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Zora creek has its headwaters sandwiched between the heads of the Mahitahi and the Jacobs, and flows South draining into the mighty Landsborough just above Hinds Flat. Quite simply its awe inspiring terrain in all directions, with some enormous rock slabs forming much of the upper true left, and the lower canyon that pretty obviously shouldn’t be messed with.

Gerhard Muller was a rather prolific explorer/surveyor and has a pass from Zora into the Maitahi named after him, from what I can find he explored this country way back sometime around 1887.

zora tahr ballot site

Flying up the Karangarua and over the head of the Jacobs into the Zora would have to be one of the most scenic flights you can do, but it’s also a fair distance. Meaning it costs a bit more than some other landing sites, but also there’s always a chance of that Westland clag making things difficult, or bad weather meaning a flight down the Landsborough to Pleasant flat and a drive back up the coast to get your vehicle instead.

shaun monk zora tahr ballot

Shaun Monk above Zora

The camp site is fairly good but a touch exposed if the wind is ripping down valley, it also gives a grandstand view of the steep terrain across the river that is mostly no man’s land, but makes for great viewing.  There’s limited dry tent sites in a down pour, as the water does run off the slope and through camp so choose wisely and take note of the channels already cut to deal with this.

zora creek landsbourough tahr ballot

Looking back down Zora from near Mueller Pass

Above the steep country across the river is another landing site called Hinds Tarn, often you’ll be glassing and spot the Hinds Tarn hunters climbing the ridge above their camp and vice verse. Quite handy if you know who’s in there and both have an InReach as you can give each other a heads up on bulls that need a closer inspection, as you get a great view of each others accessible hunting terrain.

Travelling up river is fairly easy going once you figure out the tahr track from camp flat that takes you up through the bluff system, this small section will have those that are less sure footed hanging on quite tightly. Once back down at the river it’s a matter of finding a crossing if water levels allow,  and once across the travel all the way upstream is fairly straight forward, with much of the true right country being accessible if your happy in the steeper stuff.

On the obvious terrace above is one of the plots that doc attempts to do their Tahr monitoring at, when we were last there we spooked a hare from right beside the plot and with the hare crap we saw on the plot itself, it’s fairly obvious the grazing is being shared.

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Standing on DOC's tahr monitoring plot

Our last time in Zora we used the weather window we had to spend a night up valley, climbing Mueller pass the next morning to get the epic view down the Mahitahi. This was all pretty straight forward with little to no snow to deal with, but in a winter like we’ve just had it would certainly be a case of having the right tools and understanding the snow conditions.

Overall Zora seems to be one of the more sought after landing sites, which is probably more about that awe inspiring terrain rather than it’s big bull potential.

zora tahr ballot campsite
The landing site and main campsite looking up Zora Canyon
Originally produced for NZHunter Magazine - Grab a subscription here
NZHunter Magazine - The Jacobs
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