Best Day-Tramps around Hanmer Springs, Lewis Pass & Reefton

Spectacular and varied tramping on this selection of day-hikes around Hanmer Springs, Lewis Pass & Reefton.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

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 is 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.

Hanmer Springs

Mt Clara & Mt Pickett

Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass, St James Conservation Area
Ascending Mt Clara in the St James Conservation Area.
Hard

A remote feeling tramp to the summit of Mt Clara (1945m) in the St James Conservation Area, with spectacular views, especially in winter.

Mt Charon & Dumblane

Dumblane and Mt Charon, Hanmer Range
On our way to Mt Charon in the Hanmer Range.
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. 

Mt Isobel

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
My wife Sophia doing one of her signature poses on our way down Mt Isobel, at the back of Hanmer Springs.
Moderate

A short but attractive climb from Jacks Pass to the summit Mt Isobel (1319m), near the town of Hanmer Springs.

Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Many wonderful tarns are a highlight of the tramp up to the summit of Faust.
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.

Travers Peak

Travers Peak via Foleys Track, Lewis Pass
Sophia and me on the summit of Travers Peak.
Moderate

A tramp in the Lewis Pass region to the summit of Travers Peak (1724m), with great views and attractive forest on the climb up.

Lewis Tops

Lewis Tops Route, Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve, Canterbury NZ
There are lots of tarns on the Lewis Tops.
Moderate

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.

Nina Valley

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park
A small gorge on the Nina River.
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

Klondyke Circuit

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Admiring the view from the top of Klondyke Spur (1541m).
Moderate-Hard

A varied walk up the Klondyke Spur Track to above the bushline, with great views before you return via tarns & the Klondyke Valley Track.

Mt Haast

Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Arriving at the summit of Mt Haast.
Moderate

Fabulous 360 degree views from the top of Mt Haast (1587m) in Victoria Forest Park, accessed on the steep but straightforward Mt Haast Route.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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