Mt Hutt via Steepface Hill, Canterbury NZ

Big views on this big walk up Steepface Hill and on to Mt Hutt (2185m), one of Canterbury’s iconic high peaks.

Climbing Mt Hutt (2185m) from Terrible Gully was my biggest ever day-walk, at least in terms of climbing. As one of the highest peaks in the Canterbury Foothills, and a prominent mountain that can be seen from right across the Canterbury Plains, it’s an iconic peak that I’d been wanting to climb ever since moving to Christchurch three years earlier. There are excellent views on offer almost the whole day, including those available from Steepface Hill (1876m) which you visit along the way. Continue reading “Mt Hutt via Steepface Hill, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Enys & Mt Cloudsley Circuit, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

A long circuit over Mt Enys (2194m) & Mt Cloudsley (2107m), the two highest peaks in the Craigieburn Range. Fabulous views from the tops.

Four named peaks on this long and sometimes gnarly circuit, three of them over 2000m. Starting just outside Castle Hill Village, you first climb Mt Cloudsley (2107m) on a fairly straightforward route, then travel along the tops to Mt Enys (2194m), the highest peak in the Craigieburn Range. Soak in the epic views here, particularly those over lumpy topography to the west.

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Emily Hill & Lake Emily, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

An easy walk along the Te Araroa Trail to Lake Emily, one of the Ashburton Lakes, then a short excursion off track to the summit of Emily Hill for good views.

A few kilometres easy walking along the Te Araroa Trail in Hakatere Conservation Park gives access to Lake Emily and neighbouring Emily Hill (963m). For views of the wide open spaces and lumpy topography of the Ashburton Lakes area, as well as the distant Arrowsmith Range, climb a couple of hundred vertical metres off track to the summit of the hill. Continue reading “Emily Hill & Lake Emily, Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Mid Hill via Lagoon Saddle, Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

Great views and nice variety on this walk to Mid Hill (1831m) in Craigieburn Forest Park, with forest, tussock, a rocky ridge & lots of tarns.

The climb to Mid Hill (1831m) via Lagoon Saddle is mostly easy travel with maybe 300m of moderate scrambling along a rocky ridge to get to the summit. Once out of the beech and pine at the start there are views for the rest of the walk and many attractive tarns between Lagoon Saddle and the final climb up onto the ridge. Arthur’s Pass is to the north, but some of the best views are the Black Range to the south-east, a patchwork of dark green forest and grey scree. Views west are over rugged and remote country. A very satisfying walk. 

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End Peak from Treble Cone Ski Field, Wānaka NZ

Get a leg up on this climb to End Peak (2100m) from Treble Cone Ski Field, with great views of Lake Wānaka & the Harris Mountains backcountry.

End Peak (2100m) offers grand views of Lake Wānaka to the east, and over the Harris Mountains backcountry to the west. If you had to climb it from the bottom it would be a real slog, but thankfully you can get a leg up starting at Treble Cone Ski Field (~1260m). Once the steep climb onto the ridge is finished, it’s then fairly easy ridge travel all the way to the summit, with great views the whole way. Lake Wānaka is always there, but views of a heart shaped tarn are an added bonus for reaching the summit.  Continue reading “End Peak from Treble Cone Ski Field, Wānaka NZ”

Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ

Excellent views of the Wakatipu Basin, Richardson Mountains and Skippers backcountry on this loop over Mt Dewar & back via Skippers Road.

I had first visited Mt Dewar on the Devils Creek Circuit some years ago, and wasn’t so impressed by the views on that day. Well, what a difference some good lighting makes! This time the views were awesome, including south over the Wakatipu Basin, and north over the Skippers Backcountry and Richardson Mountains. So I can in fact recommend either of these two walks 🙂 Continue reading “Mt Dewar – Skippers Road Loop, Queenstown NZ”

Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ

Lots of scrambling, exposure and tricky route finding on the way up Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, along Williamson Spur.

On a previous occasion we’d set off for Mt Hanley and made it only part way up Williamson Spur, turning back in less than ideal weather. There was already some scrambling and exposure going that far, but climbing all the way to the summit involved quite a bit more, and ended up being the scariest walk I’ve done to date! It didn’t help that my wife Sophia pulled out that morning and I went by myself. I probably shouldn’t have. This walk is best done with somebody else, and anybody who tries it will need to be comfortable with scrambling and exposure. The views are good, particularly when there are shadows highlighting the many ridges on the surrounding hillsides (which I didn’t really have in mid summer). Continue reading “Mt Hanley from Moke Lake, Queenstown NZ”

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”

Flat Top Hill Circuit, Alexandra NZ

A fairly unique circuit walk through the rocky and arid Central Otago landscape of Flat Top Hill, with excellent views of Roxburgh Gorge.

On Christmas Day 2022 we decided to chase the best of the weather and head out to Alexandra for the first time in years, doing a circuit walk in Flat Top Hill Conservation Area. It’s a unique rocky and arid landscape punctuated by the aqua colour of the dammed Clutha River in Roxburgh Gorge. You can do a roughly 13km circuit as we did, but a shorter version following just the Basin View Track is enough to see the best scenery in the area. Continue reading “Flat Top Hill Circuit, Alexandra NZ”

Mt Cheeseman from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

Fabulous views await those who climb steeply to Mt Cheeseman (2031m), a peak on the crest of the Craigieburn Range.

Prior to climbing Mt Cheeseman (2031m) we had done only one other big walk in the Craigieburn Range, climbing nearby Mt Cloudsley. So our second peak on the range crest was overdue, but what a great peak it was. I hadn’t expected such fabulous views, which include the impressive Mt Olympus (2094m) – for me the highlight of these vistas. But there are countless peaks in every direction, so a real visual feast. Throw in a couple of tarns and a proper work out, and you have an excellent day out for more experienced walkers.

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