Uisangbong 의상봉 & Baegundae 백운대 Circuit, Bukhansan National Park 북한산국립공원, Seoul, South Korea

Top class scenery in Seoul’s Bukhansan National Park, on the best circuit in the park climbing Baegundae Peak (836m) via Uisangbong Peak.

Bukhansan National Park sits on the northern edge of Seoul, and offers some of South Korea’s most dramatic scenery, all accessible by public transport. The route to the spectacular high point of Baegundae Peak (836m) over Uisangbong Peak (502m) is probably the best in the park. Returning through Oryudong Valley adds variety, including a couple of temples and various traditional buildings. Expect granite cliffs, beautiful valleys, fortress gates and Buddhist temples. Continue reading “Uisangbong 의상봉 & Baegundae 백운대 Circuit, Bukhansan National Park 북한산국립공원, Seoul, South Korea”

Namhansanseong Fortress 남한산성 Circuit, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

The circuit around the walls of Namhansanseong Fortress 남한산성 is a great combination of natural scenery, history & cityscapes all in one walk.

The walk around the fortress city of Namhansanseong 남한산성 is a very nice combination of natural scenery and historic architecture. The complex was built on a mountain (approx 480m high) south of Seoul in the 1600s as an emergency capital. The view of Seoul from the West Gate is excellent, and if you time it like we did, then you can watch the sun set behind the city. The 555m Lotte World Tower is an obvious highlight of that sprawling cityscape.

Continue reading “Namhansanseong Fortress 남한산성 Circuit, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea”

Pipeline & Tram Tracks plus Powerhouse Walk, Reefton, West Coast NZ

A pleasant short walk between the town of Reefton and the village of Blacks Point, plus visit a historic power station site.

After doing a couple of excellent walks in Victoria Forest Park (the Klondyke Routes and Mt Haast Route) we took a day off to look around the historic mining town of Reefton. To do so we walked about 2-2.5km into town from our accommodation in the small village of Blacks Point along the Pipeline and Tram Tracks. These made for pleasant walking through mostly native forest with a bit of scrub, with just a short ascent and descent at the start and end. We later did the short Powerhouse Walk, learning about the hydro scheme that powered the southern hemisphere’s first electric street lighting. There’s almost nothing left of this but they are going to build a replica I believe. Continue reading “Pipeline & Tram Tracks plus Powerhouse Walk, Reefton, West Coast NZ”

Godley Head Circuit, Christchurch NZ

A circuit walk close to Christchurch that takes in attractive coastal scenery and WWII heritage sites. Easy walking through mostly paddocks.

Walking around Godley Head is a good option for those based in Christchurch who want a easy walk that can be done in half a day. It’s mostly through paddocks, and good accessibility makes it a fairly popular choice, so don’t expect much serenity. But there are a number of WWII heritage sites on the route, and the coastal scenery is quite nice, with a section of more natural looking vegetation on the Lyttelton Harbour side (south). And sea breezes will blow away the cobwebs 🙂 Continue reading “Godley Head Circuit, Christchurch NZ”

Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW

A lesser known but nevertheless spectacular walk in the Upper Blue Mountains near Mt Victoria. There are cliffs galore, views up and down the deep Grose Valley, and other features such as patches of treeless grasslands.

This walk near Mt Victoria offers some of the best views of typical Upper Blue Mountains scenery, but is relatively unknown so you’ll be able to enjoy the serenity without the crowds. The tracks visit some excellent vantage points on the edge of rather precipitous cliffs with views over the spectacular Grose Valley, and there’s also a few patches of treeless grassy plains (the swamps I presume) that make for a nice change of scenery in this heavily forested area. Add to this a handful of rocky outcrops along the way, some interesting trees, and a worthy side trip to visit a small historic mine. All this for less than 10km of flattish walking.   Continue reading “Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW”

Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW

A short to medium walk through a variety of forest vegetation in the Lower Blue Mountains that takes in two significant Indigenous cultural sites.

