Lake Brunner Walks
Hidden behind the allure of the rugged West Coast coastline is a glacier-carved lake far too many backpackers travel right by without knowing its there. Before continuing along the coast from Greymouth, take the time to turn inland up the Arnold Valley road to the huge Lake Brunner. This dark lake captures the reflection of the surrounding mountains and makes an incredible backdrop to any hike in the Lake Brunner area.
Hikes around Lake Brunner range from 10 minutes to 10 hours, so there’s no reason to not fit it in your timeframe. Explore the rainforests, be mesmerised by a waterfall, or climb to a summit: you have heaps of options around Lake Brunner. Just take a look at the list of hikes around Lake Brunner below!
1. Lake Side Walk (1-hour Return)
Starting our list with a simple stroll along the shores of Lake Brunner, the Lake Side Walk is not so much a trail but more like a walk along the lakes pebble beach closest to Moana town. This is a popular picnic spot to soak up the views of the lake and the mountains beyond!
Location: Cross the Arnold River swingbridge then continue left along the lakeside.
2. Carew Falls Track (1-hour Return)
While in the Lake Brunner area, go see an impressive waterfall! (Yes, another waterfall in New Zealand). This moderate walk gently climbs a mixed podocarp forest before continuing more steeply to the base of Carew Falls!
Location: The track starts 50m (165ft) from the Lake Brunner Lodge, Mitchells, on the southern end of the lake. Alternatively, you can take the water taxi from Moana.
3. Velenski Track (20 Minutes One Way)
The best time to do this easy walk is at night when the glowworms are shining their brightest. Otherwise, a daytime walk will give you views of Lake Brunner, native birds, forest and an orchard. See where to find more 10 Free Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.
Location: Signposted on Taku Street, Moana
4. Rakaitane Track (45-minute Loop)
Delve into this mixed podocarp forest filled with mosses and fascinating trees. The easy track provides some great views of the Arnold River.
Location: Cross the Arnold River swingbridge and follow the signposts to your right.
5. Bain Bay Track (2 Hours Return)
This easy track provides another awesome perspective of Lake Brunner with its mountain backdrop. Walk along boardwalks through native forest to find old relics of timber mills at Bain Bay. Bain Bay is the perfect spot for swimming, especially in summer with the warm lake heated up thanks to its dark waters.
Location: The hike starts outside of the Lake Brunner Lodge, Mitchells, on the southern end of Lake Brunner along Kumara-Inchbonnie Road. Alternatively, you can take a water taxi to Bain Bay from Moana.
6. Arnold Dam Walkway (45-minute Loop)
The title of the walkway is pretty explanatory of what you will see. Yes, you might just see the Arnold Dam… Plus, you get views of the Arnold River on this moderate level walking track.
Location: Found 7km (4 miles) towards Greymouth from Moana along Arnold Valley Road. The hike starts at the Arnold Dam Power Station.
7. Ara O Te Kinga Track (1-hour Return to the First Lookout…)
(…3 hours return to the third lookout and 6-7 hours return to the summit)
See that mountain over there? Do you want to climb it? Course you do! A real Lake Brunner adventure awaits on this day trip to the summit of Mt Te Kinga. There are three lookout points along the way overlooking Iveagh Bay and the surrounding landscape. From the third lookout, follow the marked route up to the open tussock-covered mountain top. As this is a summit hike, be prepared for a lot of uphill climbs.
Location: The hike starts at Iveagh Bay
8. Mt French (8 Hours Return)
On a clear day, embrace the views of Lake Brunner and the Southern Alps. This steady climb over some rough terrain takes you to the top of Mt French (1,305m/4,281ft) on the Hohonu Range. You’ll also get to experience lowland rimu forest.
Location: Start the hike approximately 5km (3 miles) west of Mitchells on the Inchbonnie-Kumara Road.
9. Camp Creek Route (3 Hours One Way to Hut…)
(…8-10 hours one way to the summit)
Hike to just the hut and back or make your way to the summit and stay in the hut overnight. The Camp Creek Route crosses a creek just before reaching Camp Creek Hut and climbs steeply to the mountaintops. A ridge then leads to the summit of Mt Alexander with amazing 360-degree views.
Location: The Camp Creek Route is found along the Lake Brunner Road just east of Rotomanu
10. Crooked Route (6 Hours One Way to Jacko Flat Hut…)
(…2 hours one way from Jacko Flat Hut to Crooked Hut)
This one is only advised for experienced trampers. Plus, walking access permission needs to be obtained by the owner (see below). The route to the Jacko Flat Hut follows the Crooked River along rough and very steep terrain, passing spectacular gorges and rapids, as well as blue pools. Getting walking access might just be worth it!
Location: The hike starts along Bell Hill Road just west of Rotomanu. You must gain walking access from Bruce Burgess, phone +64 3 429 0901.