Routeburn Track to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

The Routeburn is a classic New Zealand multi-day walk, and the section in Mt Aspiring National Park to Harris Saddle, with a side trip to Conical Hill, is probably the most stupendously picturesque. You should do it.

One of New Zealand’s classic multi-day walks, the Routeburn Track can be walked from the Glenorchy end to Harris Saddle in a long day. The views are fabulous, and you can also fit in a short but steep side trip to the summit of Conical Hill (1515m) for even more fantastic views. It’s inevitably popular, but probably won’t be as busy as you think. It rates as possibly the best walk we’ve done to date, although with a well graded track and good facilities, it lacks the remoteness of some other great NZ day walks. Continue reading “Routeburn Track to Harris Saddle & Conical Hill, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ”

Routeburn Track to Routeburn Flats, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

The first section of this classic multi-day walk follows the Routeburn through beech forest as it tumbles down from Routeburn Flats. You are surrounded by high peaks the whole way, and there are uninterrupted views of these as you approach Flats Hut.

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s classic multi-day tramps. Walking through the Mt Aspiring portion of the walk as far as Routeburn Flats makes for an excellent day hike of moderate difficulty. The track follows the Routeburn through beech forest as it tumbles down from the flats, and there are views through the trees of the burn and high peaks along the way. When you get to the flats the scenery opens up to provide uninterrupted views of the Humboldt Mountains, and Flats Hut makes is a good spot for lunch before heading back the way you came. Continue reading “Routeburn Track to Routeburn Flats, Mt Aspiring National Park 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”

Monolith Valley to Nibelung Pass, Budawangs NSW

The long but interesting walk into Monolith Valley will reward the enthusiastic hiker with 360 degree views of large rocky outcrops and shear cliffs.

One of the classic NSW day walks, the trek into Monolith Valley is often overshadowed by an ascent of the Castle. For sure the Castle is a must-do walk, but Monolith Valley is an excellent alternative for a different kind of spectacular. The walk into the area along the Castle walls is already awesome, and the views of Monolith Valley are first seen by continuing just past a chained section of Nibelung Pass. There you can climb one of the smaller monoliths for 360 degree views of huge textured rock landforms and distant cliff faces.

Continue reading “Monolith Valley to Nibelung Pass, Budawangs NSW”

Bundeena to Marley Head Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney

A great section of the classic Royal National Park Coast Track, and you can make a circuit of it by heading inland on the way back (and avoid the crowds in doing so).

Bundeena to Marley Head is one of my favourite sections of the classic Royal National Park Coast Track, although choosing a favourite section is a bit like choosing a favourite child. It’s got what you want from a coast track: cliffs, beaches, heath, and interesting rock formations. You can keep going as far as you like, but the views from Marley Head are very satisfying, so we usually turn around there and head back. Continue reading “Bundeena to Marley Head Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney”

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”

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP, NSW

Some of the best views in NSW on this easy enough walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the south-west corner of the Greater Blue Mountains area. There are impressive cliffs, deep valleys, and karst landforms.

The views on this walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park are some of the best in NSW. The impressive Kanangra Walls and deep Kanangra Valley are front and centre at a lookout near the start, and then the easygoing Plateau Walk passes along the edge of the Walls for more great views across the valley to Thurat Spires and into Kanangra Gorge. Continuing on to Cottage Rock through heath and forest means you can stretch your legs a bit more, and there are 360 degree views from the top of the rock of surrounding forested hills. Continue reading “Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP, 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”

Fortress Ridge Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

An undulating walk through heath in the Upper Blue Mountains, with spectacular views of the Grose Valley and Lockley’s Pylon at the turnaround point.

There are a number of excellent walks which start on the unsealed (and rough) Mt Hay Road, near the Blue Mountains town of Leura. Over 12 years of regular bushwalking in the area I had often noticed cars parked at the side of the road about half way to the end, and wondered whether there was a track there. Well, Sophia and I finally checked it out and discovered the really excellent Fortress Ridge Track. Better late than never. The track undulates through heath and occasional tree cover to a view point over the Grose Valley and Lockley’s Pylon, which is quite spectacular from this angle.  Continue reading “Fortress Ridge Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Lockleys Pylon/Du Faur Head Track, Blue Mountains NSW

The Lockleys Pylon Track offers really excellent views of the Grose Valley from the opposite side of the valley to the Blackheath walks, and the mostly heath vegetation means there are wide open views for much of the walk. Continue on a short while from Lockleys Pylon to Du Faur Head for more views.

We’ve done the Lockleys Pylon / Du Faur Head walk many a time. Walking through attractive heath vegetation allows for open views for the most part from start to finish, taking in the shear sided cliffs of the impressive Grose Valley from the opposite side of the valley to walks near Blackheath (such as walking to Pulpit Rock). Definitely a good scenery to effort ratio.  Continue reading “Lockleys Pylon/Du Faur Head Track, Blue Mountains NSW”