These routes are south of the St James Conservation Area. Descriptions kindly provided by Peter Hurst.
Engineers Camp to Hope Kiwi Lodge. 3 hours
Start at horse paddock opposite Rogers Crescent. Secure your float and vehicle. There is very limited mobile coverage at Engineers Camp so stand outside the Downers Building to obtain this coverage.
Use public ROW at end of Rogers Crescent to access Boyle River. Ride upstream about 80 metres and climb up bank by cableway. Or downstream about 200 metres and climb up bank by green markers. Follow track all the way to Hope River bed. Pass through horse-gate to river. Riding time 1 hour.
Cross river onto farm track. Stay on farm track as this is the old Historic Pack Route to the West Coast. Make sure you stay on the legal road, in the riverbed or on the Marginal Strip (Queens Chain) until you get to a large shingle fan about 4 kms up the track.
Ride down this shingle fan for 200 metres and take the track on the left at the bottom of the shingle fan. The track is not marked here, but the direction is easy to follow. Follow this track upstream for 500 metres. Cross the Hope River. You should now be on the true left of the Hope River.
Head up the flats to the Kiwi Stream. Use the horse-gate at Kiwi Stream and ride up to Hope Kiwi Lodge following the Kiwi Stream. There is a large horse paddock at Hope Kiwi Lodge.
Total riding time from Engineers Camp to Hope Kiwi Lodge 3 hours.
Kiwi Stream to Top Hope Hut, 2 hours
Pass through the horse-gate at Kiwi Stream. Immediately turn right (West) and ride about 150 metres to the 4wd track opposite the trampers swing-bridge which spans the Hope River at the wee gorge. Ride through the bush on the 4wd track till you emerge at the magnificent St Jacobs Flat and ride up to the St Jacobs Hut. Riding time 40 minutes.
Keep riding, criss-crossing the riverbed, mainly on the true left bank till you get to Top Hope Hut. There is plenty of grass at both the huts in this magnificent valley and no Te Araroa walkers in this area. Riding time 1 hour 20 minutes from St Jacobs Hut to Top Hope Hut.
Excursions from Top Hope Hut
From Top Hope Hut ride up to Hot Spring Creek. About 15 minutes upstream, look for a marker which indicates the beautiful natural hot spring. Enjoy your soak!
From Hot Spring Creek for the adventurist ride up to the Hope Pass. Follow the river and the markers and the very old 4wd track in places to the pass. You need to be experienced in navigation and bush travel to get there. Riding time from Hot Spring Creek 2 hours.
A big swamp is located on the Hope Pass, so don’t think you can travel with your horses that way! Enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Hope Kiwi Lodge to Lake Sumner, 2 hours and 30 minutes
Ride up the Kiwi Stream following the 4wd track. At the very end of the flat follow the green horse track markers into the bush. You are now riding on the Historic Hope Kiwi Pack Track right through to Lake Sumner.
Riding time from Hope Kiwi Lodge to Lake Sumner 2 hours and 30 minutes. This track is very well worn by horses. Look out for bees and some windfall at times.