Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown NZ

Brow Peak (1456m) near Arrowtown is an accessible mountain with fabulous views north over wrinkly golden brown mountains, and south over the Wakatipu Basin.

Brow Peak (1456m) is an accessible mountain near Arrowtown, and climbing it provides excellent views of golden brown mountains to the north, and of the Wakatipu Basin to the south. It starts on the fairly well trodden Sawpit Gully Circuit, but once off this you might not meet another person. And the approach to the summit along a  sometimes narrow ridge feels just a little adventurous, adding to the appeal of this walk. There’s also a very pleasant stand of beech forest on the way to Big Hill Saddle.

On my first occasion doing this walk I started mid afternoon in high summer, and the return leg in fading light enhanced the excellent views even further, as the already interesting contours of the land to the north were accentuated by shadows and warm golden hues.  I had to hurry to get down before dark mind you, but that was partially because I took too many photos. Highly recommended, especially in good weather. I also repeated the walk in winter, and this also brought quite nice lighting. I’ve intermingled shots from both seasons.

The ridge to the summit might be unsafe in bad weather, as there are a few exposed spots. Track notes at the end.

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle: The Scenery

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Near the start of the walk along Bush Creek.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
I was a bit slow to get my camera out and would have preferred to get this hot air balloon more in the centre of the mountains. Nice enough shot though. Double and Single Cone peaks of the Remarkables behind. (Shot from winter). 

These next two on the Big Hill Track from when we climbed Big Hill itself…

Big Hill & Arrow Gorge Circuit, Arrowtown
On the Big Hill Track. Brow Peak at the back.
Big Hill & Arrow Gorge Circuit, Arrowtown
This beech forest adds welcome variety to this section of the walk.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
The view from Big Hill Saddle in winter.

Some from summer here…

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Loved the wrinkly hills.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
A panorama of the northern vista.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
The Wakatipu Basin
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Deep Creek: I just loved the shapes in the valley.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Deep Creek Valley
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Distant mountains taken with my telephoto lens.

Now some pics from winter…

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
I loved these knife edge ridges. Mountains are a never ending source of fascinating natural aesthetics.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Looking towards Brow Peak after climbing up onto the ridge.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Deep Creek Valley in the foreground.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Brow Peak. I liked the chunky shapes and deep shadows in this shot.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
A false summit here that is somewhat camouflaged in my other photos. The actual summit is a bit further on and is less pointy. You might be able to see Sophia to the right of some rocks on the upper right of the picture.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Sophia on the summit of Brow Peak (1456m).
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
I loved the wrinkled shapes and washed out colours in this shot.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Chunky mountains to the north east. Possibly Mt Soho, although I didn’t take enough notice of the direction at the time so not sure.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
This ridge is steep on the south side, but in normal weather there’s never any real exposure to worry about.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
No prizes for guessing which is the south side of this ridge.

And back to summer…

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
I take a lot of shots with speargrass/Spaniards in them.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Lots of wrinkly hills, accentuated by the fading light.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
More wrinkly hills.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Taken at Big Hill Saddle, when the light was fading to a warm glow.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Sun going down on the Remarkables.
Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
Brow Peak in the evening as I neared the end of the walk.

A last shot from winter…

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle (winter), Arrowtown
Lake Hayes and the Remarkables as the sun went down.

Track Notes

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
After Big Hill Saddle it’s a sparsely marked route only, but just keep climbing. Once on the ridge it’s obvious until close to the summit when you have to pick a route steeply upwards. It’s easy to mistakenly aim for a pointy false summit – the true summit is a little further on and marked by a big cairn (from memory).

The track is pretty obvious until Big Hill Saddle, where it is lost amongst the tussock, but becomes more obvious again as the ridge narrows. The whole walk is at the moderate end of hard.

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown
To climb Brow Peak, take 3a from the Chinese Miners Settlement car park, then 3b, 3c and 1b along the ridge (sometimes indistinct). Return the same way.

Arrowtown Walks List

The start of the walk…

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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