Earnslaw Burn (head of Lake Wakatipu)   

This is one of the best two-day tramps at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

Walk Time Comments
Track up Earnslaw Burn to top of bush 4.5h Rock bivvy; camp sites
Walk to the head of valley 3h return Open flats
Return by the ridge on the true left 7h No track
Moir's Guide North (2013) p62; Topo E40 Earnslaw or CB10/CA10.

Earnslaw Burn

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Earnslaw Burn Earnslaw Burn Earnslaw Burn Mt Earnslaw Upper Valley Fountain
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Turret Head Down Valley

Head of the Earnslaw Burn

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Descent by the ridge on the true left

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Upper Valley Forbes Mntns Ridge Wakatipu Centaur Peaks Earnslaw Burn


The Earnslaw Burn track is reached from Paradise road. Either turn right onto the last public road (Lovers Leap Road) before the bridge over the Burn, or turn right onto a short access road just past the bridge (park before the Burn; ford it; then climb up through beech forest crossing two fence lines to reach the track with its orange markers). The track is well formed and well marked --- in February 2015 it was in good condition with only minor tree falls. At the top of the bush there are large orange markers to the rock bivvy on the other side of the burn. On continuing up valley (on the true left), you soon come to a campsite.

Above the bush, the valley is open flats (easy travelling and many possible campsites).

To descend the ridge on the true-left of the Burn, go about 500m down the track through the bush to a large side stream (open views) and climb the spur on the true left of this. There is no track (apart from the occasional animal track), but travel is fairly easy. Once out of the bush, sidle right and up easy slopes to reach the ridge (c1480m). Moir's says to descend the ridge, but I found it more prudent to dodge the rocky bits on the ridge (c1300m) on the right. Once you can see down to the start of the track, you can head down anywhere on the open grassy slope (easy ground).

Caution: The Earnslaw Burn is not in a protected National Park, and helicopters sometimes land tourists in the valley.

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Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 J.S. Milne.