4-7 Days 80 km (loop)


  • Alpine scenery
  • Nelson Lakes National Park
  • Clear rushing streams



Hut bookings are required from November to April.

An epic 80km journey traversing through mountains, forest and alongside rushing streams. An advanced - extreme track, it requires a high level of skill.

Nelson Tasman
Blue Lake Nelson, Nelson Tasman

Traver-Sabine Circuit itinerary

Travel to the heart of Nelson Lakes National Park on the Travers Sabine Circuit. No two days will the same as you encounter massive mountains, an alpine pass and clear rushing streams. 

Day 1

Kerr Bay > Lakehead Hut/Coldwater Hut

Follow the track through native forest, crossing several small streams and shingle screes to the head of Lake Rotoiti and the grassy flat of the Travers Valley. Along the way small beaches dotted offer picnicking opportunities and mountain views. 

3 hours walking

Day 2

Lakehead Hut/Coldwater Hut > John Tait Hut

From Lakehead or Coldwater Huts head up the Travers River flats through forest and clearings to a swingbridge where you can cross the Travers River. Soon the valley narrows and walking becomes more varied alternating between forested terraces and grassy river flats.

4 hours 30 mins walking

Day 3

John Tait Hut > Upper Travers Hut

Begin the day with a steep climb leaving the river and its gorge below. Cross Travers River via a short bridge and travel through low forest where you are greeted by views of the looming mountains. The track levels, emerging from the trees onto a tussock-covered flat at the base of Mount Travers.

3 hours walking

Day 4

Upper Travers Hut > West Sabine Hut

Cross the Travers River and journey into dense alpine shrubs. The track steepens, zigzagging up a scree slope to the saddle where you can experience panoramic views. Descend through tussock, scree and beech forest before emerging into a steep gully and the valley floor.

6-9 hours walking (weather dependent)

Day 5

West Sabine Hut > Sabine Hut

The day begins wth a swing bridge crossing. Sidle above the river for a distance, leaving the river where it enters a gorge in the lower valley. After a steep climb and descent, rejoin the river at the bridge. Easy walking leads to Sabine Hut with its wide views of Lake Rotoroa. 

5 hours walking

Day 6

Sabine Hut > Mount Robert Card Park 

Start your day beside the lake winding your way in and out of several small valleys dotted with delicate wetlands. At Speargrass Saddle, the track begins its desent to a clearing and Speargrass Hut. Cross the bridge, enter the forest, and follow the well graded track until you reach the carpark overlooking Lake Rotoiti.

8 hours walking

Department of Conservation

Click the link below for more information and detailed maps about this hike.

Traver-Sabine Circuit(opens in new window)

More information

Alternative Routes:

From Sabine Hut there are 3 ways to finish the tramp.

  • Speargrass Hut and the Speargrass Valley is the easiest option.
  • Lake Rotoroa Route a more difficult option
  • Take the Rotoroa Water Taxi.



Before and after 

  • Nearby St Arnaud offers several accommodation options.

Guided walk operators

A specialist tour operator can help with bringing your walking experience to life.

  • Southern Wilderness. 

Need to know

  • The Travers Saddle is an alpine pass requiring an ice axe and crampons in winter, well into spring too. 
  • The Sabine side of the saddle is at risk of avalanches.
  • From Upper Travers Hut, the track route is marked by snow poles until the bushline on the Sabine side.
  • This is an alpine environment be prepared for sudden weather changes and check out this helpful video. 


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