Diamond day

Wild Trips

Mt Lockett, Kahurangi National Park Thick regrowth, laced with sharp branches, scratch over my bare legs and arms. It’s oppressively hot and my progress has slowed to a rough crawl...

Remarkable natural spectacle

Places

Devils Punchbowl Falls, Arthur’s Pass National Park Deep in the gulch of Arthur’s Pass, not far from the highway that cuts north-south across the Great Divide is a remarkable natural...

Boundary striders

Wild Trips

Boundary Creek Hut, Haketere Conservation Park, Canterbury Heavy rain streams off my parka, soaking into my polypro pants and cooling me sufficiently to warrant securing my parka domes to the...

Freyberg Range, Westland

Wild Range

The Freyberg Range runs in a west to north-east direction immediately north of the Lewis Pass Highway (SH7). The range is big and bold when viewed from the highway and...

A nose for a good walk

Places

The Snout, Picton Of the numerous tracks in the Picton area The Snout walk is easily the most attractive. Though other trails offer quiet forest and stream ambience, the gentling...

Missed View

Wild Trips

Trig M, Porters Pass On a whim I decide to head for the hills on a late evening sortie round the foothill summits near Porters Pass. It’s one of those...

Sunset zone

Wild Trips

Lake Camp, Canterbury Aptly named Lake Camp in Canterbury’s Rangitata Basin is one of those perennially sought-after lakeside locales that entices campers of every persuasion to sample the simple pleasures...

5 top reason to visit Canterbury

Features

Tramping and mountain biking opportunities abound in these five Canterbury conservation parks, writes Pat Barrett Canterbury’s recent spate of earthquakes, shocking and tragic as they have been, should not deter...

A lake that breathes

Places

Bobs Cove, Lake Wakatipu / easy It’s warm and still as we descend from the roadside on the Queenstown-Glenorchy route, through regenerating forest to the horseshoe-shaped Bobs Cove on the...

Sunrise along Port Hills

Places

Often when you are out and about on the trail in far off places you neglect the perspectives gained from locations close to home. So it was that after at...

A most beautiful valley

Camping

Nina Valley Flats, Lewis Pass National Reserve Tucked into a corner of the Lewis Pass National Reserve is picturesque Nina Valley, to which many would add, ‘most beautiful valley in...

Valley Surprise

Wild Trips

Sudden Valley Bivouac, Arthur’s Pass National Park Deep in the hills of Arthur’s Pass National Park, south of the village near where the Waimakariri River flows powerfully beneath the Mt...

A civilised sense of exposure

Places

Red Tarns, Mt Sebastopol When visiting Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park it can be difficult, for those of moderate fitness, to gain altitude and experience a different appreciation of the majesty...

A sleeping lake

Places

Black Peak, Lake Wanaka Evening is stealing across the Lake Wanaka basin with its inexorable flight across the western sky mirrored on the placid surface of the lake.  Whispy cloud...

Devil’s Box on Windy Tops

Places

Devilskin Saddle Bivouac, Lewis Pass National Reserve The name Devilskin Saddle has a distinctive ring to it, albeit a slightly dark one, that hints at mysterious things and something not...

Island in the sun

Waypoints

Lake Coleridge, Canterbury Protruding from the middle of Lake Coleridge in central Canterbury, where the wind regularly howls, is an island; unnamed, virtually unknown, and seemingly inhospitable. Yet the challenge...

Enticing inlet

Features

Endeavour Inlet, Marlborough Sounds The juxtaposition of water, hills, and mist set amid glorious dawn light is a splendid reward for those who venture to the summit of Mt Stokes...

Two over Tennyson

Waypoints

Lake Tennyson, Lake Tennyson Scenic Reserve Lake Tennyson and its luminous basin set amid the high and mighty bastions of the St James and Crimea ranges is one of my...

Dampier Range

Wild Range

Lake Sumner Forest Park The Dampier Range presents a dramatic profile as it twists and turns through the headwater sections of many of north Canterbury’s major rivers. At 44km long...

