This 16km track is a beautiful hike at any time of year, but much more challenging in winter months due to a lower lying snow line.
The trail head is found on the Makarora-Lake Hawea Rd at “The Neck” on the edge of Lake Hawea. The first few hours of the hike take you up through native bush and farm land, past a stunning ravine to the shoulder and on to the ridge. Here, a sign points right, indicating the track to 1,385-metre Isthmus Peak, and left, along the exposed ridge to the Matatiaho Conservation Area.
The trail itself is well-maintained and relatively easy footing, resembling a farm track more than a hiking track – although in winter months snow drifts can build up on the ridge line. It takes approximately 6-7 hours return.
Note that this track is closed for lambing from 20th November to 20th December each year.