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Breast Hill, Hāwea Conservation Area

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May 2023 Issue

A challenging ridge route that rewards with stunning views of Lake Hāwea and the highest peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park

This track starts just past Johns Creek in the south-west corner of Lake Hāwea.

Initially, there are relentless zigzags which lead to a small saddle on the ridge above. It’s almost worth starting the walk from Johns Creek to get a warm-up before starting the climb. Take plenty of water as the only option for more is an untreated supply at Pakituhi Hut.

The track climbs the spur toward the peaks ahead. A few sections with loose gravel above drop-offs require care, one is near the top of the zigzags. Hiking poles are handy here.

Soon the peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park will be revealed with Tititea/Mt Aspiring prominent. Well-earned rest stops during the exposed climb will allow time for marvelling at the scenery.

A junction at the saddle on top of the ridge points toward Pakituhi Hut, which sits just out of sight. This eight-bunk hut is perched at the head of a small basin. It provides a warm, comfortable night for those taking their time on this route. Though, it is part of Te Araroa Trail and can get busy in the summer months.

To continue to Breast Hill (1578m), head north from the junction along the fence line delineating Hāwea Conservation Area from the private station. This is an enjoyable 2.3km of track with numerous rocky outcrops en route providing magnificent photo opportunities – but maybe not for those with a fear of heights.

Breast Hill is marked with a small tripod. This summit is still a relatively quiet hike and, when there, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world while gazing down at the expanse of Hāwea below.

To return either cross the fence and walk 1km westwards and then turn south at the track junction to traverse beneath Breast Hill and the ridgeline back to Pakituhi Hut, or simply retrace your steps.

12km return
Total Ascent
Moderate / Difficult
8-10hr return. Car park to Pakituhi Hut, 3-4hr; To Breast Hill, 1hr; To car park, 4-5hr
Pakituhi Hut ($5, 8 bunks)
Timaru Creek Road

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