End Peak from Treble Cone Ski Field, Wānaka NZ

Get a leg up on this climb to End Peak (2100m) from Treble Cone Ski Field, with great views of Lake Wānaka & the Harris Mountains backcountry.

End Peak (2100m) offers grand views of Lake Wānaka to the east, and over the Harris Mountains backcountry to the west. If you had to climb it from the bottom it would be a real slog, but thankfully you can get a leg up starting at Treble Cone Ski Field (~1260m). Once the steep climb onto the ridge is finished, it’s then fairly easy ridge travel all the way to the summit, with great views the whole way. Lake Wānaka is always there, but views of a heart shaped tarn are an added bonus for reaching the summit.  Continue reading “End Peak from Treble Cone Ski Field, Wānaka NZ”

Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ

Excellent views of the Wakatipu Basin, Richardson Mountains and Skippers backcountry on this loop over Mt Dewar & back via Skippers Road.

I had first visited Mt Dewar on the Devils Creek Circuit some years ago, and wasn’t so impressed by the views on that day. Well, what a difference some good lighting makes! This time the views were awesome, including south over the Wakatipu Basin, and north over the Skippers Backcountry and Richardson Mountains. So I can in fact recommend either of these two walks 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ”

Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ

Lots of scrambling, exposure and tricky route finding on the way up Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, along Williamson Spur.

On a previous occasion we’d set off for Mt Hanley and made it only part way up Williamson Spur, turning back in less than ideal weather. There was already some scrambling and exposure going that far, but climbing all the way to the summit involved quite a bit more, and ended up being the scariest walk I’ve done to date! It didn’t help that my wife Sophia pulled out that morning and I went by myself. I probably shouldn’t have. This walk is best done with somebody else, and anybody who tries it will need to be comfortable with scrambling and exposure. The views are good, particularly when there are shadows highlighting the many ridges on the surrounding hillsides (which I didn’t really have in mid summer). Continue reading “Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown 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”

Flat Top Hill Circuit, Alexandra NZ

A fairly unique circuit walk through the rocky and arid Central Otago landscape of Flat Top Hill, with excellent views of Roxburgh Gorge.

On Christmas Day 2022 we decided to chase the best of the weather and head out to Alexandra for the first time in years, doing a circuit walk in Flat Top Hill Conservation Area. It’s a unique rocky and arid landscape punctuated by the aqua colour of the dammed Clutha River in Roxburgh Gorge. You can do a roughly 13km circuit as we did, but a shorter version following just the Basin View Track is enough to see the best scenery in the area. Continue reading “Flat Top Hill Circuit, Alexandra NZ”

Mt Cheeseman from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

Fabulous views await those who climb steeply to Mt Cheeseman (2031m), a peak on the crest of the Craigieburn Range.

Prior to climbing Mt Cheeseman (2031m) we had done only one other big walk in the Craigieburn Range, climbing nearby Mt Cloudsley. So our second peak on the range crest was overdue, but what a great peak it was. I hadn’t expected such fabulous views, which include the impressive Mt Olympus (2094m) – for me the highlight of these vistas. But there are countless peaks in every direction, so a real visual feast. Throw in a couple of tarns and a proper work out, and you have an excellent day out for more experienced walkers.

Continue reading “Mt Cheeseman from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Scott from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ

A simple off-track walk up to the summit of Mt Scott (1363m) from the Crown Range Road, for views of the Pisa Conservation Area.

The off-track route up Mt Scott (1363m) from the highest point on the Crown Range Road is a quick way to get views over the Pisa Conservation Area and down into the Wakatipu Basin. It can also be extended all the way to Crown Peak, which would in fact be the quickest way to get up this mountain. (We’ve climbed it from Arrowtown and also from further down the Crown Range Road). Continue reading “Mt Scott from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ”

Nikau Palm Walk, Kōhaihai, West Coast NZ

The short Nikau Palm Walk starts on the Heaphy Track next to the Kōhaihai River, and passes through lush rainforest & groves of nikau palms.

If you want a very short walk at the West Coast end of the Heaphy Track then consider this short loop through native forest – the Nikau Palm Walk. The forest is very attractive, and as the name suggests, there are many nikau palms, New Zealand’s only native palm. You cross the Kōhaihai River at the start and views up and down this are also very nice.

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Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ

A very attractive coastal section of the multi-day Heaphy Track, taking in many highlights of West Coast scenery in just half a day.

I was keen to see some quintessential West Coast scenery when we visited the Coast’s northernmost town of Karamea for the first time. A four kilometre section of the multiday Heaphy Track offers just that: a selection of nikau palm lined beaches, lush rainforest and river scenery. The brochures suggest the hour long walk to Scotts Beach as a short day-walk, but continuing on to Big Rock Beach and Swanburn Bridge provides better scenery for not much more effort. I was especially impressed with the nikau palms besides Big Rock Beach, and dense bush lining the Swan Burn (River). Continue reading “Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast 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”