Speargrass Track, Speargrass Creek Route
Degree of difficulty: easy
Tour length: 33 km
Total elevation: 1064 m ascent and 1064 m descent
Alignment: South West
Highest point: Julius Summit (1794 m)
GPS: route and track as GPX
The Nelson Lakes National Park is a 1020 km², largely untouched area in the northern part of New Zealand’s south island (in the New Zealand Alps-Southern Alps). It is located about 120 km southwest of the city Nelson and surrounds the two lakes Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa.
Reason enough for us to visit this park and to explore it as intensively as possible over the next two days.
The starting point of our tour is the Mount Robert Carpark (880 m) in the middle of the mountains. Thick clouds form in the sky as we are parking our car. What happened? There was bright sunshine just a minute ago…
But hey, there is no bad weather. Getting the sweaters out, putting the rain jackets inside our backpacks and then let’s go to the Angelus Hut (1650 m). This hut is located in a magnificent landscape next to Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus in Nelson Lakes National Park.
We chose the most popular route, the Pinshgut Track and later take the Robert Ridge route as it promises the most beautiful scenery due to its particularly exposed location… at least if the weather is good. The track quickly becomes steeper after a short forest passage and meanders up the slope so quickly that we have to get rid of our sweaters. A few minutes later, we are already inside the clouds, which stuck in the mountains.
So, getting back in the warm clothes…
We chose a shelter at the end of the Pinshgut track for the night and hope to continue our tour the next morning with hopefully better weather. The night was uncomfortably draughty and we regret not having decided for the tent. However, our hopes for better weather have not been fulfilled-it has gotten worse and we have to continue our way in the middle of a complete dense soup. Light drizzle, strong winds, and absolutely no visibility are our reward for the effort to hike from Mount Robert (1421 m) to Flagtop (1690 m). Fortunately, just after the Julius Summit (1794 m) we reach the beautifully situated Angelus Hut just in time for the afternoon. Enough time to dry ourselves a little, to refill water reserves and to eat something warm. All urgent needs to continue our tour in good mood.
We continue our route along the Speargrass Creek Route-a route often used to escape a bad weather front in the mountains. The navigation is organized by colored rods anchored in the ground. The track is also known for its many unbridged creek crossings, but that’s a story for the next day. For now, we take a look for a wind-protected place to stay for the night inside my tent.
Next morning the weather seems to clear up-the visibility is getting better. After a good breakfast, we head steeply downhill towards Spiergrass hut (1060 m). We are getting tired and our knees start hurting due to our heavy backpacks and the rubble-covered path. Arriving at the hut we decided to go past without a break. From here, the path is without a major climb and we cross untouched forest landscape. Always along the stream, we have followed from its source in the mountains. We reach our car at the end of the day at the Mount Robert Carpark visibly exhausted but happy.
Conclusion: A challenging tour for people without motivation problems in bad conditions.