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Lake Christabel Track to Pt1293, Victoria Forest Park

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August 2023 Issue

Enjoy magnificent views from an easy-to-reach hill overlooking Lake Christabel.

If you feel a little adventurous, here’s a short and safe opportunity to navigate off the beaten track with a variation of the standard track to Lake Christabel Hut.

Rough Creek Track starts about 5km west of Maruia Springs. Flat and steep passages take turns as the track climbs the upper Rough Creek basin through dense bush. It’s well-marked for most parts, with the occasional spot where a quick search is required to stay on track (the author of this article went on two short misadventures, following false trails and unnecessarily crossing the stream).

At the head of Rough Creek the track climbs steeply until about the 1200m contour, where it leaves the goblin forest and a tussock-covered basin opens up. For the next hour an easy-to-navigate poled route lies ahead.

The route continues upwards over the next 45min to 1440m and a broad saddle between two spot heights marked Pt1482. From here the track descends to a small basin with an equally small tarn, which feeds a tributary of the Blue Grey River. Continue for another kilometre, following the poled route in and out of low scrub to eventually re-enter the bush where the track turns to the east and descends to the Blue Grey River.

Leave the track behind and continue heading south, first slightly to the west of Pt1231 to avoid a nasty downclimb through deeper scrub, and then, after scrambling over a few bushes, on to the final climb to Pt1293.

The approach is covered in a string of tarns, so there is no problem with sourcing water, just ensure it’s filtered or boiled before drinking. There are a few lumpy places to pitch a tent near the summit. 

Pt1293 offers a perch with a 360-degree panorama. Wherever you look, there will be something interesting going on. The star of the trip is undoubtedly the view towards Lake Christabel and its surrounding ranges.

To return, retrace your steps.

17km return
Total Ascent
Easy / Moderate
4-5hr each way
Park at the rest area 4.5km west of Maruia Springs, the signposted track is a few hundred metres to the east of the rest area.
BT23, BT22

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Pt1293 - Mt Christabel (gpx, 450 KB)

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