Discover the remote corners of Lewis Pass
It doesn’t get much more classic than Brass Monkey Biv. Don’t let the name fool you, this overnight trek leads us over epic saddles and high into the mountains where the trees succumb to the alpine height. If you’re someone with experience in unmarked, challenging terrain who wants a cold but rewarding night out, this is for you.
- Route finding and navigational skills can be put to the test here.
- A night in a traditional bivvy overlooking the wonderful Lewis Pass.
- Experience the Southern Alps as we take ourselves and a full pack of gear high up over mountain ridges and past tarns.
Brass Monkey Biv is hidden away in a tussock basin at 1380m above sea level. No marked tracks, this is the route many come to when needing a full mountain experience (without having to fork out on mountaineering gear). The panoramic views you’ll get all to yourself are graced by the effort and challenging terrain that make this a must-do in Canterbury. The bivvy is the icing on the cake for this adventure offering keen hikers a chance to feel like they’ve taken a trip into unexplored lands.
I’ll show you the best way routes over the rocky ridges while sharing more about our surroundings, wildlife (like kea that are often spotted here) and the local way of exploring this region.
There are several mountain tarns that invite you for a dip (if you’re brave enough) and a star-filled sky waiting for you once we’ve set up the tents or sleeping bags. This is one of my favourite routes around – let’s get you up there!
Apply before booking
To head out on an expert level Adventure, we require all our Visitors to prove they have the experience to do so. This is standard across all of Bushman Tours and we need you to share your past trips or any certificates you might have.
I have travelled and hiked around the world, but there is no place like the South Island of New Zealand. My best memories have been out in the mountains on foot, skis, or raft. I want to share New Zealand's backcountry experience and explore our unique environment with others. I love to explore places that stay off the radar, whether it's countries few have heard of, or huts that only get a couple of visits a year. Finding unforgettable views, wildlife that rarely sees humans, and bush in its wild state has made a huge impression on me. Enjoying these places while conserving them and leaving them in better condition for the future is crucial. Come with me and discover remote and pristine valleys, mountains and bush. Plus, fall in love with backcountry hut life by the fire, bathtub or natural hot pools.
- Deep knowledge of local and regional backcountry as well as the West Coast.
- Has travelled Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, for personal travel that mixed multi day trips, day hikes, camping, huts, guesthouses, all up to 4000m.
To get ourselves fuelled up for the mountains, we’ll start the day with a coffee and pie on the way to the carpark. After climbing through native beech forest to the bush line, the exposed Lewis Tops are waiting for us, offering views across the mountain ranges and easy terrain to get us warmed up. You’ll immediately see why this is such a great choice while our route begins to shadow the surrounding valleys.
Nearby peaks like the impressive Mount Technical make for great photo opportunities, and we’ll pass multiple mountain tarns before traversing the rocky and narrow ridges ahead. This is a challenging route combining steep ascents and route-finding, but we’ll take our time and can take breaks to refuel and soak in the views. The feeling of arriving at the Bivvy will make it all worth it.
Once we’ve set up our tents close to Brass Monkey Biv (if there is no space), we’ll have time to explore the area, have a dip in the tarns scattered across the tops and enjoy dinner with a view – and I mean an epic view.
The following day, we have a chance to get up for sunrise which always makes the experience a bit more exciting and special. Another route over a nearby creek leads us down to the road, with plenty of lookouts and native bush on the way. Time to compare photos before we head back.
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
Cutlery, bowl & cup
Lighter / Matches
Pack Cover / Liner
Sunscreen & hat
Toiletries & Underwear
Top & Bottom Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Warm hiking layer
Cooker & gas/fuel
Personal First Aid Kit
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
Why do I need a tent?
Brass Monkey Biv is a small, basic bivvy with space for up to two people on a first-come-first-serve basis.
We are big believers in the motto “better safe than sorry” and trust us, you don’t want to spend the night up here without a tent (even in summer)! Lewis Pass is known for cold nights and strong winds, especially in exposed areas like this. If you don’t have a tent with you, you can always hire one from us, but we won’t be heading out without one, sorry.
Are hiking poles required?
Yes, hiking poles are a minimum requirement for this trip. The route is unmarked and even though I know the best way to safely guide you to the Bivvy, uneven terrain and steep climbs require poles to save energy and avoid accidents. No matter your experience level, I ask that you bring a pair or hire some.
When will I be back in Christchurch?
It’s best to plan two full days for this adventure; meaning you will be back in the city around early evening on the second day. It’s much more enjoyable to allow plenty of time for breaks, a brew and photos to make the most out of your adventure. If you have other commitments, let me know in the message function when you book.
What difficulty rating would you explain this as?
If you haven’t done any form of hiking/tramping before, you will struggle with this. Confidence levels need to be adequate and you need to have experienced some form of semi-mountain terrain before as the majority is unmarked.
Fitness levels should be above average to comfortably get up to the Bivvy, but I’m here to ensure we’re going up steadily.
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
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