Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Fabulous alpine views, lovely beech forest, and a good amount of adventure on the Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse at Arthur’s Pass.

The Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse starts on the Cons Track and finishes on the Temple Basin Track and Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. But in between it is one of the more adventurous of the very accessible walks starting on the highway at Arthur’s Pass. I’ve got used to these walks being spectacular but I think this one probably took the views to a new level.

You get to bag two peaks, Mt Cassidy (1850m) and Blimit (1922m, apparently short for “Bloody Limit”), the latter being a longish scramble to probably the best views of the day. Returning via Temple Basin makes it a quite varied circuit. Apart from epic alpine vistas, there is very attractive beech forest on the way up the Cons Track, amongst the nicest I’ve seen in New Zealand. So for views and adventure in a medium to long day this route is hard to beat. Continue reading “Mt Cassidy – Blimit Traverse, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

Great views of volcanic topography on this walk up through farmland to Mt Herbert (919m), the highest point on the Banks Peninsula.

Te Ahu Patiki / Mt Herbert (919m) is the highest point on the Banks Peninsula. Although not that high, the views from on the way up and near the summit are very good, and you can climb it from sea level if you start to the north at Diamond Harbour. The walking experience is just mediocre, being mostly through slightly pooey farmland, but it’s not a hard walk, and I think worth it for the views. Those views include Mt Bradley (a good alternative walk from Gebbies Pass), Mt Evans, plus Lyttelton Harbour and the surrounding crater rim. Continue reading “Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ”

Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ

A very pleasant short walk in the north-east of Christchurch around the reconstructed Travis Wetland, with native plants & lots of birdlife.

My wife Sophia has worked opposite Travis Wetland in the Christchurch suburb of Burwood for a few months, but this was our first time to visit it. I didn’t expect all that much, but it is in fact a very pleasant stroll. The majority of the area is grassy wetland, but various iconic native plants are planted along the track, many of them labelled. And there are pleasant lakes, lots of birdlife, and a viewing tower so you can get a proper look at the area. Continue reading “Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ”

Best Day-Hikes Near Wanaka NZ

My pick of the best day-hikes near the holiday town of Wanaka, taking in walks around Lakes Wanaka & Hawea, & in Mt Aspiring National Park.

Wanaka has a reputation for being the lower-key sibling of Queenstown, and there is much to recommend the area. Many excellent day-walks are one of these things. I had only done a few until quite recently, but on my last two trips down that way I fit in a few others that were real classics. So now I feel ready to compile a best-of list, although I’m sure there are others to add.

The walks on this list can be broadly be split into two groups – those around Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, and those in Mt Aspiring National Park. The land around the lakes is generally lacking forest cover, whereas the national park is a bit lusher. There are some tall glaciated peaks in Mt Aspiring National Park as well, so the scale is grander.

Continue reading “Best Day-Hikes Near Wanaka NZ”

My Epic Year of Hiking in New Zealand

I review a year’s hiking in New Zealand post-Covid lockdown, a year in which I did 72 full sized day-hikes, 68 of them new to me.

In the year since the New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown ended in late April 2020 I completed 72 hikes (“tramps” in the NZ vernacular), and fifteen shorter walks. Of the 72 hikes 68 were new to me (I had done one before, and I repeated just three). I will explain how I came to do so many walks in a moment. But first, and in order to show off a bit, I will regale you with a few statistics:

  • 68,500m (~225,000ft) of ascent and descent
  • Almost 900km (~550mi) of walking
  • On 64 of these hikes I climbed to a peak or other high point, ranging between 445m and 2333m high, and averaging 1000m of ascent and descent each time
  • 58 of these high points were named peaks over 1000m of elevation, so I incidentally completed the 52 Peaks Challenge
  • All of these tramps were on New Zealand’s South Island, and completed as day-walks; I did all but three of them with my wife Sophia (& she did an overnighter I didn’t do)

Continue reading “My Epic Year of Hiking in New Zealand”

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

The Coal Hill Track takes you up steeply through tussock grass to the summit of Coal Hill (1617m), with excellent views the whole way.

The Coal Hill Track takes you 1000m pretty much straight up to the summit of Coal Hill (1617m), with great views over the surrounding mountains, the Rangitata River, and east over the Canterbury Plains. These mountains include Mt Taylor to the north, nearby Mt Harper, the Main Divide to the north-west, and nearby Mt Peel to the south. There’s also views towards the open ground around the Ashburton Lakes. Continue reading “Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Scotts Saddle Track, Mount Hutt Range, Canterbury NZ

A nice half day walk up through Mount Hutt Forest on the Scotts Saddle Track to above the treeline and views of the Plains and Foothills.

A nice half day walk up through Mount Hutt Forest on the Scotts Saddle Track to above the treeline. There are views of the Canterbury Plains and peaks in the Pudding Hill Range to the west, and Mount Hutt Range further north, including South Peak (2081m). The forest is varied and attractive, and may be the highlight for some walkers, although the views are good for relatively little effort. We returned back along the Ridge Track  and Opuke Track for a bit of variation – worth it I think. Continue reading “Scotts Saddle Track, Mount Hutt Range, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Guy & Lake Clearwater Circuit Track, Canterbury NZ

A walk up Mt Guy (1319m) for excellent views of the Ashburton Lakes, and a return route via the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track.

As a shortish tracked route to the top of a mountain with views I had been thinking about climbing Mt Guy (1319m) ever since we moved to Christchurch. Somehow though it took us a year to get up there. The views from the mountain are very good, although the summit was clouded in so we missed all but the views south over the Ashburton Lakes. It was a pretty short trip up, so we’ll be back on a clear winter’s day to get those missing views. To compensate for a short walk and limited views we decided to finish the walk the long way, completing the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track. The weather actually cleared as we descended from Mt Guy so we got views from ground level of the Southern Alps and other peaks. Continue reading “Mt Guy & Lake Clearwater Circuit Track, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Grey / Maukatere Circuit, North Canterbury NZ

A circuit walk through native forest visiting the grassy summit of Mt Grey / Maukatere (933m) for extensive views, especially north east.

The circuit walk up Mt Grey / Maukatere (933m) is mostly a pleasant forest walk, but the views from the grassy summit are extensive. The views north-east up the coast are the best, with rolling hills between Mt Grey and distant tall mountains. We had interesting light and clouds when we did it, but I’d like to return on a clear day to get a proper look at those mountains. If you want to get good pictures of those peaks to the north then you’ll need a zoom lens. Continue reading “Mt Grey / Maukatere Circuit, North Canterbury NZ”

Mt Iron Circuit, Wanaka, Otago NZ

A shortish circuit walk up the glacial landform of Mt Iron (548m), with views in all directions including Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.

Climbing Mt Iron is a popular circuit walk on the edge of Wanaka. Although there are steep sections it is a reasonably short and straightforward walk through a mix of private and conservation land. There are views in all directions, over Lake Wanaka, farmland, the towns of Wanaka and Albert Town, and various mountains including the Southern Alps. Continue reading “Mt Iron Circuit, Wanaka, Otago NZ”