Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ

The Mt Alford Track takes you to the summit of Mt Alford (1171m) for good views over taller mountains on the inland side, and the Canterbury Plains to the east.

Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ

Mt Alford sits on the edge of the Canterbury Plains, with taller mountains on the inland side. The walk up is not bad, passing through forested sections early on, a short while in paddocks, then back into reserve for the alpine portion to the summit. The main attraction of this walk however is the view from the summit, although the views over the plains as we descended were also nice.

I spent a fair bit of time up on the summit photographing the changing views as the weather began to clear, enough that my wife Sophia made a small snowman to pass the time (that gets into one of my shots). Track notes at the end.

Mt Alford Track: The Scenery

Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Once out of the forest there are views of the Canterbury Plains. The North Branch Ashburton River there.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Our first look at the inland hills: The Pudding Hill Range.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
It looked quite wintery when we first arrived on the summit.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Panorama looking north-west.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Panorama looking north-east.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
The Pudding Hill Range
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Starting to clear.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Starting to clear.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Panorama of the Old Man Range (I think).
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Nice lighting.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Looking out towards the Canterbury Plains from the summit.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
The Old Man Range
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Panorama looking north west.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
The Old Man Range and Mt Somers Range (not Mt Somers the peak, which is nearby but stands alone from these ranges).
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Sophia enjoying the views after the weather cleared.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
The Pudding Hill Range looking different in the sun.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Sophia had time to make a snowman while I took too many photos in the changing weather and lighting conditions.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Coming off the summit.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
The North Branch Ashburton River.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Looking down the ridge to the summit.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Descending through paddocks.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
Interesting fungus.
Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
There was one stream crossing on the walk.


Track Notes

Mt Alford Track, Canterbury NZ
An obvious track at first then a poled route / track to the summit. Passes through private land (paddocks) and a reserve.

The track at first crosses a paddock, then enters beech forest, mostly within a reserve. After climbing for a while you gradually emerge from the forest into open country, mostly paddocks. It’s then back into a reserve, with alpine vegetation now, and onto a ridge for the final climb to the summit. When we did it in winter the track was pretty muddy on the lower sections, so consider that when planning your footwear. More information on the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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