Home / Articles / Waypoints

High light

Image of the February 2019 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
February 2019 Issue

Mt Robert via Paddys Track, Nelson Lakes National Park

Last summer, I went wild camping on a range of summits; drinking in the glorious views and photographing them. For starters, I planned a relatively easy climb to the top of Mt Robert, in my big backyard at Nelson Lakes.

It was just a few days after Christmas; I was still tired from working all year and not particularly fit, so I chose the easier Paddys Track (Pinchgut Track is more direct, and steeper).

Just an hour’s amble up this gentle path, there’s impressive views over Lake Rotoiti – that’s ‘small lake’ in Te Reo.

When the early explorers from Nelson were searching for farmland, they discovered this gem, nestled into the hills, and named it Lake Arthur after the founder of their settlement, Captain Arthur Wakefield. He had recently been executed by Te Rauparaha in the ugly ‘Wairau Affray’ of 1843.

Further up, I collected water and boiled a billy at the wonderfully-sited Bushline Hut, already filling up with trampers. But I had a tent and knew I could enjoy some solitude.

On reaching the subalpine zone, the wind whispered a song through the tussock. I heard a kea cry and hurriedly set up my tiny tent near the summit of Mt Robert. As night fell, a southerly wind picked up, and the sky filled with clouds.

Fighting the battering wind, I clicked off a few frames of the tiny town of St Arnaud far below. Then, tucked inside my bag, I mused that even in summer, camping is wild.

Enjoy unrestricted access to all content for just $4.50/month for 12 months

Subscribe now to a monthly website-only subscription for just $4.50/month (normally $6.50/month) for the first 12 months. You’ll receive instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and buyer’s guides, and get the Wilderness Wildcard, which offers discounts at more than 20 partners around New Zealand.

Just choose a monthly website-only subscription and use coupon code ‘4fifty’ to receive this special price.

Or view all our subscription options.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.

Discount applies to the first 12 monthly payments after which time the subscription price will revert to the current $6.50/month. Cancel your next payment at any time in your ‘My Account’ page. NZ subscribers only receive the WildCard.

Total Ascent
2-3hr via Paddy’s Track
Bushline Hut ($15, 14 bunks)
6km from St Arnaud village

GPX File

Mt Robert via Paddys Track (gpx, 4 KB)

GPX File

Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.