Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ

A straightforward walk to Rock Peak (1490m) through tussock grass at the southern end of the Pisa Conservation Area.

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago

This walk from Crown Saddle (1070m) to Rock Peak (1490m) provides easy access to the tussock-grassed Pisa Conservation Area. It’s easy walking along a vehicle track, and there are views the whole way over the Crown Range, the Wakatipu Basin, including the back of the Remarkables, and the Gibbston Valley wine region.

You might be joined at first by holiday-makers who have stopped on their way between Queenstown and Wanaka along the Crown Range Road. But as our local friends promised they would, everybody turned back after less than a kilometre, leaving us to enjoy some easily accessed solitude.

Crown Saddle is the highest sealed pass in New Zealand, so you might need chains to get up there in winter. No need for track notes, but here’s info on the DOC website.

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle: The Scenery

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Double and Single Cone (2319m) are just visible in the background, with Ben Cruachan (1895m) in the mid ground. Both my wife and an Air New Zealand jumbo jet (centre) provided for scale.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Rock Peak (1490m)
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Gibbston Valley wine region.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
It was hella windy up there. You can sort of tell from Sophia’s hair in this shot.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Crown Range
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
A follower/ee on Instagram identified these flowers for me: “…bidibids (Maori piripiri) When the seeds ripen they hook onto clothing, leg hair etc.”. After reading this I realised that I have a jokey picture of these seeds stuck to my shirt from a few years earlier.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Crown Range
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Mountains and hills in contrasting light. Perhaps a bit more colourful than in real life, I nevertheless liked the aesthetic in this photo. The Crown Range Road down there in the middle.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Looking further on in the Pisa Conservation Area, with Quartx Knoll (1593m) on the left. You can walk on to here and beyond, but we didn’t have the time, and it was pretty bloody windy. I took a long time to steady myself enough to get this photo.

On our way back here…

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Looking back along the track towards The Remarkables and Wakatipu Basin.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Mt Hocken (1375m), which I didn’t even know was a named peak when we walked past it.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Crown Range. I think it’s Crown Peak (1735m) centre left.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Looking towards the back of The Remarkables here.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Crown Range (again!)

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago

Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Looking towards the back of the Remarkables over tussock grass.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
Some contrasting light here.
Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Otago
The Crown Range Road, and the Crown Saddle Car Park. I still can’t quite understand why so many people set off walking only to give up before they even make it to the point I took this picture from. There are decent enough views from the car park, but to get more views you have to persist on this walk for maybe half an hour.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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