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A landscape out of this world

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June 2021 Issue

Mt Titiroa, Fiordland National Park

Whenever Fiordland National Park makes its way into your weekend plans, there’s always a feeling of wonder and mystery bordering your imagination. This trip, although somewhat popular nowadays, had captured my imagination for some time.

We saved three hours walk from the typical trailhead opposite Manapouri on the Waiau River, by boating through the lake’s tea-coloured waters to Hope Arm and its hut.

Then, it was on to the Snow White Clearing Track and through a calm sea of ferns with the towering Fiordland canopy high above. There was an easy crossing of Garnock Burn, at the end of the track, before the start of the unmarked bush climb to the tops.

The going was surprisingly easy – a far cry from the usual Fiordland bush bash – and we emerged onto a tussocky meadow with Titiroa standing clear ahead. The contrast from native forest to grey granite boulders and golden sands was like nothing I’d seen before. Walking between car-sized rocks, stacked three or four high in some places, was epic. I could explore this place with my camera for hours.

Reaching the summit involved boulder-hopping and pushing up a slope that resembled a sand dune, before discovering a perfect campsite to pitch the tent.

With a foreground like something straight out of the moon landing, yet leading to distant sights of Lake Manapouri and the Kepler, Murchison and Stuart mountains, our eyes were put to ease. Fiordland: we’re in awe once again.

– Jeffrey Ward

19.3km to summit
Total Ascent
Moderate / Difficult
Manapouri to Hope Arm Hut, 2.5hr (walking); To summit, 5-7hr
Pearl Harbour, Manapouri (boat required)

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Mt Titiroa (gpx, 42 KB)

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