Mt Brown Hut & Summit, Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve, West Coast NZ

Mt Brown (1270m) is a spectacular West Coast destination for an overnighter, with grand views of mountain ranges, Lake Kaniere and the coast.

Mt Brown Hut is considered one of the very best locations of any accessible backcountry hut in New Zealand. With a decent weather window one weekend it was time for me to embark on my first ever overnight tramp and check it out. The steep 1000m climb up through beautiful West Coast forest is hard work but rewarding. Once above the tree-line the epic views begin to unfold, with Lake Kaniere and the coast to the east, and numerous mountain ranges to the north south and west. We visited the nearby unnamed summit of Mt Brown (1210m) for extra views; that took about 1 1/4 hours return. The views were an obvious highlight, but the forest was unusually beautiful as well, so if you don’t get the views I think you’ll still enjoy the walk. 

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Mt Olivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park NZ

Really spectacular views the whole way on this classic alpine walk to Mt Olivier via Sealy Tarns and Mueller Hut, in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

A really spectacular (and steep) alpine walk in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to three possible end points. First are the attractive Sealy Tarns at 1300m, which make for a moderate day walk. Then for the energetic, or those equipped for an overnight stay, continue on up the hill to Mueller Hut, and on for 500-600m to the summit of Mt Olivier (1933m). There are views of Mt Sefton (3151m), NZ’s highest peak Aoraki Mt Cook (3724m), various glaciers and glacier lakes, and the Hooker River Valley 1000m below. Highly recommended. Continue reading “Mt Olivier – Mueller Hut – Sealy Tarns, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park NZ”

Routeburn North Branch Track, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

The Routeburn North Branch Track is a spectacular valley walk with beautiful vegetation and mountains towering overhead the whole way.

The Routeburn 2-3 day walk is one of New Zealand’s most famous Great Walks, and the whole area is truly spectacular. I’d done day walks on this route as far as Harris Saddle and Conical Hill in the past, but had never considered the Routeburn North Branch because valley walks aren’t really my thing. To anticipate a longer than average introduction, I’m now a convert, or at least for the very best valley walks like this one. Continue reading “Routeburn North Branch Track, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ

One of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day Great Walks, there’s spectacular alpine and forest scenery the whole way.

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day walks, and one of its so called Great Walks. It passes through two of NZ’s most beautiful national parks, Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. There’s quintessential NZ scenery the whole way, including sparkling alpine lakes, lush beech forest and towering rocky peaks. And at roughly 33km one-way it is short enough for less experienced trampers to take on. Continue reading “Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ”

Corner Peak Route, Lake Hawea NZ

A long and spectacular walk up rugged Corner Peak (1683m) with views of Lake Hawea, the Hunter River, and over numerous mountain ranges.

Corner Peak (1683m) cuts a striking figure from the western shore of Lake Hawea, especially as you drive from the West Coast across The Neck, alongside Isthmus Peak. Multiple spurs rise 1300m very steeply out of the lake, but the way up is along a long ridge from the south. It feels quite adventurous, and is a hard slog, but the scenery is spectacular pretty much from start to end, so it’s well worth the effort. One of the best walks in this area, along with Sentinel Peak and Breast Hill.

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Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop, Long Gully Conservation Area, Wanaka NZ

A fairly plain walk into the Long Gully Conservation Area for views over Central Otago & out towards the distant Southern Alps.

The Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop is a reasonable half-day filler, although nothing to0 spectacular, at least in summer when we did it. There were some nice wildflowers out (albeit non-native) and there are decent views in all directions over Central Otago including the Upper Clutha Valley, and out towards the Southern Alps. Continue reading “Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop, Long Gully Conservation Area, Wanaka NZ”

Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

Magnificent views on this long day walk to Brewster Glacier, its terminal lakes, and an unnamed peak at 2023m.

I had visited Brewster Hut twice before, and on one of those occasions I went beyond the hut for views east. For some reason though I had not seriously considered visiting Brewster Glacier and its terminal lake, though I know now that this is the main prize for day-walkers in the area. The proximity of the hut means quite a few others will join you, but we got some solitude by also visiting the unnamed peak at 2023m, between Mt Brewster (2516m) and Mt Armstrong (2174m). It’s a high quality walk from start to finish, with beautiful beech forest, lovely alpine flowers in summer, and spectacular and ever changing views for as long as you are above the bushline. Continue reading “Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Brow Peak – Bush Creek Circuit, Arrowtown NZ

A shortish route up Brow Peak (1456m) for excellent views over backcountry to the north, & the Wakatipu Basin to the south. There a few options to make a circuit, including back along the picturesque Bush Creek.

This was my third time up Brow Peak, having ascended via Big Hill Saddle twice, and almost getting to the summit from Coronet Peak. (I ran out of time on Christmas Day, needing to get back for festivities with friends). This is a short ascent and good if you want the views without so much walking, however there are less views than walking the longish ridge from Big Hill. If it’s your first time up I recommend going this longer route. Nevertheless, excellent views await you at the summit, especially of the backcountry to the north, and this route offers a nice return circuit along picturesque Bush Creek. Continue reading “Brow Peak – Bush Creek Circuit, Arrowtown NZ”

Bowen Peak via One Mile Track, Queenstown NZ

Fabulous 360 degree views from the summit of Bowen Peak (1631m) above Queenstown, the quieter neighbour of Ben Lomond.

If you’ve already climbed Ben Lomond, or just want a quieter summit experience, then I can highly recommend an ascent of its neighbour, Bowen Peak (1631m). Taking the One Mile Track starts you off in attractive native forest including beech, followed by pine forest, and finally you’re above the bushline to the summit. Once out of the trees there are ever improving views, with the best from the saddle to the summit. The two mountains offer a similar experience in terms of the scenery on offer, so the choice is yours. Continue reading “Bowen Peak via One Mile Track, Queenstown NZ”

Rocky Mountain-Diamond Lake Circuit, Wanaka NZ

The Rocky Mountain – Diamond Lake Circuit passes through attractive bush & provides excellent views from the summit (775m) of Lake Wanaka and many high peaks.

The Rocky Mountain – Diamond Lake Circuit is a walk near Wanaka that offers excellent views for only moderate effort. It’s an easier-going alternative to the famous but much longer Roys Peak Track that starts down the road a bit closer to town. The views are less epic, however this is a more attractive walking experience all round, with sections of native bush and other vegetation.

You can do a circuit or figure of eight (I recommend an anti-clockwise circuit) taking in the picturesque Diamond Lake and the summit of Rocky Mountain (775m) for views over Lake Wanaka and towards various high peaks in Mt Aspiring National Park and around the lake. Continue reading “Rocky Mountain-Diamond Lake Circuit, Wanaka NZ”