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”

The Dome ascent, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Canterbury NZ

Top class views in all directions on your way up the Dome (1945m), on this sometimes challenging route in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

The Dome (1945m) looms over anybody driving into Arthur’s Pass National Park from the east, standing on the northern edge of the Waimakariri River. The views on offer from the ridge to the summit include the river and countless mountains to the south, which would be enough for most people. But the highlights are in fact impressive mountain ranges and valleys in the national park in all other directions, especially to the north. Certainly some of the best views we’ve seen in this area on a day walk, and there are no bad walks in Arthur’s Pass. You’ll earn these views though, with no easy way up or down the mountain. Continue reading “The Dome ascent, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Canterbury NZ”

Kelly Range Tarns, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Multiple attractive tarns and mountain views on this walk up onto the Kelly Range via Carroll Hut, in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Most of my favourite walks involve climbing a named peak for epic views. But an always worthy alternative is to visit a cluster of mountain tarns, and the Kelly Range has some real beauties. There are excellent views along the way, and continuing on a bit past the tarns to point 1363m will top it all off with big views of Tara Tama and the Taipo Valley.  Continue reading “Kelly Range Tarns, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt O’Malley ascent, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Excellent views, a lovely tarn, and a bit of adventure as you make your way through rocky terrain to Mt O’Malley (1703m) in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Mt O’Malley (1703m) is the lesser known neighbour of Mt Aicken, but you don’t compromise on scenery by visiting this peak. You take the same Mt Aicken Track through beech forest to the bushline. From there you soon veer south-east,  travelling on tussock grass at first, but then moving into very rocky terrain. There are rocky ridges and basins to cross, with a very picturesque tarn one of the highlights of the walk. The views from the summit are spectacular and top off yet another excellent walk in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Continue reading “Mt O’Malley ascent, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt Barron Route, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Fabulously rugged scenery on this adventurous walk up to Mt Barron (1730m) on the West Coast side of Arthur’s Pass National Park.

The route up Mt Barron in Arthur’s Pass National Park was one of the most impressively rugged day-walks I’ve ever done. The walk starts in West Coast forest, which I enjoyed because my last few walks had been all tussock and scree; but this section is not a particular highlight. There’s a scramble through attractive sub-alpine vegetation, before you head off track to the summit. This section is dominated by the rugged Barron Ridge and various high peaks in Arthur’s Pass National Park. The views from the summit are the icing on the already tasty mountain cake. 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Barron Route, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Mt Philistine from Otira Valley, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

The climb to Mt Phililstine (1967m) provides an adventurous alpine walking experience with fabulous views, including those of nearby Mt Rolleston.

One of the more gnarly walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park, the climb to Mt Philistine (1967m) from Otira Valley provides an adventurous walking experience through rugged terrain. It was our first time to climb a glaciated mountain, and there are excellent views of the Rolleston Glacier on the mountain’s southern slopes, of nearby Mt Rolleston (2275m), and of many other peaks and valleys in Arthur’s Pass. Continue reading “Mt Philistine from Otira Valley, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Best Day-Hikes in Arthur’s Pass National Park

Quintessential New Zealand scenery on these classic day-walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park, all accessible from Christchurch on a day-trip.

I haven’t done a single bad walk in Arthur’s Pass National Park, so when it comes to a best-of list it’s basically just a list of walks I’ve done. There’s quintessential New Zealand scenery on all of these tramps: a mix of high and often snow capped peaks, deep braided river valleys, rugged cliffs, and lush native forest. It’s pristine wilderness that is very accessible from Christchurch – a picturesque drive of roughly 1.5-2 hours.

Continue reading “Best Day-Hikes in Arthur’s Pass National Park”

Kellys Hill via Carroll Hut, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

A steep climb through lush West Coast forest to Kellys Hill (1394m) via Carroll Hut for excellent views over numerous peaks and valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park and to the west.

This is a nice but steep walk up through lush West Coast forest to Carroll Hut, then up to Kellys Hill (1394m) on a marked route for excellent views over Arthur’s Pass National Park and out to the West Coast. There’s some scrambling required in a few places to get up through the forest, but otherwise it’s a fairly straightforward and shorter walk than many in Arthur’s Pass. It’s a good option if you want a West Coast experience that is accessible from Christchurch in a day, and you don’t mind a rough forest track. Continue reading “Kellys Hill via Carroll Hut, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Woolshed Hill Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

The Woolshed Hill Track is an excellent walk of only moderate difficulty with great views over peaks & valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park from the summit at 1429m.

I’d been saving the Woolshed Hill Track for winter, when I thought I could get good snowy views for moderate effort and without avalanche risk. The walk certainly delivered, with excellent views from the summit of Woolshed Hill (1429m) over the Waimakariri, Hawdon and Andrews Valleys, and many of other snow capped peaks in Arthur’s Pass including Mt Binser and the Pyramid. And there was enough snow on the tops to make it feel a bit alpine up there, (although somebody who walked it a week later said the snow had gone). Continue reading “Woolshed Hill Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

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”