Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ

More tarns than you could ever hope for on this route past Wye Creek and on to the Doolans Creek tarns in the rugged Hector Mountains.

At the rugged northern end of the Hector Mountains, and behind the iconic Remarkables Range near Queenstown, are about fifteen scenic tarns. There are five in the Wye Creek Basin, and ten in the rather more remote area above Doolans Creek East Branch. A ridge of rugged peaks separates the two clusters. Most of these tarns are enormous, deep, and all of them scenic. The Wye Creek tarns are set amongst tussock grassland with Single Cone towering overhead. And the Doolans Creek tarns are dotted around rocky terrain with patches of golden tussock. For anybody that likes tarns I can’t imagine a better two day route. Continue reading “Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ”

Mt Pfeifer and Pfeifer Bivvy, Arthur’s Pass National Park, West Coast NZ

Stay overnight in Pfeifer Bivvy, and get exceptional views from the summit of nearby Mt Pfeifer (1704m), on the West Coast side of Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Billed as a lesser visited site, the increasingly popular Pfeifer Bivvy and Mt Pfeifer offer exceptional views deep into Arthur’s Pass National Park. Only the very fit would manage this in a day, so for most it will be quite a hard slog with full pack to stay in the hut or camp nearby. A side trip to summit Mt Pfeifer is well worth it. You’re likely to summit the mountain later in the day, or else early the next, and so the 360 degree views will be enhance by the angled light. Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Pfeifer and Pfeifer Bivvy, Arthur’s Pass National Park, West Coast NZ”

Cameron Hut Route, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Walk up the Cameron Valley and spend the night at Cameron Hut in a spectacular alpine setting under the towering Arrowsmith Range.

Famous for its distinctive purple door, and of course it’s wild alpine setting, Cameron Hut makes for a great 2-3 day trip. We stayed two nights and I fit in a solo climb of The Marquee (2412m), extending my sense of adventure significantly. But even if you visit only the hut you’ll be agog at peaks in the Arrowsmith Range towering above you, as you cook dinner surrounded by lumps and ridges of glacial moraine. It’s a special location. Continue reading “Cameron Hut Route, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

The Marquee from Cameron Hut, Arrowsmith Range, Canterbury NZ

The challenging climb of The Marquee (2421m) gives ‘entry level’ access to the Arrowsmith Range & all the alpine grandeur that comes with it.

The challenging climb of The Marquee (2421m), in Canterbury’s Arrowsmith Range, offers a real experience of alpine grandeur. You get panoramic views of multiple glaciated peaks in the Arrowsmith Range, which tops out at Mt Arrowsmith (2780m). In other directions you lord it over many high mountain ranges, and the upstream Rakaia River snakes away to the north-east. Continue reading “The Marquee from Cameron Hut, Arrowsmith Range, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Technical, Lucretia and The Apprentice, Lewis Pass, Canterbury/ West Coast NZ

Big views of peaks, valleys and tarns on this challenging hike to Mt Technical (1870m), with extra peaks Lucretia & The Apprentice thrown in.

By some definitions Mt Technical (1870m) is the most northerly substantial peak in the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. The names suggests it might be out of reach for the average tramper/hiker, but there is one route that is non-technical, though there are still some challenges. Views from the top over the Lewis Pass area are predictably excellent, being the highest peak for some distance. Glacier carved and forested valleys intersect peaks and grassy tops, and there are tarns dotted all over the place. Continue reading “Mt Technical, Lucretia and The Apprentice, Lewis Pass, Canterbury/ West Coast NZ”

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.

Continue reading “Mt Griffin via Wilson Knob, West Coast NZ”

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. 

Continue reading “Mt Brown Hut & Summit, Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve, West Coast NZ”