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Bealey Spur – Waimakariri Valley Loop, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Image of the April 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
April 2021 Issue

An adventurous one or two day hike exploring alpine tarns along the Black Range. By Euan Brook

Starting at the Bealey Spur car park, this route heads up the well-formed DOC track gaining 600m, passing through beech forest and tussock swamp to reach Bealey Spur Hut after two hours.

From the hut, it’s mixed tussock and beech forest, following the obvious route, and climbing a further 300m onto the ridge to reach Pt1545 with stunning views over the Waimakariri Valley and across to Mt Rolleston.

From here, the route is less obvious as it follows the ridgeline south-east. Although, it’s straightforward walking apart from one scramble over a rocky outcrop.

At the scree slope prior to Pt1794, carefully sidle following the 1600m contour, in and out of small drainage gullies, to reach Little Jordan Stream. Water bottles can be filled up here and in spring there are plenty of wildflowers.

Climb towards an unnamed saddle at 1750m below Pt1875, following the stream which eventually disappears beneath a jumble of boulders.

There’s a tussock and scree edge descent to Jordan Saddle at 1469m and a rock cairn. This is where the route down Jordan Stream begins, or off the other side, down Galilee Creek to Avoca River.

Continue north-west along the tussock ridge for one kilometre to reach the first unnamed tarn in the basin beneath Pt1800. There are possible campsites here and the tarn is a great swimming hole. The summit can also be climbed to gain views of the Avoca River and Tobacco Range.

Another two kilometres of easy walking, following the 1600m contour, leads to a second tarn basin beneath Pt1841. Similarly, there are good campsites and a short climb that offers impressive views to Mt Harper and the Shaler Range. If camping, this is where to stop.

From the tarn basin, clamber northwards over a boulder field, again sticking to the 1600m contour, and up onto the eastern saddle beneath Pt1669. Here, an optional route leads directly to Anti-Crow Hut in the Waimakariri Valley but it requires scrub bashing and navigation to avoid bluffs. It’s best to follow the ridge east, easily sidling around bluffs down to 1200m.

Descend into Jordan Stream to a visible route to the scree slope. This is the most technical part of the walk and requires firm footing with regular assistance from vegetation to maintain balance. It can be very slippery when wet.

At the end of the vegetation, a 200m scree slope makes for entertaining walking to a creek, which is then followed to Jordan Steam, ending with a scramble down a small waterfall. Care needs to be taken after rain as this will be slippery.

Once in Jordan Stream, follow it to the track in the Waimakariri Valley and continue to the car park on SH73.

Note that Jordan Stream is susceptible to flash floods, so check the weather before your trip for a fine forecast.

There is a 3.5km road walk back to the Bealey Spur car park with the opportunity to stop in at the Bealey Pub for a celebratory beer.

Total Ascent
Moderate / Difficult
Bealey Spur Hut (free, six bunks)
Starts at the Bealey Spur Track car park

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