Adventures > Rocky Ridges

Rocky Ridges

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Route Overview

General Overview

The Rocky Ridges Adventure has become an iconic gem to adventure riders, and 4X4 drivers. It is the result of over 10 years of route research, personally riding each track, in various seasons, and then assembling the ULTIMATE 11 day lower South Island route. It is pure gold, start to finish.

Not only is the route world-class laced with jaw dropping vistas and epic terrain, it offers some of the best remote hut/camping locations New Zealand has to offer.

Because all the routes in this Adventure are publicly accessible, it removes the hassle of organising private land access. This allows you to focus solely on the experience, and enjoying the adventure. Simply pack your gear, turn-key, and set off on one of the most EPIC 11 day routes the South Island has to offer!

If an 11 day Adventure is too long, then check out the Southern Grit Adventure Adventure. The Southern Grit is a 7 day version of the 11 day Rocky Ridges. It is jam packed with most of the goodness from the Rocky Ridges, but it is only 7 days long.

If you are after an 7 day Adventure, then check out the Southern Grit Adventure. If you are after an 11 day Adventure, then read on for the Rocky Ridges Adventure..

This Adventure comes with comprehensive route notes, accommodation info, fuel station info, food and dining info, route cautions, potential detours, plus a printable PDF booklet to take with you.

Start/Finish Point

This Adventure was designed to start at Fairlie, and end at Fairlie. However, it can just as easily be travelled in a clockwise direction from any of the leg start/stop points.

Terrain includes

While the average grade of this Adventure is Grade 2 to Grade 3, it includes everything from immaculate Tarmac through to a few sections of Grade 4 and Grade 5.

It includes terrain such as sweeping gravel roads, 4X4 trails, dirt tracks, stream crossings, river crossings, steep inclines, and rocky terrain.


2,767 km

Max Fuel Leg

282 km

Travel Time

This Adventure is made up of 11 legs with each leg representing a full day. If you feel like having a rest day, or you simply want to extend your trip, it is possible to split some of these legs and extend this route.

The travel times for each leg of this Adventure are based on an adventure bike loaded with camping gear, and being ridden at a steady pace. For riders who travel at a slower pace, or are riding in a bigger group, or for those in 4X4 vehicles, you should add extra time to each leg.

For those of you who move at a quicker pace, it is possible to do this Adventure in less than 11 days. However, many factors will play a part in the travel time of this route, mainly track conditions, and weather conditions.

It is important to note that some of the legs in this Adventure cross rivers that are subject to flooding. If heavy rain or snow melt cause rivers to rise, some can be impassable. In this case you may have to detour, or add extra time to wait for rivers to recede if you are committed to do the entire route.


This Adventure is focused specifically around scenic and remote DOC huts and camping locations. It is essential to take a tent and camping equipment with you.

Access Permission

This Adventure is constructed with public access roads and tracks. No permission is needed.

Access Limitations

While the roads and tracks utilised in this Adventure are public access, many are closed for safety reasons throughout the winter period.

The window that the Rocky Ridges can be travelled is between November 1st and April 30th. However, to minimise the chance of flooded rivers, it is highly recommended to avoid volatile early Spring weather. There is a better chance of success if you tackle this Adventure in the more stable months of January, February, March or April.

Safety information regarding terrain cautions and river flooding is provided with each individual leg of this Adventure.



This is designed for those who are well-setup for long distance adventures, have a comprehensive toolkit, spares, and a good general mechanical knowledge to perform trail-side repairs if need be.

You'll need quality 3 or 4 season camping gear, the ability to carry extra food in case you get caught on the other side of a rising river, and an emergency beacon or satellite tracking device.

It is important to have sound understanding of the risks that come with entering remote New Zealand areas - especially the High Country.

While it is possible to do this Adventure solo, it is recommended to do it in a group for safety.

Legs in this Adventure

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