Mt Charon & Dunblane, Hanmer Range, Canterbury NZ

A long but excellent walk to the summit of Mt Charon (1560m) from Jacks Pass, also taking in the peak named Dunblane (1303m). Great views and very attractive heath vegetation. 

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range

We wanted a quieter walk to do on our first trip to the Hanmer Springs area, and this was a great choice. We met nobody else on a Sunday doing this long but very enjoyable walk to the summit of Mt Charon (1560m) via Dunblane (1303m) from Jacks Pass (870m). The very colourful heath vegetation was a real highlight, as where the views towards numerous other mountains, over the Hanmer Plains, and into a few valleys. Going as far as Mt Charon felt satisfyingly remote, but the much shorter trip to only Dunblane and back would also be a good option.

Track notes at the end.

Mt Charon & Dunblane: The Scenery

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Very maroon as we began the relatively short ascent of Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Bluffs on the way up.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Colourful heath as we walked the last bit to the summit of Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Sophia on the summit of Dunblane (1303m). Looking north here.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
From the summit of Dunblane (1303m), or at least quite nearby.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking back down to Jacks Pass and the Clarence River Valley.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
The ridge leading to Mt Charon, which is on the left.

On our way from Dunblane to Mt Charon in these next pics…

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Such colourful heathland. This was a real highlight of the walk.

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Loved the colours and patterns of these plants.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Mt St Patrick (1774m).
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
At point 1437m.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
At point 1437m.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking roughly east along the ridgeline from point 1437m to the summit of Mt Charon at 1560m.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Getting close to the summit.

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking north from the summit of Mt Charon.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
A panorama from the summit of Mt Charon.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Me on a knob, where I took a few photos. Sophia took this on the summit of Mt Charon.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking north-west from the summit.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
A panorama looking east.

The rest of these photos taken on the way back…

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Sophia looking towards Maukuratawhai.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking east.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
I liked this mountain Maukuratawhai (1615m), which looked quite climable only it’s on the other side of the Clarence River.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Ghost Gully centre, which joins the Styx River coming from the left, and then the Clarence River, which runs left to right here. Maukuratawhai to the right.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Returning to Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
I liked these alpine plants. Not sure of their name.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Looking up to Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
So colourful.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Fairly steep on the western side of Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
We drove up the Clarence River Valley the next day as far as Lake Tennyson. Viewed here with the help of my telephoto lens.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
So many interesting alpine and subalpine plants on this walk.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Descending back down from Dunblane.
Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
Maukuratawhai centre left.


Track Notes

Dunblane and Mt Charon, Hamner Range
A marked track as far as Dunblane, then off track to Mt Charon, although there are some old metal poles leading you down from Mt Dunblane for a while. (They eventually lead you down into the valley to the south – not sure where after that.)

A marked track as far as Dunblane, then off track to Mt Charon, although there are some old metal poles leading you down from Mt Dunblane for a while. (They eventually lead you down into the valley to the south – not sure where after that.) We got our track notes from Canterbury Foothills and Forests, but the map here should be enough info.

It’s fairly easy walking the whole way, and navigation will be straightforward in good weather. I estimated the walk to be 16-17km long with about 1000m change in elevation: it will take roughly 8 hours at a steady pace. The most tiring ascent is probably to point 1437m on the way out, although the shorter descent and ascent on the western side of Dunblane is quite steep.

Walking only to Dunblane and back would be substantially shorter, but still quite a nice walk.

It starts off on a vehicle track from the car park at Jacks Pass, but soon turns into a foot track.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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