Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant walk up the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut, passing through attractive beech forest & over a picturesque gorge on the Nina River.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

This pleasant walk in the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut was a plan B on our first trip to the Lewis Pass area, as low cloud made put us off our planned mountain ascent. Almost 6 hours in beech forest was a bit much for me, but it was very pleasant forest, and a couple of sections of the Nina River were picturesque too. My photos proved reasonably popular amongst friends and family on Facebook, so I guess that is a vote of confidence in the scenery on offer, but of course look below and judge for yourself.

I’d read that this valley is considered the most attractive in the Lewis Pass area, however it doesn’t compare to the likes of the Routeburn in Mt Aspiring National Park. Nina Hut looked very neat though, so it could be good as an overnight option for families or less experienced trampers. Plus there are tracks going further afield in various directions. Or you could go half way to the gorge/river crossing and see most of the walk highlights. Track notes at the end.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut: The Scenery

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
Very near the start on the Lewis River.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
There were a few sections of this more open beech forest.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
Probably the most picturesque spot on the walk.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
A small gorge on the Nina River.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
A small gorge on the Nina River.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
The small gorge viewed from on a swing bridge.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
A clearing containing Nina Hut, our turnaround point.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
Interesting Fungus.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
Crossing back over the Nina River.
Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
The track dropped down to the Nina River.

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

Track Notes

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
A marked and obvious track the whole way. We parked at Palmer Lodge and walked a very short way to the track start.

The track is obvious the whole way and mostly flat. It will take about 5-6 hours return at a steady pace. Note that it was pretty muddy in many places in winter. More information on walks in the Nina Valley on the DOC website.

It could be done as a long day trip from Christchurch, but we were staying in nearby Hanmer Springs.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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