Mt Oxford Loop, Oxford Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

A varied loop walk with great views from the summit of Mt Oxford (1364m), plus beautiful beech forest and a nice waterfall on the return leg.

After arriving in New Zealand I’d been waiting for a bit of snow before climbing Mt Oxford (1364m), one of the more accessible mountains from Christchurch. After a warm and sunny week in early winter there was just enough left to add to the aesthetics on high ground, including the upper reaches of beech forest, but plenty still on surrounding higher peaks. I’d heard the views from the summit were good, and they were, but the nicest surprise was some of the most beautiful beech forest I’ve seen in New Zealand on the upper slopes of the return leg. There’s also a short side trip to the attractive three tier Ryde Falls. Continue reading “Mt Oxford Loop, Oxford Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Big Ben via Dry Acheron Stream, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

Good variety on this walk along the Dry Acheron Stream, then up steeply to the summit of Big Ben (1416m), with views of various hills & tall peaks, both near & far.

We first walked the Dry Acheron Track intending to climb Big Ben (1416m), but on that day there was low cloud and we turned back. A few weeks later after snowfall we thought we’d return and finish the job. Snow and clear blue skies added some variety to the grey skies of our first visit, and intense NW winds some adventure when on the upper reaches of the mountain. There’s great views from the slopes of Big Ben, including a jumble of topography towards Lake Coleridge, and a rather striking Mount Hutt Range popping out of the Canterbury Plains. Continue reading “Big Ben via Dry Acheron Stream, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”

Dry Acheron Track, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant walk up the Dry Acheron Stream through what I’ve seen described as ‘handsome scrublands’, passing through a few small gullies along the way, and with views of surrounding mountains.

We’d originally intended to walk this track for access to Big Ben Mountain*, but low cloud put us off climbing this. So we settled for finishing the Dry Acheron Track, which follows the Dry Acheron Stream from where it passes through a series of small gullies and other valley landforms, to where it emerges from a rugged valley in the Big Ben Range. I’d heard the area around the stream described as ‘handsome scrublands’, and I think this is an apt description. Continue reading “Dry Acheron Track, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”

Castle Hill Peak via Foggy Peak, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

Stark and ruggedly beautiful scenery on this classic Canterbury tramp up Castle Hill Peak (1998m) via Foggy Peak, in Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park.

This classic Canterbury walk in Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, an hour west of Christchurch, takes you to Castle Hill Peak (1998m), the high point of the Torlesse Range. The scenery is starkly beautiful, with large areas of scree intermixed with colourful scrub and tussock. There are extensive views over mountains, valleys, lakes and the Canterbury Plains. Continue reading “Castle Hill Peak via Foggy Peak, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Somers from Sharplin Falls Reserve, Canterbury NZ

A varied and satisfying climb to the summit of Mt Somers (1688m), with forest, sub-alpine and eventually alpine vegetation along the way. Great views from the top despite some cloud getting in the way.

I’d been keen to climb Mt Somers soon after moving Christchurch, but for a few weeks Covid-19 restrictions got in the way. After they lifted we set off to summit this mountain before winter set in. I’d seen some photos online and thought it would be just okay, but it exceeded my expectations. The views are excellent, and the mountain tall and rugged enough to make the climb very satisfying. And the lower slopes are forested with beech and later manuka trees, which makes for a nice change from the more open walks in the area. Continue reading “Mt Somers from Sharplin Falls Reserve, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Barrosa Summit Track, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

A short but steep climb to the summit of Mt Barrosa (1364m; sometimes ‘Barossa’) provides all round views of Hakatere Conservation Park and surrounding peaks.

Mt Barrosa is apparently a new-ish addition to the large Hakatere Conservation Park in Mid Canterbury. It sits in the Clent Hills, and you can continue across these to other destinations such as Lake Emily. If all you’re after are extensive views of the surrounding countryside then climbing to the summit and back on a short but steep poled route makes for a good half day option.  Continue reading “Mt Barrosa Summit Track, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Trig M via Coach Stream Track, Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

Excellent views of mountain ranges and Lake Lyndon for just moderate effort on this walk to Trig M (1,251m) in Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park.

Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park is a conservation area about one hour’s drive from Christchurch. There’s fairly easy access to some of the peaks in the park from Porters Pass, which rises to 939m of elevation. One of the easiest peaks to reach is the oddly named Trig M (1,251m), and the views from the summit are excellent, taking in various mountain ranges and adjacent Lake Lyndon . Continue reading “Trig M via Coach Stream Track, Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”