High flat ambience

Waypoints

Scrubby Flat Creek, Hawea Conservation Park This remarkable stream running between the Hunter and Makarora valleys forms part of the major pass-crossing between the catchments – Scrubby Flat Saddle, a...

Into the Unknown

Off the Beaten Track

A return journey to a favourite hut has the makings of a grand trip Twenty years is a fair stretch of time in anyone’s life, enough of a span of...

Key to the view

Waypoints

Key Summit, Routeburn Track Thick mist hovers in the trees at The Divide car park on the Milford Highway as I pull up for a pre-dawn walk to Key Summit,...

Shaler Range

Wild Range

Arthur’s Pass National Park The ‘Roof of Arthur’s Pass National Park’ aptly describes this short, heavily glaciated mountain range which runs almost due south from Whitehorn Pass and is entirely...

Cosy night at Woolshed Creek

Wild Trips

Woolshed Creek Hut, Mt Somers Conservation Area Heavy frost lies in the shadows under the trees and snow coats the tops of the surrounding Mt Somers Range as my daughter...

Frozen refuge

Waypoints

Musterer’s Hut, Redcliffe Station, Canterbury It’s early winter and three of us are intent on a day climb in the Black Hill Range along the south bank of the Rakaia...

Earl Mountains

Wild Range

Fiordland National Park The Earl Mountains lie within Fiordland National Park at the northern end of Lake Te Anau, flanking its western side, with the Milford Highway running beneath its...

Five family-friendly SI tramps

Wild Families

Cedar Flats, Westland In central Westland numerous valleys descend from the Alps but not all of them are easily accessed. The Toaroha Valley is one such which boasts a good...

Ben More blow

Wild Trips

Mt Ben More, Torlesse-Korowai Tussocklands Park During spring I decided to make one of my traditional evening hikes, the ones I like to do when daylight saving has swung round...

Lording it over Otira

Waypoints

Mt Barron, Arthur’s Pass National Park Steep, relentless climbs are an intrinsic part of many trips to the hills and when the hills in question happen to be in Westland...

Seclusion on the Milford Highway

Waypoints

Deer Valley Camp, Eglinton Valley Tucked beneath the Earl Mountains along the grand avenue of the Milford Highway in Fiordland National Park are a remarkable series of road side campsites....

Solution-Hooker Range

Wild Range

Hooker Landsborough Wilderness Area Deep in the wild south-west where the country twists and rends itsway through the equivalent of a topographical maze stand the Hooker and Solution ranges. These...

Road to adventure

Travel

Pat Barrett spends a week on the road to Milford and discovers those who take their time to explore the area will be richly rewarded Like a long thread cast...

Only at Onetahuti

Waypoints

Onetahuti, Abel Tasman National Park South-east of Awaroa Inlet on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is the Tonga Roadstead, dominated by Tonga Island Marine Reserve – a dumpling-shaped islet guarding...

All ironed out

Wild Trips

Mt Iron, 549m, is perhaps Wanaka’s most well known, and loved, trail. It would certainly seem so from the number of tourists, locals, runners, children, dogs, and even paraponters you...

Teetering along Toaroha

Off the Beaten Track

A hard Westland trip requiring fitness, dexterity and navigation skills almost ends in disaster. Cedar Flat Hut beckons to us across the Toaroha River from its snug setting amid the...

No idle moments on Ida

Waypoints

Mt Ida, Mt Ida Conservation Area There’s a solid 900m slog awaiting those wishing to summit the isolated peak of Mount Ida in central Canterbury, just north of Lake Coleridge....

10 trips on the Hanmer Range

Wild Range

The Hanmer Range lies between the Waiau and Clarence rivers and is the boundary between north Canterbury and southern Marlborough and as such consists mostly of high, dry, and almost...

