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Hut amidst mountain drama

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May 2021 Issue

Blue Lake Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

A worthwhile overnight side trip when tramping the Travers-Sabine Circuit in Nelson Lakes National Park is to Blue Lake.

Known to Māori as Rotomairewhenua, meaning the land of peaceful waters, it is thought to be the clearest natural body of fresh water in the world.

For a comfortable stay, the 16-bunk serviced Blue Lake Hut is just a few minutes walk from the stunning bright blue/green coloured lake which is surrounded by dramatic mountains.

If doing the four-plus day circuit, the Blue Lake track heads up the Sabine River West Branch from West Sabine Hut.
Not far from the hut, the river is crossed on a sturdy bridge. The well-marked track is mostly rocky with a few muddy sections. It crosses a number of rock screes and side creeks, goes through some beautiful beech forest and passes small tarns. Keep an eye open for the waterfalls flowing into the valley.

A quicker way to visit Blue Lake Hut is by taking the water taxi to Sabine Hut from Lake Rotoroa. The Te Araroa Trail also goes by the lake and there are plenty of camping sites if the hut is full.

For an extra side trip, it is worth walking to nearby Lake Constance from where there are great views looking down on Blue Lake.

– Janette Asche

Total Ascent
4-6 days
St Arnaud or Lake Rotoroa
BR24, BS24

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