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Nelson Lakes National park, Travers Sabine Track is located in the north of the South Island and is 1 to 2 hours from Nelson.  St Arnaud the nearest township, has a full range of accommodation. Nelson Lakes National Park (established in 1956) is situated in the north of New Zealand’s South Island.  This park protects 102,000 hectares of the northernmost southern Alps. The park offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams and lakes both big and small.

Nelson Lake Trampers can expect:

  • parts of the track to have a rough or uneven walking surface
  • to walk through flood water up to a metre deep after or during heavy rain
  • to cross unbridged streams
  • to get wet and muddy boots – it’s part of the Nelson Lakes Track experience

The circuit is best walked as described below because crossing Poukirikiri/Travers Saddle is easier from the Travers side. Walking times are a guide only and will vary with fitness and weather conditions. Weather and snow conditions are most favourable between October and May although in some years winter snow persists into late November on the alpine passes.


  • Deep cut glacial valleys and impressive mountain views
  • Alpine pass and tarns
  • Dense beech forest.
  • Water taxi on Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa
  • Well-graded track
  • Many Backcountry Huts
  • Excellent transport to and from both track ends