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The highest peak in the Arthur Range at the eastern side of Kahurangi National Park commands big views in every direction. Access from the Flora carpark gives you a head start, as the first 1000m are done in a vehicle. This is a grand peak for a day walk.
This is a fine-weather summer walk only. If it’s cac, just go as far as the Mount Arthur Hut.
Due to a high altitude start point (the Flora Carpark is around 1000 meters), the Mt Arthur summit is a moderate days return walk over the summer period. In winter you can expect snow and a much slower journey.
Note - Although you can drive to a high altitude, this alpine environment is subject sudden changes in weather. Choose a nice day and still be prepared for rain, hail, snow and sunshine.
From Motueka, head up the Motueka Valley, over Alexander Bluff Bridge and onto West Bank Road. The Graham Valley Road is on the right. This shortly becomes a gravel road. As you wind further up, take care. Some sections become narrow and can be rutted and pot-holed. There is a particular section which has concrete strips because it is steep. Watch for oncoming vehicles and uphill has right of way. It’s doable in a 2WD but you will need good ground clearance.
The road ends at Flora Carpark after 10km. There are toilets here and an information board with the track network shown.
From Flora Carpark to Mount Arthur Hut, the track is well marked and the surface is well graded. However, when it is wet, there are places it can be muddy. Initially, you are following the bulldozed track towards Flora Saddle, but after 10 minutes, take the signposted track to the left towards Mount Arthur and the hut.
The beech forest here is old and gnarled with a sparse understory. Mosses, lichens and liverworts festoon the arboreal architecture. Weka, riflemen and bellbird are numerous in this forest, where intensive predator control has been undertaken by the local community conservation group, Friends of Flora.
At a picnic bench the forest opens up, with the first tantalising views out and the appearance of the Dr Seuss Trees, Dracophyllum traversii, or mountain neinei. The trees become more stunted as the goblin forest finally ends abruptly at the hut (1310m). For the best views follow the track behind the hut for 100m or so and head left up the hill a few metres on the track towards Mount Arthur.
From here the views are 360 degrees, over Tasman Bay to the Richmond Ranges and Kaikoura Ranges, but also the ranges of Kahurangi National Park.
The track to the summit continues through the tussock and sub-alpine scrub, marked with waratahs. You pass the junction with Gordons Pyramid Track and some limestone basins. The views stretch to the interior of Kahurangi National Park. It’s a crumpled landscape with compressed ranges cloaked in beech forest.
Take care negotiating the tricky bluff, as the track is narrower and there are some big steps. One section has a dodgy fall zone.
Head for the cleft in the ridge, which is a steep ascent in the more shaded gully. But once you pop out onto the summit ridge, it’s all worthwhile. Left takes you to Winter Peak (1750m) and right leads to Mount Arthur Summit (1795m).
Return via the same track.
The limestone areas of the Mount Arthur Range conceal the deepest cave system in the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand cavers have been exploring systems from the Ellis Basin at the top and the Nettlebed system from the bottom, entering via the Pearse Valley. After nearly 50 years of exploration, a dedicated team of elite cavers finally linked the two systems in 2016, affirming what had always been known - a single cave system existed. Spending upto 9 days at a time underground and squeezing through gaps only marginally wider than the human form, the team have photographed the cavernous interior, mapping its labyrinths and observing the translucent worms that inhabit the dark depths.
The forest on the way up is a transition from southern beeches, mainly mountain beech and black beech, to the goblin forests associated with the misty realms close to the treeline. A conspicuous feature is the pineapple- topped mountain neinei, whose discarded leaves carpet the forest floor. Trees can live for over 500 years, although you wouldn’t know it, as growth at the extremes here is slow.
The sub-alpine scrub is a mix of low-growing species, cowling from the brisk winds and winter snows.
Crickets, moths and skinks
South Island ▷ Nelson Region ▷ Motueka
Showing 13 reviews of 16.
Road until Florapark can not be accessed by a camper, so we hat to turn... The mountain although would have looked great!!
Drive to the carpark was rough, should only be attempted by an experienced driver. Hike took about five and a half hours round trip. Scenery was diverse the views were breathtaking. Favourite hike I have done in the South Island.
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Mikulas and Dominika
Amazing one day walk, the Arthur Hut on the trek looks really cool. From the hut to the summit you can see more than 100km far away (wonderful).
Great day/overnight hike. We head torched up our way at night. Ready to watch the sunrise in the early hours of the morning. Priceless sunrise!!!
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Fantastic track, fantastic views.
Very good surface on the beginning of the walk. A lot of information around. Mt Arthurs Hut is a great place to rest before the final part. Stunning views.
A bit challenge for car to get to Flora carpark. Track is easy, views great, mountains all around you..
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800m Elevation gain, 6 hours, 18.5 KM return easy day trip.
Very good signed track! Shelter if needed at the beginning of the route, probably a very good view but when I went it was cloudy and rainy.
A wonderful track, really easy and you have a long time enjoying the view up on the mountain ridge!
Excellent view and easy.
Perfect track, not too short, not too long, amazing views. Awesome on a sunny day.
Very cool track. Alpine but close to get to. Trees like in Dr Suess books.
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 😍