Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ

Mt Alfred sits alone on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park, and the summit provides some of my favourite views in New Zealand.

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ

Mt Alfred stands alone in one of the most picturesque spots in New Zealand. The summit provides some of the finest views in the country, with archetypal scenery north into Mt Aspiring National Park, and south over Lake Wakatipu. The Dart River runs from the former into the latter, and adds to the already starkly contrasting colours.

Most of the walk is a steep climb through beech forest, which is nice enough, but the views begin when rising even more steeply through tussock to the summit ridge. After walking north for a while along the ridge you reach the summit proper, where there are views into Mt Aspiring National Park.

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
One of my best photos with me in it.

The only problem with this walk is that at the time of writing the land owners no longer grant public access above the tree line, which defeats the purpose of this walk rather. My thoughts are that you might call Earnslaw Station to beg for permission to climb the mountain; if you do then let me know how that goes.

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
A famous view on the drive down to Glenorchy. I think Mt Alfred is centre right just to the right of the little island.

Track Notes

The track through the forest is straightforward and there are notes on the DOC website, (they now call it the Forest Track). Once above the tree line there isn’t much of a track until you reach the ridge, but essentially you head up and to the left a little. Lots of people get lost going right and I wonder if this is why they withdrew public access. Go left (north) along the ridge to the summit. Return the same way.

Mt Alfred ascent: The Scenery

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
Broken views on the way up.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
There’s a steep ascent after the treeline. You head a little to the left. People going to the right end up at the wrong end of the mountain.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
Climbing the last bit up onto the summit ridge.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
The Dart River and Lake Wakatipu.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
Lovely patterns in the Dart River.

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ

Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
A panorama of the Dart River and mountains.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
The Dart River and Lake Wakatipu. Again.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
Mt Earnslaw. There’s a great but very long walk to near the base of its glacier: the Earnslaw Burn Track.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
The view of Mt Aspiring national Park from the summit. Mt Earnslaw to the right.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
One of my favourite views in New Zealand. Mt Aspiring National Park with the Dart River centre-left, Lake Sylvan on the left, and Mt Earnslaw to the right.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
My exhausted wife, Sophia.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
An overly wide panorama.
Mt Alfred ascent, near Glenorchy NZ
Yet another shot of the view over Lake Wakatipu and the Dart River. Walking back here towards the spot where we leave the ridge and descend the mountain (to the right).

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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