Mt Bruce, Craigieburn Forest Park

Above the Southern banks of the Waimakariri, the rounded summit ridge of Mt Bruce curves against the skyline. The bare, golden aspect of the northern face of Mt Bruce,…

Distance
4.12km to the summit
Time
5-6hr return
Grade
Moderate

Three Mile Stream Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

The western approach to Three Mile Stream Hut from the Hurunui River is best accessed by either 4WD or mountain bike from Lake Taylor. This negates a long road…

Distance
36.2km
Time
The Canal to Hurunui swingbridge, 1.5hr; To Three Mile Stream Hut, 4hr; To The Canal, 5.5-6hr
Grade
Moderate

Rod Donald Hut via Hilltop, Banks Peninsula

The track begins in the Montgomery Park Scenic Reserve at the eastern end of Te Ara Pātaka and immediately goes up a steep and rocky former riverbed through native…

Distance
12.1km to hut
Time
6hrs
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Pfeifer Biv via Waharoa Saddle, Arthur’s Pass National Park

The route to the bivouac begins at Morrison Footbridge over the Otira River, just off SH73. It then follows Te Araroa Trail before turning south, following Paratu Stream. Travel…

Distance
22.1km
Time
SH73 to Pfeifer Bivouac via Waharoa Saddle, 4-6hr; To Lake Kaurapataka Track, 4-6hr; To SH73 via Te Araroa Trail, 2-3hr
Grade
Difficult

Peak Hill, Canterbury

Peak Hill (1240m) is amongst the best foothill viewpoints in Canterbury. It has become a sought-after destination after years of seclusion as pastoral leasehold land in the backcountry surrounding…

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

Freehold Creek Tarns, Ahuriri Conservation Park

Expansive views and idyllic tarns are the reward for a summer day trip to the tops above Lake Ōhau. In early December, the beech forest is ablaze with flowering…

Distance
18.66km return
Time
Parson’s Creek car park to top tarn, 4.5hr
Grade
Moderate

Brodrick Hut, Ruataniwha Conservation Park

The journey to Brodrick Hut starts at the Ram Hill car park next to Huxley Lodge. From here, the track follows Lake Ohau Road, a 4WD track that is…

Time
6-7hr
Grade
Moderate

Stony Peak, Ahuriri Conservation Park

From the car park near the mouth of Birch Creek, scout the Ahuriri River for a suitable crossing point and then find a way through the marshy terrain, aiming…

Distance
21.2km
Time
Car park to Hideaway Hut, 1.5-2hr; To Stony Peak, 2hr; To car park via Hideaway Hut, 4.5-6hr
Grade
Moderate

Hooker Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Tucked away and strategically hidden, the recently relocated and renovated Hooker Hut is the oldest in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. It’s less than a two-hour walk from the car…

Distance
7.68km return
Time
2hr
Grade
Easy

Mt Isobel, Hanmer Forest Park

Though Hanmer Springs is nestled in an alpine basin at about 350m above sea level, surrounded by peaks sometimes soaring more than a vertical kilometre higher, as the name…

Distance
2.87km to summit
Time
1-2hr to summit
Grade
Moderate

Mt Barrosa Summit Track, Hakatere Conservation Park

Nestled into the golden hills of Hakatere Conservation Park, Mt Barrosa offers a steady climb and rewarding views for trampers who want to make it home by dinnertime. By…

Distance
6.5km return
Time
3-4hr return
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Woolshed Hill, Arthur’s Pass National Park

From the road end, head up the small bank toward the trees and the Hawdon River, where there is a sign pointing to the Hawdon River Track. At this…

Distance
3.8km to summit
Time
3.5hr return
Grade
Moderate

Foggy Peak, Korowai-Torlesse Tussockland Park

Foggy Peak, 1741m, has long been a must-do summit in Canterbury. Its steep slopes, though not at all technical, provide a moderate challenge and a serious fitness test as…

Distance
2.2km
Time
2-3hr to summit, 2hr down
Grade
Moderate

Mount Guy, Hakatere Conservation Park

From Lake Clearwater village, the track curves around the eastern edge of the lake on a four-wheel-drive gravel track. This first part of the trail is suitable for all…

