Hours km

This is an easy and short day, but don't rush it. Linger if the weather is fine, for the alpine scenery is the best of any along the walkway.

The track departs from the eastern side of the hut, and after around 10 to 15 minutes it begins a gentle ascent to Ada Pass (1008m), fording the Maruia River Right Branch (by now more of a creek) along the way. The bush-clad pass is recognisable by the large sign announcing that the saddle is 998m - despite what maps list -and it marks the border between Lewis Pass National Reserve and St James Station. The walkway then proceeds to descend into Ada valley along the true right (south) side of the Ada River, and within one hour breaks out into a large tussock grassland crowned by the craggy peak of Faerie Queen (2236m), which is often accented with freshly fallen snow.

St James Walkway

1:200,000 0 100m Contour Interval 0

(53km); Creymouth (145km)

Lewis V

| Trovatore s (57km) Boyle Rival Outdoor /Education

Yellow-tipped poles lead you almost 2km across the grassland to where the track resumes in beech forest. You stay in the forest for one hour (3.5km) but three times break out into small meadows; the second one provides a view up rugged Camera Gully to the north. Two hours from Ada Pass the track emerges from beech forest to reach the wide expanse of the station. The flats (and the track) swing southeast at the confluence of the Christopher and Ada Rivers.

For the rest of the day the track switches between crossing pastoral land and climbing onto the forested ridge to avoid slips along the river. If the day is nice and the water levels normal, you can simply follow the flats, crossing the river at will until you spot Christopher Hut.

About 1km (15 minutes) before reaching that hut, the track passes Ada Cullers Hut, which is maintained as a historic hut. Built in 1956 for deer hunters, the two-bunk hut is now more a monument to the old New Zealand Forest Service than a place to stay. The roomier Christopher Hut has 12 bunks and, from its porch, good views of the mountains surrounding Waiau valley and the cattle grazing it.

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