A really excellent walk to a minor peak on Mt Crichton. Fabulous mountain and lake views almost the whole way, and a good work out too.
The climb up Mt Crichton near Queenstown was one of our best walks to date. And even if you don’t visit one of the summit peaks you’ll still feel a sense of achievement and wonder by going as far as the minor peak at 1723m. Be prepared for quite a work out though, as much of it is steep and on a sometimes obscure route.
It starts in attractive beech forest, and you can expect great views as soon as you’re above the treeline. At the turnaround point there are 360 degree views taking in a variety of rugged and picturesque scenery, including the summit of Mt Crichton, Lake Isobel (just a glimpse), Twelve Mile Creek, Lake Wakatipu, and various peaks and ridges in all directions. And to top it off we didn’t meet a single person all day! Track notes at the end.
Mt Crichton to pt. 1723m: The Scenery
I used a couple of online sources when researching the route for this walk, including J Milne’s website, and also the online magazine Wilderness Mag (at the time of writing you can get three free articles per month, so I’ve just linked to the home page). You start on the Mt Crichton Loop Track going anti clockwise, then shortly after Maori Gully there’s a faint track that ascends steeply through beech forest. Above the tree line the track is sometimes faint, but the route is essentially along ridges the whole way to point 1723m, taking in points 1041m, 1432m, 1437m, and 1390m. We actually took a detour on the way up and bypassed points 1432m and 1437m: see the caption on one of my pictures for a bit of info on your options at this point.
You can continue to the major peaks, being 1845m and 1870m (apparently 1873m is seldom climbed). Sophia (my wife) wasn’t feeling too flash so we went only as far as 1723m, which is nevertheless an excellent turnaround point.