By: Christopher Cookson
The Tummil River - Lake Alexander tramping route is an unformed, but marked route that follows the Tummil River to Lake Alexander in the Ferny Gair Conservation Area. Access is from Avondale Road up the Waihopai Valley. The start of the route is across private land and requires permission and payment of a fee to the land owner, Bernard Mason who can be contacted on +63 3 572 4803.
Once the route enters DOC land, it passes through mostly beech forest, but also patches of kānuka along some parts of the route.
The route follows the Tummil River, crossing it numerous times over 11km to Lake Alexander, and the Lake Alexander Hut. The route climbs gently, but in places it follows a narrow gorge, and has steep narrow sections of track, not ideal for young children. It is possible to complete the return trip in a day, or stay overnight at the Lake Alexander Hut and return by a loop track for a variation of scenery.
Due to the frequent stream crossings, and steep terrain, it is advisable not to attempt this route in wet weather, as water levels can rise rapidly to unsafe levels. If attempting the route when there is the prospect of rain, it is highly advisable to carry sufficient food for an extended stay at the Lake Alexander Hut should river level and flow become unsafe to cross.
A 14 minute documentary featuring the Tummil River and Lake Alexander off the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough.