain travel.
IMPORTANT: Check river levels and rainfall on the ECAN website before you leave home:
This pack and stock track is one of the Historical Routes from Canterbury to the West Coast. It is part of our heritage and should be preserved. Most of the gradients were built to allow packhorses to travel on them. The entire track has been reformed in places and is generally 1.8 metres wide to cater for packhorses.
This pack track is a credit and a testimonial to the early settlers of New Zealand. They broke in this country by hand and with horses, so please ride this.