|Location: East Coast, Northern end of the South Island|
|Nearest Town: Blenheim|
|Nearest City: Blenheim 55k|
|Length of tramp: 3k|
|Time needed: 3 hours|
|Difficulty: Very easy|
|Route: One way|
|Elevation: 110m to 220m|
|Wet Feet: You Bet. 15 creek crossings, from ankle to knee deep.|
|Mobile phone coverage: No|
|Date this tramp was last walked: 22 Jan 07|
Track quality: Medium
Shops/restaurants: None close by
Petrol station: None close by
Hazards: DO NOT walk up the creek when in flood or if it looks like rain.
Water: From side creeks, up past the farm land
Camping on track: Yes. A hut further on at Isolation Creek
From Blenheim township. Get onto State Highway (1) to the Kaikoura and on to Christchurch.
Seddon is a short 25k drive. Just before Seddon is the famous single lane Awatere Bridge, where the freight train passes over the top of the passenger cars.
After Seddon, the next feature is lake Grassmere 35ks. our biggest salt works.
At 46ks you will be driving through a little county town called in Ward.
54ks, you will be approaching the Waima River. Now slow down, on the right just before the bridge you should see a push bike sitting on top of a white water tank.
Turn right onto Ure Road. Drive 11.9ks for 30 minutes up a gravel road.
The last 15 minutes is very narrow and steep. You might have to open two of three gates along the way. Please make sure you shut the gates after you.
The last 100m of road goes right past the front lawn of the farmers house.
DO NOT drive any farther, the road is for 4X4 only, walk the last 80m.
The Gorge. In all my days of hunting in the North Island, I have never seen a gorge as high and narrow, plenty in Australia but not with crystal clear water running through them. Excellent swimming holes, all the way up to the gorge. Towering rock faces, a fantastic place. Awesome in the summer.
Area & Track History:
If you have legs like a mountain goat, and would like to try your hand at deer hunting, keep walking.
Map of Sawcut Gorge :
This is a dynamic map. You can zoom in and out using the "+" and "-" buttons, drag the map to see surrounding areas and click on the flags to see each position on the map
Detailed track description for
The drive in is very eye-catching. Just keep one eye on the road; it is a long way down to the bottom. We also noticed there was no water in the river so what’s the point of going any further if there’s no water in the Gorge? It was a hot day and we were looking forward to a swim, shall we turn back? But we’d heard so much about the fantastic Sawcut Gorge we decided to carry on. And a good job we did too because there turned out to be plenty of water in the river but it was running underground most of the way. At the end of the road, pull over to the side, there is a house on the other side of the creek. Don’t block then off. The best way to attack the start is to walk across the creek right in front of you, then turn up river and follow the worn track. You should see the orange triangle on the post.
One crossing down 14 to go. Some of the crossings are marked with the orange triangles. The rest is down to gut feeling. When you run out of hard ground, look across to the other side. The track is well used, look for boot marks and well trodden ground. There are no deep water holes. On a hot day, why not walk all the way in the creek.
As you can see there are excellent views of the creek and mountains. Don’t be deceived by the crystal clear water on a hot day, it can be unusually cold. I sat there and watched, as my partner took a very speedy dip in the creek. If you have plenty of time up your sleeve take hold of the camera and snap away. The creek and the hills sides covered in native bush look a lot more stunning on the laptop as a desktop background.
Headache Stream, yes that’s its real name! This can be a little tricky. 50m before the creek there is a track over to your right (true left) this runs up and over the creek missing out the little bit deeper hole.
From here the terrain changes from a narrow winding crystal creek, to - look out babe. I would not like to be standing here when a rock comes rolling down this rock face. There is a little rock hopping to be had on this section, nothing to tricky but well worth the effort.
Isolation Hill Reserve. Keep to the left, and follow the markers for 3 minutes to Isolation creek. That rather large flat rock on your right makes a perfect picnic rock on the way back from the Gorge.
Drop down into Isolation Creek which runs in from the left just before the creek and hard over to the left, there is a stack of rocks you can crawl under it saves you climbing over a lot more. Follow the track for another 10m, then cross over the creek and then follow the track up to the main gorge. You don’t need a torch, the first 10m of the gorge is the most spectacular, from there on the gorge widens out and carries on to Isolation hut, about 30 minutes away. The gorge is a great place to be on a hot day. The photos don’t really do it justice.