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Lees Creek Track

Last Modified: 19-5-2021 22:00

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Lees Creek Track
Lees Creek Track
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Lees Creek Track is a DOC tramping track in the upper Wairau region of Marlborough. The track starts from the Rainbow Road about 5.5 kilometres south of the Rainbow Skiifiled carpark. South of Rainbow Skiifield, the road is suitable for four wheel drive access only, and a locked gate prevents vehicle access outside the summer season that the Rainbow Road is open. Outside the open season, access may be requested from Rainbow Station.

The track itself is is 8.5 kilometres long according to DOC, with an estimated walking time one way to the Lees Creek Hut of three hours, although this may vary depending on fitness and the state of the track. From its start to Lees Creek Hut, the track climbs about 200 metres. The track starts with a short, steep descent of a few metres from the road to a long swing bridge over the Wairau River, followed by a steep climb up a flight of steps before settling down to a mostly easy track. There are a few muddy sections, and one stream crossing where wet feet are inevitable, and another shorter swing bridge that is marked in an incorrect position on the map. The track is marked with orange triangles on trees, and has many long, flat sections, however there are some quite steep sections above the creek that require good balance and sturdy footwear with grip. Some negotiation of rocks and tree roots is necessary. The track passes in and out of beech forest, and open grasslands beside the creek. Some parts of the track cross open grassland and shingle fans, where the track markers are not always obvious. The track ends at Lees Creek Hut, however experienced trampers may want to explore beyond the hut to the head of the valley up into the Raglan Range, and possibly even over into the Branch or Coldwater Creek. The peaks at the head of the valley rise to over 2000 metres, are steep, and exposed, so require a high level of fitness and appropriate equipment.

There are numerous flat, open grassy clearings along the track that are suitable for camping if a tent is carried. Lees Creek Hut is a four bunk hut with a modern wood burner. It requires one standard hut ticket per night. If you are tramping over summer, it may be advisable to carry a tent, since there is greater possibility the hut may be occupied.

Rating: Rainbow Road to Lees Creek Hut, Intermediate: Easier tramping track. Beyond Lees Creek Hut, Advanced.

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Cookson, C. (2021). Lees Creek Track. Retrieved June, 19, 2021, from https://www.marlboroughonline.co.nz/marlborough/information/recreation/tramping-and-walking/lees-creek-track/

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