Breast Hill track open for trampers

The Department of Conservation's 18km Breast Hill Track above Lake Hawea has opened for trampers.

The new track gives access to the summit of Breast Hill (1578m) and includes a 1km zig-zag climb from the road that may be a challenge for some, Doc's Wanaka area manager, Paul Hellebrekers, said yesterday.

The Breast Hill track connects with the existing Timaru River track to form a 30km loop that takes between two and three days to complete.

There are two huts: the new Pakituhi Hut, which has been constructed by Amalgamated Builders, and the recently refurbished historic musterers' shelter, Stodys Hut.

The track was formed after tenure review on Lake Hawea station, owned by the Rowley family. It is a new link in the nationwide 3000km Te Araroa Trail.

The Te Araroa route links about 300 separate tracks and Te Araroa Trail chief executive Geoff Chapple rates the Breast Hill track "a sovereign track, one of the very best", within a "powerful landscape".

"Full credit to Doc for recognising the potential and for its determination to get the track resourced and swiftly built.

"If anyone wants to visualise the scope of the last ice age then the track route along the Breast Hill ridge and the descent to the new Pakituhi Hut offers a succession of brilliant vistas," Mr Chapple said.

Views of Mt Aspiring dominate the western skyline, with Lake Hawea far below. Doc recommends people intending to use the new track visit the Doc visitor centre in Wanaka for further information.

Access to the track is about 6km beyond Lake Hawea on Timaru Creek Rd.