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Cobb Valley

The Takaka River below the power station turbines.

The Cobb Valley is one of the few places in New Zealand where the visitor can drive into and along, much of a high mountain valley carved by glaciers. There are attractions for everyone, from the most active tramper to the motorist wanting nothing more than a stimulating drive.

The 27km drive from Upper Takaka winds through the impressive Takaka River gorge, through a red and silver beech forest. On arriving at the small Cobb River Power station, nestled in the valley, the tar seal road ends and the rest of the journey is on an unsealed road. The road is quite passable by ordinary vehicles for most of the year, however watch out for rocks and trees on the road after heavy rain, and ice in winter!

Overlooking the Cobb Reservoir from the Cobb Ridge and information kiosk

Half way up to the Cobb Ridge, the Mount Arthur Lookout commands a panoramic view of the Upper Takaka watershed, the low shrublands of the asbestos rich mineral belt, and the impressive marble bulk of Mount Arthur (another Lord of the Rings sites).

Emerging onto the Cobb Ridge at 1040m, the view of the Cobb Reservoir and the surrounding mountains is breathtaking, there is a small information kiosk with interpretive information, and a shelter if windy! Many people end their journey here, but the road itself continues down to the dam below, for lots more exploring, and some lovely picnic spots.

The area is renowned for its beautiful and interesting plant life, a feature of the valley is the dense patches of Maori onion (Bulbinella) which provide a mass of yellow flowers in spring. The area is also popular for its displays of alpine flowers in the summer time. Guided walks are available in the Cobb and the surrounding areas.

Scenic flights are available for Lord of the Rings fans.

Cobb Panorama










Continue to read information about the >>>> Kahurangi National Park

Day trips

Lake Sylvester 2 hr 30 min
From the Dam a walking track climbs to tussock tops and lakes. A short side track leads to Bushline Hut.

Lake Peel 5 hr return
From Lake Peel Track carpark a tramping track zig zags up to Cobb Ridge (1 hr 30 min). A sidle leads to the basin cradling Lake Peel.

Trilobite Hut to Chaffey Hut 1 hr 30 min
An easy walk through forest and grassy river flats to picturesque but ramshackle Chaffey Hut.

Asbestos Cottage 1 hr 30 min
A tramping track leads to an old asbestos mine. Beyond the mine is restored Asbestos Cottage once the home of Annie and Henry Chaffey for 40 years.


Bullock Track (Asbestos Cottage to Cobb Reservoir) 2-3 hr
The Bullock Track connects Asbestos Cottage and the Cobb Reservoir Road and joins the Cobb Ridge Route making circuit options.


Cobb Ridge
A marked route along a broad ridge gives a variety of walk options:

  • Cobb Reservoir via Bullock Track junction 1 hr 30 min
  • Lake Peel Track carpark via Lake Peel Track junction 3 hr
  • Cobb access road via Asbestos Cottage 5 hr

Longer trips

Fenella Hut
Fenella Hut in an enchanting setting at the head of the Cobb Valley is a two day return trip.


The Tablelands
It is usually a two day trip to cross the Tablelands to Flora carpark

Asbestos Track to Flora Carpark
An alternative trip to Flora Carpark follows the tramping track beyond Asbestos Cottage to Upper Junction, Flora Hut and the carpark.

Other activities


Red and fallow deer are found in this area. Each hunter requires a permit from the Department of Conservation. Hunting dogs are not allowed.


Brown and rainbow trout are found in the Cobb Reservoir and Cobb River. All anglers must have a fishing license.

There are camping and picnic areas at the head of the Cobb Reservoir.

For your safety

The Cobb area is a sub-alpine environment. If you are venturing into the national park be prepared for sudden weather changes.

Hazards such as avalanches and icy snow may be encountered in the Mt. Peel - Lake Sylvester are from June to November.

Please use the intensions books.

There is a telephone available at the dam settlement.

Please remember

All native plants and wildlife are protected.

Being self sufficient reduces impact on the park environment. Carry your own cooker and rubbish. Rubbish facilities are not provided.

Mountain bikes are only allowed on formed roads within the National Park except for the formed road to Lake Sylvester.

Domestic animals are not allowed in the national park.

Please do not feed the Kea. It can make them dependent and destructive.

It is recommended you boil, filter or treat your drinking water.

Back Country Hut tickets or an annual pass are required to stay in huts.

For further information contact:

Department of Conservation
Golden Bay Area Office
Commercial Street
Pho (03) 525 8026

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