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.
Some of New Zealand’s finest and most underrated day-tramps are to be found in the Canterbury Foothills, easily accessible from Christchurch.
Flanked by the Southern Alps to the west, and flat as a pancake Canterbury Plains to the east, the Canterbury Foothills are a smorgasbord of mountains, plains, braided rivers and glacial lakes. Many of the peaks are starkly beautiful patchworks of tussock grass and scree, some with stands of native forest on their lower slopes.
There are many well maintained tracks in the area, but much of the country is pretty open, so experienced trampers can extend their options considerably. You can get to pretty much anywhere in the Canterbury Foothills from Christchurch in a day-trip: driving times are between 50 minutes and a little over 2 hours for the furthest walks.
Snowy scenes & views of Lake Lyndon and many other peaks on this shorter walk up to Trig M (1251m) from Starvation Gully.
A repeat trip to Trig M, this time the shorter route from Starvation Gully, mainly to see the area after fairly heavy snowfall. It’s a fairly steady 1.5-2 hour climb to the top, with most of the ascent achieved early on. The views are very good, particularly of Lake Lyndon and towards the Craigieburn Range. Trig M can also be climbed from the other side of Porters Pass on the Coach Stream Track – that is a bit longer but more interesting (except for the section through farmland). Continue reading “Trig M from Starvation Gully, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”
A selection of 2000m high peaks in Canterbury New Zealand that can you climb in a day.
There’s nothing more satisfying for me than climbing a mountain to epic views, then making it down in time for a nice dinner and indoor plumbing. (Yes I’m a princess). Here in Canterbury New Zealand there are many opportunities for such walks. But for an added sense of achievement and adventure, I like to stretch myself and climb a 2000m high peak from the bottom. There are limited opportunities for summitting a 2000m peak in a day due to the often long distances involved, however I’ve managed a few in the past year, and have a few more on the to-do list.
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”
A pleasant half-day walk in the Craigieburn Range taking in views from Helicopter Hill, then more views from Lyndon Saddle to Camp Saddle.
This circuit walk in the Craigieburn Range visiting Lyndon Saddle and Camp Saddle is a good half day option with views of the Castle Hill Basin, Craigieburn Range and Torlesse Range. We took a side trip to Helicopter Hill (1256m) for the first of the views, and that would make a much shorter but worthwhile walk if you had limited time. For a bit more adventure then climb off-track along a ridge at about 1500m to Camp Saddle, with views all the way. The return section is a pleasant enough walk down through tussock and then back into native forest. Continue reading “Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ”
A remote feeling tramp to the summit of Mt Clara (1945m) in the St James Conservation Area, with spectacular views, especially in winter.
Although I’d read about the walk to Mt Clara (1945m) before, I decided to do it when the knowledgeable owner of Hanmer Backpackers (Tristan) recommended it to us. In winter conditions it turned out to be one of the better walks we’ve done. The conditions on the tops in winter were proper alpine, and the views north and east in particular were quite spectacular. And you get those views for much of the walk. It’s a long and remote enough tramp to be a bit adventurous, but short enough to fit comfortably into a long winter’s day. Continue reading “Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass, St James Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”
A classic tramp in the Lewis Pass region to the summit of Travers Peak (1724m), with great views and attractive forest on the climb up.
The climb to Travers Peak (1724m) is another partially tracked walk in the Lewis Pass Region that offers nice forest walking then excellent views from the tops. We did this walk in winter when there was quite a bit of snow on the tops, and this added to views over high mountains to the north especially. It’s not such a long walk, about 4 hours in total, so you you get good value for effort on this tramp. Continue reading “Travers Peak via Foleys Track, Lewis Pass, Canterbury 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”
Pictures from a couple of circuit walks we did in Mt Vernon Park in Christchurch’s Port Hills. Pleasant walking with views over the city.
There are a variety of tracks available in Mt Vernon Park, passing through sections of native bush, paddocks and tussock. As you climb higher towards Mt Vernon itself there are increasingly good views over Christchurch and of the lumpy crater rim from on the tops. Like many walks in the Port Hills it is far from a wilderness experience, but I was pleasantly surprised how remote some sections felt given you start in the suburbs of Christchurch. Continue reading “Mt Vernon Park Circuit, Christchurch NZ”