Independent Mountain Guides

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand

Queenstown-Wanaka Multi Day Walk - the Motatapu Hike

This new historic walk is now available as a guided multi day excursion. The trip will suit couples and family's who are fit hikers and would like a local guide to ensure a safe passage. Then you can relax,unwind enjoy the scenary, and take in the deep souths trekking hospitality.

Multi Day Style

Independent Mountain Guides Queenstown will escort you on this challenging hiking adventure. Four days are dedicated to ensuring your safety, comfort and leadership. Accomodation is available at three first class DOC huts situated in fine positions.

The hike is a carry your "essentials on your back" excursion so particpants need to be hiking fit and used to carrying a pack. The terrain although marked but not formed requires some prior hiking experience and very good ( over the ankle leather boots with thick rubber tread) footwear, alpine clothing and rainwear.

It is an exposed hike to the elements but the journey from Queesntown to Wanak does pass thru lovely pockets of remnent beech forest and travels past gurgling alpine streams and over three alpine passes. Many alpine flowers like mountain ribbonwood dominant the route in season. Viewing the bird life is a  daily occurence. Grey herons, bush robbins, tuis and bellbirds frequent this region. You will be driven out (or you can heli-lift) in majestic 4 wheel drive style to Arrowtown for the last portion of your adventure.


The track is unformed in most places and you are hiking in the open tussock country. There are many sidles and up and downs.Your guide will lead you and make all route finding choices. The track is approximatly 34 kms in length. The last 10kms of the journey is over a rugged 4 wheel drive track crossing the Arrow River several times. Transport is provided for this leg. The drive out has many river crossings and takes you through the historic Arrow Gorge.

Day one

Meet and greet at IMG HQ/Small Planet Sports 17 Shotover Street Queenstown at 8am. Full gear and clothing check, pick up last minute items and drive to Wanaka and the start of the track near Glendhu Bay. The track begins by gently ascending thru paddocks and beech forest to the first bridge crossing. From there the track steepens, rugged hiking through an up an amazing narrow beech forested gorge up the Fernburn Creek leads to the Fernburn Hut. The hut is a welcome sight. Water is abundant. 4-5 hours hiking 7 kms on your first day. We overnight there before.....

Day two

.....ascending up a shallow snowgrass gully system the next day from the Fernburn Hut and over the tight Jack Halls saddle 1275 metres. A steep and traversing descent over and around tussocky ground to the Highland Hut 5-6 hours hiking, 6kms on Day 2. This is a slightly tougher day than Day 1. You will be challenged today.

Day three

The third day commences from the Highland Hut and traverses again around knolls and more open tussocky ridges before descent to the actual Motatapu Valley and the Roses Hut, 7-8 hours of hiking and 11kms in distance. Another tough day but awesome scenary and a rewarding hike. After your third peaceful evening in this typical Central Otago backcountry you ascend.....

Day four

.......from Roses Hut up to the Roses Saddle 1270 metres and then descend to the Arrow River.Water is aplenty here and you will discover many old gold mining relics. After passing thru this historic area it is not far to Macetown and catching the 4 wheel drive vehical down the river gorge out to Arrowtown.6-7 hours and 10 kms of hiking. This is the final day, and the goal of a cool beer or ice cream in Arrowtown beckons.Your 4 wheel drive will meet you here and transport you back to a welcome reality.

It is possible to fly from Macetown back to Queenstown. Ask for this option when booking the trip.

Weather and Climate

Because this hike is on the leeward side of the divide the weather is often fine. It can be hot and you may pray for a cloudy day. Only exceptionaly poor weather systems will affect the outcome of this walk. Flooded river crossings, heavy rain and snow are the main issues here as most of the creeks are not bridged. The hike passes thru exposed alpine terrain but is well marked. Of course winter conditions can occur at any time of the year, snow is possible.


Your guide is well qualified to lead this trip.He or she will be a member of the NZ Mountain Guides Assn or NZ Outdoor Instructors Assn or have equivilent overseas awards. They know the track well and will make all safety calls, route finding choices, and the timing of the hike. Day to day weather forcasts will be available to assist in the planning of each stage.


Your experienced guide will be carrying a sat phone or mountain radio or EPERB and Bothy Bag (4-6 person nylon shelter) for emergency purposes.Amongst the party will be a stove/fuel and first aid kit for the four days. There is no other shelter on route except for the 3 DOC huts. Cell phone communication is very inconsistent. Participating in some training tramps prior to this adventure will greatly aid your enjoyment of the Motatapu.

Trip Cost and Conditions

  • $1750 per person with a minimum of 3 people required to make the trip happen
  • Payments can be by credit card or bank transfers.
  • Your trip is confirmed with the payment of a $500 deposit.
  • If the trip is cancelled for any reason you will get a full refund.

Please book well in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Trips Dates

  • The trip operates all year round (Snow shoes supplied in winter)
  • Starting on the first Friday of every month but please note you need to be supa fit for the off seasons!

What we Provide

  • All ground transport including your 4 wheel drive adventure out from Macetown
  • food and fuel
  • hut fees, your guides fee and DOC fees
  • Safety gear and the committment to providing safety protocols for this adventure.
  • IMG will help with hiking clothing, rainwear, sleeping bags, hiking poles and footwear as a part of this cost if you require that.


  • "Kiwi Sherpas" can be hired to carry your gear
  • All you need to carry is a lightish day pack with your essentials for the day.
  • Cost is $375/day per person per sherpa.

What to Bring

  • Participants are required to share the load of carrying food, fuel, stoves, cooking equipment plus their own gear.
  • Good pack carrying (15-20 kilos) fitness is therefore important.
  • Maximum guide to client ratio is 1 : 6.
  • Please ensure you have travel insurance should there be any delays

What to Bring - Equipment and Clothing Check List

  • 70 litre tramping/trekking pack and waterproof pack liner, 
  • well fitting leather boots with a rugged sole, 
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • 1 set of gaiters
  • 1 pair of hiking (wool/polypro) 
  • longjohns plus shorts
  • 1 pair of warm fleece pants, 
  • 1 pair of waterproof overpants
  • waterproof rain jacket with hood
  • two sets of woollen/polypro singlets with longsleeves
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 1 lightweight down jacket
  • 2 sets of gloves, 1 thick (storm gloves) 
  • 1 thin, 1 woolen or fleece hat, 
  • 1 sunhat, 1 pair of sunglasses, suncream 
  • 1 pair of ski goggles
  • 1 pair of hiking poles
  • 1 headtorch and spare batteries
  • 2 litre drinking bottle or bladder
  • 1 sleeping bag (3-4 season) and sheet
  • camera, knife fork and spoon 
  • mug and bowl
  • personal first aid kit

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