Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury NZ

Walk up a section of the Te Araroa to Turtons Saddle for views of the Rakaia River. Extend your views by climbing nearby Donald Hill (1525m).

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury

This is a pleasant walk along a section of the Te Araroa up to Turtons Saddle, where there are views back towards the Rakaia River. If you have extra energy you can climb Donald Hill (1525m) for extended views over towards Lake Coleridge, and the confluence of the Rakaia and Wilberforce Rivers to the north. The scenery is best once you climb up onto the saddle, with many domed peaks lining a wide open valley. You can continue along the Te Araroa to a couple of huts if you wanted to make this an overnight trip.

Track notes at the end. A nearby walk that I liked more is to the summit of Rat Hill via Redcliffe Stream, although with the track washed out in places this walk is harder and requires some route finding ability.

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle: The Scenery

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Looking up Glenrock Stream towards the saddle (left).
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Looking back down towards the Rakaia River from near Turtons Saddle.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Past Turton Saddle looking west. Nice wispy clouds all day.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
On the way up Donald Hill.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
A panorama from the summit of Donald Hill (1525m).
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
The Rakaia and Wilberforce River Valleys.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
The Rakaia and Wilberforce River Valleys.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Descending back down to the Te Araroa.

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Looking down Glenrock Stream.
Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
Back near the start here.

Track Notes

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury
On a marked track until just past the saddle, then off track through sometimes tall tussock grass to the summit. We returned via point 1524m for different views and to avoid the worst of the long tussock grass on the lower slopes.

On a marked track to Turtons Saddle, then you have to choose a point to leave the track and head up Donald Hill. On the lower slopes there is a section of sometimes head high tussock grass to wade through, and that’s easier to minimise on the way down as you can see where this section is thinnest. The summit area is flat and so its worth walking to both ends of this to get views in different directions, particularly out over the Rakaia and Wilberforce Valleys to the north.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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