Stroll through impressive limestone rock formations at Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill, situated on SH73 between Christchurch & the West Coast.
Castle Hill Rocks / Kura Tawhiti are an outcrop of enormous limestone rocks just off the SH73 highway between Christchurch and the West Coast. You can take a 40 minute stroll through the rocks, which are an impressive sight. Expect to be joined by quite a crowd as they are a popular attraction and easy to access. Continue reading “Castle Hill Rocks / Kura Tawhiti, Canterbury NZ”
Central Otago at its finest on the Devils Creek Track to Mt Kinaki (1309m). Arid, rocky landscapes including the deeply cut Devils Creek as a highlight.
Many day-walks in Central Otago are let down somewhat by a long walk in weedy farmland to get to a conservation area, and then before you know it, it’s time to return. On paper the walk up Devils Creek Track to Mt Kinaki (1309m) is just this kind of walk, although I thought the topography of Devils Creek held some promise. Well, I ended up enjoying this walk from start to finish. In perfect mid-autumn conditions the colours were just lovely, including the weeds, and the rocky slopes of the Dunstan Range were otherworldy. But it was Devils Creek itself that stole the show – a fabulously deep cut, arid and rocky valley that I think earns its devilish name. You also get views back towards Lake Dunstan and the 1963m Pisa Range. Continue reading “Devils Creek Track to Mt Kinaki, Bendigo Conservation Area, Central Otago NZ”
A classic circuit walk taking in two major attractions, the summit of Mt Somers (1688m) with great views, & the spectacular Pinnacles rock formations.
On our first time up Mt Somers (1688m) we missed some of the views north and west due to cloud, but no such problem this time. You get wide open views of the Southern Alps, of Mt Taylor, the highest peak in the Canterbury Foothills, and east over the Canterbury Plains. Wander a bit around the summit plateau to get the best views in all directions. And to turn this already good walk into a real classic, descend off-track on the northern side of the mountain, and return along the Mt Somers Track past the spectacular Pinnacles rock formations.
It’s a pretty long walk and will require experience in snow and ice during the winter. Track notes at the end. See my post on a shorter out and back climb to the summit here.
Mt Somers & The Pinnacles Circuit: The Scenery
I’ve mixed in shots from our first time up the mountain in May 2020, and the rest are from September 2021. First are some of the May shots…
Now to September…
Throwing in one more from May 2020, then back to the rest from September…
On our descent now…
Walking clockwise, there’s a marked track from Sharplin Falls Reserve car park to the junction with the Mt Somers Summit Track. From there it’s a sparsely poled route to the summit.
From the summit it’s easy walking past point 1595 to a rocky spur that you can take down to the Mt Somers Track. Take this back past Pinnacles Hut to the start. Some sections of this were a bit rough and involved multiple stream crossings. You can of course return back along the outward route from the summit, which is a shorter option.
There’s more info on tracks in the area on the DOC website. Best allocate all day for this route.
Pancake Rocks & blow holes are an interesting tourist attraction near the small village of Punakaiki that are accessed on a very short walk.
A colleague suggested we visit Pancake Rocks near Punakaki on our drive down NZ’s West Coast. As a tourist attraction it is recommended, with a variety of interesting rock formations, often in layers, (hence the pancake reference), and also blow holes and bird nesting sites. The blow holes weren’t blowing on the day we did this walk. They kinda sucked 😉
As a walking experience it is more akin to strolling in a city park, being very short and on a paved track. This is just one to stretch the legs on the drive up or down the coast, or if you are staying in the area.
Visit the big boulders called Porcupine Rocks on this popular walk starting on the edge of Perisher Village. You can extend the walk to bag two nearby peaks, Mt Duncan (1926m) & Mt Wheatley (1877m).
The Porcupine Rocks Track is a popular walk to big boulders high up in the Ramshead Range near Perisher Village. There are views over the Thredbo Valley, about 700 to 800m below. If that’s not enough for you then you can walk off-track to nearby Mt Duncan (1926m), and along an impact track and poled route to Mt Wheatley (1877m). All walking is through attractive alpine meadows, heath and snow gums. Continue reading “Porcupine Rocks, Mt Duncan & Mt Wheatley, Kosciuszko National Park”
An excellent short walk from Charlotte Pass to Mt Stilwell (2040m) for great views of the Main Range and over an alpine plateau strewn with countless boulders.
The Mt Stilwell Walk was quite a find for us, as we’d walked other routes from Charlotte Pass before without giving it much attention. It turned out to be a great short walk with views of the Main Range, and over the boulder strewn alpine plateau to the south of the summit. There were numerous wildflowers in summer which added to the appeal. You also get to bag a 2040m peak while you’re at it: bonus 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Stilwell Walk, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”
The Waterfall Walking Track is a pleasant enough walk through forest to a waterfall and a collection of big boulders in Kosciuszko National Park.
The Waterfall Walking Track is is a pleasant enough walk through a variety of forest types at about 1200m of elevation in Kosciuszko National Park near Jindabynbe. As the name suggests there is a waterfall along the way, but I think the highlight is a collection of giant boulders. Not one of the glitzy alpine walks further up Kosciuszko Road but worthwhile for a change of scene.
The must do circuit walk in the Warrumbungles, taking in famous views of the Breadknife from Grand High Tops, and a visit to Bluff Mountain (1200m) where there are more great views.
The Grand High Tops Circuit with an added side trip to Bluff Mountain (1200m) is arguably the best walk in the Warrumbungles, especially for views. From Grand High Tops there are classic views of the pleasingly named rock formation, The Breadknife, which is a tall, thin and sheer slice of rock that you pass on the way up. There are also great views of nearby Crater Bluff, and of Belougery Spire, both prominent and striking hunks of rock. Continue reading “Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops, Warrumbungle National Park NSW”
An excellent short walk on the Pagoda Lookout Track in Wollemi National Park, where there are views of rock pagodas & over the picturesque Cudgegong River.
The Dunns Swamp area is very picturesque, and a shortish drive from the also picturesque village of Rylstone, in NSW’s Mid-Western region. The short walk on the Pagoda Lookout Track passes along the foreshore of the dammed but still very attractive Cudgegong River, and takes you to the base of impressive rock pagodas. From there it’s a short but steep climb to the top of the rocks themselves. There are great views of the rocks and over the surrounding area. Definitely worth spending half an hour or so exploring the area around the lookout, and obsessively taking pictures (obviously). Continue reading “Pagoda Lookout Track, Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park NSW”
Lots of impressive boulders on this walk through Cathedral Rock National Park, and expansive views over the New England High Country.
This route climbs Cathedral Rock, the (almost) high point of the New England Tablelands at about 1580m, and goes on to visit the attractive Woolpack Rocks. There are various interesting boulder formations throughout the walk, and expansive views from on top of the two main rock formations. You start above 1300m, so only moderate effort required on an undulating track to visit these destination points. Continue reading “Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park NSW”