Wanaka Mountain Guides

Rabbit Pass Trek

The Rabbit Pass Trek is a classic and challenging route right through the heart of the Mount Aspiring National Park. The pass is guarded by the formidable Waterfall Face from the Upper Wilkin Valley and a technical descent into the head of the East Matukituki Valley. The crossing requires good conditions to safely navigate, sure footing, and a good head for heights.

Rabbit Pass Trek Itinerary

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Rabbit Pass Trek

The trip begins with a helicopter flight to the Upper Wilkin Valley with Backcountry Helicopters from Makaroa. The afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby Lake Lucidus, or Castila, spending the night at Top Forks hut.

From here the route climbs through Snow Bridge Gorge to the open waterfall flat. Concentration is required on the steep climb up the Waterfall face and ropes will be used for security. From the top, the route heads south over the benign Rabbit Pass itself. A final steep climb leads to a second difficult section descending into the East Matukituki valley, continuing down to campsites on the valley floor.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Rabbit Pass Trek

The next morning the route continues down the valley requiring a number of river crossings. Trekkers will have wet feet from here on. After Ruth Flat, with its views of the impressive East Face of Fastness Peak, the track climbs steeply to bypass Bledisloe Gorge. Campsites exist above the bush line with stunning views up the Kitchener River to the East Face of Popes Nose and Mount Aspiring or you can forge on down the hill to Junction Flat.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Hester Pinney Falls

From Junction Flat and a visit to Hester Pinney Falls, the track continues down the river exiting the bush at the confluence of the Glacier Burn. There is a final short trek across farmland to reach the Matukituki River and the Aspiring Road.

What to Expect

Accommodation is in public huts and camping. Porters are available to help carry the equipment and supplies required for this remote and challenging route. There are multiple unbridged river crossings so expect wet feet.

Fitness and Difficulty Requirements

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Rabbit Pass Trek
Wanaka Mountain Guides

Trekkers need to be able to undertake big ascents and descents of up to 1000m in a day with 15kg packs.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

Requires recent experience in off-track trekking. This includes movement over scree, boulders, and tussock slopes.


Rabbit Pass Trek Pricing and Details

Duration: 4 days
2024 Dates:
29th January – 1st February
19th – 22nd February

Get in touch to arrange private dates from December to March.
2023/24 Price:
$1890 / $2450 / $3450 per person for 4 / 3 / 2 people

Includes: GST, guide fees, compliance costs, ground transport from Wānaka, helicopter flight into Top Forks Hut, food and mountain accommodation in huts or tents.
Excludes: Porters.
Maximum ratio: 1:4

See Also

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘A very professional guide and great company. He took time to explain to us what walks were possible/practical each day depending on the weather and the impact it would have on the surrounding rivers. If you are city dwellers it is very comforting to know that your guide is thinking of the safety of the group. [He] certainly kept us well fed as well. We are looking forward to future trips in the beautiful mountains around Wānaka which is a refreshing change and takes us out of our comfort zone for a few days at least.’

Michael, Siberia Hut Trip

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘Thank you again. That was an awesome day out and I really appreciated how generous [our guide] was with his time and knowledge. He crammed in more than I thought possible in a day.’

Megan, Remarkables Alpine Rock Climbing Course

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘It was 4 days I’ll never forget! The experiences I had I only want to grow on. I set out to accomplish a task, but I got so much more! You showed me a whole new world with your sport and I can’t thank you enough! Thanks so much for doing a great job at coaching someone who had no idea what they were doing lol. I work with some great leaders so I know one when I see one! I am a beginner climber and he gave excellent instruction on how to be safe while taking me out of my comfort zone. I’ve found a new love for this sport and it’s thanks to him! Absolutely exceeded my expectations!!! Thanks Wanaka Mountain Guides!

Landen, Mitre Peak Ascent

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