Evans Lookout/Pulpit Rock/Popes Glen/Braeside Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

Cliffs galore on this longish walk on the edge of the Grose Valley near Blackheath. The spectacular views are at least a match for those over the Jamison Valley near Katoomba.

The eastern side of Blackheath is pretty spectacular, and the walk described here takes in the best of the cliff top views in the area. It includes the viewpoints of Evans Lookout and Govetts Leap that you can drive to, and also Pulpit Rock which is a short walk from Pulpit Rock Road. However there are ever changing views for as long as you are on the cliffs’ edge, and turning it into a partial circuit via Popes Glenn and the Braeside Walk adds some atmospheric variety.  Continue reading “Evans Lookout/Pulpit Rock/Popes Glen/Braeside Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Ben Lomond Track, Queenstown NZ

Climbing Ben Lomond (1748m) is a must do for any reasonably fit hiker visiting Queenstown. The route we take to the top starts on the edge of town, and at first passes through beech forest, then pine forest, and once above the treeline it’s tussock grass until the summit, where there are 360 degree views of the Southern Alps, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

Standing on the summit of Ben Lomond on a clear enough day, you can blindly point your camera in any direction and come away with an epic landscape shot. There are 360 degree views of the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, and depending on the weather conditions these views might look very different, as the photos that follow will demonstrate. Continue reading “Ben Lomond Track, Queenstown NZ”

Sugarloaf Pass to Point 1290m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

Really spectacular views of mountains and valleys on this lesser known walk in Mt Aspiring National Park, including a nice side angle of Mt Earnslaw at 2830m of elevation.

We did this walk for the first time on about our seventh trip to New Zealand, and I can’t understand how it had remained under our radar for so long. After a moderate amount of time in very atmospheric beech forest, the walk emerges above the tree line to a saddle for the first views of mountains and valleys in Mt Aspiring National Park. But the views get really spectacular when you take a right turn off-track up to point 1290m. There are views of rugged mountains in various directions, including a great angle on Mt Earnslaw, which peaks at 2830m of elevation. Continue reading “Sugarloaf Pass to Point 1290m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Clarke Gorge Track, Kosciuszko NP NSW

Pretty spectacular walking through Clarke Gorge in the northern section of Kosciuszko National Park (…but be prepared for wet feet).

I’d seen pictures of Clarke Gorge on the internet, and this alone convinced me I should visit the less trendy northern end of Kosciuszko National Park (less trendy because of the generally lower elevation). It’s a very narrow gorge lined by sheer sided cliffs, and the walk through it to Cave Creek Falls must be one of the best in the park. There were brumbies (wild horses) galore in the area, and although they are non-natives, they are nevertheless charming animals that are generally quite comfortable with humans. Continue reading “Clarke Gorge Track, Kosciuszko NP NSW”

Garrawarra Farm car park to Garie North Head, Royal NP, Sydney

Great coastal views for almost the whole length of this walk, taking in a section of the famous Coast Track, in the Royal National Park south of Sydney.

There are a number of walking options in the Royal National Park that take in a section of the classic 30km Coast Track. One good option is to start at the Garrawarra Farm car park on top of the escarpment, walk east down Burgh Ridge towards the sea, then walk north as far as Garie North Head for excellent views back down the coast. And in the summer holidays Garie Beach is patrolled so you can safely have a swim before heading back. Continue reading “Garrawarra Farm car park to Garie North Head, Royal NP, Sydney”

Wentworth Falls via National Pass, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

Get up close and personal with cliffs and waterfalls on a spectacular walk to Wentworth Falls in the Upper Blue Mountains.

This walk to Wentworth Falls is one of my favourites in the Blue Mountains, with numerous cliffs and waterfalls up close and personal. The proximity of the scenery makes it quite spectacular, but rather hard to photograph. Nevertheless, you’ll hopefully get a reasonable impression from the photos that follow. One of the classics in the region. Continue reading “Wentworth Falls via National Pass, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Queens Drive (part) & Lake Alta, The Remarkables, Queenstown NZ

Three walks high up in the Remarkables Range near Queenstown: tracks to Lake Alta and Shadow Basin Lookout, and for something a little more hair raising, the Queens Drive track. Alpine scenes and spectacular views abound.

Three walks in one here: a straightforward walk up to beautiful Lake Alta from the Remarkables ski fields car park, a shortish climb to wide open views at Shadow Basin Lookout, and the somewhat hair raising Queens Drive track, that runs along a poor excuse for a ledge high up (about 2000m) on the west face of the Remarkables. Seriously spectacular views on the Queens Drive track, but if you don’t have a head for heights then you can just check out the views from Shadow Basin Lookout, which is on the way.

Continue reading “Queens Drive (part) & Lake Alta, The Remarkables, Queenstown NZ”

Pipeline Track from the Wolgan Valley, NSW

The Pipeline Track runs between two of the most spectacular valleys in NSW: Wolgan Valley to the east, and the more remote Capertee Valley to the west. In between, the excellent Pagoda Lookout provides views over the Wolgan Valley, and this was our turnaround point for the walk depicted here.

This walk on the Pipeline Track climbs out of the spectacular Wolgan Valley to a high point at Pagoda Lookout. It starts in Newnes Campground surrounded by high cliffs, and at first passes through mining relics from the early twentieth century. The track then climbs up through an attractive gully to excellent views back down into the valley.  Continue reading “Pipeline Track from the Wolgan Valley, NSW”

Main Range Walk & Mt Townsend, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

The Main Range Track is Australia’s highest walk, passing through rare alpine vegetation, and taking in a number of glacial lakes and Australia’s most extensive views. A side trip to Mt Townsend (2210m) is well worth it.

One of NSW and Australia’s classic day walks, the Main Range Walk in Kosciuszko National Park is also Australia’s highest walking track, maintaining an elevation between roughly 1800m and 2200m. It’s a 22km loop through alpine vegetation, taking in glacial lakes and Australia’s most extensive views along the way. The side trip to Australia’s second highest peak, Mt Townsend (2210m), is well worth it, and offers a more interesting experience than the shorter side trip to our highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko (2228m). If you were keen you could do both, but we by passed Kosciuszko as we’d been there before. The walk as depicted here was about 25km with 750m change in elevation. Continue reading “Main Range Walk & Mt Townsend, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Earnslaw Burn Track, near Glenorchy NZ

A truly spectacular walk to a tussock basin below the Earnslaw Glacier. Highly recommended for fit walkers or those willing to spend a night there.

You get up close and personal with Mt Earnslaw and its glacier on this mammoth walk, which took my wife and me almost 10 hours. The Earnslaw Burn Track follows the true left bank of the Earnslaw Burn through beech forest up to a tussock basin below the Earnslaw Glacier. Once out of the forest the views will be enough to knock your hiking socks off, and are amongst the best we’ve seen on any day hike. They include the Earnslaw Glacier and numerous waterfalls, big fallen rocks, and we caught sight of an avalanche too. Continue reading “Earnslaw Burn Track, near Glenorchy NZ”