The Vast Lake Sumner
The Jollie Brook Track is a 4+ hour hike deep in the beautiful Lake Sumner region of Canterbury. You’ll experience a mixture of river crossings, pleasant climbs and stunning views of the surrounding ranges. Spend the night in a traditional hut and learn about wildlife and flora from a local expert guide.
This region is absolutely filled with exciting routes and an abundance of animals like native birds, fish, wild cows and deer. The cosy Jollie Brook Hut is situated deep in the bush but is still accessible to beginners and families with younger kids.
Our accommodation for the night is perfect for those wanting to experience a southern hut or a night out in the bush for the first time. A lot of my friends from out of town are surprised by this hidden gem.
I never realised this region has so much to offer. I loved this route as you can see other huts – some over 70 years old – as well as a variety of mountainous terrain and wildlife. The hut is cosy and when you get the fire going…jeez it’s warm!
Perfect for children, couples or those wanting to get out and away from this year’s chaotic start.
- Easy enough for those new to backcountry tramping.
- A chance to embrace the backcountry in a safe, accessible way.
- Experience our native wildlife like fantails and the occasional whio (blue) duck.
- No rush, no pressure, just good bushwalking with a local Cantabrian.
I'm a 50-something woman enjoying a second teenagehood. I'm a glider pilot who's discovered the spiritual bond I feel in the air extends to the earth and the bush. I'm a writer by profession, a storyteller by inclination, and I have a wide knowledge of the New Zealand bush, its trees, birds, insects, the earth below it and the sky above. People who come hiking with me will feel welcome in the wilderness. I'll share the stories of the place and help you see the small things that you may not know to even look for. We'll take our time. Hiking with me is about being in the here and now, looking, listening, smelling and connecting to the land. I am not about rushing to make it to the end, just to tick a journey off the list. I'll tell you my stories but I also want to hear yours. This is your journey, your trip and I want to make it the best experience you can have.
The trip's itinerary
We’ll start the day with a drive through rural North Canterbury until the winding roads of Lake Sumner National Park open up in front of us. After crossing our first swing bridge, an easy walk over grassland, river terraces and the Hurunui Valley awaits.
Follow me for a small, hidden detour to Lake Sumner; the perfect spot for lunch and a brew.
The track follows a few small streams through sheltered forest until a gentle saddle marks the last push to the hut where we’ll spend the night. Make sure to stop for a chat with our abundant birdlife – fantails and robins will likely follow us the whole way, checking for any bugs disturbed by our footsteps.
We’ll spend the night in the well-maintained Jollie Brook Hut, beautifully situated in a clearing next to a small stream and dense beech forest. The next day, we’ll complete the circuit by zigzagging our way over several streams to the last swing bridge.
This is one of my favourite tracks in the area thanks to the mix of scenery and constant reminder of nature everywhere you look. You can also have a swim in Lake Sumner, but this is only for the hardiest of swimmers (it’s very cold). The flora and fauna comes with its own history; like how it’s fighting to survive next to other introduced plants. The route is seldomly shared with tourists, making this a local’s backyard route. The night is rounded off with some of the most impressive star gazing available anywhere on earth. Look forward to showing you this great place!
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
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
Photographs of Your Adventure
Want your Adventure captured in stunning, professional photos? We’ve got a Lensman (like Bushmen but with cameras) who will join you and capture all the best moments so you don’t have to.+ $200 NZD
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.
Are there any river crossings?
Yes, there are plenty of small stream and river crossings along the way. But don’t worry, you can dry your hiking boots over the hut fire at the end of the day. We will take the crossings together - it’s safer and always more fun in a group!
Can I swim in Lake Sumner?
For sure! While I don’t recommend it in winter, a swim is the best way to cool down on a warm day while we spend some time at the lakeshore to enjoy lunch. Even if you don’t jump in, the views are amazing (see photos).
What facilities can I expect?
The huts on the track are built and maintained by DOC and provide basic facilities like a fireplace, water tank, bunk beds and a long drop toilet. Typical NZ backcountry style!
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.
Need more help?
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