The moderate climate scale and relative ease of the routes on the peaks makes the climbing less dangerous than on many of the larger southern mountains. Climbes take on the atmosphere of pioneer route finding on the long tramp in.
Red Deer, Chamois and Wild Pig are all found in and around the park. Hunting is controlled in the Park and permits must be obtained from Park Headquarters or the Rotoroa Rangers Station. Hunters should note that some of the more popular valley flats of the Park are closed to hunting during the Peak summer holiday season, when there are a lot of trampers and fishermen wandering in the area.
There are plenty of opportunities for ski touring in the Nelson Lakes National Park. You can travel along the Mount Robert Ridge to the many basins through the Mount Robert Ski Field ending up at the Lake Angelus Hut. Touring on the St Arnaud range in the Arnst Basin is available from Rainbow Ski Area.
Two ski areas are available in the Nelson Lakes regions. Rainbow Ski Area and Mount Robert Ski Field offer a diverse range of skiing and snowboarding. Rainbows facilities include a chairlift, t-bar, learners tow and licensed cafe. Views from the top of the chairlift are spectacular. Rainbow Ski Area is 40 minutes drive from St Arnaud. Mount Robert is approximately two hours walk from the carpark above Lake Rotoiti. (or 15 minutes by helicopter on arrangement.)
The Gowan and Buller Rivers provide fun for all ages. From Grade 2 to Grade 4 , there are rapids for an enjoyable family ride or a breathtaking, heartstopping rollercoaster ride through the Rock Garden and Whoppa-Stoppa rapids. Half and full day trips are available with BBQ lunch on full days. All guides are New Zealand registered and provide demonstration and safety instructions before setting off.
Ride through a tranquil backcountry New Zealand sheep and cattle farm. Experience river crossings and native bush through forested tracks. There are horses for all abilities and ride start from one hour to full day treks. Horse and gig tours are available for special occasions. Approximately, 25 minutes from St Arnaud.
The scenic lakes in the park are ideal for a variety of water sports from slowly paddling around the lakes edge to plaining around on water-skis. Water skiing is permitted on Lake Rotoiti only. Launching ramps and jetties are provided at both lakes, Rotoiti and Rotoroa. The water taxi operators hire boats, canoes and kayaks and operate scenic cruises on both lakes.
Nelson Lakes National Park promises its fishermen not only a good catch of Brown Trout but, on a windless day, a classically beautiful place to fish, whether it is an early morning slow troll on the calm waters of either lake, or casting a fly into a clear pool on the larger rivers. Experienced guides are available from St Arnaud or try your luck by yourself on the Lake or on the vast network of rivers and streams. Nelson Lakes is claimed to have some of the best and most challenging fishing in New Zealand.
Equipment: Bring all your own equipment Or hire in Nelson or Blenheim.
The Nelson Lakes National Park has numerous tramps varying from one to ten days. Walk along forested valleys or experience the breathtaking views from the ridge tops. There are 25 well maintained trampers huts and shelters. These "Sheratons of the lake shores" and "Hiltons of the Hills" are a welcome site after a hard days tramp. The main circuits are Lake Angelus (two to three days), or the Traverse Sabine circuit (four to five days).
Equipment: This is an alpine environment - go prepared for bad weather.
Be self-sufficient: carry a cooker and carry out your rubbish.
No mountain-bikes, dogs or other domestic pets are allowed in the park.
Take care with fire.
Wasps and sandflies can be a nuisance; you may need insect repellent.
Protect native plants and animals.