An easy and accessible mountain helihike on trail behind Nelson City
“Am I the first one to write a review of Simply Wild? If yes it’s really an honor. Rob Douglas is one of the best wildlife guys I’ve ever met, experienced, knowledgeable and amicable. Also the helicopter service (helicoptersnelson.co.nz) he uses is very, very trustworthy. Rob took us on this hiking trail in Nelson and explained about the history and the nature. What an enjoyable day we had with him”. – Sakari Huovinen – Finland
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 walk, initially on a rocky trail over uneven ground through alpine tussock in a dramatic landscape, before joining the wide and gentle gradient of the Dun mountain trail. The 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.
The Dun Mountain helihike is suitable for a wide range of walkers as the trail gradient is easy and downhill. The initial rocky part part of the hike can be avoided if clients prefer. The total trip takes about 3 – 4 hours from takeoff to return.
Collection from and return to your lodge or accommodation, helicopter, guide and lunch.
We can supply extra clothing, day packs and walking poles if you require them.
How strenuous is the hike?
It is an easy hike, mainly gently downhill. The initial section requires some agility.
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. Light hiking shoes, trainers or running shoes are adequate for this trip. A day pack and water bottle are useful (we can also supply these).