Traversing the big wild

Off the Beaten Track

An untracked journey through the Hooker-Landsborough Wilderness Area leaves a party elated beyond measure From across the open grassy expanse of the lower Landsborough Valley, Mt Hooker beckons as we...

Evening range rovers

Waypoints

Craigieburn Range, Canterbury There’s a plan afoot – watching sunset on the crest of the Craigieburn Range. A warm afternoon greets us as we wend our way along the Mt...

Big Ben Range

Wild Range

Torlesse-Korowai Tussockland Park South of Porters Pass in Canterbury stands the open sprawling tops of the Big Ben Range, a series of foothill summits rising up from the Canterbury Plains...

Top 3 sunrise summits

Waypoints

To reach a modest summit for sunrise is quite a different way to tramp. It’s dark when you start, but when you arrive at the high point as the sun...

Barrier Range

Wild Range

Ahuriri Conservation Park Lying between the head of Lake Ohau and the Ahuriri catchment and occupying a large chunk of the Ahuriri Conservation Park, the Barrier Range is an important...

Top 3 South Island alpine lakes

Waypoints

Alpine lakes are a great drawcard for any tramping mission, especially if a lakeside camp can be made. Most will require a good dose of strenuous activity to reach their...

Tough time on Tara Tama

Off the Beaten Track

Third time proves a charm for a group of trampers keen to snare an elusive Westland peak My altimeter registers 1050m as we clear the bush edge on Scotty’s Ridge in...

Top 3 cosy huts

Waypoints

Stay warm and cosy in these three huts perfect for a winter get-away After a cold winter day in the hills, a small hut, smoke billowing from the chimney, is...

Humboldt and Ailsa Mountains

Great Walks, Wild Range

This duo of ranges, the Humboldt and Ailsa mountains, in Fiordland National Park are famous among mountain lands in New Zealand. With the Routeburn and Greenstone-Caples tracks cutting through their...

A visual feast

Wild Trips

Mt Oakden, Mt Oakden Station, Canterbury Standing at the northern end of Lake Coleridge in the central Canterbury foothills is the imposing summit of Mt Oakden (1633m). It’s actually  a...

Top 3 scrambles

Waypoints

Pat Barrett chooses his three best peaks to scramble up Scrambles, so called because they require both hands and feet to enable progress, and perhaps a few basic rock climbing...

Top 3 waterfalls

Waypoints

  The more rain the better when visiting these three walk-in waterfalls New Zealand is blessed with an enormous range of beautiful and spectacular waterfalls, from massive outpourings containing the...

Hamurana time

Wild Trips

Hamurana Springs Walk, Hamurana Recreation Reserve, Rotorua Noted as the deepest natural spring in the North Island, Hamurana Springs, along the northern side of Lake Rotorua, and its network of...

Top 3 spring trips

Waypoints

Launch into the tramping season with a trip to an alpine meadow dotted with tarns and flowers With the extended daylight hours after the long cold days of winter, the...

10 trips on the Arthur Range

Wild Range

Straddling the north-eastern fringe of Kahurangi National Park, from the Takaka Hill summit to the Wangapeka Saddle, the Arthur Range is a major landmark in the Nelson Bays region of...

9 trips on the Nelson Tops

Wild Range

These sprawling ranges located between the Hope and Hurunui rivers in Lake Sumner Forest Park run in an almost direct east to west line from the upper Hope through to the...

Cruising the old coach road

Wild Trips

Coach Stream Route, Torlesse-Korowai Tussocklands Park, Canterbury In the late afternoon I slipped out of Christchurch, travelled across the Canterbury Plains and pulled up at the small lay-by in a...

Hapuku hide hole

Wild Trips

Hapuku Hut, Mt Fyffe Conservation Area There’s a plan afoot, a two-night hike into the Hapuku Valley, north of Kaikoura in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains with my youngest daughter, Bernadette....

Visual symphony

Waypoints

Lewis Pass tops, Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve With the promise of a fine day and a good walk ahead, I headed for one of my all time favourite locations – the Lewis...

Jollie Range

Wild Range

Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury South and east of the Main Divide, the Jollie Range runs from above the southern banks of the Rakaia River to wall in the north-western side...

Desolate Tonga Hill

Wild Trips

Tonga Hill, St James Conservation Area The wide, open plain that is Edwards Pass in the Clarence Valley of southern Marlborough stretched before us. Mike Latty and I had a...

Rescue mission down the Hokitika

Features

Before personal locator beacons, injured trampers had to get word for help out by foot. Pat Barrett recalls one such rescue on an ill-fated tramping club trip The scream of...

Big Hill and Dogs Range

Wild Range

Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury South of the Arrowsmith Range and north-east of the Rangitata River stands a high rolling landscape of tawny hills, bare summits, and sweeping tussock terraces formed...

Rainforest rainbows

Wild Trips

Aniwaniwa Falls, Te Urewera National Park In the north-eastern corner of Lake Waikaremoana, in Te Urewera National Park the sinuous Aniwaniwa Stream enters the lake through a small cove. While...

Snow snail in 13 Mile Bush

Wild Trips

Benmore Hut, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park Deep snow had fallen in the foothills and covered every mountain, forest, flat, and riverbed with an icing of white crystalline powder. The temperature was...

Hut hopping in the high country

Wild Trips

Comyns Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park Huts always have a great attraction for trampers, so when a new one comes to my attention I am always quick to pay it a...

The long way round

Off the Beaten Track

An alpine tarn with the purest water in New Zealand is just one attraction on this valley-hopping trip in Nelson Lakes National Park.  Nelson Lakes National Park undoubtedly provides a...

10 trips around the Aicken Range

Wild Range

Arthur’s Pass National Park Lying in the heart of Arthur’s Pass National Park, the Aicken Range runs due north from its intersection with the Main Divide near Goat Pass to...

Summit to sea

Wild Trips

Gibbs Hill, Abel Tasman National Park With much time spent hiking the ranges of the South Island and elsewhere, often through wild and sometimes dangerous terrain, it’s a pleasure to...

Overheated over Hanmer

Wild Trips

Mt Charon, Hanmer Forest Park / Difficult Ghost Gully didn’t look appealing. It was choked with some type of vibrant green scrub which at this point, high on the Hanmer...

A cherished view

Waypoints

Travers Range, Nelson Lakes National Park An evening wander from a campsite high on the St Arnaud Range in Nelson Lakes National Park revealed this stunning landscape view, backlit by...

Rich rewards on Richardson

Wild Trips

Mt Richardson, Mt Thomas Forest Mt Richardson lies along the first rank of foothills to the north-west of Christchurch between Mt Oxford and Mt Thomas. While it is neither an...

Potts Range

Wild Range

  Hakatere Conservation Park, Canterbury   The wedge-shaped Potts Range, sandwiched between the Lawrence and Potts valleys, stands near enough to the Main Divide to provide spectacular close-up views of...

Pick of the lakes

Off the Beaten Track

Pat Barrett enjoys idyllic tarn-side camping on a three day traverse of Nelson Lakes National Park’s St Arnaud Range Lake Rotoiti glittered in the sunshine of late afternoon far below,...

High and dry

Wild Trips

Arapuni Suspension Bridge, Waikato / easy   Deep in the heart of the Waikato, hidden from the highway by the slot gorge through which the Waikato River flows is a...

Tarns, peaks and a hut

Wild Trips

Carroll Hut, Arthur’s Pass National Park / moderate It was early morning when I pushed through the damp fronds of vegetation, squelching up the track to Carroll Hut set in...

Back at the homestead

Wild Trips

Homestead Hill Spur, Hakatere Conservation Park / moderate   Deep in the back blocks of the Canterbury high country, where the mighty Rakaia River presses hard on the mountain flanks...

