A steep overnight tramp with magnificent views through open tussock land
Time: 8-10 hours
This track starts at the Whakaari Conservation Area carpark and finishes on the Queenstown/Glenorchy Rd beside the Buckler Burn.
Car park to McIntyre Hut
Walk up the well formed Mt Judah Track to the junction turnoff (1 hour 30 minutes). Follow the marked track steeply down to the Buckler Burn, which is then crossed. A steep zig-zag up an old mining road leads to McIntyre Hut.
McIntyre Hut to McIntosh Hut
Follow the marked track traversing above Long Gully Stream to the Long Gully Saddle, from where it is about another 30 minutes to McIntosh Hut at 1464m elevation.
McIntosh Hut to Glenorchy Road
To continue on the loop track, return back to the saddle and climb another old mining track to the ridge. Follow this ridge for another hour, with superb views of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi, and the Dart Valley, before dropping down a very steep unformed track along a fence line to a water race above the Buckler Burn. The race is followed before dropping back to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, five minutes north of the carpark.
The Whakaari tracks are alpine and exposed: changeable weather, extreme temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice are possible at any time of year.
River crossing experience is essential. Streams may flood at any time of year due to rain or snow melt and should not be crossed in flood.
If high water levels at the Buckler Burn make it impassable, trampers may have to turn back.
Dangerous mine tunnels are present and may be hidden by vegetation. Do not enter tunnels.