Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ

A straightforward walk to Rock Peak (1490m) through tussock grass at the southern end of the Pisa Conservation Area.

This walk from Crown Saddle (1070m) to Rock Peak (1490m) provides easy access to the tussock-grassed Pisa Conservation Area. It’s easy walking along a vehicle track, and there are views the whole way over the Crown Range, the Wakatipu Basin, including the back of the Remarkables, and the Gibbston Valley wine region. Continue reading “Rock Peak from Crown Saddle, Pisa Conservation Area, Otago NZ”

Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown NZ

Brow Peak (1456m) near Arrowtown is an accessible mountain with fabulous views north over wrinkly golden brown mountains, and south over the Wakatipu Basin.

Brow Peak (1456m) is an accessible mountain near Arrowtown, and climbing it provides excellent views of golden brown mountains to the north, and of the Wakatipu Basin to the south. It starts on the fairly well trodden Sawpit Gully Circuit, but once off this you might not meet another person. And the approach to the summit along a  sometimes narrow ridge feels just a little adventurous, adding to the appeal of this walk. There’s also a very pleasant stand of beech forest on the way to Big Hill Saddle. Continue reading “Brow Peak via Big Hill Saddle, Arrowtown NZ”

New Chums Gully Circuit, Arrowtown NZ

A shortish circuit walk out the back of Arrowtown that offers pleasant rather than spectacular scenery.

There are various tracks out the back of Arrowtown, and although the scenery is not the best on offer, these trails offer a bit of variety for when you’ve done the more famous tracks in the Queenstown area. And you can fit many of the options into a half day. The New Chums Gully Circuit is just such a walk, and you may not see anybody else along the mid-section  of this route.  When you’ve finished, Arrowtown makes for a nice, albeit touristy spot for afternoon tea. Continue reading “New Chums Gully Circuit, Arrowtown NZ”

Mt Crichton to pt. 1723m, near Queenstown NZ

A really excellent walk to a minor peak on Mt Crichton. Fabulous mountain and lake views almost the whole way, and a good work out too.

The climb up Mt Crichton near Queenstown was one of our best walks to date. And even if you don’t visit one of the summit peaks you’ll still feel a sense of achievement and wonder by going as far as the minor peak at 1723m. Be prepared for quite a work out though, as much of it is steep and on a sometimes obscure route. Continue reading “Mt Crichton to pt. 1723m, near Queenstown NZ”

Devils Hole Track, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW

This lesser known short walk in the Blue Mountains passes through a very atmospheric canyon, and can be extended along the bottom of cliffs used by rock climbers.

This was another new walk for me in the Upper Blue Mountains that exceeded expectations. It starts on the edge of town, and passes steeply through a narrow and deep canyon (actually a gap in the cliffs) called the Devils Hole. As you drop down you can take a short side trip to the left for views of the cliffs lining Narrow Neck Plateau. At the bottom of Devils Hole you turn left to view a scenic waterfall, and can then continue on along the bottom of cliffs used by rock climbers. Continue reading “Devils Hole Track, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW”

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”

Starlights Trail, Nattai National Park, NSW

This walk, in the lesser known Nattai National Park, starts on fire trails, but eventually descends into the cliff lined Nattai Valley. You can have lunch next to the picturesque Nattai River at the turnaround point.

The Starlights Trail is in a less frequented area of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The walk starts on fire trails, but eventually drops down into the cliff lined Nattai Valley, ending at the picturesque Nattai River. The area was a lot dryer than I remembered it, possibly a result of the recent drought. It’s a good walk if you want to get away from the crowds, as I don’t remember ever seeing anybody on this trail. Perhaps this is why we saw a goanna along the way, who stopped on a tree in a convenient spot for me to get a good picture. Continue reading “Starlights Trail, Nattai National Park, NSW”

Venus Tor via Mt Hay, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

A little known walk over Mt Hay and down to the rocky outcrop known as Venus Tor. Excellent cliff and valley views for much of the way.

I learned of this excellent walk in the Upper Blue Mountains from a couple I met on the summit of Mt Hay. It’s possible to continue on over Mt Hay to a rocky outcrop called Venus Tor, and there are excellent views over the Grose Valley for most of the way. Plus you’re unlikely to meet many/any other hikers after Mt Hay. The drop down from Mt Hay is very steep, and then passes through mostly heath and scrub to the tor. Easy enough walking.  Continue reading “Venus Tor via Mt Hay, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

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”

Mt Rosa Track, Central Otago NZ

The route to the summit of Mt Rosa (1324m) starts in thorny weeds, but soon moves into tussock grass and before long there are views over the Gibbston Valley wine region, the Horn and Carrick Ranges, and eventually over to the Remarkables Conservation Area. Good for cooler weather because there’s no shade for the whole length of the walk.

The walk up Mt Rosa (1324m) from Victoria Flats was another lesser known walk to exceed expectations. It is so unknown that we didn’t come across a single other walker on two occasions. The wide track at first passes through thorny bushes, but before long these are left behind as it enters quintessential Central Otago high country; basically tussock grass. Eventually there are views of the Gibbston Valley wine region, and surrounding mountain ranges such as the Horn Range, Carrick Range, and the Remarkables Conservation Area. Continue reading “Mt Rosa Track, Central Otago NZ”