Great views at the north end of Lake Wakatipu on the Mt McIntosh Loop Track to the summit of Mt McIntosh (1701m).
After enjoying the excellent hike to Mt Alaska in the Whakaari Conservation Area near Glenorchy, I had looked forward to returning and doing the Mt McIntosh Loop Track. Although this can be done as a loop by crossing over the Buckler Burn, we did it as an out and back tramp to the summit of Mt McIntosh entirely on the northern side of the burn. Like the walk to Mt Alaska the views of surrounding peaks and valleys are excellent. A highlight for me were views of rugged Temple Peak (2089m), and views over the northern end of Lake Wakatipu.
Most of the walking is on a marked route, although there’s a little bit of off-track navigation required to visit the summit of Mt McIntosh. And you can also climb Black Peak: add 3 hours apparently. Thick fog discouraged us from continuing to Black Peak, although the weather did eventually clear, so I got some good photos of the views!
To start the walk on the north side of the Buckler Burn requires a short walk along the road from the main car park, crossing the burn on the road bridge. Soon you have to climb a steep embankment on the right, and walk back along the fence line until you see a DOC sign in the trees. Continue on the outside of the fence along what was for us a boggy and somewhat overgrown track. (I got soaked in morning dew so perhaps plan ahead for that). Continuing along the fence line takes you up a very steep hill, and as that flattens out you will soon cross a stile. Walking from there is on vehicle tracks.
You can follow the signs up to McIntosh Hut, or down the hill to McIntyre Hut. But if you want to climb either Mt McIntosh or Black Peak you have to leave the main track shortly after a gate, taking a left turn on an indistinct vehicle track. See the photos below…
After a while you then head off track to the right (south) for the final climb through tussock and maybe a bit of scree to Mt McIntosh. I could see that the track continues on quite close to the summit of Black Peak.
It’s a moderately long walk with some steep sections, but a bit shorter than Mt Alaska. There are more details on the DOC website.