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Arthur Range traverse, Kahurangi National Park

Nelson Tramping Club members traverse the rugged tops of 1428m Crusader. Photo: Ray Salisbury
Kahurangi National Park
To drive up Rocky River Rd to Mt Campbell^ permission and a key can be obtained from Mt Campbell Communications at Quarantine Rd^ Stoke^ Nelson. www.mountcampbell.co.nz. A second vehicle must be placed at Flora car park^ at the top end of Graham Valley Rd.
BP24, BQ24
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This trip from Mt Campbell to the Lodestone is 20.8km, traverses five peaks over 1300m and lasts more than 10 hours, requiring a high level of fitness and aptitude in negotiating a route along beech-clad ridges and up steep rock faces – all off-track. The entire route is along a series of disjointed ridge tops and there is no water supply. the start and end are some distance apart, so a car shuttle will be required.

From the car park, take the track to the tops, aiming for Mt Campbell and then on to the exposed expanse of Hoary Head, a monolithic table-top of shattered marble, 1473m above the Riwaka River. From this high vantage, views to as far as Mt Taranaki are possible.

From the summit cairn, the next objective – the serrated top of Mt Crusader can also be seen.

Dropping off the broad ridge and press on along the scrubby ridgeline which narrows into a knife-edge, forcing a sidle beneath rock outcrops.

Mt Crusader is steep and guarded by prickly Spaniard grass. Scramble up the north face of the mountain – the crux of the route – to its 1428m summit.

The route now descends through stands of dracophyllum onto a saddle and the gentle slopes of Mt McMahon (1342m). There,s a long sstretch of ridge travel after this in order to reach the final peak – Lodestone.

There’s a final 30-minute descent to Flora car park.