St Bathans Range

Wild Range

Oteake Conservation Park, Otago High, barren, inhospitable and of immense proportions, the St Bathans Range in Central Otago cuts off the southern fringes of the Mackenzie Basin from the uplands...

Cloudy peak range

Wild Range

Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park Forming the divide between the upper reaches of the Rangitata, one of Canterbury’s largest rivers, Cloudy Peak Range is a destination for the adventurous and...

Hawkdun Range

Wild Range

Oteake Conservation Park Straddling the boundary between south Canterbury, in the MacKenzie Country, and north Otago, the Hawkdun Range and its auxiliary the Ewe Range form a 50km barrier separating...

5 ways to Brass Monkey Bivouac

Waypoints

Located in a tussock basin with numerous tarns glittering in hollows and mountains rearing up from the landscape at every vantage, the two bunk Brass Monkey Bivouac in Lewis Pass...

11 trips around NLNP's Franklin Ridge

Wild Range

Nelson Lakes National Park Located right in the heart of Nelson Lakes National Park, Franklin Ridge forms a roughly shaped arrowhead pointing almost due north down the Sabine Valley. The...

River Valley recce

Wild Trips

Mt Isobel via Chatterton River Track, Hanmer Forest Park Mt Isobel dominates every angle of Hanmer Springs and is arguably Canterbury’s most climbed mountain. There are several routes to the...

Into the great wide open

Off the Beaten Track

The immense Oteake Conservation Park provides tops tramping unlike anything you’ve experienced before ‘Somewhere different’ was the call for our annual week-long trip to the hills. Completely different. Standing on...

Highway to Haast

Wild Trips

Mt Haast, Victoria Conservation Park Approaching Springs Junction from the east, the large pyramid-shaped summit of Mt Haast rears above its neighbouring peaks. For Bryce, Mike, and myself, making the...

10 trips on the Browning Range

Wild Range

Lying strategically in the hinterland of the central West Coast, just south of Lake Kaniere, the Browning Range, and its off-shoot Whitehorn Spur, are a mecca for trampers, ridge-rovers, hut-baggers,...

Spectacle of Sawcut

Wild Trips

Isolation Hut, Isolated Hill Scenic Reserve WARNING: The Sawcut Gorge Track and Isolation Hut are closed following the Kaikoura earthquake due to multiple slips. Heat radiated from the walls of...

Kepler Mountains

Wild Range

Fiordland National Park The Kepler Mountains lie in a stunning part of Fiordland where lakes, rivers and ranges intersect between the region’s two greatest lakes – Manapouri and Te Anau....

The Agony and the ecstasy

Waypoints

Eric Bivouac, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park Hidden in the excoriated ravines of the upper Havelock River is the tiny Agony Island and Eric Bivouac. The rustic four-bunk hut belongs to...

Big view on Big Ben

Wild Trips

Big Ben, Torlesse Korowai Tussockland Park Out the back of the Rakaia Gorge in central Canterbury, where the river broadens into a large floodplain and the foothill ranges fall back,...

Cold comfort at Mt Brown Hut

Wild Trips

Mt Brown Hut, West Coast Westland was arrayed below us in all its incredible glory as we laboured slowly up the rough snow-bound track from the edge of beautiful Lake...

10 trips in the Livingstone Mountains

Wild Range

Stretching north from South Mavora Lake in Southland, all the way to The Divide where the Routeburn Track begins, the Livingstone Mountains form a substantial geographical barrier between the eastern...

10 trips on the Diedrichs Range

Wild Range

Toaroha and Hokitika rivers, West Coast A compact, rugged tract of mountain country, the Diedrichs Range stands between the deep canyon of the Toaroha Valley and the West Coast plain and...

3 ways to John Reid Hut

Waypoints

This hut on the Arthur Range can be reached via multiple routes The six-bunk John Reid Hut lies on a south-facing bench, at the bush edge on the flanks of...

Storm clouds

Hotshot

PAUSING FOR a break on our tramp to Lawrence Hut, we dropped our packs and turned to view the valley, catching sight of this spectacular phenomenon arching over the valley...

