Routeburn Track to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

The Routeburn is a classic New Zealand multi-day walk, and the section in Mt Aspiring National Park to Harris Saddle, with a side trip to Conical Hill, is probably the most stupendously picturesque. You should do it.

One of New Zealand’s classic multi-day walks, the Routeburn Track can be walked from the Glenorchy end to Harris Saddle in a long day. The views are fabulous, and you can also fit in a short but steep side trip to the summit of Conical Hill (1515m) for even more fantastic views. It’s inevitably popular, but probably won’t be as busy as you think. It rates as possibly the best walk we’ve done to date, although with a well graded track and good facilities, it lacks the remoteness of some other great NZ day walks. Continue reading “Routeburn Track to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Mt Crichton to pt. 1723m, near Queenstown NZ

A really excellent walk to a minor peak on Mt Crichton. Fabulous mountain and lake views almost the whole way, and a good work out too.

The climb up Mt Crichton near Queenstown was one of our best walks to date. And even if you don’t visit one of the summit peaks you’ll still feel a sense of achievement and wonder by going as far as the minor peak at 1723m. Be prepared for quite a work out though, as much of it is steep and on a sometimes obscure route. Continue reading “Mt Crichton to pt. 1723m, near Queenstown NZ”

Monolith Valley to Nibelung Pass, Budawangs NSW

The long but interesting walk into Monolith Valley will reward the enthusiastic hiker with 360 degree views of large rocky outcrops and shear cliffs.

One of the classic NSW day walks, the trek into Monolith Valley is often overshadowed by an ascent of the Castle. For sure the Castle is a must-do walk, but Monolith Valley is an excellent alternative for a different kind of spectacular. The walk into the area along the Castle walls is already awesome, and the views of Monolith Valley are first seen by continuing just past a chained section of Nibelung Pass. There you can climb one of the smaller monoliths for 360 degree views of huge textured rock landforms and distant cliff faces.

Continue reading “Monolith Valley to Nibelung Pass, Budawangs NSW”

The Castle, Morton National Park NSW

Surely one of the best walks in NSW, summiting The Castle (847m) in Morton National Park provides spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs and plateaus in the Budawang Range. It’s only for fit walkers, and those willing to do a fair bit of scrambling, and also those with a reasonable head for heights.

These pics are from our second time up The Castle (847m), one of NSW’s most challenging and spectacular day walks, situated in Morton National Park on the South Coast of NSW near Ulladulla. The views are probably the best I’ve seen in NSW, and with just enough exposure near the top to get the adrenaline flowing, it makes a memorable walk for any fit bushwalker. Continue reading “The Castle, Morton National Park NSW”

Mt Anne, Southwest NP Tasmania

Probably the most spectacular Australian walk I’ve done to date, there are knock your hiking socks off views all the way along the track to the summit of Mt Anne (1423m) in Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park. Huge lakes, rugged cliffs, mountain peaks, alpine plants, and more boulders than you can shake your walking poles at.

Climbing Mt Anne is a long day walk, and a long drive to get there from pretty much anywhere, but totally worth the effort. The scenery is just fantastic: there are vistas taking in much of Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness, excellent views of the enormous Lake Pedder, and you get up close and personal with dramatic cliffs, countless boulders, and delicate spongy alpine plants. And with 1420m change in elevation it’s a good work out too. The final climb to the summit is up through shear cliffs and not for those afraid of heights, but even if you don’t do this bit it’s well worth walking to their base.  (I stopped just short of the summit myself.) Continue reading “Mt Anne, Southwest NP Tasmania”

Collinsvale Peaks Track, Wellington Park, Tasmania

This long but reasonably straightforward walk takes in three peaks in one day, each of them offering 360 views of the surrounding alpine plateau and further afield. The area feels fairly remote, but is only a 45 minute drive from Hobart.

