Mt Griffin via Wilson Knob, West Coast 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.

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Lake Nerine Circuit, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

An epic 3-4 day circuit in Mt Aspiring National Park, visiting Lake Nerine and sampling some of NZ’s best scenery along the way.

This three to four-day circuit walk visiting Lake Nerine was our best and hardest walk to date. The route passes through unspoilt wilderness on the western side of Mt Aspiring National Park bordering Fiordland. You bag two beautiful valleys – the Routeburn / Routeburn North Branch and the Rockburn;  three mountain passes – North Col, Parks Pass and Sugarloaf Pass; and walk under the towering Humboldt Mountains pretty much the whole way. And then there’s a multitude of tarns and lakes with Lake Nerine the jewel in the crown. Continue reading “Lake Nerine Circuit, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Buckland Peaks Track, Paparoa National Park, West Coast NZ

Exceptional views over the Paparoa Range from the Buckland Peaks. Stay at the hut or camp out to give yourself more time to explore the tops.

I’d come across the Buckland Peaks Track while looking over topo maps, and it looked like a doozy. With a two day weather window and some mid week leave planned, my wife Sophia and I headed over to the West Coast and spent a night camping up on the Buckland Peaks tops. The views are exceptional, and with a decent sized plateau to wander around you can get numerous perspectives on peaks in the Paparoa Range, views inland, and views up and down the coast. Continue reading “Buckland Peaks Track, Paparoa National Park, West Coast NZ”

Lake Angelus Hut via Robert Ridge, Nelson Lakes National Park NZ

A real classic overnight tramp to Angelus Hut at Lake Angelus, in Nelson Lakes National Park, taking the rugged and scenic Robert Ridge Route.

In my days of only doing day-walks I had often looked enviously at pictures of Lake Angelus (at 1650m), in Nelson Lakes National Park, thinking it was too far for a day-trip. It turns out you can do it in a day, even in winter, (we saw a few trail runners doing just that). But for time to soak in the views there are few better overnighters than the Robert Ridge Route to Angelus Hut.

The route first climbs Mt Robert (1421m) on the Pinchgut Track, where there are good views of Lake Rotoiti and west over plains to Mt Owen. (If you wanted a short day walk you could then return via Paddy’s Track to make a circuit). From there it’s along the increasingly rugged Robert Ridge, peaking at 1788m, before dropping to the shores of Lake Angelus at 1650m. The views start good and just keep getting better: a real classic. Continue reading “Lake Angelus Hut via Robert Ridge, Nelson Lakes National Park NZ”

Mt Brown Hut & Summit, Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve, West Coast NZ

Mt Brown (1270m) is a spectacular West Coast destination for an overnighter, with grand views of mountain ranges, Lake Kaniere and the coast.

Mt Brown Hut is considered one of the very best locations of any accessible backcountry hut in New Zealand. With a decent weather window one weekend it was time for me to embark on my first ever overnight tramp and check it out. The steep 1000m climb up through beautiful West Coast forest is hard work but rewarding. Once above the tree-line the epic views begin to unfold, with Lake Kaniere and the coast to the east, and numerous mountain ranges to the north south and west. We visited the nearby unnamed summit of Mt Brown (1210m) for extra views; that took about 1 1/4 hours return. The views were an obvious highlight, but the forest was unusually beautiful as well, so if you don’t get the views I think you’ll still enjoy the walk. 

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Mt Ollivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park NZ

Really spectacular views the whole way on this classic alpine walk to Mt Ollivier via Sealy Tarns & Mueller Hut, in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

A really spectacular (and steep) alpine walk in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to three possible end points. First are the attractive Sealy Tarns at 1300m, which make for a moderate day walk. Then for the energetic, or those equipped for an overnight stay, continue on up the hill to Mueller Hut, and on for 500-600m to the summit of Mt Ollivier (1933m). There are views of Mt Sefton (3151m), NZ’s highest peak Aoraki Mt Cook (3724m), various glaciers and glacier lakes, and the Hooker River Valley 1000m below. Highly recommended. Continue reading “Mt Ollivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park NZ”

Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ

One of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day Great Walks, there’s spectacular alpine and forest scenery the whole way.

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day walks, and one of its so called Great Walks. It passes through two of NZ’s most beautiful national parks, Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. There’s quintessential NZ scenery the whole way, including sparkling alpine lakes, lush beech forest and towering rocky peaks. And at roughly 33km one-way it is short enough for less experienced trampers to take on. Continue reading “Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ”

Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ

The Kaikoura Coast Track is a two day private walk taking in spectacular coastal scenery & patches of native bush. Accommodation is provided.

The Kaikoura Coast Track was my first time doing a private walk, (one that you pay to do), and also my first overnighter. It’s really a combination of two day walks, with the organisers taking your stuff between ‘bach’ style accommodation – so it’s a pretty cruisy way to walk. The scenery on the first day included dark volcanic sands, sea cliffs and patches of native bush. The second day starts inland, and you walk over Skull Peak (489m) with 360 degree views over the area and more native bush as you walk back to the coast. (These views were unfortunately clouded in on the day we did it, so no pics). There’s also quite a bit of wildlife around: lots of seals, but you can sometimes see dolphins and whales. The less attractive sections include sometimes smelly paddocks and a couple of stretches of road, but all in all a nice and unique walking experience. Continue reading “Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ”

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant walk up the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut, passing through attractive beech forest & over a picturesque gorge on the Nina River.

This pleasant walk in the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut was a plan B on our first trip to the Lewis Pass area, as low cloud made put us off our planned mountain ascent. Almost 6 hours in beech forest was a bit much for me, but it was very pleasant forest, and a couple of sections of the Nina River were picturesque too. My photos proved reasonably popular amongst friends and family on Facebook, so I guess that is a vote of confidence in the scenery on offer, but of course look below and judge for yourself. Continue reading “Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury NZ”