MUST EXPLORE | NEVIS VALLEY TRACKS 1000 750 The Flyer Magazine


1-4 hours

This month’s Must Explore is slightly different from our usual: Yes, there are hiking trails but driving to and from the trail head is just as rewarding as the hike itself.


Views across the Nevis Valley.

The Nevis road is accessible from both ends – Bannockburn and Garston, but if you have a 4WD that can deal with the odd ford, I would highly recommend driving from Garston. Turn off the main road on the left just before the township, signposted Nevis Road/Welcome Rock Trails. From here, keep climbing up the gravel road until you reach the plateau overlooking the Garvie Mountains, there are a number of farm gates to open and close so don’t get too comfy in your seat. From here you drive along the valley and gently drop down towards the river. This is where the fords are so keep an eye out and make sure you assess the rivers properly before crossing. This can be a whole lot of fun if done properly but could also end your trip abruptly if you get stuck!

You’ll continue on down the road past a derelict powerhouse, old sluicings and mining huts, all are well worth a quick stop and if you’re anything like me you’ll love exploring them. Once you get through the village, the road becomes easier so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery. This is where a lot of the hiking tracks start, so feel free to pick one to have a look around. We explored Scotsman’s Creek, parking on the verge on the main road and heading up into the hills on the left. Climb as far up as you like and enjoy the views before coming back down the way you came. All trails are exposed to the elements so make sure you’re prepared for the weather.

Continuing along the road you’ll come to a grassy area by a stream which is often used as a camping spot or for a refreshing dip. From here the road climbs towards Duffers Saddle where it splits. Both options lead to Bannockburn, but one should only be attempted with proper 4WD vehicles as the road is uneven and a bit unpredictable. If you want to take it easy, just follow the main road, but again, if you’re up for an adventure and are prepared, swing left at the fork. There are no real fords on this stretch of road, but instead a series of off-camber and rutty sections that require attention. You’ll eventually get to a large waterwheel which is worth stopping at again, and from here it’s only another 30 minutes or so to the end of the road.

If you don’t have a proper 4WD vehicle, you can take the gravel road from Bannockburn all the way to Nevis village and just retrace your steps on the way out.