There are mountains galore to the north and west of the resort town of Hanmer Springs, with two quite contrasting landscapes on offer. Directly to the north of town are dry and sometimes barren landscapes characterised by colourful heath plants, tussock and scree. There are a few tracks to choose from, but many more choose-your-own adventures, as the country is pretty open. Further west towards Lewis Pass and on to Reefton is a wetter landscape of forested valleys and grassy, sometimes rugged peaks. The tarns are often a highlight of these walks.
Some of these hikes are accessible on a long day-trip from Christchurch, but Mt Clara and Mt Princess are best accessed from Hanmer Springs, and Mt Haast and the Klondyke Circuit from Hanmer, or else Reefton on the West Coast side. There are still more tramps to do but I think these are enough to keep you busy. There’s more info on the DOC website for walks in Victoria Forest Park, Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve, Hanmer Forest Park, and also on Fowlers Pass, which provides access to Mt Clara and surrounds.
A challenging route up Mt Princess (2126m) in the St James Range, with excellent views of Princess Bath & over countless peaks & valleys.
A remote feeling tramp to the summit of Mt Clara (1945m) in the St James Conservation Area, with spectacular views, especially in winter.
Hard (Moderate to Dumblane only)
A long but excellent walk to the summit of Mt Charon (1560m) from Jacks Pass, also taking in the peak named Dumblane (1303m). Great views and very attractive heath vegetation.
A short but attractive climb from Jacks Pass to the summit Mt Isobel (1319m), near the town of Hanmer Springs.
Moderate to Hard
Fabulous views & some of the most beautiful tarns we’ve ever seen on this walk up Faust (1710m) & Mephistopheles (1736m) in the Lewis Pass region.
A lesser known walk up Mt Norma (1722m) in the Lewis Pass region, with spectacular views of numerous mountain peaks and glacial valleys.
A tramp in the Lewis Pass region to the summit of Travers Peak (1724m), with great views and attractive forest on the climb up.
A classic walk to the Lewis Tops, climbing at first through attractive beech forest, then up onto the tarn strewn tops for wonderful views in all directions.
A flat option
A pleasant walk up the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut, passing through attractive beech forest & over a picturesque gorge on the Nina River.
Springs Junction to Reefton
A varied walk up the Klondyke Spur Track to above the bushline, with great views before you return via tarns & the Klondyke Valley Track.
Fabulous 360 degree views from the top of Mt Haast (1587m) in Victoria Forest Park, accessed on the steep but straightforward Mt Haast Route.