Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

A long walk to the summit of Mt Peel (1743m) via Middle & Little Mt Peel. Great views of the Canterbury Plains and surrounding mountains, (particularly when a massive cloud inversion hangs around all day).

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

This tramp to Mt Peel (1743m) is a long extension of the reasonably popular climb up Little Mt Peel, on the edge of the Canterbury Plains in the southwestern corner. I was lucky to do this walk on a day when there was a cloud inversion covering every square inch of the Canterbury Plains, providing a spectacular backdrop to about 9 hours of walking.

The views are already good from Little Mt Peel (1311m), so you’ll be wanting a physical challenge I think if you decide to continue on over Middle Mt Peel (1583m) to ‘Big’ summit. Despite a fairly early start I met a couple of people climbing Little Mt Peel, but after that I didn’t meet another soul.

Walking above the clouds all day was most certainly memorable, but one problem is I can’t really show you what the area looks like normally. Nevertheless, you can see photos up to the summit of Little Mt Peel in my post for that walk (done in winter). Most of my photos below are from the section after Little Mt Peel.

Track notes at the end.

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel: The Scenery

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
My only shot from the way up. 
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The summit trig on Little Mt Peel.

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Panorama north from Little Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Looking south.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Looking north.

Moving on to Middle Mt Peel…

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
It was like being in an airplane.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
A panorama of Little Mt Peel viewed from Middle Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Little Mt Peel viewed from Middle Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Given I was on a solo mission, I don’t carry a tripod, and Middle Mt Peel is a pretty smooth mountain, I probably deserve points for effort for this shot of me ‘acting natural’, backed by Little Mt Peel.

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Looking south.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Mt Peel on the southern side.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
My artistic shot for the day.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
I liked this furry alpine plant.

Arriving at the summit of Mt Peel…

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The view north from Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Looking south west from the summit of Mt Peel (1743m).
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The view west.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The view south-east.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
A panorama east.

Setting off back…

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The view north with a bit of zoom.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
A bit of cloud porn in this shot.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The view south-west.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Looking south. It looks like the hills are working hard to hold the cloud back.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Colourful alpine plants and then Little Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Colourful alpine plants and then Little Mt Peel.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Another contrived shot of me, this one even harder to get than the earlier one as there was no cairn to balance my camera on, and I almost damaged the lens glass when it fell off two stones that I had balanced it on to get some height.

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Little Mt Peel again. The cloud was rising higher by this stage.

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The route back to Little Mt Peel was easygoing for much of its length.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
There were these big plumes of cloud that stuck up above the cloud inversion. They all disappeared in time.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Cloud moving in in the evening.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
My route down about to be swallowed up by cloud.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
The clouds were moving up and covering many ridges as I returned in early evening.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
There’s a pool on the Deer Spur Track.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Misty pretty much all the way down.
Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
Forest near the end.

Track Notes

Mt Peel via Middle & Little Mt Peel, Canterbury NZ
There’s a constructed track to the summit of Little Mt Peel. After that there’s an unmarked impact track for most of the way along the ridge to Mt Peel. There are sometimes options to pass below peaks to avoid a bit of climbing. The last bit towards Mt Peel is rocky but otherwise it’s quite easy walking along this long ridge ridge.

There’s a constructed track to the summit of Little Mt Peel. This track starts at the end of Lookout Road, however there’s no parking at the trail head, so you must walk up the road from the car park. You can get more information on this route, including a circuit option, in my blog post, and also on the DOC website.

After Little Mt Peel there’s an unmarked impact track for most of the way along the ridge to Mt Peel. There are sometimes options to pass below peaks to avoid a bit of climbing. The last bit towards the summit is rocky but otherwise it’s quite easy walking along this long ridge. The walk may take you 8-10 hours return.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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