Motatapu track , Arrowtown to Wanaka

I previewed this section of my walk on 3D google earth and was immediately impressed that this walk was going to be very tough , long plunging descents and heart racing ridge climbs that would be a true test of man or beast . It started early with the 6am bus x Queenstown and by 7 am I was starting the gradual ascent of Big Hill

Spectacular views abound and after about 3 hours the tracks started to snake down towards the Arrow River and the relics of the old gold mining town of Macetown that was a busy gold mining settlement in the 1860’s onwards .

Finally reaching the arrow river the track joins a rough farm track popular with 4×4 enthusiasts who like the numerous fords as you drive up thru the ruins of Macetown . I was fortunate to meet Gabriel and his Hilux emerging from a ford . He stopped , we chatted , and I joined him for an hour or so while we drove up thru Macetown exploring . We had lunch together too before he dropped me off at the point my track heads for the hills again .

The day just got hotter then hotter and the real work began as the track snaked ever steeper up to Rosie’s Saddle . The day stretched on and on but finally an incredibly beautiful ridge descent took me all the way down to Rosie’s hut ,nestled in a fold at the base of the ridge

Found a couple of pleasant Dutch girls , ( SOBO’s) in the hut so with only 3 the hut was roomy for all . The forecast for the next day was for rain , Barb in Sydney was able to send it to me via satellite text which was handy . Proved right and light rain fell at dawn , finally relenting by about 8 am

I waited till 9 am before heading off for another huge ascent of the ridge up and over to Highlands hut , an interesting 6 hours of effort, much shorter day than the 27 km yesterday

Made it to Highland hut by about 3pm and found one lady in repose who had come from the opposite direction. I said “ in repose “ because she looked a little like that classic image of Cleopatra ,albeit on a DOC plastic covered mattress . As she chatted she was gently massaging her long legs . She was welcoming and something of a talker at a ratio of about 1:10 , ie I’d get one word for her 10 .

She is a TA walker who has just gone over her magical 1000 km mark so she was very pleased about that milestone . She set up a private Facebook group which she uses to keep in touch with friends and family. She related this story

“ I met this Bloke on the TA trail and he asked if he could join my FB group to stay in touch . I said ok but some days later he posts on my group telling me how much he likes my legs ! I had to PM him that he shouldn’t make that sort of comment on my personal FB group”

I commiserated with her about how annoying this must have been , not sure about what went down or the motivation of the “bloke” in question . Perhaps his aspirations were further north of the legs themselves .

I said , “ well in defence of the Bloke , it’s absolutely true , you do have very nice legs “

And yes, she does , the kind of legs that men admire and other woman envy.

Cleopatra was still in repose as I packed up my kit on first light to make my dash down off the hills . I cooked 6 poached eggs to fire up the engine for the big climb that started my day . It was a freezing night and a light dusting of snow sprinkled the very tops . One more massive climb before another long descent .

This route is rated for “ experienced trampers only “ and justifies this rating . It’s narrow tracks slippery fern, tussock and spiny matagouri make it a challenge . In really poor weather it would be very dangerous .

But a great section


  1. Hi Bruce! It’s Caroline and Aniek here. Glad to hear you made it to Wanaka and you enjoyed the section. For us, the clouds cleared once we were up to Rosies saddle, and so we still got to enjoy the views from the top – albeit with some clouds. The beer and burger in Arrowtown tasted very good once we got there, it was a massive day! Take care, the Dutch girls

    • Great to hear you made it too , was a really nice trip and the day certainly cleared up well eh , enjoyed meeting u 2 .. and Aniek all the best for the rest of your TA walk .. stay safe and congratulations

  2. Looks like a tough trek.

    I checked the photo of your route and

    I shuddered and wondered what your plan B if you hurt yourself.

    Do you have a flare or back up arrangement?


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