This walk is conveniently located at the very bottom of the Blue Mountains near Glenbrook. Not all that spectacular, it’s nevertheless unique for the cave at the turnaround point, which contains excellently preserved indigenous hand stencils made with red ochre, hence the name Red Hands Cave. Walking from Glenbrook Causeway near the entrance to the national park, you’ll pass through a variety of forest types, from dry scrubby vegetation to rainforest, and the link track provides a bit of variety making a partial loop. Continue reading “Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW”

Nokogirisan / Odakesan / Mitakesan, Western Tokyo, Japan

Three peaks on this longish walk in far Western Tokyo, the highest of which is Odake-san (Mt Odake) at 1266m of elevation. The views can be good if it’s a clear day, but there’s also attractive forest scenery and an excellent shrine near the end of the walk.

If you are travelling to Tokyo it’s possible to do some hiking in the far western reaches of the Greater Tokyo area. We did this walk up and across three peaks – Nokogirisan, Odakesan (1266m), and Mitakesan – in a day, travelling by public transport, and still managed to get back to Tokyo for a shower and then dinner (you’ll want to start early). The views are apparently excellent on parts of this walk (you can see Mt Fuji on a clear day) however not on the day we did it – winter is probably the best time for visibility. We walked in mid autumn before the colours had changed, and it got quite hazy by time we ascended, so we instead enjoyed the walk for the forest scenery, a number of small shrines along the route, and the impressive Mitake Shrine on Mt Mitake itself. Continue reading “Nokogirisan / Odakesan / Mitakesan, Western Tokyo, Japan”

Yeongmori Coast & Sanbangsa Temple, Jeju-do, South Korea

These two very short walks exceeded expectations, offering impressive coastal scenery, views of a big lump of lava called Sanbangsan, a visit to Sanbangsa Temple at the foot of the mountain, then up to a cave with views of the coast.

There were two walks just a short stroll away from where we stayed on Jeju Island when holidaying there in 2017, so we paid the combined entrance fee to the short coastal walk and nearby temple/cave walk, perhaps not expecting all that much, but they turned out to be very much worth it. The rocks and cliffs of the Yeongmori Coast section made for great coastal scenery, and the Buddhist temple Sanbangsa is situated in an impressive spot below sheer cliffs on the 395m mountain Sanbangsan, with a cave and views a short but steep walk further up the mountain. Continue reading “Yeongmori Coast & Sanbangsa Temple, Jeju-do, South Korea”

Box Vale Circuit, Southern Highlands NSW

This walk follows an old railway cutting at first, then descends steeply into relative wilderness, and passes a nice waterfall on the way back up to the cutting. You’re unlikely to meet other walkers on the middle half of the walk.

The Box Vale Circuit is a lesser travelled walk in the Southern Highlands near Mittagong. It follows an old mining railway cutting at first, with valley views on a short side trip. It then descends very steeply into wilderness, follows a river, then climbs back out, passing the attractive Forty Foot Falls on the way. You may well meet other walkers, but probably not in the middle half of the walk, which skirts a section of the Nattai River and feels a bit more remote. Continue reading “Box Vale Circuit, Southern Highlands NSW”

Cape Bailey Circuit, Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Sydney

This partial circuit walk to Cape Bailey passes along coastal cliffs and through heathland. It starts near Kurnell in Sydney’s south, at the south-eastern tip of historic Botany Bay.

This Cape Bailey Circuit walk in Kamay Botany Bay National Park is an alternative to the coastal walks in the nearby Royal National Park. Like some sections of the RNP Coast Track, it passes mostly through heathland and along impressive cliff edges. You won’t feel quite as remote on this walk as there is an old oil refinery (now fuel import facility) that is still (barely) visible from some spots, but it’s a pretty good option for a walk well inside the city boundary. And this area is a good spot for whale watching when in season. Continue reading “Cape Bailey Circuit, Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Sydney”