This remote and idyllic alpine tarn in the depths of New Zealand’s second largest national park is known only to locals and committed visitors who do their homework.

See "Backpack to Boulder Lake for the first half of this trip. From Boulder Lake Hut cross the stream in the direction indicated by the sign at the most advantageous point. There is no evident trail through the tussock so make your way to the spur at the head of the valley that leads to Green Saddle in the best way you can. There is a marsh not far from the hut that can be skirted by sticking to the forest edge on the east side of the valley. We found it easiest to walk through the forest (which is very open) until the undergrowth became thick near the valley head. At this point we exited and only bashed through tussock for a few minutes before finding a clear trail leading up the spur. Once at the base of the spur the path is cairned and easy to follow. Follow this small path as it climbs out of the valley. Stick to the largest and most obvious path as it crests the saddle. From here you begin your first sidle along the ridge east toward the tarn. There are decent cairns the entire way but the path becomes faint when it dips into the scrub.

There are plenty of great views to be had along this ridge as it is mostly an open traverse. Keep an eye out for the rugged Dragons Teeth that are much sharper and more obvious than the surrounding mountains. This is considered the first of two sidles to reach the Needles Eye. Following this faint path and intermittent cairns you will drop into the forest and then climb up through open tussock – effectively beginning the second sidle. The path takes you beneath the obvious rock ribs that you can see from afar. The faint path ends at the base of a vegetated flax-filled gulley that you ascend to reach the Needles Eye saddle. From here descend directly to the basin that contains Adelaide Tarn. You will see the tarn and the Dragon’s Teeth beyond as you descend. This route takes approximately 5-6 hours from Boulder Lake Hut. Other options exist for access from Anatoki Forks Hut over Yuletide Peak.

Pack List

  • Map and navigation aid
  • Tent as backup
  • camera
  • sleeping bag
  • rain gear
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1213.9 Feet
Activities Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Point-to-Point
Features
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic

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