A fairly easygoing walk on the Ryton Track though impressive Canterbury High Country mountain scenery, visiting Lakes Ida & Catherine.
The Ryton Track takes you through impressive mountain scenery to Lake Ida, and then Lake Catherine. Both are nice enough – Lake Ida is in the nicer setting – but neither particularly photogenic. There are also Lakes Selfe and Evelyn at the start which are nice. For me though the highlight was the lumpy topography including scree covered mountains in the Craigieburn Range. It’s a fairly flat walk and not too long, so for relatively little effort you can get a good sample of the Canterbury High Country. Continue reading “Ryton Track to Lakes Ida & Catherine, Canterbury NZ”
A challenging route up Mt Princess (2126m) in the St James Range, with excellent views of Princess Bath & over countless peaks & valleys.
Mt Princess (2126m) is a significant peak that I first learned of when visiting nearby Mt Tennyson on a drive into the St James Conservation Area and Molesworth Reserve. It’s a long and potentially tricky route up no matter which way you go, but the views are really excellent, and the gnarly terrain only adds to the satisfaction.
We were lucky to have a good amount of snow remain in late October when we climbed the mountain, adding to the scenic views. (Except perhaps of Princess Bath (a cirque lake), which was still frozen over and so didn’t make so much of an impression.)
An easygoing walk along the Rakaia River as it cuts its way through the Rakaia Gorge, with views of the Mt Hutt Range to the west.
The Rakaia Gorge Walkway is an easygoing walk along a scenic section of the Rakaia River, with views of the river from various spots, and out over the Mt Hutt Range. It is suitable for families and those without tramping experience, although it can get a bit muddy. On a clear day the Rakaia River is a pleasing turquoise colour, and there are patches of native bush with exotics along the way. Continue reading “Rakaia Gorge Walkway, Canterbury NZ”
A classic circuit walk taking in two major attractions, the summit of Mt Somers (1688m) with great views, & the spectacular Pinnacles rock formations.
On our first time up Mt Somers (1688m) we missed some of the views north and west due to cloud, but no such problem this time. You get wide open views of the Southern Alps, of Mt Taylor, the highest peak in the Canterbury Foothills, and east over the Canterbury Plains. Wander a bit around the summit plateau to get the best views in all directions. And to turn this already good walk into a real classic, descend off-track on the northern side of the mountain, and return along the Mt Somers Track past the spectacular Pinnacles rock formations.
It’s a pretty long walk and will require experience in snow and ice during the winter. Track notes at the end.
Mt Somers & The Pinnacles Circuit: The Scenery
I’ve mixed in shots from our first time up the mountain in May 2020, and the rest are from September 2021. First are some of the May shots…
Now to September…
Throwing in one more from May 2020, then back to the rest from September…
On our descent now…
Walking clockwise, there’s a marked track from Sharplin Falls Reserve car park to the junction with the Mt Somers Summit Track. From there it’s a sparsely poled route to the summit.
From the summit it’s easy walking past point 1595 to a rocky spur that you can take down to the Mt Somers Track. Take this back past Pinnacles Hut to the start. Some sections of this were a bit rough and involved multiple stream crossings. You can of course return back along the outward route from the summit, which is a shorter option.
There’s more info on tracks in the area on the DOC website.
Expansive views of the Ashburton Lakes and Southern Alps from the top of Mt Guy (1319m), then a pleasant walk back below the mountain.
On our first time up Mt Guy the summit was clouded in, so we returned on a clear day in early spring to give it another go. There are wide open views of the Ashburton Lakes, flat plains, distant Southern Alps, and various other lumpy/ rolling mountains and hills. It’s a fairly short if rather steep climb up to the summit, and you could return from there for a short day out. But to extend your fun I can recommend a circuit going off-track north-west from the summit and returning by the Te Araroa and Eastern Link tracks. Continue reading “Mt Guy Circuit, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”
Spectacular and varied tramping on this selection of day-hikes around Hanmer Springs, Lewis Pass & Reefton.
There are mountains galore to the north and west of the resort town of Hanmer Springs, with two quite contrasting landscapes on offer. Directly to the north of town are dry and sometimes barren landscapes characterised by colourful heath plants, tussock and scree. There are a few tracks to choose from, but many more choose-your-own adventures, as the country is pretty open. Further west towards Lewis Pass and on to Reefton is a wetter landscape of forested valleys and grassy, sometimes rugged peaks. The tarns are often a highlight of these walks.
Snowy scenes & views of Lake Lyndon and many other peaks on this shorter walk up to Trig M (1251m) from Starvation Gully.
A repeat trip to Trig M, this time the shorter route from Starvation Gully, mainly to see the area after fairly heavy snowfall. It’s a fairly steady 1.5-2 hour climb to the top, with most of the ascent achieved early on. The views are very good, particularly of Lake Lyndon and towards the Craigieburn Range. Trig M can also be climbed from the other side of Porters Pass on the Coach Stream Track – that is a bit longer but more interesting (except for the section through farmland). Continue reading “Trig M from Starvation Gully, Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Canterbury NZ”
A nice circuit walk out the back of Arrowtown, taking in tussock country on Big Hill (1137m), & a section of the Arrow River and Gorge.
This was another great walk out the back of Arrowtown near Queenstown. The route first climbs steadily from the edge of town steadily to Big Hill Saddle, passing through a mix of vegetation including a pleasant stand of beech forest. Then it’s up and over Big Hill itself, with views of the region’s typically wrinkly, tussock grass covered topography that looks particularly attractive in winter lighting. Continue reading “Big Hill – Arrow River Circuit, Arrowtown NZ”
The Moke Lake Loop Track is an easygoing walk around this picturesque lake near Queenstown, surrounded by mountains.
Moke Lake is situated in a scenic area surrounded by mountains, and is just a short drive from downtown Queenstown. The walk around the lake on the Moke Lake Loop Track is easygoing and suitable for families. On a winter’s afternoon I found the lighting quite attractive and enjoyed the walk despite usually opting for more challenging terrain. Continue reading “Moke Lake Loop Track, Queenstown NZ”
It’s a short but steep climb to the informal Moke Lake Viewpoint, then an adventurous scramble up Williamson Spur for ever expanding views.
The informal Moke Lake Viewpoint is an increasingly popular spot to visit for views of this scenic lake and surrounding area. The lookout is on the Williamson Spur, and adventurous trampers can head further up the spur for increasingly good views that exceeded my expectations. There’s quite rugged scenery to the north, and the spur itself is pretty gnarly, plus expanding views of Moke Lake as you climb higher. Certainly the misty weather helped add some character to the views, but I’m sure clear weather would reveal some nice scenes we missed out on.