Boundary Creek Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

If refurbished old musterer’s huts are to your liking, along with grand scenery amid the stark beauty of the high country, then Boundary Creek Hut is a winner.  The…

Distance
13.3km
Time
2-3hr to hut
Grade
Easy

Spurs Hut, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Spurred on by wild weather Our trip began with a car journey south from Christchurch through Fairlie and into the big, bare hills of the Sherwood and Ben McLeod…

Distance
7.09km
Time
2-3hrs
Grade
Easy

Stanley Vale Hut and Scotties Hut, St James Conservation Area

Fowlers Pass is part of a historic stock route lying between the upper Clarence Valley and Stanley Vale catchment, a feeder of the Wairau River in southern Marlborough. It…

Distance
32.8km
Time
Fowlers Camp to Fowlers Pass, 1-2hr; To Stanley Vale Hut, 3-4hr; Scotties Hut, 6-7hr; To Tophouse Road, 2-3hr
Grade
Moderate

Ball Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is a climber’s paradise, with 19 peaks that extend higher than 3000m and 40 per cent of it glacial terrain. The park lacks tracks and…

Distance
8.71km
Time
3-4hr one way
Grade
Easy

Godley Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Deep in the Southern Alps, Godley Hut has one of the best alpine views in the country, looking out to the terminal lake of the Maud and Grey glaciers,…

Distance
24.4km in 4WD plus 3km to walk
Time
3-4 hr in 4WD; 1hr further walk
Grade
Moderate

Sebastopol, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Boasting New Zealand’s highest peaks, expansive skies, turquoise lakes, dynamic glaciers and braided rivers, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is a mecca for climbers wishing to scale high mountains. But…

Distance
2.64km to summit
Time
5hr return
Grade
Moderate

Mt Cloudsley to Mt Enys traverse, Castle Hill Conservation Area

The Craigieburn Range provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Boasting five ski fields and 12 named peaks above 1800m, there’s plenty to keep skiers and trampers happy, all within…

Distance
17.4km
Time
Car park to Mt Cloudsley, 3-4hr; To Mt Enys, 1-2hr; To car park via Whitewater Stream, 4-5hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Braun-Elwert Peak, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, the well-known and respected climber and mountain guide who died of a heart attack while ski touring with former prime minister Helen Clark in 2008, justifiably deserved…

Distance
30.1km
Time
Camp Stream Hut to Braun-Elwert Peak via Snake Ridge, 4hr; To Camp Stream Hut via Braun-Elwert Ridge, 4hr
Grade
Moderate

Mingha-Deception Route, Arthur’s Pass National Park

The Mingha-Deception covers, in just two or three days, all of the most notable features of Arthur’s Pass – braided rivers, open tops, a mountain lake, beech forest, waterfalls,…

Distance
24km
Time
Mingha Corner to Goat Pass Hut, 5-6hr; Goat Pass Hut to footbridge, 7-8hr; Goat Pass to Lake Mavis, 3hr return
Grade
Moderate

Canyon Creek Route, Ahuriri Conservation Park

From the road end, the track heads through grassland down the Ahuriri Valley with the peaks of the Barrier and Huxley ranges on either side and the braided Ahuriri…

Distance
5.87km
Time
7hr return
Grade
Moderate

Turtons Saddle to Redcliffe Saddle,Hakatere Conservation Park

The Canterbury high country is best in autumn when the red tones add to the space, beauty and grandeur of the Alps and foothills. With a good forecast, cold,…

Time
Three days. Road to A Frame Hut, 4.5hr; To Comyns Hut, 2hr; To Cookies Point, 4-6hr; To Tribulation Hut, 2-3hr; To road via Redcliffe Saddle, 3hr
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Brass Monkey Bivouac, Lewis Pass Tops, Canterbury/West Coast

According to legend, the expression ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’ originates from the idea that in exceptionally cold conditions, ship cannonballs would fall off…

Time
6-9hr to Brass Monkey Bivouac
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Godley Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Godley Hut is a gem. Built pile-less in 1934, directly onto a slightly elevated rocky shelf at 1100m, it looks out to the terminal lake of the Maud and…

Distance
30km in 4WD, plus 3km to walk
Time
3-4hr in 4WD; 1hr further walk
Grade
Moderate

Broken River Hut via Torlesse Range, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park

The Torlesse Range is one of the most accessible weekend destinations for Christchurch trampers. And yet, apart from perhaps climbing Mt Torlesse, Foggy and Castle Hill peaks and visiting…

Distance
22.5km
Time
Car park to Avoca Homestead 20-30min; Homestead to Broken River Hut via Lansdowne Spur, 6-8hr; Hut to Avoca Homestead 2hr
Grade
Moderate

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area

Dawn was calling. Not unusual perhaps, except that this dawn was a rendezvous I had made with the summit of a minor foothill in South Canterbury – and I…

Distance
6.6km to summit
Time
3-4hr to summit
Grade
Moderate

Tasman Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

The Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier viewpoint has unrivalled views of Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake, as well as some of the tallest and most magnificent mountains in…

Distance
561m
Time
60-90min return
Grade
Easy

Mt Oxford, Oxford Forest Park

Even though Mt Oxford lies 50km from Christchurch, it can be viewed from many places in the city – it looms in front of the higher summits to the…

Distance
6.34km
Time
2-3hr to summit
Grade
Moderate

Moa Stream Hut via Kiwi Stream, Craigieburn Forest Park

The route begins at the end of the Wilberforce Canal Road and follows the riverbed vehicle track to Fanghill Stream. Kiwi Stream enters the Wilberforce River directly opposite Fanghill,…

Distance
42.5km
Time
Fanghill Stream to Kiwi Stream pass, 5-6hr; Pass to Moa Stream Hut, 3-4hr; Hut to Fanghill Stream, 3-4hr; Fanghill Stream to Canal Rd, 2-3hr (walking), 40min (4WD)
Grade
Difficult

A Frame Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

The Rakaia Valley is immense. Some 4-5km wide and draining a vast tract of the Southern Alps, the river courses over a stony riverbed, flanked by huge terraces and…

Distance
9.11km
Time
3-4hr to hut
Grade
Moderate

Tekapo Mount John Walkway, Tekapo

A sign at the top of Mt John, where there is also an observatory, states: ‘Probably the best place on the planet for a café’. Mt John is also…

Distance
8.03km
Time
3hr
Grade
Easy

Manuka Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

Tucked into a little corner of a high country valley, beneath the towering flanks of the Mt Somers Range, is an archetype of the rustic musterer’s hut. Manuka Hut…

Distance
6.88km
Time
Two hours to hut
Grade
Easy

Peak Hill, Peak Hill Conservation Area

One of the best things about Daylight Saving is how it allows you to do something a little wild in the afternoon. Case in point: Peak Hill near Lake…

Distance
3km
Time
2-3hr to summit, 4hr return
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Kelly Range tarns, Arthur’s Pass National Park

A break in the storm Summer had not been good to us and we were itching to get out again. With one stormy weekend after the next, we had planned, attempted…

Distance
3.45km
Time
4-5hr toters
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Ball Pass Crossing, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

From the Whitehorse Hill car park, follow the Hooker Valley Track. Just before you reach Hooker Lake, the Ball Pass route is signposted, branching to the right off the…

Distance
26.8km
Time
Hooker Valley to the Playing Field, 5hr; Playing Field to Ball Pass, 2-3hr; Ball Pass to Ball Hut, 4hr; Ball Hut to road end, 2.5hr
Grade
Difficult

Youngman Stream Hut via Tarn Hut, Puketeraki Forest Conservation Area

Lying north of the inland expanses of the Lees Valley, the Puketeraki Forest Conservation Area covers 6750ha and boasts two huts. Both can be linked on a lovely two…

Distance
30.3km
Time
Ashley River to Tarn Hut, 4-4.5hr; Tarn Hut to Youngman Stream Hut, 2.5-3hr, Youngman Stream Hut to road, via Ashley River track, 4-5hr
Grade
Moderate

Cameron Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

Moraine terrain Cameron Valley and its promise of a barren and hostile landscape at the end of its namesake glacier had caught our attention on a previous trip to…

Distance
16.5km
Time
6hr one-way
Grade
Moderate

Faust, Lewis Pass National Reserve

The Faust and the spur-ious… Faust offers an accessible high country experience in a region known for its magnificence. The 1710m peak rises directly above the confluence of the…

Distance
13.4km
Time
2-3hr to summit. Round trip 5-6hr
Grade
Moderate

Pinnacles Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

Pinnacles Hut stands in a moderate alpine environment at 900m, right on the bush edge, below the north face of Mt Somers in central Canterbury. As part of the…

Distance
4.67km to hut
Time
Car park to Pinnacles Hut, 3-4hr; Hut to Woolshed Creek Saddle, 3hr
Grade
Moderate

Royal Hut, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Reportedly once visited by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Royal Hut is a challenging destination to reach in winter. Whether you approach from Round Hill Ski Area or Mesopotamia…

Distance
23.7km
Time
One-two days from either end (summer); three-five days (winter)
Grade
Difficult

Lawrence Hut, Erewhon Station

All was fine and clear for our Saturday morning wander up the lower Clyde River and into the Lawrence, the Clyde’s largest tributary. The river has a very large…

Distance
10.8km to hut
Time
3-4hr
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula

