Sawyer Burn Track

Lake Hawea from Sawyer Burn Track

Sawyer Burn Track

The Sawyer Burn track is a lovely out-and-back 8 km track, with a decent 550m climb, excellent views across Lake Hawea and the Sawyer Burn valley, a hut to bag, and a swim at the end. DoC rates it as an advanced track and recommends a 4 – 5 hours return. It took us 4 hours 15 minutes return to the hut, including 45 minutes for lunch. The track was well-marked, easy to follow, and aside from a couple of tricky bits, not too technical.

Sawyer Burn Track
Sawyer Burn Track above the bushline

Getting There Sawyer Burn Track

The Sawyer Burn track starts from the Kidds Bush Recreation Reserve. Turn off the SH6 onto Meads Road at the North end of Lake Hawea (at the neck where Lakes Wanaka and Hawea almost join). The reserve is 6 km down a good gravel road.

The Kidd’s Bush campsite was absolutely packed in early January, and unfortunately, the DoC loos were closed. The many portaloos were in an absolutely terrible state. (Hopefully, the toilets will be refurbished soon).

Sawyer Burn Track - Topo
Sawyer Burn Track – Click the image to view the topo map

Sawyer Burn Track

We carried a day pack with the essentials – warm clothes, lunch and water, PLB, first aid kit and sunscreen and left the car park at 12.05 pm. At the time of writing the 1 km nature walk was closed. 

The track starts at around 370m elevation with a steady then very stiff climb up multiple switchbacks through the forest, which will get your heart pumping. Fifteen minutes later, at 12.35 pm we arrived at the first viewpoint overlooking Lake Hawea. Back into the forest and more solid up, brought us to the uppermost viewpoint at 12.55 pm (around 900m).

Starting the Sawyer Burn Track
Starting the Sawyer Burn Track
Sawyer Burn Track
Before steep section on the Sawyer Burn Track
First Viewpoint on Sawyer Burn Track
The first viewpoint looking down Lake Hawea on the Sawyer Burn Track
Steep climb through the forest
A steep climb through the forest
Close to the bushline
Close to the bush line
Lake Hawea
Lake Hawea

On From the Viewpoint Sawyer Burn Track

We paused for water and photos and at 1 pm started the gently undulating sidle on the Eastern side of the range with views over the Sawyer Burn. The grassy slopes were full of flowers and we enjoyed the walk  We went during a spell of great weather, and even then, there were some boggy sections of track, so you may get wet feet.

We passed through a couple of forested sections, where we met a family of inquisitive but silent fantails  – something neither of us had ever encountered before (non-chatty fantails).

Towards Saywer Burn hut
Towards Saywer Burn hut
Starting the sidle towards Sawyer Burn hut
Starting the sidle towards Sawyer Burn hut
Sawyer Burn Track
Sawyer Burn Track

Sawyer Burn Hut

At 1.45 pm we rounded the final left-hand bend with excellent views towards Sentinel Peak (1814m) before dropping a little to the slightly dingy, 2-bed Saywer Burn hut.  You can carry on and walk to Sentinel Peak from here and various tracks from the hut. We passed the hut and ate our lunch in the forest high above a river.  

Towards Sentinel Peak
Towards Sentinel Peak
Sawyer Burn hut
Sawyer Burn hut

Our return journey was slightly quicker, as we had some fun running the goat tracks between the zig-zags on the final downhill. By 4.15 pm we were back at Kidds Bush for a swim.

Down the Sawyer Burn Track
Down the Sawyer Burn Track
Swim at Lake Hawea
Swim at Lake Hawea

 

 

To add comments, ask a question or to signup - please click below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.