Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

Rugged scenery as you ascend to Ben More (1655m) along broad ridges on this circuit walk in Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park.

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park

I’d heard this circuit walk along the tops of Ben More, the high point of the Big Ben Range in Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, was a good winter tramping option, with safe enough travel for those less experienced in snow. By time we did the walk in early spring there’s wasn’t much slow left, but enough to add to the aesthetics of the area. However I think the rugged scenery would look good in any season.

With only two other walkers on the mountain that day we enjoyed some solitude, however there were hunters in the surrounding area, so try not to look like a deer! You can also climb Big Ben at the southern end of this range.  

Track notes at the end.

Ben More Tops Circuit: The Scenery

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking up at tops from near the start.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Two four wheel drive vehicles came along the dry riverbed, probably from a hunting trip. This rugged valley provided good views for much of the walk.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
The Acheron River Valley to the right. The southern end of the Craigieburn Range to the left.

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Mt Hutt at the back.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Sophia looking back towards the scenery at the north end of Lake Coleridge. She actually couldn’t face forward because the wind was too strong.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
A wide panorama of the area around Lake Coleridge and the Rakaia Valley.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Easy walking once up onto the ridge.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
The summit of Ben More up there to the right (1655m), and our descent route, the ridge running down to the left.

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
A rare picture of me here, taken by Sophia.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
The southern end of the Craigieburn Range at the back.

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking out over the Canterbury Plains towards the Port Hills, just visible in the distance.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
A bit more snowy on the southern faces of ridges and mountains.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking west from the saddle between the ridges.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Vegetable sheep I think. There were lots in this spot. Very cool.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Sophia on a shingle slope climbing to point 1660m.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking west from the saddle between the two ridges.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
A panorama looking roughly north-west.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
The Rakaia River Valley and Southern Alps.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
We ascended up this ridge and then returned on the right.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Sophia backed by mountains around Lake Coleridge.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
We ascended up this ridge.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Sophia backed by the valley between the two ridges of this walk.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Nice muted colours here looking towards the Torlesse Range. The Coach Stream Route to Trig M is down there, and that’s a nice moderate sized walk.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Walking down the ridge towards the start with the Rakaia Valley and Southern Alps in the distance.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking back at the summit.
Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Looking towards the start as we made the final descent.

Track Notes

Ben More Tops Circuit, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Off track the whole way but easy navigation in clear visibility. A bit steep on the initial ascent and final descent.

Off track the whole way but easy navigation in clear visibility. A bit steep on the initial ascent and final descent, and also from the saddle to point 1660m, but easy walking for the most part on the tops. The vehicle track at the start was a bit of a river in places, but it’s not hard to find a route up over the stream and onto the flats, then just head straight for the spur. I suspect this walk would be nice in either direction. It’s a fairly long walk with roughly 950m of ascent and descent over 16km. 

More information on Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park on the DOC website.

We parked in a small layby at a sharp turn in Lyndon Road, just a few metres from the vehicle track at the start. 

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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