Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A short but attractive climb from Jacks Pass to the summit Mt Isobel (1319m), near the town of Hanmer Springs.

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park

Mt Isobel (1319m) is said to be Canterbury’s most climbed mountain. One reason would be good accessibility, sitting as it does just on the edge of the popular resort town of Hanmer Springs. But it is a very nice mountain, with wide open views over mountains, valleys and the Hanmer Plains, forested lower slopes with colourful heath vegetation higher up, and some rugged rocky sections to boot. Walking from Jacks Pass is fairly short, and there are great views the whole way.

There are a couple of steep sections on loose rock/dirt to contend with on this route, although nothing that should put off a semi-regular hiker. Nevertheless, there are a few other options to walk up from the south or east, including visiting a 41m waterfall along the way. See my track notes at the end.

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass: The Scenery

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Nice colours on the way up.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking back towards distant snowy peaks.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Sophia approaching the summit.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
A panorama looking north east from the summit (or at least nearby).
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking east from near the summit.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Sophia on the summit. It was hella windy, although one couple were up there in just a light single layer of clothes. A bit mad, although they didn’t stick around.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Sophia backed by scenery we got a closer look at from up Mt Charon a couple of day’s earlier.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking west from near the summit.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking south-east.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
I liked this rocky spur.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking west.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Descending a bare section of the mountain.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Sophia doing one of her signature poses on a our way down.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
I liked the topography here.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Looking up at the summit of Mt Isobel, roughly centre.
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Dunblane (1303m), which we had climbed two days earlier on our way to Mt Charon.

Track Notes

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park
Our route in red, and you can see there are a variety of other routes to the top. It’s a marked track all the way.

This is a marked track the whole way. It’s fairly short but there are a couple of steep loose sections. Nothing too difficult though. There are various other options to climb the mountain or visit other nearby attractions, and you can get more information from the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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