This Sunday was Kiwi Bird and my 5th wedding anniversary. After spending half of this awesome weekend with friends in Hanmer Springs, we decided to do a shortish tramp (hike) around Lewis Pass. Two years ago we wanted to go to Mueller Tarn as part of a 2-days tramp, and were told not to by staff at Maruia Springs Hotel. They said the track is too overgrown and dangerous. But on Sunday, we decided to just see how we’d go anyway. I think this view proves it was well worth the trip! (Click on image for full size view.)
The track starts about 500m west of Maruia Springs Hotel, marked by a few very old moss covered cairns. The route basically follows the true right bank (west) of the creek that leads to the tarn. The condition of the track was pretty average (in a good way) for back country tracks around this area.
The track eventually drops into the creek around 1100m, and from here, it gets a bit rough. The track follows the creek from this point pretty much all the way up to the tarn just under 1200m (we did manage to find markers all the way on rocks and half fallen trees). A bit of “under and over” climbing style will be required over fallen trees in the bouldery creek. Alternatively, you can make your way through the bush on the east bank (true left) of the creek. The bush is actually not too thick to find a way up, well why, since a lot of it is in the creek! We travelled this way on our way down, which made much faster travel.
The view of the tarn was certainly very rewarding when we got there. A dip in the tarn was very refreshing and welcoming after we sweated our way up. It took us under 2 hrs to get up and an hour to get down. After we got down, we went to Sylvia Flats hot pools for a dip to wash away all the sweat, then put on some sweat-free cloth for a very nice dinner at Nor’ Wester Café in Amberly on our way home.
If you are thinking of going to Mueller Tarn, you may also want to read about the track on trampers.co.nz.