Mount Robertson

Mount Robertson

Maps

Information

approx 20 km return | 8 hours return

As with any climb to altitude, there is an interesting vegetation transition.

The only real viewpoint is confined to the summit with vistas south as far as the Kaikoura Ranges, east over the sounds and north to the North Island.

Timing

Loop Track North Branch 5 ½ hours return
Loop Track South Branch 6 ½ hours return
From Whites Bay via North and South branches of Loop Track 8 hours return

Access

Whites Bay is 5.5 km from Rarangi along Port Underwood Road.

The two arms of the Loop Track meet at around 700 metres above sea level. The South Branch is signposted Loop Track (small roadside parking bay) 2.8 km along Port Underwood Road from Rarangi.

The North Branch (small roadside parking bay) is 2.4 km beyond the turnoff to Whites Bay or 5 km from the South branch.

Track

Loop Track North Branch 5 ½ hours return
Loop Track South Branch 6 ½ hours return
From Whites Bay via North and South branches of Loop Track 8 hours return

This description applies to a route starting at the North Branch.

The 4WD track ascends steadily with views out both sides, north to port Underwood and south through Cloudy Bay. After 30 minutes at the locked gate, the transition to walking track starts and the gradient steepens. Initially the clay track climbs through black and red beech forest then merges into kamahi. Flocks of waxeyes cheep in the canopy and tui occasionally call. You may spook a wild pig, or more to the point, a wild pig may spook you. Their presence may explain the lack of understorey, taken with the clay soils. These can make the track slippery when wet. Many trees are blighted by the black sooty mould, a favoured food of the honeyeaters.

After a further 45 minutes you reach the signpost with the junction of the Loop Track. Head right. A vegetation transition takes place with silver beech entering the mix and occasional groves of loftier red beech. These are given a haircut by the wind at low points in the ridge and one corridor has many gnarled examples.

1 hour on there is a false summit and epiphytes appear more frequently. Foliose lichens, asplenium ferns and Usnea lichen dangle from branches. Their presence is explained by the more frequent cloud cap on the forest at this altitude.

It’s a further 45 minutes to the summit (1036 metres). You may have riflemen for company. A huge golf ball greets you at the top, an AIRWAYS radar station making sure planes don’t crash. There’s also a trig.

The descent via the South Branch of the loop is much the same as the North Branch, although its around 30 minutes longer. Whereas the North Branch is a bulldozed track suitable for a 4WD motorbike and an AIRWAYS maintenance team, the South Branch is simply a walking track (marked with orange triangles). It’s around 30 minutes to the signposted junction with the track to Pukaka Valley, then 45 minutes to the pylon. This section can be lethally slippery, especially on the steep bits. You may have to hold on to the manuka for support. The subcanopy is lush with mingimingi with pate prominent.

From the pylon the 4WD track then descends 10 minutes to the road. Head left 200 metres to rejoin the continuation of the Whites Bay Rarangi Track (25 minutes) to Whites Bay. From the north-eastern corner of the carpark hack the Black Jack Track back to Port Underwood Road.

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

South IslandMarlboroughBlenheim

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner