The Mount Richmond Forest Park is a rugged, mountainous, mainly forest clad park sitting between the Nelson and Marlborough regions. While it is literally on Nelsons back doorstep, it is relatively undiscovered by visitors, and infrequently visited by experienced trampers, due to its rugged nature and challenging access to its interior.
We access the hike on a relatively short helicopter flight from Nelson Airport, landing at around 1000 metres (3000ft). The hike itself is a relatively easy 2 – 3 hour hike, initially on a rocky trail over uneven ground through alpine tussock in a dramatic landscape, before joining the Dun mountain trail. The Dun mountain trail, formed on the bed of New Zealand’s first railway (horse drawn) built in 1850, has been a well known Nelson hiking trail for many years and is now also one of New Zealand’s premier mountain biking trails.
The helicopter flies a short distance down to wait at Third house shelter. About halfway down to third house the trail enters lush beech forest, with the trail wide and leaf littered, dropping steeply away to the valley on the downhill side.
The trip provides wonderful views of the top of the South Island across the Marlborough Sounds to the North Island, Kaikoura, Marlborough, and Nelson and Tasman Bay.
3 – 5 people – NZ$3,258.00 per trip
( Group of 3 – 5 $651.00 – $1,086.00 per person)
Helicopter, guide and lunch.
We can supply extra clothing, day packs and walking poles if you require them.
How strenuous is the hike?
It requires agility over uneven ground rather than a high level of fitness. The short climbs are moderate in steepness and can be taken slowly.
This is typical New Zealand back country, with loose rock and big tussocks which make moving across the ground awkward at times.
Is it dangerous?
While it is possible to stand on the edge of the 300 metre escarpment at the end of the hike, the route itself is not exposed at any point.
What happens if the weather changes quickly?
After dropping us below the peak, the helicopter moves across to the end of the hike. In the event of a sudden weather change, the helicopter can be with us in a few minutes. There is a mountain hut within easy reach of the hike.
What kind of gear/clothing do I need?
This is an alpine trip and the weather can change quickly in New Zealand. You should have a polypropylene or wool undergarment next to your skin, shirt, and a warm fleece or wool pullover, plus a windproof jacket. Most New Zealanders wear shorts, preferably of the quick drying type, although travel type trousers are fine. Avoid cotton garments if possible. We can usually supply this type of clothing if required. Trainers or running shoes are adequate for this trip, light hiking shoes or boots are better. A day pack and water bottle are useful (we can also supply these).