Cairnmuir Hill Track, Central Otago NZ

This walk starts in New Zealand’s driest area, and climbs onto Cairnmuir Hill at 1114m of elevation. There are extensive views of the moody Dunstan Mountains, and over the flatlands further south.

This walk is one half of a complete traverse of Cairnmuir Hill (1114m) in Central Otago, which would take you from near Bannockburn over to Clyde. It starts in New Zealand’s driest and most arid area, with just introduced thyme eking out an existence. As you steadily climb the country becomes more hospitable, with familiar tussock grass dominating the scenery, along with a few rocky outcrops. There are good views over the moody Dunstan Mountains, with their large tors and wrinkled dark slopes, and also glimpses of the aqua coloured Lake Dunstan in the valley below. Continue reading “Cairnmuir Hill Track, Central Otago NZ”

Mt Pisa via Tinwald Burn Ridge Track, Central Otago NZ

A long hard walk up 1600m of elevation to reach the barren plateau on top of the Pisa Range, finishing at the summit of Mt Pisa (1963m).

The ascent of Mt Pisa is a pretty gruelling slog up 1600m of elevation over 12.5 km, but the otherworldly moonscape on top is impressive and worth the effort. Most of the climb is through farmland on a vehicle track, and when we did it there was a lot of animal dung around, so it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Once out of the farmland and into the Pisa Conservation Area the terrain changes to a barren and rocky moonscape, and when on the plateau there’s a further 2km of mostly flat walking to rocks on the summit at 1963m of elevation. Continue reading “Mt Pisa via Tinwald Burn Ridge Track, Central Otago NZ”

Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago NZ

Easy access to an arid alpine plateau on the Old Woman Range in Central Otago, with many tors & views of nearby mountains.

I realised the other day that I hadn’t posted all of my NZ walks to date. This is the walk I missed: A longish but mostly flat walk to the tops of the Old Woman Range, an arid alpine plateau near Cromwell in Central Otago. There were many tors along the way, and views of nearby mountains. Continue reading “Duffers Saddle to the Old Woman Range, Central Otago NZ”

Ephemeral lake walk, Broken Hill area, NSW

A walk along the foreshore of a shallow but expansive ephemeral lake somewhere in far western NSW, possibly a day trip from Broken Hill.

On a 2009 road trip to Broken Hill we did a walk along the shore of a large, natural, ephemeral lake, and saw scenes typical of the Australian outback. There was lots of wildlife (both native and feral), flat arid land, and the shallow but expansive lake. Continue reading “Ephemeral lake walk, Broken Hill area, NSW”

Mutawintji National Park Circuit, NSW

There’s proper outback scenery on this circuit walk in Mutawintji National Park, about 160km outside of Broken Hill in far western NSW.

In 2009 we took a road trip to the Australian outback for the first time, stopping for a night each in Cobar and White Cliffs on our way to Broken Hill in far western NSW. Before we got to Broken Hill we stopped to do a walk in Mutawintji National Park. This was probably our first taste of proper outback scenery, (although we had done a walk in fairly arid woodland on our way from Cobar to Wilcannia). This circuit walk takes in many rocky sections in that red ochre colour the outback is famous for. Tree cover is sparse and the trees fairly stunted, and surrounding the area are flat arid plains.

Continue reading “Mutawintji National Park Circuit, NSW”

Ngiyampaa walking track, Mount Grenfell Historic Site, NSW

The Ngiyampaa walking track takes you through mallee woodland to a trig point on Mt Grenfell for views over this typically flat section of western NSW.

Not a bad walk if you are driving out west along the Barrier Highway from Sydney to Broken Hill, as we were in September 2009. The Ngiyampaa walking track climbs through mallee woodlands to a trig point on Mount Grenfell, for views over flat-as-a-pancake woodland for as far as the eye can see. Continue reading “Ngiyampaa walking track, Mount Grenfell Historic Site, NSW”