Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

A long circuit walk through mostly native bush in the Banks Peninsula’s largest nature reserve, Hinewai Reserve.

We recently watched a documentary on the advice of friends-Fools and Dreamers-about the establishment of Hinewai Reserve, and also its passionate and somewhat maverick manager, Hugh Wilson. With gale force winds forecast for the mountains on my day off we decided to make our first visit to Hinewai, near Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. The circuit route we chose took in a variety of waterfalls and viewpoints, the highest being Stony Bay Peak at 806m, where there are views over Akaroa Harbour. Continue reading “Hinewai Reserve & Stony Bay Peak, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ”

Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant walk up the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut, passing through attractive beech forest & over a picturesque gorge on the Nina River.

This pleasant walk in the Nina Valley as far as Nina Hut was a plan B on our first trip to the Lewis Pass area, as low cloud made put us off our planned mountain ascent. Almost 6 hours in beech forest was a bit much for me, but it was very pleasant forest, and a couple of sections of the Nina River were picturesque too. My photos proved reasonably popular amongst friends and family on Facebook, so I guess that is a vote of confidence in the scenery on offer, but of course look below and judge for yourself. Continue reading “Nina Valley to Nina Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury NZ”

Little Mt Peel Circuit, Peel Forest, Canterbury NZ

A 1000m climb through a variety of native vegetation takes you to the summit of Little Mt Peel (1311m) with great views of the Canterbury Plains & surrounding mountains.

One of Canterbury’s more popular walks, climbing Little Mt Peel takes you 1000m up through a variety of vegetation types, including podocarp and broad leaf rainforest with a variety of ferns, then native bush, and finally into heath and tussock. The views from the summit are very good, including the Canterbury Plains to the east, and various hills and mountains in all other directions. Continue reading “Little Mt Peel Circuit, Peel Forest, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Oxford Loop, Oxford Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

A varied loop walk with great views from the summit of Mt Oxford, plus beautiful beech forest and a nice waterfall on the return leg.

After arriving in New Zealand I’d been waiting for a bit of snow before climbing Mt Oxford, one of the more accessible mountains from Christchurch. After a warm and sunny week in early winter there was just enough left to add to the aesthetics on high ground, including the upper reaches of beech forest, but plenty still on surrounding higher peaks. I’d heard the views from the summit were good, and they were, but the nicest surprise was some of the most beautiful beech forest I’ve seen in New Zealand on the upper slopes of the return leg. There’s also a short side trip to the attractive three tier Ryde Falls. Continue reading “Mt Oxford Loop, Oxford Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Minnamurra Rainforest and Falls Walk, Budderoo National Park NSW

A shortish walk through attractive remnant rainforest to view Minnamurra Falls in Budderoo National Park.

I don’t think I’d ever visited Minnamurra Falls before, or if I did it was a very long time ago when I was young. I’d driven past a few times and perhaps missed it out because the walk is quite short, an easygoing 4 kms roughly. I’m glad I stopped by with family though, because it’s a very charming and picturesque walk. Although the falls are the main reason to visit this patch of remnant rainforest, I actually found the rainforest itself to be the highlight.

Continue reading “Minnamurra Rainforest and Falls Walk, Budderoo National Park NSW”

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungle National Park NSW

A long walk with excellent views from the summit over the whole of the Warrumbungles, although you might find the highlight are the huge numbers of fabulous grass trees in the final 200 vertical metres.

Mt Exmouth (1206m) is the highest point in Warrumbungle National Park, and I’ll admit to a spot of peak bagging in doing this walk. Nevertheless, I’d read that the views from the summit were excellent, and they were, although a bit hazy on an overcast day. Unexpectedly though, another feature of this walk stole the show, and that was the preponderance of fabulous grass trees on the final ascent to the summit. I’ve never seen so many in my life, and they were fine specimens indeed. So I’d recommend this walk even just for these, but the views will be an added bonus. Continue reading “Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungle National Park NSW”

Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW

The circuit walk through Ferntree Gully Reserve passes through a scenic gully containing interesting rainforest vegetation. This includes various types of ferns as the name suggests, as well as vines and trailing roots reaching down over rocks to find the ground below. There are also good views from above the gully. It’s a short but rewarding walk that I recommend if you are in the region around Rylstone. Continue reading “Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW”

Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park NSW

Lots of impressive boulders on this walk through Cathedral Rock National Park, and expansive views over the New England High Country.

This route climbs Cathedral Rock, the (almost) high point of the New England Tablelands at about 1580m, and goes on to visit the attractive Woolpack Rocks. There are various interesting boulder formations throughout the walk, and expansive views from on top of the two main rock formations. You start above 1300m, so only moderate effort required on an undulating track to visit these destination points. Continue reading “Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park NSW”

Sugarloaf Pass to pt. 1290m (winter), Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

The 360 degree views from point 1290m just above Sugarloaf Pass, near the start of the Routeburn Track, are amongst the best we’ve seen in New Zealand. So on our trip to Queenstown in winter 2019 we decided to do this walk again, hoping that the rather modest snowfall in the first weeks of winter would nevertheless add to the already fabulous views, and we weren’t disappointed.  Mt Earnslaw/ Pikirakatahi is a highlight, as are the Humboldt Mountains. And the beech forest on the ascent and descent was even prettier than I remembered, with some friendly birds adding to the experience. Continue reading “Sugarloaf Pass to pt. 1290m (winter), Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A unique and atmospheric walk through a narrow, shaded canyon in the Upper Blue Mountains near Blackheath.

The Grand Canyon Circuit offers a fairly unique Blue Mountains experience, passing through the shadowy recesses of a narrow canyon carved out by Greaves Creek, near the town of Blackheath in the upper mountains. There’s lush rainforest vegetation, tall and dark cliffs, as well as more open sections with dryer vegetation. There’s also excellent views from Evans Lookout of the Grose Valley, looking like a smaller, forested version of that other (slightly more famous) Grand Canyon. Evans Lookout is outside of the canyon, but a part of the circuit walk. Continue reading “Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW”