Mt Burns and Tarns, Fiordland NZ

The route to Mt Burns (1645m) delivers beautiful Fiordland scenery the whole way, including unique plant life, tarns, lakes, peaks & valleys.

Our first time in southern Fiordland, and it did not disappoint. We chose perhaps the easier of two walks to peaks that are accessible from Borland Road, climbing Mt Burns (1645m; the other is Mt Eldrig). It’s a very beautiful landscape packed full of lakes and tarns, and fabulous plants, but far fewer people than the touristy spots further north.

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Valley of the Trolls – Lake Wilson – Mt Erebus, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

Lake Wilson & the Valley of the Trolls is an absolute classic hike in Mt Aspiring National Park. Add on an adventurous side trip to Mt Erebus (1978m) for even more grandeur.

A visit to the Valley of the Trolls and Lake Wilson had been on my to do list for quite a few years. We finally did it in our last month living in New Zealand, staying a night and climbing to a vantage point high on Mt Erebus on day 2. The area is accessed off the Routeburn Track, which already takes you through some of New Zealand’s best scenery. But this off-track side trip will take the scenery next level.

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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”

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.

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Lake Nerine Circuit, Mt Aspiring National Park 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”

Nikau Palm Walk, Kōhaihai, West Coast NZ

The short Nikau Palm Walk starts on the Heaphy Track next to the Kōhaihai River, and passes through lush rainforest & groves of nikau palms.

If you want a very short walk at the West Coast end of the Heaphy Track then consider this short loop through native forest – the Nikau Palm Walk. The forest is very attractive, and as the name suggests, there are many nikau palms, New Zealand’s only native palm. You cross the Kōhaihai River at the start and views up and down this are also very nice.

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Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ

A very attractive coastal section of the multi-day Heaphy Track, taking in many highlights of West Coast scenery in just half a day.

I was keen to see some quintessential West Coast scenery when we visited the Coast’s northernmost town of Karamea for the first time. A four kilometre section of the multiday Heaphy Track offers just that: a selection of nikau palm lined beaches, lush rainforest and river scenery. The brochures suggest the hour long walk to Scotts Beach as a short day-walk, but continuing on to Big Rock Beach and Swanburn Bridge provides better scenery for not much more effort. I was especially impressed with the nikau palms besides Big Rock Beach, and dense bush lining the Swan Burn (River). Continue reading “Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ”

Mt Brown Hut & Summit, Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve, West Coast NZ

Mt Brown (1270m) is a spectacular West Coast destination for an overnighter, with grand views of mountain ranges, Lake Kaniere and the coast.

Mt Brown Hut is considered one of the very best locations of any accessible backcountry hut in New Zealand. With a decent weather window one weekend it was time for me to embark on my first ever overnight tramp and check it out. The steep 1000m climb up through beautiful West Coast forest is hard work but rewarding. Once above the tree-line the epic views begin to unfold, with Lake Kaniere and the coast to the east, and numerous mountain ranges to the north south and west. We visited the nearby unnamed summit of Mt Brown (1210m) for extra views; that took about 1 1/4 hours return. The views were an obvious highlight, but the forest was unusually beautiful as well, so if you don’t get the views I think you’ll still enjoy the walk. 

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Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ

One of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day Great Walks, there’s spectacular alpine and forest scenery the whole way.

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular multi-day walks, and one of its so called Great Walks. It passes through two of NZ’s most beautiful national parks, Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. There’s quintessential NZ scenery the whole way, including sparkling alpine lakes, lush beech forest and towering rocky peaks. And at roughly 33km one-way it is short enough for less experienced trampers to take on. Continue reading “Routeburn Track, Mt Aspiring & Fiordland National Parks NZ”

Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

Magnificent views on this long day walk to Brewster Glacier, its terminal lakes, and an unnamed peak at 2023m.

I had visited Brewster Hut twice before, and on one of those occasions I went beyond the hut for views east. For some reason though I had not seriously considered visiting Brewster Glacier and its terminal lake, though I know now that this is the main prize for day-walkers in the area. The proximity of the hut means quite a few others will join you, but we got some solitude by also visiting the unnamed peak at 2023m, between Mt Brewster (2516m) and Mt Armstrong (2174m). It’s a high quality walk from start to finish, with beautiful beech forest, lovely alpine flowers in summer, and spectacular and ever changing views for as long as you are above the bushline. Continue reading “Brewster Glacier & Point 2023m, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”