This large rounded hill is a popular day trip for Cantabrians and particularly so in winter when, on a clear day, the entire Canterbury Alps from Aoraki/Mt Cook to…

Distance
7.63km each way
Time
5-6hr return
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Mt Wakefield, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

If you’re willing to endure a short but rugged scramble from the valley floor to the tree line than what’s required on the nearby Mueller Hut route, then there’s…

Distance
5.87km to summit
Time
9-12hr return
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Mt Cockayne, Craigieburn Conservation Park

The crest of Canterbury’s Craigieburn Range presents an uninterrupted wall of peaks running for almost 30km in a north to north-east orientation and with many summits over 2000m. With…

Distance
1.1km to summit
Time
1-2hr
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Mt Temple, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Arthur’s Pass is known for its savage weather and as such, it’s not the easiest spot to pick a suitable time to climb. So, easy access and an escape…

Distance
4.05km to summit
Time
Road to Temple Basin Skifield, 1hr; Skifield to summit return, 3-5hr
Grade
Difficult

Annette Plateau via Mueller Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Little wonder Mueller Hut is the most popular hut in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: the views, particularly at dawn and dusk, are fabulous and the route into this alpine…

Distance
7.6km to Annette Plateau
Time
Road end to Mueller Hut, 3-4hr; Hut to Annette Plateau, 3-4hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Tarn camping, Ahuriri Conservation Park

Wind and ice Lake Ohau is one of the more elusive of the big southern lakes. Unlike its larger neighbours, it is not a destination that sits conveniently at…

Distance
7.87km
Time
Car park to tarns at Pt1479, 6hr; Pt1479 to tarn at Pt1929, 1-1.5hr
Grade
Moderate

Te Ara Pataka camping, Banks Peninsula

Christchurch is spoiled with geography, both beautiful and rumbly in nature. The new Te Ara Pataka Track less than an hour’s drive from the city is the latest addition…

Distance
19.7km
Time
6-8hr
Grade
Easy

Mt Somers, Hakatere Conservation Park

Topping out on Mt Somers I’ve often found the boring drive across the Canterbury Plains enlivened slightly by wistful glances at Mt Somers. I’ve had some great trips in the…

Distance
7.33km
Time
7hr return
Grade
Moderate

Otepatotu Reserve, Banks Peninsula

Where fairies reside If a relatively easy and short hike through a remnant forest, typical of the forests that once covered 90 per cent of Bank Peninsula, is to…

Distance
1.63km
Time
40-60min to summit
Grade
Easy

Huxley Forks Hut, Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Inland from Lake Ohau is a gem of a side valley which branches off the major tributary of the Hopkins Valley. Ask around a few southern outdoors folk and chances…

Distance
18km
Time
Ram Hill car park to Monument Hut, 2-3hr; Monument Hut to Huxley Forks Hut, 3-4hr
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Hurunui No.3 Hut via Mackenzie Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

A night at Number 3 Tops tramping is nearly always a goal of my trips, and on this one we planned to access the high tops south of MacKenzie…

Distance
35.3km
Time
Loch Katrine to Mackenzie Hut, 4-5hr; Mackenzie Hut to Hurunui No 3 Hut, 3-4hr; Hurunui No 3 Hut to Loch Katrine, 3-4hr
Grade
Easy

Top Hut, Ahuriri Conservation Park

Drinking in the views as we wandered up the Ahuriri Valley on a crisp clear day, I commented that many trampers say ‘just a valley walk’ in a pejorative way,...

Distance
16.5km
Time
Road end to Shamrock Hut, 1.5-2hr; Shamrock Hut to Hagens Hut, 2hr; Hagens Hut to Top Hut, 2-2.5hr
Grade
Easy

Castle Hill Peak (winter), Arthur’s Pass National Park

Exploring the backcountry with snow and ice on the ground is a completely different game compared to three-season tramping on solid rock. It requires different skills, preparation and equipment.…

Distance
5.1km
Time
8hr return
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Cloudy Peak Bivvy, Canterbury

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you’ll know that Edoras is the capital of Rohan, featuring prominently in The Two Towers. Back in the land of trampers,…

Distance
13.3km
Time
3-5hr using 4WD or 5-7 walking
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Mt Guinevere Tarn, Arthur’s Pass National Park

The journey to Mt Guinevere tarn asks a lot of a tramper. Good navigation skills, proficiency at river crossings and healthy stamina are just a few of the required…

Distance
13.3km
Time
6.5-7.5hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Mt Bealey, Arthur’s Pass National Park

The Mt Bealey Track offers spectacular views of Arthur’s Pass Village, the National Park and 2275m Mt Rolleston. Because the summit can be reached within 4-5hr, most people do…

Distance
3.18km to summit
Time
4-5hr to summit
Grade
Moderate