Longslip Mountain from Lindis Pass, Canterbury/Otago NZ

Walk along a ridgeline from Lindis Pass (971m) to Longslip Mountain (1494m) surrounded by the famous tussock grasslands of the area.

The area around Lindis Pass is famous for its golden tussock grasslands. You can see them from the highway, and can climb to excellent views on Double Peak in less than two hours return. But to really get amongst it all consider a day-walk to Longslip Mountain from the lookout car park. It’s pretty much one long ridge all the way to the summit, and with some of the best views early on you could shorten your day and still leave very satisfied. Continue reading “Longslip Mountain from Lindis Pass, Canterbury/Otago NZ”

Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ

More tarns than you could ever hope for on this route past Wye Creek and on to the Doolans Creek tarns in the rugged Hector Mountains.

At the rugged northern end of the Hector Mountains, and behind the iconic Remarkables Range near Queenstown, are about fifteen scenic tarns. There are five in the Wye Creek Basin, and ten in the rather more remote area above Doolans Creek East Branch. A ridge of rugged peaks separates the two clusters. Most of these tarns are enormous, deep, and all of them scenic. The Wye Creek tarns are set amongst tussock grassland with Single Cone towering overhead. And the Doolans Creek tarns are dotted around rocky terrain with patches of golden tussock. For anybody that likes tarns I can’t imagine a better two day route. Continue reading “Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ”

Mt Pfeifer and Pfeifer Bivvy, Arthur’s Pass National Park, West Coast NZ

Stay overnight in Pfeifer Bivvy, and get exceptional views from the summit of nearby Mt Pfeifer (1704m), on the West Coast side of Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Billed as a lesser visited site, the increasingly popular Pfeifer Bivvy and Mt Pfeifer offer exceptional views deep into Arthur’s Pass National Park. Only the very fit would manage this in a day, so for most it will be quite a hard slog with full pack to stay in the hut or camp nearby. A side trip to summit Mt Pfeifer is well worth it. You’re likely to summit the mountain later in the day, or else early the next, and so the 360 degree views will be enhance by the angled light. Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Pfeifer and Pfeifer Bivvy, Arthur’s Pass National Park, West Coast NZ”

The Marquee from Cameron Hut, Arrowsmith Range, Canterbury NZ

The challenging climb of The Marquee (2421m) gives ‘entry level’ access to the Arrowsmith Range & all the alpine grandeur that comes with it.

The challenging climb of The Marquee (2421m), in Canterbury’s Arrowsmith Range, offers a real experience of alpine grandeur. You get panoramic views of multiple glaciated peaks in the Arrowsmith Range, which tops out at Mt Arrowsmith (2780m). In other directions you lord it over many high mountain ranges, and the upstream Rakaia River snakes away to the north-east. Continue reading “The Marquee from Cameron Hut, Arrowsmith Range, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Catherine via south ridge, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Excellent views & good variety on this long ridge walk up Mt Catherine (2085m) from the south, with scenic options to return via scree slopes, streams & the TA.

I had unfinished business on Mt Catherine (2085m) in Hakatere Conservation Park near Lake Heron. I tried climbing it from the west in winter, but didn’t make the summit. This time I climbed it from the south on a long ridge, taking a scenic variation on the way back to complete a very satisfying day out.

There are views for miles from the ridge, of Lake Heron and its distinctive neighbour Sugarloaf, the Arrowsmith Range, and countless barren mountains to the north and east, many over 2000m high.  My return route along a stream down to the Te Araroa was very pleasant, and included the most dangerously beautiful speargrass I’ve ever seen. Continue reading “Mt Catherine via south ridge, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Kohurau – Awakino Circuit, St Marys Range, Canterbury NZ

Wide open views over Central Otago and the Waitaki Valley on this circuit walk up to Kohurau / Mt Kurow (2009m) in the St Marys Range.

Our first time to walk in the St Marys Range in the far south of Canterbury, where we climbed Kohurau (2009m; Mt Kurow on some maps). There are definite similarities to nearby Central Otago mountains, with tussock covered slopes giving way to desolate rocky alpine tops, and wide open views as far as Aoraki Mt Cook. It’s certainly a uniquely stark aesthetic, overlooking remote country to the south and west. This was in fact our second time in as many weeks to circumnavigate a ski field – this time Awakino Ski Field – a very small operation run by  Waitaki Ski Club. Continue reading “Kohurau – Awakino Circuit, St Marys Range, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Sinclair ascent, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

An adventurous route up past a very scenic tarn to the summit of Mt Sinclair (2065m) with spectacular views, especially to the north.

It took me quite a while to get around to climbing Mt Sinclair (2065m), though I’d had my eyes on it for a couple of years. The mountain sits a fairly long way from anywhere, south of the Rangitata River, and the way up is not so obvious. I expect most people who visit do so by helicopter, landing next to the picturesque tarn at about 1600m. The tarn is indeed very nice, and could be a worthy destination on foot, but views from the summit are pretty spectacular and worth the extra climb. Perhaps the highlight are views north over countless high peaks, including the Two Thumbs Range to the NW. Continue reading “Mt Sinclair ascent, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Griffin via Wilson Knob, West Coast NZ

The best of West Coast scenery on this challenging but always rewarding trip to Mt Griffin (1517m) via Wilson Knob.

I don’t think there’s anywhere quite like the West Coast for rugged landscapes, lush vegetation, and entirely unpredictable weather! Not to mention gnarly terrain. We averaged about one kilometre per hour on this two-day trip to Mt Griffin over Wilson Knob, and we’re no slouches. But you will be rewarded by the very best West Coast landscapes, including rugged and heavily vegetated ridgelines stretching for miles, lumps of land looking like islands in a sea of cloud, and all kinds of handsome plants along the way.

Continue reading “Mt Griffin via Wilson Knob, West Coast NZ”

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

Climb to the 2019m high peak Mt Izard in the Craigieburn Range for excellent views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and countless other peaks.

The Craigieburn Range has a number of 2000m high peaks that can be climbed in a day, and Mt Izard (2019m) was our latest conquest in this Canterbury High Country playground. The route is pretty straightforward, following the Hogs Back Track for a little over an hour and then taking one easterly spur all the way to the summit. The views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and on down the crest of the Cragieburn Range are a highlight, but there are plenty of other peaks to feast your eyes on. Walking on a still snowy spring day added to the aesthetics.

Continue reading “Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ”

The Pyramid, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Views of the Southern Alps and nearby Mt Potts on this off-track walk up The Pyramid (1748m), in Hakatere Conservation Park.

The big walk up Mt Potts was one of our favourites, and along the way you get views of The Pyramid (1748m). This peak is an easier alternative, but is entirely off track, so still not a beginner’s walk. Views of the Southern Alps are excellent, as are views of the southern face of Mt Potts. The long approach over mostly tussock is not so interesting however, and takes the sheen off the overall walking experience. Continue reading “The Pyramid, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”