Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago NZ

Easy access to an arid alpine plateau on the Old Woman Range in Central Otago, with many tors & views of nearby mountains.

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

I realised the other day that I hadn’t posted all of my NZ walks to date. This is the walk I missed: A longish but mostly flat walk to the tops of the Old Woman Range, an arid alpine plateau near Cromwell in Central Otago. There were many tors along the way, and views of nearby mountains. Track notes at the end.

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range: The Scenery

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
I was obviously interested by spear grass (Spaniards) at this early stage in my New Zealand Hiking.
Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
Not entirely sure, but these might be the Hector Mountains.
Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
A bit of snow left in mid summer, and we weren’t that high up (maybe 1400-1500m?).
Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
There were trail bikers, but we didn’t see any other walkers.
Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
I remember that Sophia had bought her first woollen Icebreaker jumper and was wearing it for the first time here. One of the big tors in the background.

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
You can see the many tors on top of the Old Woman Range. I suspect we were walking back here, although I’m really not sure about the order of my photos.

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago

Track Notes

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago
On a 4WD road and then continues onto the tops on a vehicle track.

We did this on our second trip to New Zealand in 2012, which was the beginning of a more concerted effort to hike more. On this walk you drive to one of the highest points on a through road in New Zealand: Duffers Saddle on the Nevis Road, at about 1275m of elevation. From there you walk south-ish through farmland as I remember, then onto the plateau where the walking is mostly flat. You can continue for as long as you like, but I think we turned back at a boundary fence. 

We used track notes in Day Walks of Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District, but it’s hard to pick up that book nowadays. You can see the route on the Google map below, following the vehicle track from the pin marker southwards.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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