I came across the Mt Norma Access Track on my way up Nina Valley, and as always got a bit excited at the prospect of another easily accessible mountain summit in the Lewis Pass area. I waited a long time for a good weather window to get up there, but it finally came in the middle of a very snowy winter, so the views of mountain peaks and valleys galore were extra beautiful. With so much snow this turned out to be a bit adventurous also, and probably the closest we’ve come to mountaineering.
Navigation above the bushline is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of scrambling along the way to the summit at 1722m. Nothing too difficult for experienced trampers.
Track notes at the end.
Mt Norma Route: The Scenery
The route takes you immediately across the Lewis River on a swing bridge. After just a minute or two you take a signposted right turn up the Mt Norma Access Track. This is marked the whole way to the bushline, although a bit sparsely marked towards the top. There is a big orange triangle at the bushline, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the route back down.
From the bushline it’s up the ridge all the way to the summit, with a bit of scrambling along the way. (Or at least we scrambled along the ridge in places rather than navigate the snow, which varied from deep to compacted and hard within short distances).
You can park at the NZDA’s Palmer Lodge site. The track starts just a bit up the road on the other side. The whole walk will take about 7 to 8.5 hours depending on the conditions. It can be done as a long day trip from Christchurch, but we stayed that night in Hanmer Springs and did another short walk the next day.