Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ
Magnificent views on this long day walk to Brewster Glacier, its terminal lakes, and an unnamed peak at 2023m.
I had visited Brewster Hut twice before, and on one of those occasions I went beyond the hut for views east. For some reason though I had not seriously considered visiting Brewster Glacier and its terminal lake, though I know now that this is the main prize for day-walkers in the area. The proximity of the hut means quite a few others will join you, but we got some solitude by also visiting the unnamed peak at 2023m, between Mt Brewster (2516m) and Mt Armstrong (2174m). It’s a high quality walk from start to finish, with beautiful beech forest, lovely alpine flowers in summer, and spectacular and ever changing views for as long as you are above the bushline.
You can also climb Mt Armstrong to bag a peak, but it’s a long walk if you also visit the glacier, and we had to wait too long for the weather to clear. Visiting point 2023m actually gets you views of Mt Armstrong, and still excellent views of the surrounding area. This was my first time to visit a glacier, so this tramp held novelty value for me as well. Track notes at the end.
Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m: The Scenery
A few shots from 2023m…
And now on our way back…
There’s a marked track to Brewster Hut, then a sometimes obvious but sometimes vague impact track and cairns (then only cairns) that lead to the glacier and lakes. I’m not sure how accurate my red line is, but we found our way in low visibility and so you should be okay to follow the route.
To visit the glacier and lakes requires a scramble down through rocky terrain, but I think most experienced trampers will manage this. We saw a party with pre-teens in it that managed to get down.
Visibility was good when we visited 2023m, and that was straightforward over rocks and some remnant snow, although there is no marked route. Try not to fall off cliffs to the south-east.
The terrain past the hut can sometimes be tricky, especially when the impact track runs out and you are following sometimes confusing cairns. My wife Sophia slipped and injured herself twice, taking home some bruises on what was her birthday, and I slipped a few times as well. It’ll be a very long day, especially if you try to summit Mt Armstrong. A bit more manageable if you just visit the glacier and return. You can always stay at Brewster Hut of course.
The walk starts at the Fantail Falls car park, and you have to ford the frigid Haast River right away, so carry your boots from the start. We wore surf shoes and hid them in the bush for our return. Much less painful than walking over pebbles in the river bed as we had done before.
There’s info on the Brewster Track (as far as the hut) on the DOC Website.