Image of the October 2015 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
October 2015 Issue
Home / Articles / Wild Range

12 destinations on the Lockett Range

Kahurangi National Park's Lockett Range. Map by Geographx

Tucked into the north-eastern edge of Kahurangi National Park, the Lockett Range forms a bow-like shape to the north of the Cobb Valley and is the focus for a variety of tops oriented tramps and traverses. The terrain is relatively benign, albeit with plenty of bluffed faces and steep tussock, and therefore lends itself to rewarding day trips, high camps, and traverses especially to the north-west as a means to reach the Douglas Range and Adelaide Tarn.

As the terrain here was once heavily glaciated, large alpine lakes are a major feature and are, for many, the predominant reason to visit. There are also spectacular views and plenty of secret hollows to pitch a tent, along with a few modest summits to bag.

1 Cobb River

This beautiful and easily walked valley is perhaps the most popular tramp in Kahurangi National Park – and with good reason. There are good huts, an easy track, delightful wild flowers in summer, and spectacular scenery along the way. There are also numerous secluded campsites.

2 Fenella Hut

A large, well-constructed hut at the head of the valley, 12-bunk Fenella Hut commands an absolute premium when it comes to location and accessibility to the tops, valleys and numerous high lakes in the region.

3 Waingaro Peak

This summit, at 1604m, directly above Fenella Hut, is at the northern extremity of the Lockett Range. It can form part of a round trip to the hut, but is also at the southern end of the high route to Lonely Lake on the Douglas Range traverse.

4 Waingaro River

The Waingaro River runs along the northern flanks of the range until it merges with the Stanley River. It is an untracked catchment allowing for exploration in pristine forest all the way to Waingaro Forks Hut where the main valley track is crossed.

5 Riordans Hut

The eastern end of the range has a largely modified vegetation cover and a good access track coming in from Uruwhenua, in the Takaka Valley, where it climbs onto the range to avoid the fearsome Waingaro River Gorge. There are two huts on this section – Tin Hut Shelter and historic three-bunk Riordans Hut, built in 1926.

6 Lake Lockett

A large hidden lake beneath Mt Lockett at 1300m, Lake Lockett has no track to access its shores but can be reached via a moderate bush-bashing route from below Iron Lake or along the range. It should be possible to camp near the lake shore on the southern side.

7 Sylvester Lakes

A cluster of lakes including one of the largest bodies of water on the range – Lake Sylvester, 1330m, and nearby Little Sylvester Lake along with numerous tarns. The basin and environs are very picturesque.

8 Sylvester Hut

A 12-bunk hut which commands a grand view over the Cobb Valley area and out into the Takaka Valley and distant ranges. It is a fantastic location for sunrise.

9 Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake sits at the head of Diamond Lake Stream and though an attractive feature, lumpy and marshy ground makes it difficult to camp there. From the lake, the Lockett Range and Iron Hill can be reached.

10 Ruby Lake

Ruby Lake is a real gem among the beautiful lakes on the range. Lakeside camping is possible for those on an overnighter or range traverse.

11 Mt Benson

At 1661m, Mt Benson sits midway along the range and commands views in all directions.

12 Iron Hill

The highest summit on the range at 1695m, Iron Hill stands above the Sylvester lakes and covets the best view of the Cobb region.