This was my third time up Brow Peak, having ascended via Big Hill Saddle twice, and almost getting to the summit from Coronet Peak. (I ran out of time on Christmas Day, needing to get back for festivities with friends). This is a short ascent and good if you want the views without so much walking, however there are less views than walking the longish ridge from Big Hill. If it’s your first time up I recommend going this longer route. Nevertheless, excellent views await you at the summit, especially of the backcountry to the north, and this route offers a nice return circuit along picturesque Bush Creek.
However, this last bit requires some serious route finding, so only for experienced parties. There are less adventurous circuit routes available. And of course you could come back the same way for a short day out. Have a look at my track notes for details.
Brow Peak – Bush Creek Circuit: The Scenery
You start on the Bush Creek Saw Pit Gully Circuit, then veer off onto the Big Hill route. You should leave this pretty soon and head off on an obvious impact track up the spur to the ridge, then left along the ridge to the summit.
From here I recommend options other than what we did. You could go a long route and continue on down the ridge towards Coronet Peak, and turn left near point 1377m to join the bush creek route and return back to the car park. Otherwise you could drop down to point 1160m as we did, but drop directly down to the Te Araroa Trail (your outward route), finding a way gap through bush and possibly dead pine trees to reach the trail (there are obvious gaps but I can’t quite remember where to mark them on the map).
Our route involved heading down from point 1160m along the spur almost due south, aiming for what I naively thought might be a gap in the bush to cross Bush Creek and get on the track. The bush was pretty much impenetrable, so we headed back east a few hundred metres to find a way through dead pines and then a thin patch of beech forest to cross the creek. It turned out okay but for a moment I thought we’d have to climb back up to point 1160m and find our way down from there. Near where we crossed, just to the east and lined by beech trees, was a vertical cliff, and so be careful in bad visibility.