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February 2014 Issue
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Walk on by

The reward for going a little further - a gorgeous vista you can have all to yourself.
Time
5-6.5hr
Grade
Moderate
Access
From the end of Mt Robert Road, off SH63 approximately 2km west of St Arnaud
Map
BS24

 

Sunset Saddle, Nelson Lakes National Park

Huts are wonderful and New Zealand is fortunate to have a fantastic system of backcountry shelters of great variety, but sometimes it’s well worth walking past the easy comfort of hut life.

Lake Angelus is nestled in a spectacular location and the popular Angelus Hut is certainly a comfortable place to lay your head after navigating the rocky length of Robert Ridge. However, if you’re looking for a real treat, chuck a tent in your pack and walk just a little further – the extra weight will have been forgotten as soon as you pass the Bushedge Shelter atop the zigzags that lead up Mt Robert. After adding your name to the Angelus Hut book, set out on the Mt Cedric Route. Turn down the hill toward the outlet of Hinapouri Tarn – which is picturesque in itself – and then head back up on the true right. Follow the ridge south-west toward Sunset Saddle.

A few hundred metres below this 1900m landmark and overlooking Hinapouri, you’ll find an exquisite emerald tarn protected by a cute, round knoll. Here, amongst the delicate alpine herbs and hardy alpine grasshoppers, is an enchanting campsite.

As the warm evening light paints the hills, you can look back on the relative hustle and bustle of Angelus Hut and enjoy a genuinely tranquil location. There’s plenty of scope for exploration, photography, and wildlife observation.

If you still have a taste for more adventure, cross the saddle and head out via the inappropriately named Hopeless Track.

– Jason Blair

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