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”

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”

Mt Catherine via south ridge, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Excellent views & good variety on this long ridge walk up Mt Catherine (2085m) from the south, with scenic options to return via scree slopes, streams & the TA.

I had unfinished business on Mt Catherine (2085m) in Hakatere Conservation Park near Lake Heron. I tried climbing it from the west in winter, but didn’t make the summit. This time I climbed it from the south on a long ridge, taking a scenic variation on the way back to complete a very satisfying day out.

There are views for miles from the ridge, of Lake Heron and its distinctive neighbour Sugarloaf, the Arrowsmith Range, and countless barren mountains to the north and east, many over 2000m high.  My return route along a stream down to the Te Araroa was very pleasant, and included the most dangerously beautiful speargrass I’ve ever seen. Continue reading “Mt Catherine via south ridge, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Sinclair ascent, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

An adventurous route up past a very scenic tarn to the summit of Mt Sinclair (2065m) with spectacular views, especially to the north.

It took me quite a while to get around to climbing Mt Sinclair (2065m), though I’d had my eyes on it for a couple of years. The mountain sits a fairly long way from anywhere, south of the Rangitata River, and the way up is not so obvious. I expect most people who visit do so by helicopter, landing next to the picturesque tarn at about 1600m. The tarn is indeed very nice, and could be a worthy destination on foot, but views from the summit are pretty spectacular and worth the extra climb. Perhaps the highlight are views north over countless high peaks, including the Two Thumbs Range to the NW. Continue reading “Mt Sinclair ascent, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

Climb to the 2019m high peak Mt Izard in the Craigieburn Range for excellent views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and countless other peaks.

The Craigieburn Range has a number of 2000m high peaks that can be climbed in a day, and Mt Izard (2019m) was our latest conquest in this Canterbury High Country playground. The route is pretty straightforward, following the Hogs Back Track for a little over an hour and then taking one easterly spur all the way to the summit. The views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and on down the crest of the Cragieburn Range are a highlight, but there are plenty of other peaks to feast your eyes on. Walking on a still snowy spring day added to the aesthetics.

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

The Pyramid, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Views of the Southern Alps and nearby Mt Potts on this off-track walk up The Pyramid (1748m), in Hakatere Conservation Park.

The big walk up Mt Potts was one of our favourites, and along the way you get views of The Pyramid (1748m). This peak is an easier alternative, but is entirely off track, so still not a beginner’s walk. Views of the Southern Alps are excellent, as are views of the southern face of Mt Potts. The long approach over mostly tussock is not so interesting however, and takes the sheen off the overall walking experience. Continue reading “The Pyramid, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

The Apprentice from Lewis Pass, Canterbury/West Coast NZ

An extension of the popular Lewis Tops Route to climb The Apprentice (1678m), with grand views in all directions.

My second time up onto the Lewis Tops, but this time in late winter, and with an extension to climb The Apprentice (1678m). Great views of Mt Technical, the Maruia River, One Mile Creek, and various glacier carved mountain ranges all around. Snow enhanced the scenery except for the frozen tarns, which arguably look nicer in liquid form. Continue reading “The Apprentice from Lewis Pass, Canterbury/West Coast NZ”

Mt Sunday Track, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Spectacular 360 degree views from the summit of Mt Sunday on this easy 3km round trip in Hakatere Conservation Area.

Mt Sunday is a roche moutonnée on the Rangitata River Flats, and you can climb it on a marked track in less than one hour. I tend to do short walks only if they are on the drive somewhere, but with my mother visiting we (Sophia and me) decided to drive to the Ashburton Lakes district and show her the area. Mt Sunday is not far from the end of the road and so we thought we’d take the opportunity to do this excellent short walk while down that way. There are significant peaks and wide open spaces all around, so you get a lot of views for little effort. Continue reading “Mt Sunday Track, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Torlesse ascent, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ

Spectacular views from Mt Torlesse (1961m), taking in other peaks in the Torlesse Range, including nearby Castle Hill Peak.

Mt Torlesse (1961m) is one of the most prominent mountains on the edge of the Canterbury Plains. I’ve seen it countless times driving past on my way west to other walks, or else from up in the distant Port Hills. After more than three years living in Christchurch it was finally time to climb it, and I picked a cracker of a day. There’s views of other peaks in the Torlesse Range, including a rugged aspect of Castle Hill Peak, and beyond these are peaks in the Craigieburn Range. To the east are the Canterbury Plains, and south-west is your route up. Continue reading “Mt Torlesse ascent, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Catherine to 1877m, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Spectacular views from pt. 1877m on Mt Catherine, of the Southern Alps, other peaks in the Canterbury Foothills, & the Ashburton Lakes area.

My plans to summit Mt Catherine in mid winter turned out to be a bit ambitious, but spectacular views from the minor peak at 1877m made this an excellent walk regardless. The grandeur of the Arrowsmith Range is to the west, many snowy mountains to the north, and Mt Catherine itself to the east. To the south-west are the wide open plains of the Ashburton Lakes area. Continue reading “Mt Catherine to 1877m, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”