The area west of Hobart known as Wellington Park is an alpine plateau that contains a number of accessible peaks over 1000m of elevation.The walk depicted here takes in three peaks in one day – Collins Bonnet (1246m), Trestle Mountain (1160m), and Collins Cap (1098m). The walking is mostly through forest or woodland, but you pass through the tree line on the way up each mountain, which provide unobstructed and quite extensive views of the protected area and beyond. The initial climb is through attractive rainforest where the tree ferns are flourishing. Continue reading “Collinsvale Peaks Track, Wellington Park, Tasmania”

The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

Mt Buffalo National Park in Victoria is a really excellent place, and the biggest walk in the park is called, appropriately, The Big Walk. You ascend about 1000m to spectacular views of the Gorge (a gorge), and of the distant Victorian Alps.

When we climbed Victoria’s second highest mountain, Mt Feathertop, I saw a big hunk of a mountain in the distance and thought “we should really go there this holiday”. Well, we did, and it was grouse (as the Victorians say). The mountain is called Mt Buffalo, after its shape, and the pictures below are of the longest walk in the park, the so called Big Walk, but we also did three short walks higher up on the plateau after we finished – The Horn (which looks like a horn), The Hump, (which looks like a hump), and the Chalwell Galleries. All offered excellent views (especially the first two). This walk starts at the bottom of the mountain and rises about 1000m to 1350m of elevation. At the end of the walk are spectacular views of the Gorge (which is a gorge), particularly the very sheer and massive North Wall (which is the wall on the north side of the Gorge). Clearly very little mental effort was expended when naming the parts of this national park. Continue reading “The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur Track, Alpine NP Victoria

Climbing Mt Feathertop along the Bungalow Spur Track involves a steady 1440m ascent over 11km to the summit at 1920m of elevation; the second highest point in Victoria. You climb from lush forest through mountain ash and snow gums, then into alpine meadow up to the summit, where there are extensive views over the Victorian high country.

I find climbing steeply up 1000+ vertical metres to the top of a pointy mountain very satisfying. So when I read that climbing Victoria’s second highest mountain involved a 1440m vertical climb over 11km I thought it justified our first bushwalking trip to Victoria. And the reports I read about Mt Feathertop promised a pointy summit; now, it is by mainland Australian standards, but if you’ve hiked in NZ or Tasmania, (or almost anywhere else in the world), then you won’t find it particularly pointy. You steadily climb up through lush forest at first, into mountain ash woodland, then snow gums, and finish in alpine meadows. The views extend over the Victorian high country, and inspired me to visit Mt Buffalo a couple of days later, which  I could see from the summit, and looked great. (I had to work out where this was on the map.)  Continue reading “Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur Track, Alpine NP Victoria”

Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW

This is one of Sydney’s best walks, taking in views of much of the Jamison Valley and surrounding cliffs, from vantage points on the rock formation known as the Ruined Castle, and from the summit of the isolated Mt Solitary.

When Sophia and I first started regular bushwalking we did the first half of this walk as far as the Ruined Castle. This is already a classic Sydney walk, but continuing on to the summit plateau of the stately looking Mt Solitary provides more great views, and the added satisfaction of a big day’s walking in fairly isolated country. Overnight walkers can continue further to traverse the mountain.
Continue reading “Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW”

Daecheongbong Peak, Seoraksan NP South Korea

Really spectacular hiking in Seoraksan National Park, on the north-east coast of South Korea. There were peak autumn colours, countless rock spires and sheer cliffs towering overhead, as well as waterfalls, super cute squirrels, and a significant Buddhist temple near the end of the walk.

Seoraksan National Park is reputed to be the most beautiful part of South Korea, and with good reason. I was lucky to time my first trip to the park with peak Autumn colours, so I got the full experience. Despite having walked for hours already, the scenery in the latter third of the walk was so fantastic that I bounded down the mountain like a manic mountain goat, feeling no tiredness due to the scenery-fuelled adrenaline in my system. Keep wading through my many photos to see this section, and also a few photos at the end of the Buddhist temple Sinheungsa. Continue reading “Daecheongbong Peak, Seoraksan NP South Korea”