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"To us, trips feel like we're out doing the things we love with a group of good friends and that's exactly how it is at Hidden Valleys."
- Grant South (Southy)

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Ada Pass South Island New Zealand

The hike in to the Waiau over Ada Pass is a good one for a family with younger children or for people not keen on above bush line hikes.

The Ada Pass section of track is part of the St James walkway: it is in Sub Alpine terrain, particularly at the northern end through the Ada Pass.

For the most part we are hiking in beech forest. In the first hour you descend down into Cannibal Gorge where a bridge crosses a branch of the Maruia River, which flows towards the West Coast. The track then climbs slowly up to Ada Pass. As you gain altitude you get good views of the surrounding mountains when you break out into alpine fields. From Ada Pass the track follows the Ada river down into the Waiau Valley.  Here the countryside opens onto high alpine grasslands.

Hiking over a couple of days, as opposed to flying in, is a great addition to the raft out of the Waiau for people who love to spend time in the back country.

A Typical Journey Over The Ada Pass With Hidden Valleys

Day 1

Works well to stay in either Hanmer for a shorter drive or Christchurch provided you leave in time to get you your destination, the St James car park. The afternoon spent hiking through to Ada Pass Hutt where the first night of your journey is spent.

Day 2

We have another 4-5 hour walk to the Henry River and Waiau River junction. Here we meet the helicopter that has flown in all our rafting gear.  From here we negotiate the rocky rapids on the way to our overnight camp at the mouth of the Stanley River. The helicopter will drop our over night gear here.

Day 3

Not long after leaving camp we have a section of river called ‘The Narrows’ famous for its name. Around 400m of Grade 4/5 rapids, followed by a fun ride through many more rapids to our thirds days’ campsite.

Day 4

The morning consists of two hours rafting out through a long scenic gorge, down to where the Hope River meets The Waiau, if the weather permits we carry on through to Hanmer, if not a short road trip back to Hanmer for a soak in the Hot Springs. Returning to Christchurch for an end of trip evening meal.


Like many of our more rugged New Zealand alpine trips this trip is weather dependent and not for the faint hearted. You need to have a high standard of fitness, and be prepared to physically and mentally challenge yourself. Days are long and weather often extreme. Be prepared to embrace the challenges that living with the hills, living with yourself and nature presents.

For whitewater rafting sections of the trip, you must have a reasonable standard of fitness and be confident in water, minimum age may apply.

Accommodation and Getting There

We can arrange all aspects of your expedition, including all accommodation and travel before and after your trip. Hidden Valleys can arrange transport to Mesopotamia and return from the West Coast to your chosen destination. We are happy to recommend accommodation, please feel free to contact us with any queries


Three Nights – Four Days

Adults = $1750 (fully guided), $1250 (self guided)

Children = Please enqiure

Departure Dates

Season from October to start of April. Please enquire for more details as depends on the water levels.