Wide open views over Central Otago and the Waitaki Valley on this circuit walk up to Kohurau / Mt Kurow (2009m) in the St Marys Range.
Our first time to walk in the St Marys Range in the far south of Canterbury, where we climbed Kohurau (2009m; Mt Kurow on some maps). There are definite similarities to nearby Central Otago mountains, with tussock covered slopes giving way to desolate rocky alpine tops, and wide open views as far as Aoraki Mt Cook. It’s certainly a uniquely stark aesthetic, overlooking remote country to the south and west. This was in fact our second time in as many weeks to circumnavigate a ski field – this time Awakino Ski Field – a very small operation run by Waitaki Ski Club. Continue reading “Kohurau – Awakino Circuit, St Marys Range, Canterbury NZ”
Big views on this circuit around Porters ski field, taking in Blue Hill (1946m) and Willis Peak (1962m) in the Craigieburn Range.
One of my earlier walks in Canterbury was up Red Hill, with fabulous views of Lake Coleridge and surrounds. Opposite Red Hill is the taller Blue Hill (1946m) in the Craigieburn Range, a steep climb on mostly scree from the Porter Heights Access Road, which provides access to the ski field. From there a very easy ridge walk gets you to nearby Willis Peak (1962m; which is unnamed on some maps). The views from these two peaks are similarly good, those from Willis Peak being a particularly impressive jumble of lumpy arid mountains, backed by tall peaks in the Southern Alps. To extend your adventure and views you can complete a circuit by circumnavigating the Porters ski field, descending to the road on a spur from point 1997m. Continue reading “Blue Hill – Willis Peak – Porters Circuit, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ”
An adventurous route up past a very scenic tarn to the summit of Mt Sinclair (2065m) with spectacular views, especially to the north.
It took me quite a while to get around to climbing Mt Sinclair (2065m), though I’d had my eyes on it for a couple of years. The mountain sits a fairly long way from anywhere, south of the Rangitata River, and the way up is not so obvious. I expect most people who visit do so by helicopter, landing next to the picturesque tarn at about 1600m. The tarn is indeed very nice, and could be a worthy destination on foot, but views from the summit are pretty spectacular and worth the extra climb. Perhaps the highlight are views north over countless high peaks, including the Two Thumbs Range to the NW. Continue reading “Mt Sinclair ascent, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”
The best of West Coast scenery on this challenging but always rewarding trip to Mt Griffin (1517m) via Wilson Knob.
I don’t think there’s anywhere quite like the West Coast for rugged landscapes, lush vegetation, and entirely unpredictable weather! Not to mention gnarly terrain. We averaged about one kilometre per hour on this two-day trip to Mt Griffin over Wilson Knob, and we’re no slouches. But you will be rewarded by the very best West Coast landscapes, including rugged and heavily vegetated ridgelines stretching for miles, lumps of land looking like islands in a sea of cloud, and all kinds of handsome plants along the way.
Climb to the 2019m high peak Mt Izard in the Craigieburn Range for excellent views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and countless other peaks.
The Craigieburn Range has a number of 2000m high peaks that can be climbed in a day, and Mt Izard (2019m) was our latest conquest in this Canterbury High Country playground. The route is pretty straightforward, following the Hogs Back Track for a little over an hour and then taking one easterly spur all the way to the summit. The views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and on down the crest of the Cragieburn Range are a highlight, but there are plenty of other peaks to feast your eyes on. Walking on a still snowy spring day added to the aesthetics.
An extension of the popular Lewis Tops Route to climb The Apprentice (1678m), with grand views in all directions.
My second time up onto the Lewis Tops, but this time in late winter, and with an extension to climb The Apprentice (1678m). Great views of Mt Technical, the Maruia River, One Mile Creek, and various glacier carved mountain ranges all around. Snow enhanced the scenery except for the frozen tarns, which arguably look nicer in liquid form. Continue reading “The Apprentice from Lewis Pass, Canterbury/West Coast NZ”
Spectacular views from Mt Torlesse (1961m), taking in other peaks in the Torlesse Range, including nearby Castle Hill Peak.
Mt Torlesse (1961m) is one of the most prominent mountains on the edge of the Canterbury Plains. I’ve seen it countless times driving past on my way west to other walks, or else from up in the distant Port Hills. After more than three years living in Christchurch it was finally time to climb it, and I picked a cracker of a day. There’s views of other peaks in the Torlesse Range, including a rugged aspect of Castle Hill Peak, and beyond these are peaks in the Craigieburn Range. To the east are the Canterbury Plains, and south-west is your route up. Continue reading “Mt Torlesse ascent, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”
Spectacular views from pt. 1877m on Mt Catherine, of the Southern Alps, other peaks in the Canterbury Foothills, & the Ashburton Lakes area.
My plans to summit Mt Catherine in mid winter turned out to be a bit ambitious, but spectacular views from the minor peak at 1877m made this an excellent walk regardless. The grandeur of the Arrowsmith Range is to the west, many snowy mountains to the north, and Mt Catherine itself to the east. To the south-west are the wide open plains of the Ashburton Lakes area. Continue reading “Mt Catherine to 1877m, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”
This long walk to Black Hill (2067m) via Turtons Saddle offers seriously good views of the Rakaia River and countless mountains in all directions.
I’d had Black Hill (2067m) in mind for spring, with longer days and maybe a bit of snow left to enhance the look of these bare hills. But needing a plan B one mid-winter weekend, I decided to take a chance on this long walk in the snow. And what a walk it was. The views for the middle half were just spectacular, featuring the Rakaia River and more distant tributaries, the Wilberforce and Mathias Rivers, and countless snowy high peaks in all directions. Some of the best views I’ve seen in the Canterbury Foothills. Continue reading “Black Hill Circuit, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”
An alternative circuit route up Castle Hill Peak (1998m), over Mt Plenty, and returning via Foggy Peak for variety. Spectacular views the whole way.
This is an alternate and much less used route up Castle Hill Peak, a Canterbury classic. Starting at Dry Stream you climb steeply up a spur to Mt Plenty, with already excellent views along the way of the Craigieburn Range and other interesting topography. From there it’s a fairly easy ridge to join the main route to Castle Hill peak from Foggy Peak. The final ascent is quite steep and requires some confidence on either scree or possibly hard snow and ice. Views from the summit include other peaks in the Torlesse Range, and out over the Canterbury Plains. Returning to the start via Foggy Peak adds variety and includes great views of Lake Lyndon. A very satisfying circuit with views the whole way. Continue reading “Castle Hill Peak Circuit via Mt Plenty, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”