• Hopkins Overnighter

    Journey

Braided river crossings, boulder gardens, fat tyres, cake and a moonrise!

An approaching weather-bomb diverted our sights from a three day Godley Valley shop social bikepack, to a quick overnighter up the Hopkins Valley from Ohau, sneaking in and out before the isobars became too numerous. We love this valley, and sometimes forget how easy access it is from Wanaka.

After passing the Ohau Lodge and the turn off for the South Temple valley, we drive the first bit of 4WD track, then hop out for the ride in. Easy double track leads to Monument Hut, which sees a fair bit of 4WD traffic. Beyond the hut, the first crossing of the Hopkins River can be a make-or-break part of any escape up this long valley system, but this time the braid is low and we simply pedal and splash our way across. Picking our way further onward to Red Hut is a blast – rough but rideable boulder gardens and plenty of water crossings. We weave our way back and forth looking for the best route.

It’s possible to get a bike up as far as Dodger Hut, with a bit of creative riding and boulder bouncing. Today though, we decide to elect for an early camp on an island of beech trees in the middle of the dry, jumbled chaos of the Elcho Stream bed. Perfection! A wonderful evening of chat, utter nonsense, cake and over enthusiastically whipped cream was to follow.

The next day we cruise out on the crest of a building nor’wester and the happy buzz of some good bikepacking times in a beautiful corner of NZ.

Thanks to all the riders, and especially Joe for the great bit of movie making!

  • Fording wide but shallow (when the conditions are good) river braids that are very rideable and fun on a fatbike.
  • Great huts with fireplaces so you can stoke up some heat to thaw the feet after all the river crossings!