Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park, West Coast NZ

Fabulous 360 degree views from the top of Mt Haast (1587m) in Victoria Forest Park, accessed on the steep but straightforward Mt Haast Route.

Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park

The Mt Haast Route in Victoria Forest Park near Reefton promised to be a short but steep walk to good views from the summit of Mt Haast (1578m). But the views were better than I had anticipated, so much so that I would rate these views high up in my NZ walks to date. The scale of the surrounding glacial topography is not as big as some areas in New Zealand, but it’s very attractive scenery. There’s a real feeling of space up there, with countless peaks, ridges and glacial valleys in all directions. And the lush West Coast forests on lower slopes contrast nicely with the light coloured tussock grass and shrubs on the summits and high ridges. I barely notice the effort I’m expending when I’m enjoying a walk, and so it was on our way steeply down from the summit, despite tired knees from weeks of regular walking over the summer. Highly recommended.

Track notes are at the end.

As much as I enjoyed this walk, especially the views, it’s a pretty simple up and down route. A nearby alternative offering more variety is the circuit we did the day before on the Klondyke Routes. Worth doing both if you have the time.

Mt Haast Route: The Scenery

Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
It was up through pretty familiar beech forest at first. A few more distinctly West Coast plants emerged as we climbed towards the tree line.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Climbing steeply above the bushline.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia 
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
A nice mix of plants above the treeline.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia arriving at the summit.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
A panorama south-west.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
I thought the views south-west would be the best, but in fact these views north over the Victoria Range were my favourite of the day. You can play count the glacial valleys in this scene.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
The Rahu River Left Branch starts in this valley.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Bluffs at the head of the valley.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
The view east.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
These two crickets, one small and green, the other larger and brown, appeared to be in the middle of mating. When I steped near them they were still able to jump away without parting. I took this picture and left them to it.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia on the summit.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Looking east. The Klondyke routes that we did the day before are over on the left.


Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia doing the “summit spreadeagle” on a point just a little bit away from the summit.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
On our way down.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
An epiphyte.
Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
Descending back through beech forest.


Track Notes

Mt Haast Route, Victoria Forest Park
A straight up and down walk with a track, then poled route and finally a little off track walking to the summit. There was a very short and easy scramble right at the top, at least where we ascended.

A straight up and down walk with a track, then poled route and finally a little off track walking to the summit. There was a very short and easy scramble right at the top, at least where we ascended. The route is quite short, but gets steeper as you climb higher – not a hard walk though for those with reasonable fitness.

The tracks starts near the Inangahua Bridge on the highway between Springs Junction and Reefton. You can see the sign in the Google Street View below. More info on tracks in the area on the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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