Great views on this circuit visiting Mt Harper (1829m), Cairn Hill (1589m) and Lake Emma in Hakatere Conservation Park.
I first visited Mt Harper / Mahaanui (1829m) in winter, not longer after coming to live in NZ. I very much enjoyed that walk and wanted to visit the Harper Range again. This time I decided on a circuit, climbing Mt Harper from Balmacaan Stream, then returning via Cairn Hill (1589m) and Lake Emma. You get excellent views of the Rangitata River, Ben McLeod Range, Ashburton Lakes area (including Lake Emma of course), and big mountains like Mt Taylor to the north east. Continue reading “Mt Harper and Cairn Hill Circuit, Hakatere Conservation Park NZ”
Excellent views, a lovely tarn, and a bit of adventure as you make your way through rocky terrain to Mt O’Malley (1703m) in Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Mt O’Malley (1703m) is the lesser known neighbour of Mt Aicken, but you don’t compromise on scenery by visiting this peak. You take the same Mt Aicken Track through beech forest to the bushline. From there you soon veer south-east, travelling on tussock grass at first, but then moving into very rocky terrain. There are rocky ridges and basins to cross, with a very picturesque tarn one of the highlights of the walk. The views from the summit are spectacular and top off yet another excellent walk in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Continue reading “Mt O’Malley ascent, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”
Fabulously rugged scenery on this adventurous walk up to Mt Barron (1730m) on the West Coast side of Arthur’s Pass National Park.
The route up Mt Barron in Arthur’s Pass National Park was one of the most impressively rugged day-walks I’ve ever done. The walk starts in West Coast forest, which I enjoyed because my last few walks had been all tussock and scree; but this section is not a particular highlight. There’s a scramble through attractive sub-alpine vegetation, before you head off track to the summit. This section is dominated by the rugged Barron Ridge and various high peaks in Arthur’s Pass National Park. The views from the summit are the icing on the already tasty mountain cake. 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Barron Route, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”
Big views on this big walk up Steepface Hill and on to Mt Hutt (2185m), one of Canterbury’s iconic high peaks.
Climbing Mt Hutt (2185m) from Terrible Gully was my biggest ever day-walk, at least in terms of climbing. As one of the highest peaks in the Canterbury Foothills, and a prominent mountain that can be seen from right across the Canterbury Plains, it’s an iconic peak that I’d been wanting to climb ever since moving to Christchurch three years earlier. There are excellent views on offer almost the whole day, including those available from Steepface Hill (1876m) which you visit along the way. Continue reading “Mt Hutt via Steepface Hill, Canterbury NZ”
Great views and nice variety on this walk to Mid Hill (1831m) in Craigieburn Forest Park, with forest, tussock, a rocky ridge & lots of tarns.
The climb to Mid Hill (1831m) via Lagoon Saddle is mostly easy travel with maybe 300m of moderate scrambling along a rocky ridge to get to the summit. Once out of the beech and pine at the start there are views for the rest of the walk and many attractive tarns between Lagoon Saddle and the final climb up onto the ridge. Arthur’s Pass is to the north, but some of the best views are the Black Range to the south-east, a patchwork of dark green forest and grey scree. Views west are over rugged and remote country. A very satisfying walk.
Lots of scrambling, exposure and tricky route finding on the way up Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, along Williamson Spur.
On a previous occasion we’d set off for Mt Hanley and made it only part way up Williamson Spur, turning back in less than ideal weather. There was already some scrambling and exposure going that far, but climbing all the way to the summit involved quite a bit more, and ended up being the scariest walk I’ve done to date! It didn’t help that my wife Sophia pulled out that morning and I went by myself. I probably shouldn’t have. This walk is best done with somebody else, and anybody who tries it will need to be comfortable with scrambling and exposure. The views are good, particularly when there are shadows highlighting the many ridges on the surrounding hillsides (which I didn’t really have in mid summer). Continue reading “Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ”
An epic 3-4 day circuit in Mt Aspiring National Park, visiting Lake Nerine and sampling some of NZ’s best scenery along the way.
This three to four-day circuit walk visiting Lake Nerine was our best and hardest walk to date. The route passes through unspoilt wilderness on the western side of Mt Aspiring National Park bordering Fiordland. You bag two beautiful valleys – the Routeburn / Routeburn North Branch and the Rockburn; three mountain passes – North Col, Parks Pass and Sugarloaf Pass; and walk under the towering Humboldt Mountains pretty much the whole way. And then there’s a multitude of tarns and lakes with Lake Nerine the jewel in the crown. Continue reading “Lake Nerine Circuit, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”
Fabulous views await those who climb steeply to Mt Cheeseman (2031m), a peak on the crest of the Craigieburn Range.
Prior to climbing Mt Cheeseman (2031m) we had done only one other big walk in the Craigieburn Range, climbing nearby Mt Cloudsley. So our second peak on the range crest was overdue, but what a great peak it was. I hadn’t expected such fabulous views, which include the impressive Mt Olympus (2094m) – for me the highlight of these vistas. But there are countless peaks in every direction, so a real visual feast. Throw in a couple of tarns and a proper work out, and you have an excellent day out for more experienced walkers.
A simple off-track walk up to the summit of Mt Scott (1363m) from the Crown Range Road, for views of the Pisa Conservation Area.
The off-track route up Mt Scott (1363m) from the highest point on the Crown Range Road is a quick way to get views over the Pisa Conservation Area and down into the Wakatipu Basin. It can also be extended all the way to Crown Peak, which would in fact be the quickest way to get up this mountain. (We’ve climbed it from Arrowtown and also from further down the Crown Range Road). Continue reading “Mt Scott from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ”
Exceptional views over the Paparoa Range from the Buckland Peaks. Stay at the hut or camp out to give yourself more time to explore the tops.
I’d come across the Buckland Peaks Track while looking over topo maps, and it looked like a doozy. With a two day weather window and some mid week leave planned, my wife Sophia and I headed over to the West Coast and spent a night camping up on the Buckland Peaks tops. The views are exceptional, and with a decent sized plateau to wander around you can get numerous perspectives on peaks in the Paparoa Range, views inland, and views up and down the coast. Continue reading “Buckland Peaks Track, Paparoa National Park, West Coast NZ”