Easy and challenging Doubtful Sound Walks
The hostel offers three walks that cater to the needs of most visitors. One of these include the Hanging Valley Track which is a challenge for school students, while the second gives access to the Helena Falls on the opposite side of Doubful Sound and the third, is the old Doubtful Sound Track that follows the lower part of the original walking track.
An easy 20 minutes nature walk, starting at the eastern end of the Hostel and finishing on the Wilmot Pass Road, just south of the hostel. A natural history questionnaire is available at the Hostel for school groups. This track is a useful starting point to a camp, as it provides an early introduction to the flora and fauna of the area.
Helena Falls Track
This track now starts at the swing bridge on the road to the tunnel portal. From the hostel walk over the hill and turn left to cross over the Lyvia River. The start of the track is on the left about 200 meters from the Lyvia bridge. The new swing bridge was built at a cost of $120,000 (2009) with the cost being met by the generosity of Meridian Energy, Department of Conservation and the Deep Cove Hostel Trust. (Trust money donated by the Southern Trust).
After crossing the bridge a loop track of some 40 minutes duration provides access to the stream at the base of Helena Falls and in good weather the base of the falls. This stream may prevent parties reaching the base of the falls in wet weather, however the view of the falls is worth the effort. The walk provides good opportunities to study the regeneration of the bush, some of which was planted out in stages during the building of the 2nd tunnel and some has self seeded. The start of this track is only a short distance from the start of and can be included in the Old Doubtful Sound Track /Stella Falls walk consideration needs to be given to the fitness of your group before doing so.
Doubtful Sound Track
This track is the remains of the original Doubtful Sound walking track, used as access to Doubtful Sound before the Wilmot Pass road was built.
From the tail-race portal the track leads up the valley on the true right of the Lyvia River to a swing bridge (The old bridge was replaced in 1998 at a cost of approx $30,000.) over the Stella Burn. It then gains more height to meet the Deep Cove/West Arm road approximately a third of the way up to the Wilmot Pass.
This track is considered by many to be the most beautiful track, close to the hostel. Small water falls partially hidden in the bush can be seen on the lower part of the track, along with views of the Lyvia River and the Stella Burn.
While the track is generally up hill, it is not really steep and the footing is generally good.
This is a steep and sometimes muddy track, but it has worthwhile views of Deep Cove. The track starts behind the Hostel Managers house, across the road from the Hostel. It follows up the true right of the Wanganella Stream to an open area of smooth rock. The track proceeds on up the valley to the base of the Huntleigh Falls. Care must be taken when coming down this track, due to slippery tree roots and the steep track. Students should be clearly warned to resist the urge to run down this track.
All of these tracks provide different experiences and opportunities to study the bush and experience the wonders of being outdoors. With the exception of the Hanging Valley track all tracks have the ability to be intercepted by a vehicle should anyone injure themselves or perhaps tackle something greater than their physical abilty allowed.
A fourth and shorter track, the Brasell Point is a well maintained and gravelled track which gives wonderful opportunities for studies of the flora and fauna and the area as a whole. A booklet describing much of the bush on this walk is available at the hostel.