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High above Westport

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October 2022 Issue

Buckland Peaks, Paparoa National Park

Waking to a world dulled by thick fog quickly squashes hopes of a view from the peak above. Still, we shouldered packs and climbed the rough route.

Starting from the road end there’s initially 6km along a farm road to the forest edge and the start of a non-stop climb to the hut. Regenerating, often overgrown, bush changes to diverse podocarp beech as elevation is gained. The treeline is indicated by beautiful dracophyllum trees. 

Soon Buckland Peak Hut appears sitting in a basin below.

From the hut a rough trail can be followed to Buckland Peaks. First over Pt1175 and then across a saddle before climbing towards Pt1325. Here, on our trip, the cloud became thinner and provided much-needed motivation to keep going. 

Suddenly, there was blue sky and layers of peaks stretching towards the horizon. A blanket of cloud clung below, obscuring the coast and valleys. We continued to the highest point to admire the views and enjoy the sunshine. 

The peaks that stretch out to the south from the northernmost point of the Paparoa Range are named after famous scientists – Rutherford, Einstein, Pasteur, Curie and Kelvin, to name a few. On the far eastern horizon, the Southern Alps looked tiny above the clouds.

Photo: Neco Wieringa
23km return
Total Ascent
Buckland Peak Hut, 4-5hr; to Buckland Peaks, 2hr
Buckland Peak Hut ($5, six bunks)
Bucklands Peak Road, Westport

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