Mt Owen via Granity Pass Hut, Kahurangi National Park NZ

Mt Owen (1875m) in Kahurangi National Park is one of NZ’s most unique mountains, famous for limestone rock formations & spectacular views.

Mt Owen (1875m) is a fabulously gnarled and crevassed lump of limestone, and the tallest mountain in Kahurangi National Park, at the top of the South Island. As one of the most unique mountains in NZ, climbing it had been on my to do list for a few years. It ended up being the last mountain we climbed on the South Island, before leaving the country after four years living there. There’s not only spectacular views from the summit, but a good variety of plant and bird life, and the final rocky kilometre to the summit is otherworldly. Highly recommended.

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Mt Fox Route to 1646m, West Coast NZ

Grandstand views of New Zealand’s highest peaks from a vantage point at 1646m above Mt Fox on the West Coast.

The ridge above Mt Fox offers grandstand views of the Fox Glacier and Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moanna, but only if you have the right weather. On this occasion we learned from past experience and chose to camp high on the mountain to give ourselves the best chance of views. These came the following morning, with just enough time to reach our planned vantage point at 1646m before the cloud rolled back in. Our reward for this planning and a lot of hard work were panoramic views of New Zealand’s highest mountains, on this occasion after unseasonable snowfall. One of the grandest vistas we’ve seen to date.

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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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Treble Cone Summit from the Ski Field, Wānaka NZ

Half-day walk to Treble Cone summit (2058m) from the ski field car park for excellent views of Lake Wānaka and the Matukituki Valley.

When climbing End Peak from the Treble Cone Ski Field in 2023 we realised that climbing Treble Cone summit would make a good half-day walk. So on a sunny day when we got up too late to do a full day-walk, we headed on out to Wānaka. Walking through ski fields is never the best experience, but once on the tops the views are excellent. In particular views of Lake Wānaka, and north up the Matukituki Valley, bounded on the west side by very wrinkly and defined topography.

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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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Bold Peak from the Glacier Burn Track, Humboldt Mountains NZ

Epic views from Bold Peak (2118m) in the Humboldt Mountains, including of Mt Bonpland, and a good dose of adventure on your way up.

Climbing Bold Peak (2118m) was a very satisfying hiking experience. It was adventurous enough to feel like an achievement, especially doing it by myself. The views of Lake Wakatipu are excellent, but even more impressive are those of a very rugged Mt Bonpland, and the big turquoise coloured tarn in neighbouring Sleepy Hollow. The walk up offers attractions too, from the start in ferny beech forest on a nicely graded track, to a rocky tarn shelf in the latter half of the walk. Continue reading “Bold Peak from the Glacier Burn Track, Humboldt Mountains NZ”

Lake Hope and 2090m, Hector Mountains NZ

A remote day trip in the Hector Mountains visiting Lake Hope and point 2090m for spectacular views of the lake and surrounds.

I once saw Lake Hope from a plane as we flew out of Queenstown after another walking holiday. It looked fabulous and remote, and I wondered whether I’d ever visit this magical spot. Well, obviously I did, because here is my report :-) . It was everything I’d hoped: epic, rugged scenery every which way in the rugged Tāpue-o-Uenuku Hector Mountains, the lake a crazy deep blue despite overcast conditions, and a lovely green tarn as a bonus. You also get views of the Remarkables, and both Wye Creek and Wye Creek South Branch. And all this accessed in a day. Continue reading “Lake Hope and 2090m, Hector Mountains NZ”

Black Peak via Mt McIntosh Loop Track, Whakaari Conservation Area, Glenorchy NZ

Views of Lake Wakatipu and rugged Temple Peak on this big walk up Black Peak (1989m), in Whakaari Conservation Area, near Glenorchy.

Climbing Black Peak (1989m) is more grunt than gnarl, meaning it’s not too technical, but reasonably hard work in places. The views from summit are good, however similar views can be obtained from nearby Mt McIntosh for less effort, so you have options. In fact views along the way of Lake Wakatipu and Temple Peak are probably the highlight, rather than views from the summit. Continue reading “Black Peak via Mt McIntosh Loop Track, Whakaari Conservation Area, Glenorchy NZ”

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”

Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ

More tarns than you could ever hope for on this route past Wye Creek and on to the Doolans Creek tarns in the rugged Hector Mountains.

At the rugged northern end of the Hector Mountains, and behind the iconic Remarkables Range near Queenstown, are about fifteen scenic tarns. There are five in the Wye Creek Basin, and ten in the rather more remote area above Doolans Creek East Branch. A ridge of rugged peaks separates the two clusters. Most of these tarns are enormous, deep, and all of them scenic. The Wye Creek tarns are set amongst tussock grassland with Single Cone towering overhead. And the Doolans Creek tarns are dotted around rocky terrain with patches of golden tussock. For anybody that likes tarns I can’t imagine a better two day route. Continue reading “Doolans Creek tarns via Wye Creek tarns, Hector Mountains, Otago NZ”