3 more ways to Paske Hut

Waypoints

The Paske Saddle is but one of several routes to reach Paske Hut. Pat Barrett suggests three other routes Turk Ridge Directly south of the hut stands Turk Ridge, a high rugged dividing range between...

A slice of the unusual

Wild Range

12 trips in Kahurangi National Park’s fabled Tablelands Straddling a large undulating upland between the Takaka and Leslie rivers, the fabled Tablelands of this region have been a magnet for...

Edison epic

Waypoints

Secreted in the wild heart of South Westland, the upper Edison River provides epic views of the Strachan Range and its outlying summits. Sheer-sided ridges, gorges, impenetrable subalpine scrub, and...

Nervously to nervous knob

Places

Nervous Knob, Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury It is pre-dawn deep in the forests of Craigieburn Conservation Park and it is deathly dark. I have been walking steadily uphill towards Broken...

11 trips on the Bealey Range

Wild Range

The Bealey Range is South Westland is both accessible and incredible… High above the Gates of Haast on the Haast Pass Highway are the fearsome Stewart Crags – an almost...

Pass with care

Waypoints

Browning Pass/Noti Raureka, Arthur’s Pass National Park Most keen trampers will have either been, or plan to go, over Browning Pass at some time in their outdoor career. The pass...

Footing it on the footbridge

Hotshot

The Harman River footbridge, deep in the mountains of the West Coast, is about 40-50m above the riverbed – and quite a sensation to cross. I wanted to capture this...

Action on Alexander

Waypoints

Nearing the summit of the low peak of Mt Alexander, or Little Alexander as some call the 1795m high point, the entire northern section of Westland, and in particular, the seldom-viewed western...

Shades of purple

Waypoints, Wild Trips

Purple Hill guards the eastern shoreline of Lake Pearson, and is one of those ‘island summits’ unconnected to any main ranges and therefore offers a unique perspective on the landscape....

Golden days

Features

It’s the hill that does it. The massive barrier of limestone and marble of Takaka Hill, between Motueka and Golden Bay, acts as a filter, dissuading many travellers from entering...

Backcountry baptism

Wild Trips

The tranquil St James Walkway has long been a favourite destination for trampers.  Commencing at Lewis Pass, the 66km marked trail provides access to some memorable and isolated mountainscapes where...

A route that has it all

Classic Tracks

The Mingha-Deception is the quintessential Arthur’s Pass tramp, as it covers, in just two or three days, all of the most notable features of this rugged environment. Braided rivers, open...

Hilltop fortress

Waypoints

Awapoto Hut is a little bastion of comfort 5km from the roadside car park and 300m higher. It has a narrow winding track all the way to its secluded and...

Out in the Styx

Waypoints, Wild Trips

Greasy canyons, deep forest, and lots of wet are par for the course on any tramp into, or out of, the Styx River on the West Coast. This beautiful valley...

An arresting panorama

Waypoints

Few places in New Zealand rival the exquisite beauty of Shallow Bay, right outside the door of Moturau Hut on the Kepler Track Great Walk in Fiordland. Undoubtedly, the grand...

Between mountains and sea

Features

For those in the know, the very mention of the uninspiring moniker ‘SH6’ will send a shiver of excitement through their veins. For those who have not yet been initiated,...

Unrivalled in every aspect

Classic Tracks

The Travers-Sabine circuit lies in the heart of Nelson Lakes National Park and is one of the best multi-day tramps on offer for inexperienced trampers.  Taking in both of the...

Constant beauty

Waypoints

Lake Constance is huge. Two kilometres long and up to 700m wide, it lies in a massive post-glacial basin at 1340m, making it the largest truly alpine lake in New...

No better vantage

Waypoints

Given a sparkling Westland winter day and the option of a panoramic perch high on a snowy ridge, what better place to take in the vantage than Mt Brown Hut...