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”

Gibraltar Rock and Omahu Bush, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ

A pleasant circuit walk in Omahu Bush, stopping at Gibraltar Rock for 360 degree views over the Port Hills and Canterbury Plains.

The short walk from Summit Road to the top of Gibraltar Rock (502m) is a good leg stretcher if you are in that part of the Port Hills. For a leisurely 2-2.5 hour walk, continue on into Omahu Bush and do a circuit, dropping down into the valley to visit a small waterfall, then climb back out to the start. Depending on the route you take you will walk through sections of native bush, and in areas of regenerating bush with gorse. There are good views from a few points, including of course the summit of Gibraltar Rock. Continue reading “Gibraltar Rock and Omahu Bush, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ”

Dog Stream Waterfall Circuit, Hanmer Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant circuit walk along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track to the impressive 41m high Dog Stream Waterfall, in Hanmer Forest Park.

This circuit walk to Dog Stream Waterfall along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track is a good half day option if you are staying in nearby Hanmer Springs. The falls are 41m high and on the day we visited there was quite deep snow making it all that bit more scenic. There are a couple of spots with views but this walk is mainly for the waterfall. 

Continue reading “Dog Stream Waterfall Circuit, Hanmer Forest Park, Canterbury NZ”

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”

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”

Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area, Canterbury NZ

Excellent gorge scenery and grand mountain vistas await you on this moderate walk to Woolshed Creek Hut on the western side of Mt Somers.

With severe gale force winds forecast for the mountains on a sunny Saturday in late winter I thought it best we avoid exposed ground, and opted instead for this circuit walk to Woolshed Creek Hut near Mt Somers. Being at lower elevations I did not expect so much from the walk, but it very much exceeded expectations. We did the loop anti-clockwise and climbed up to 1100m on the Rhyolite Ridge and Bus Stop Tracks, with excellent views towards the distant but spectacular Arrowsmith Range, and also of the nearby Winterslow Range. Once near the hut there were narrow and rugged gorges with waterfalls and bluffs aplenty. Great stuff. Continue reading “Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant loop through beech (tawhai) forest to the top of Mt Richardson (1047m), where there are good views over the Puketeraki Range and other nearby peaks.

Mt Richardson (1047m) is one of four modestly sized mountains that can be climbed, about one hour’s drive north-west of Christchurch. The others are Mt Oxford (which we’ve done), and Mounts Thomas and Grey to the east. It’s a pleasant if not spectacular walk through mostly beech (tawhai) forest, with just a bit of tussock grass and Dracophyllum scrub on the tops. The views from the summit include the Puketeraki Range rising front and centre above the Lees Valley, Mt Oxford, and further away the the Torlesse Range. Continue reading “Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Devils Punchbowl Walking Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

A steep but short and well formed track takes you to a viewpoint below the impressive Devils Punchbowl Falls. Accessible grandeur in Arthur’s Pass.

I first saw Devils Punchbowl Falls from afar on my way down the Scotts Track, from the summit of Avalanche Peak. They were an impressive sight and I thought I would have to visit them one day. It turns out the short track to the falls starts nearby the start/end of the Scotts Track, so we did it that same day. It’s a nice short but steep walk up through beech forest to a viewpoint below the falls. Maps show the falls to be 112m, although the DOC website claims they are 131m. They are big anyway, and worth seeing. Continue reading “Devils Punchbowl Walking Track, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Avalanche Peak Circuit, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

Fabulous scenery on this classic and somewhat adventurous circuit to Avalanche Peak (1833m) in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

The excellent but somewhat notorious routes to the summit of Avalanche Peak attract many hikers of various abilities, and have killed 11 of them apparently. Nevertheless, both routes to the summit are marked, and the views are just fabulous, especially after a bit of snow. This was our first time in Arthur’s Pass National Park and it exceeded already high expectations, with pleasingly steep and rugged tracks up through beautiful beech forest, then epic views of mountains, ridges and valleys in all directions. The opportunity to make this a circuit walk adds to the appeal. Continue reading “Avalanche Peak Circuit, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Princes Rock Walking Track, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW

You can get good views of Wentworth Falls, in the Upper Blue Mountains, on three excellent circuit walks: via the National Pass, Wentworth Pass (no separate post for this), and via Hippocrene and Vera Falls. But if you want to see the falls in all their glory without much effort, then I can highly recommend the short walk down to Princes Rock Lookout from the Wentworth Falls picnic area. Continue reading “Princes Rock Walking Track, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW”