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Gateway to the Alps

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January 2018 Issue

Mt McIntosh Loop Track, Whakaari Scenic Reserve

Most people heading to Glenorchy are simply passing through en route to the spectacular Earnslaw Burn, the Routeburn or the Rees-Dart tracks. Stopping for an overnight trip just south of Glenorchy doesn’t even register. But the Mt McIntosh Loop Track offers a different perspective on the area.

On the recommendation of a Glenorchy local, I walked the track with promises of stunning panoramas of Mt Earnslaw, Diamond Lake and the Rees River, views of Lake Wakatipu and Pigeon and Pig islands and an uncountable number of peaks in every direction.

The track begins 2km before Glenorchy on the Mt Judah Track, then there’s a long zigzag to McIntyre Hut and then McIntosh Hut. An essential side trip (5hr return) in good weather is to the summit of Black Peak (1989m). On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with mountain views in every direction.

It was while heading up the ridge to Black Peak that I saw this spire and couldn’t resist climbing it. A different perspective indeed.

– Premysl Luljak

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