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Travers by wire

Image of the March 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
March 2018 Issue

Travers suspension bridge, Nelson Lakes National Park

It suddenly appears right in front as you round one of the many bends on the trail beside the Travers River. At its northern end, some 22km from its source near Travers Saddle, the river is broad. Even in fine weather, it would present a challenge to ford; in flood, it would be impassable without this wire construction.

By backcountry suspension bridge standards, the Travers Bridge is one of the more impressive. It’s long and it’s bouncy, providing a few moments of bright daylight between two long stints in dense beech forest. It’s a good spot to take in the lofty peaks far above the bushline and, being quite low strung, the water beneath your feet seems to rush by in stark contrast.

The bridge also provides a measure of progress as you walk between Lakehead Hut and John Tait Hut. It’s not the reason people head into the Travers Valley, but it’s an enjoyable, and helpful, attraction along the way.

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Travers Bridge, 13.8km (from St Arnaud); to John Tait Hut, 22.8km
Total Ascent
757m to John Tait Hut
By foot, 3hr; by water taxi, 75min
Lakehead Hut ($5, 28 bunks), Coldwater Hut ($5, 12 bunks), John Tait Hut ($15, 27 bunks)
Water taxi to Lakehead Hut or by Lakehead Track from St Arnaud Grade Easy Time By foot, 3hr; by water taxi, 75min
BS24, BT24