The Walks/Blog

Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass, St James Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

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

Although I’d read about the walk to Mt Clara (1945m) before, I decided to do it when the knowledgeable owner of Hanmer Backpackers (Tristan) recommended it to us. In winter conditions it turned out to be one of the better walks we’ve done. The conditions on the tops in winter were proper alpine, and the views north and east in particular were quite spectacular. And you get those views for much of the walk. It’s a long and remote enough tramp to be a bit adventurous, but short enough to fit comfortably into a long winter’s day. Continue reading “Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass, St James Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Travers Peak via Foleys Track, Lewis Pass, Canterbury NZ

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

The climb to Travers Peak (1724m) is another partially tracked walk in the Lewis Pass Region that offers nice forest walking then excellent views from the tops. We did this walk in winter when there was quite a bit of snow on the tops, and this added to views over high mountains to the north especially. It’s not such a long walk, about 4 hours in total, so you you get good value for effort on this tramp. Continue reading “Travers Peak via Foleys Track, Lewis Pass, Canterbury NZ”

Woolshed Hill Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

The Woolshed Hill Track is an excellent walk of only moderate difficulty with great views over peaks & valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park from the summit at 1429m.

I’d been saving the Woolshed Hill Track for winter, when I thought I could get good snowy views for moderate effort and without avalanche risk. The walk certainly delivered, with excellent views from the summit of Woolshed Hill (1429m) over the Waimakariri, Hawdon and Andrews Valleys, and many of other snow capped peaks in Arthur’s Pass including Mt Binser and the Pyramid. And there was enough snow on the tops to make it feel a bit alpine up there, (although somebody who walked it a week later said the snow had gone). Continue reading “Woolshed Hill Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt Vernon Park Circuit, Christchurch NZ

Pictures from a couple of circuit walks we did in Mt Vernon Park in Christchurch’s Port Hills. Pleasant walking with views over the city.

There are a variety of tracks available in Mt Vernon Park, passing through sections of native bush, paddocks and tussock. As you climb higher towards Mt Vernon itself there are increasingly good views over Christchurch and of the lumpy crater rim from on the tops. Like many walks in the Port Hills it is far from a wilderness experience, but I was pleasantly surprised how remote some sections felt given you start in the suburbs of Christchurch. Continue reading “Mt Vernon Park Circuit, Christchurch NZ”

Big Hill – Arrow River Circuit, Arrowtown NZ

A nice circuit walk out the back of Arrowtown, taking in tussock country on Big Hill (1137m), & a section of the Arrow River and Gorge.

This was another great walk out the back of Arrowtown near Queenstown. The route first climbs steadily from the edge of town steadily to Big Hill Saddle, passing through a mix of vegetation including a pleasant stand of beech forest. Then it’s up and over Big Hill itself, with views of the region’s typically wrinkly, tussock grass covered topography that looks particularly attractive in winter lighting. Continue reading “Big Hill – Arrow River Circuit, Arrowtown NZ”

Moke Lake Loop Track, Queenstown NZ

The Moke Lake Loop Track is an easygoing walk around this picturesque lake near Queenstown, surrounded by mountains.

Moke Lake is situated in a scenic area surrounded by mountains, and is just a short drive from downtown Queenstown. The walk around the lake on the Moke Lake Loop Track is easygoing and suitable for families. On a winter’s afternoon I found the lighting quite attractive and enjoyed the walk despite usually opting for more challenging terrain. Continue reading “Moke Lake Loop Track, Queenstown NZ”

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur, Queenstown NZ

It’s a short but steep climb to the informal Moke Lake Viewpoint, then an adventurous scramble up Williamson Spur for ever expanding views.

The informal Moke Lake Viewpoint is an increasingly popular spot to visit for views of this scenic lake and surrounding area. The lookout is on the Williamson Spur, and adventurous trampers can head further up the spur for increasingly good views that exceeded my expectations. There’s quite rugged scenery to the north, and the spur itself is pretty gnarly, plus expanding views of Moke Lake as you climb higher. Certainly the misty weather helped add some character to the views, but I’m sure clear weather would reveal some nice scenes we missed out on.

Continue reading “Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur, Queenstown NZ”

Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Fabulous alpine views, lovely beech forest, and a good amount of adventure on the Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse at Arthur’s Pass.

The Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse starts on the Cons Track and finishes on the Temple Basin Track and Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. But in between it is one of the more adventurous of the very accessible walks starting on the highway at Arthur’s Pass. I’ve got used to these walks being spectacular but I think this one probably took the views to a new level.

You get to bag two peaks, Mt Cassidy (1850m) and Blimit (1922m, apparently short for “Bloody Limit”), the latter being a longish scramble to probably the best views of the day. Returning via Temple Basin makes it a quite varied circuit. Apart from epic alpine vistas, there is very attractive beech forest on the way up the Cons Track, amongst the nicest I’ve seen in New Zealand. So for views and adventure in a medium to long day this route is hard to beat. Continue reading “Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

Great views of volcanic topography on this walk up through farmland to Mt Herbert (919m), the highest point on the Banks Peninsula.

Te Ahu Patiki / Mt Herbert (919m) is the highest point on the Banks Peninsula. Although not that high, the views from on the way up and near the summit are very good, and you can climb it from sea level if you start to the north at Diamond Harbour. The walking experience is just mediocre, being mostly through slightly pooey farmland, but it’s not a hard walk, and I think worth it for the views. Those views include Mt Bradley (a good alternative walk from Gebbies Pass), Mt Evans, plus Lyttelton Harbour and the surrounding crater rim. Continue reading “Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ”

Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ

A very pleasant short walk in the north-east of Christchurch around the reconstructed Travis Wetland, with native plants & lots of birdlife.

My wife Sophia has worked opposite Travis Wetland in the Christchurch suburb of Burwood for a few months, but this was our first time to visit it. I didn’t expect all that much, but it is in fact a very pleasant stroll. The majority of the area is grassy wetland, but various iconic native plants are planted along the track, many of them labelled. And there are pleasant lakes, lots of birdlife, and a viewing tower so you can get a proper look at the area. Continue reading “Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ”