Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ

More tarns than you could ever hope for on this route past Wye Creek and on to the Doolans Creek tarns in the rugged Hector Mountains.

At the rugged northern end of the Hector Mountains, and behind the iconic Remarkables Range near Queenstown, are about fifteen scenic tarns. There are five in the Wye Creek Basin, and ten in the rather more remote area above Doolans Creek East Branch. A ridge of rugged peaks separates the two clusters. Most of these tarns are enormous, deep, and all of them scenic. The Wye Creek tarns are set amongst tussock grassland with Single Cone towering overhead. And the Doolans Creek tarns are dotted around rocky terrain with patches of golden tussock. For anybody that likes tarns I can’t imagine a better two day route. Continue reading “Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ”

Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ

Excellent views of the Wakatipu Basin, Richardson Mountains and Skippers backcountry on this loop over Mt Dewar & back via Skippers Road.

I had first visited Mt Dewar on the Devils Creek Circuit some years ago, and wasn’t so impressed by the views on that day. Well, what a difference some good lighting makes! This time the views were awesome, including south over the Wakatipu Basin, and north over the Skippers Backcountry and Richardson Mountains. So I can in fact recommend either of these two walks 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ”

Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ

Lots of scrambling, exposure and tricky route finding on the way up Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, along Williamson Spur.

On a previous occasion we’d set off for Mt Hanley and made it only part way up Williamson Spur, turning back in less than ideal weather. There was already some scrambling and exposure going that far, but climbing all the way to the summit involved quite a bit more, and ended up being the scariest walk I’ve done to date! It didn’t help that my wife Sophia pulled out that morning and I went by myself. I probably shouldn’t have. This walk is best done with somebody else, and anybody who tries it will need to be comfortable with scrambling and exposure. The views are good, particularly when there are shadows highlighting the many ridges on the surrounding hillsides (which I didn’t really have in mid summer). Continue reading “Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ”

Mt Scott from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ

A simple off-track walk up to the summit of Mt Scott (1363m) from the Crown Range Road, for views of the Pisa Conservation Area.

The off-track route up Mt Scott (1363m) from the highest point on the Crown Range Road is a quick way to get views over the Pisa Conservation Area and down into the Wakatipu Basin. It can also be extended all the way to Crown Peak, which would in fact be the quickest way to get up this mountain. (We’ve climbed it from Arrowtown and also from further down the Crown Range Road). Continue reading “Mt Scott from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ”

Bush Creek Track, Arrowtown NZ

A very pleasant and easy walk at Arrowtown up the Bush Creek Track through a gorge as far as a saddle, where there are views over the Wakatipu Basin.

I’d done part of the Bush Creek Track a few months earlier on a loop taking in Brow Peak, and quite liked that section. So on a clear Autumn day we returned to do the whole thing, and I was pleasantly surprised. The walk offers a wide variety of native and non-native vegetation along the pleasant Bush Creek, which eventually passes through a gorge on its way to a saddle, where there are good views over the Wakatipu Basin. I liked the open aspect of the upper sections, and the rugged cliffs lining the gorge. There are also nice stands of beech forest and some autumn colours early on in the walk courtesy of introduced trees. Continue reading “Bush Creek Track, Arrowtown 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”

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”

Mt Crichton from Avalanche Creek, Queenstown NZ

A steep and direct route to the summit of Mt Crichton (1870m) near Queenstown, with fabulous views including Lake Isobel and Lake Wakatipu.

This is a shorter version of one of my favourite walks, to the summit of Mt Crichton (1870m), near Queenstown. Although less picturesque than the longer route (from the Mt Crichton Loop Track), this way is quite direct and offers some variety if you’ve already done that other route. The views from the summit and also the peak at 1845m are spectacular, and include Lake Isobel and Lake Wakatipu. Continue reading “Mt Crichton from Avalanche Creek, Queenstown NZ”

Crown Peak from Crown Range Road, Otago NZ

The shorter of two marked routes to the summit of Crown Peak (1735m), starting on the Crown Range Road between Wanaka and Queenstown. 360 degree views of the area from the summit.

This was our second time up Crown Peak (1735m), one of the mountains accessible from Arrowtown. However, this time we climbed it on a marked route starting on the Crown Range Road, on the Cardrona side of the mountain. This route is shorter, and offers a wilder walking experience than climbing the mountain on a vehicle track. Nevertheless, there was more variety of scenery on the walk up from Arrowtown. The 360 degree views from the summit are the same of course, and very nice. Continue reading “Crown Peak from Crown Range Road, Otago NZ”