This lesser known walk to the tops of the Moorhouse Range offers really excellent views of the Rangitata River and Harper Range to the west, and many other peaks including Mt Taylor to the north. There’s just 650m ascent and a fairly straightforward scrub bash to get these views, and you’re unlikely to meet anybody else. We did this walk after quite heavy snowfall so the views were extra good.
The walk starts on the South Hinds Track (a vehicle track) through farmland, but before long it’s time to set off up a spur to the spine of the Moorhouse Range at 1153m. Once up on the tops you could go south to Pukanui (1145m), or a much longer day can be spent visiting Mt Tripp (1368m) to the north. We were already very happy with the views from 1153m, and to be honest with thick snow on the tops and strong winds we opted for a shorter but very satisfying day out.
Track notes at the end.
Moorhouse Range Tops: The Scenery
The route starts on an easement through farmland on the South Hinds Track. After roughly 2.5 km you meet the border of the Tenahaun Conservation Area (spelt ‘Tenehaun’ by DOC, but is Tenahaun on the map). Orange poles direct you right, over a stream, then after 5o metres or so its time to head left up the spur. There’s a bit of a bush bash at first, but not hard. The vegetation soon thins out and it’s fairly clear walking (with some speargrass to avoid) all the way to the top. You meet an old vehicle track at one point, and eventually a fence line that you can follow the rest of the way.
It took us about 5 hours return in the snow, but I’ve seen other lower estimates without snow. There’s info on walks in the area on the DOC website, and you might like to consider the nearby Rangitata Gorge walk, which we did just a few weeks earlier.