Together with the Avalanche Peak Track, the St Arnaud Range Track was listed as the top day walk of Lonely Planet´s South Island travel guide. Which is why I chose this as my first walk in Nelson Lakes National Park, having arrived at St Arnaud´s village after a 20+ hours drive, straight up from the torrential rains in Milford Sound.
The St Arnaud Range Track is a straight-forward 600 meter climb from the east side of Lake Rotoiti, up through forest to the ridgeline. A 5 hour return trip. The forest is pleasant enough, the view from the ridge is fine. However, compared to the spectacular Robert Ridge Route to Angelus Hut just at the other side of the Rotoiti lake, I am curious as to just exactly why this hike was nominated a Top Two South Island day hike? Not to mention the superb Mueller Hut Track and the world class hike up the Pacific coastline from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut?
Highlights: The view from the ridge line.
Information, and maps: DOC (Department of Conservation).