Distance
4.22km
Time
To summit, 2-3hr; To car park, 2hr
Grade
Moderate

Greta Track, Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Overlooking Lake Ōhau, the 1522m Ben Ohau imposes its tussocked body onto the land and entices day walkers upwards. By Ashlyn Oswalt With stunning views from Ben Ohau summit…

Distance
16.3km
Time
4-6hr
Grade
Moderate

Barker Hut via Avalanche Peak, Arthur’s Pass National Park

This trip is an absolute must for anyone ready to be challenged over varied terrain, including tracks, scree slopes and boulder-covered river beds. It starts on the popular Avalanche…

Distance
25.3km
Time
To Crow Hut via Avalanche Peak, 5-6hr; To Barker Hut, 7-8hr; Barker Hut to Klondyke Corner and SH73, 8hr.
Grade
Difficult

Waimakariri Falls Hut, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Our trip to Waimakariri Falls Hut was a diversion from a planned Three Passes trip. We’d spent the night at Carrington Hut, after walking four hours up the Waimakariri…

Distance
20km
Time
Klondyke Corner to Carrington Hut, 4-5hr; To Waimakariri Falls Hut 2-3hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Waimakariri Falls Hut, Arthur’s Pass National Park

From Carrington Hut, cross the White River and join the true right bank of the Waimakariri River. This leads gradually north and up for a while before 250m of…

Distance
20km
Time
Klondyke Corner to Carrington Hut, 4-5hr; To Waimakariri Falls Hut 2-3hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Mt Percival, Hanmer Springs

Mt Percival on the Hanmer Range towers over Hanmer Springs in north Canterbury, though officially it is actually in Marlborough. It is one of those summits that appears to…

Distance
4.43km
Time
3-4hr to summit
Grade
Difficult

Harman Pass, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Harman Pass is the first pass on the classic Three Passes route. It can be reached in a long day from the Klondyke Corner road end and makes a…

Distance
19.6km
Time
Klondyke Corner to Carrington Hut, 4-5hr; To Waimakariri Falls Hut 2-3hr
Grade
Moderate/Difficult

Mt Bealey, Arthur’s Pass National Park

A winter climb of Mt Bealey showcases the beauty of Arthur’s Pass National Park.  The park has sometimes been referred to as the ‘poor cousin’ of national parks. It…

Distance
3.1km
Time
8hr return
Grade
Moderate

Travers Peak, Lewis Pass National Reserve

Travers Peak has been a day trip destination of mine for many years – so much so, that my latest outing here was the ninth time I have climbed…

Distance
3.76km
Time
2-3hr to summit
Grade
Moderate

Red Hill, Korowai-Torlesse Conservation Park

Tucked into a corner of Korowai-Torlesse Conservation Park, directly south of Porters Heights ski field, near Coleridge Saddle, is the seldom-climbed Red Hill, 1641m. It sits a few kilometres…

Distance
4.38km to summit
Time
2-3hr to summit
Grade
Moderate

Spurs Hut, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Huts in cold, wet weather are like a magnet for trampers. The warmth, comfort and shelter they offer is unequalled after a bitter day in the hills.  Spurs Hut…

Distance
7.09km
Time
2-3hr
Grade
Easy

Double Hut, Hakatere Conservation Area

It’s a nine-kilometre walk from the road end car park and the hut is easy to reach in three hours, which can allow the opportunity to also climb the…

Distance
12.6km to Pt1201 (9km to hut)
Time
Car park to Double Hut, 3hr; Hut to Pt1201, 1hr
Grade
Easy

Mid Hill tarns, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Staying at huts, practical as they undoubtedly are, is not everyone’s cup of tea. When I was on the hunt for an easy but secluded overnight camping destination, the…

Distance
7.5km
Time
4hr to tarns
Grade
Easy/Moderate

Kaitiaki Peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Since Guy Mannering and A. P. Harper first crossed Ball Pass in January 1890, it has become one of the better-known spots in the Southern Alps. We set off…

Distance
28km
Time
Car park to Ball Pass, 7-9hr; To Kaitiaki summit return, 1-2hr; To Blue Lakes car park, 5-7hr
Grade
Difficult

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