Walking New Zealand

Five days four nights on the St James Walkway


Anne Hut - Boyle Flat Hut

Time: Seven hours 30 minutes

Distance: 17 km

The track crosses a footbridge over the Anne River to gain access to the true left, and 2 km upriver it crosses another footbridge back to the true right. The track continues up and over the Anne Saddle into the Boyle Valley. Orange pole markers indicate the route over the Boyle Flats, past the basic Rokeby Hut. The true left bank is followed to a suspension bridge over the Boyle River, 100 metres from the Boyle Flat Hut.

Rokeby Hut

Category: Basic/ bivvies

Facilities: 3 bunk beds, toilets - non-flush, water from stream

Bookings not required - first come, first served

Boyle Flat Hut

Category: Serviced

Facilities: 14 bunk beds, cooking, mattresses, toilets - non-flush, water from tap - not treated, boil before use

Bookings not required - first come, first served

Boyle Flat Hut - Boyle settlement

Time: Five hours

Distance: 14.5 km

After re-crossing the footbridge to join the walkway route on the true left bank, follow markers to the start of the track through the gorge.

A suspension bridge crosses the Boyle River, then the track follows the true right bank to another suspension bridge.

Magdalen Hut is 30 minutes from this second bridge. Magdalen Hut Category: Standard Facilities: 6 bunk beds, heating, mattresses, toilets - non-flush, water from tap - not treated, boil before use

Bookings not required - first come, first served

A vehicle track is joined and followed down the valley to the shelter and car park at SH7by the Boyle settlement.

Getting there

Both ends of the track are on SH7 (Lewis Pass Rd) - one end is near the top of Lewis Pass, and the other end is at Boyle Village.

Car parking

Car parking is available at both entrances, but the Boyle area is more secure. The area is subject to vandalism.

There have been reports of cars being broken into and disabled especially the start of the St James carpark at the top of Lewis Pass.

Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.

Consider using more public parking sites – Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre offers secure parking and a drop off service. Book in advance.

Report any suspicious activity to the police.

If you have your own transport you should begin the walk from the top end of the Lewis Pass and finish at the car park near Boyle settlement.

Know before you go What to expect

It is well signposted and marked, including stretches of open farm land where cairns and markers indicate the route.

The walkway is not difficult but the climate can be extreme. It should not be attempted during winter months unless you are an experience­d tramper.

Be prepared

While the St James is not a difficult walk, its location in a sub-alpine area with erratic weather conditions necessitat­es safety precaution­s:

Travel with a group: Never travel alone. In the event of an accident, there is a better chance of prompt help. Four is a safe minimum.

Advise your intentions: Inform friends or relatives of your intended route and completion date for the walk. Also sign the record books in both the Boyle and Lewis Pass shelters and huts. If you are overdue, search and rescue action can be taken promptly and effectivel­y.

Topo50 series maps: BT23 Lewis Pass, BT24 Ada Flat, BU23 Boyle Village

Clothing and footwear: Be prepared for the worst - bad weather is a possibilit­y regardless of season. Carry warm clothing and include waterproof parka and over-trousers. Sturdy, comfortabl­e boots are essential, as is a good pack and a sleeping bag with waterproof cover. On half day trips strong shoes and a parka are minimal equipment.

Note: All parties should be selfsuffic­ient in case of an accident or huts being full.

First aid kit: Carry a small first aid kit.

Weather forecast: Check the Canterbury High Country weather before you start.

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