Ok, everyone, I know we’ve had a bit of a shocking springtime and a moderately lackluster start to the summer down here in New Zealand. The voluminous sums of rain and filling we had last month prepared us question if summer was ever going to arrive.
But ultimately, it’s official; summer is here in Wanaka!
Hot periods, lake dives, time tramping. It’s all move here on the South Island, and there’s nowhere better to be.
Wanaka is fantastic for a lot of reasons, but one of the best parts of this site is its proximity to Mt. Aspiring National Park. Technically, Mt. Aspiring National Park is pretty big and can be accessed from as far north as Makarora as well as over by Glenorchy. Still, there’s no denying that the Mt. Aspiring Road from Wanaka will make you to some unbelievably beautiful residences that will quite literally perform your mouth drop.
If you’re heading to the south, here are my top recommendations for hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park hikes near and around Wanaka- enjoy!
1. Cascade Saddle
Cascade Saddle is one of many terrific hikes in Mt Aspiring, but don’t underestimate it.
This expert hike regularly claims lives every season, so if you’re thinking of grant it a shot, it’s non-negotiable you check in with the regional Wanaka DOC office before venturing out to make sure the conditions are right. Likewise, make sure to strategy with the Mountain Safety Council before venturing into the kiwi backcountry.
No rain , no snowfall , no frost. You are intended to do this one bake and safe.
The track starts from the Raspberry Creek Car Park( an hour from city down a gravel sometimes impassable road) and leads-in up you the depression towards Aspiring Hut.
Once at the shanty( which usually takes a few hours to reach ), you’ll see the sign for the Cascade Saddle. You can kiss that sweet flat trail behind because the track gets steep fast.
The trail climbings up over 1,000 meters, so make sure you have allocated enough time, spray, and snacks for the ascent.
This track is dangerous because it’s steep and covered in snow grass, which is mostly like hiking on slick sparkler when it’s wet, which is why you want to make sure your weather window is dry as a bone before you start the Cascade Saddle Route.
Take care with your foothold, and you should be alright, along with having a head for meridians. You can head up to the pylon, which will give you incredible views across the valley floor, or you can continue to the true Cascade Saddle itself.
There is actually a campsite up now, so if you’re keen, you can spend the light but beware of the keas, risque alpine parrots who notoriously will rend your tent to specks without handing one single fucking about you or your restful darknes of sleep.
For the extra keen, you can connect this line over into the Dart River Valley below. It’s not recommended to walk the Cascade Saddle in the opposite direction down to Wanaka as ascending is much safer.
This will be a multiple-day trip, so if you haven’t planned for being out for various eras, don’t disappear trying this way all willy nilly formerly you’ve reached the saddle. It’s long and will droop you off in Glenorchy, which, FYI, is nowhere close to Wanaka unless you have a car.
Also, depending on the time of the year, you may need crampons and ice axes( and experience !) We did this hike the week before Christmas, and it was still snowy.
2. East Matukituki Valley
The East Matukituki Valley roads are such a veiled masterpiece I’m almost afraid to share it publicly even though it’s public on the DOC site for all encounter. Hikes in Mt Aspiring like these will blow you away.
When you’re driving up the Mt. Aspiring Road, most tourists will pate straight to the dead-end, which is where most of the moves start. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see a sign for Cameron Flat, a few cases kilometers before the Raspberry Creek Car Park.
You can park by the sign and cross the river( which, full disclosure, can be very sketchy or even absolutely insurmountable ), or you can park at the waver aqueduct further up and march across adding some kilometers to your tramp.
Once you’ve intersected the river, you’ve got a long boring walk through farmlands where you’ll fill your time hiding from the sun and sidestepping cow pies.
You will most certainly come across some cow as well, so ignore them and give them a wide berth.
Once you’ve consume an hour or so walking through farmlands, you’ll head into the majestic bush of the East Matukituki.
You’ll follow an undulating way through fairytale-like forests. The roadway will most likely be wet in some situates, so don’t be afraid to get your shoes soaked. This track can take you all over, depending on your fitness positions and how much period you have.
You can head up the Kitchener Track to get a glimpse of Aspiring Flat and the Turnbull Thomson Falls, which are stunning. You can keep going and head up and around the Bledisloe Gorge landing at Ruth Flat, which is an excellent place to camp.
If you’re confident in your sailing, you are eligible to even go off-trail to explore Dragonfly Peak and Mt. Eostre. The options are limitless, and you won’t be sorry you chose this trail as long as you’re prepared.
3. Rabbit Pass
Perhaps one of my most favorite multiday missions of all time, Rabbit Pass is not to be missed “if youre having” 3-4 periods and the privilege weather opening. Likewise, you are required to a solid hiking knowledge and a head for heights.
Rabbit Pass is one of the many hikes in Mt Aspiring known for take lives and needs to be taken seriously.
This tramp can be a little difficult when it comes to logistics as it starts near Makarora and objective at Cameron Flat. You will need to have two autoes and do a automobile sag the light before or organize some transportation alternatives at the local iSite but trust me. This hike is worth the hassle.
You start the Rabbit Pass track by get across the mighty Makarora River. This flow can be a real pain in the ass because it is deep as hell and mighty swift.
I’ve had friends cross this river by wading through water roughly dresser high, so if river intersections are not your specialty, perhaps is just like me and diary the Wilkin jet boat to cross and smack some time off of it.
Not exclusively will you get a recreation 15 -minute ride on New Zealand’s favorite watercraft, but you’ll also save roughly 20 km of bearing hollow bashing. At over $100 per person, it’s steep but very much worth it.
Once you leave the jet boat, head up the hollow to Top Forks Hut. You can waste the light here. If you have extra time, leave your pockets at the hut the next day and explore Jumboland( or make your tent and camp up near the lakes !)
Having not much time, we only remained one darknes before heading to the crux of the hike the next morning, the notorious Waterfall Face of Rabbit Pass.
Again , not to scare you, but this can be a sketchy as hell clamber, which has claimed several lives. Fatalities are common on this part of the Pass, so listen up.
I personally spotted the climb to be more comfortable than I expected, but it does make confidence, descending skills, and nearly excellent forecast. If the waterfall face is wet at all, you should not attempt to get to the top. Slippery grass, dampen stone, and severe exposure can make this a deadly climb. With that said, with the right conditions and knowledge, it’s manageable.
Once you’ve surpassed out at the cascade, get ready to enjoy some of the best scenery in the entire national park. You’ll follow the hanging depression up to Pearson Valley, where you’ll begin to stimulate your behavior back to the valley floor. The ancestry can be a bit dodgy at times, so being a confident down climber will be a big advantage for you. “Uh thunderbolts up here in case you imparting tethers and decide to rappel down.
We tented at Ruth Flat that night, but you could camp anywhere along the depression. One word of advice, though, the last day of Rabbit Pass is deceivingly grueling, so if you can get as far as possible on the second night, you’ll be thanking yourself in the morning.
The next day, you’ll climb up and around the Bledisloe Gorge and connect up with the East Matukituki Track, which will descend you off at the Mt. Aspiring Road back to Wanaka. It is possible to hitch, but be attentive you are not able finish the hike until quite late in the day/ evening.
4. French Ridge Hut
Ahh, French Ridge Hut. One of my first shacks and certainly one I love to return to time and time again. This move starts at the Raspberry Creek Car Park and makes you along the flat-ish valley for several hours before crossing the river( via a connect) and steeply climbing up for a few hours.
This track, while grueling at times, is immensely fun.
You’ll get a full-body workout, attracting yourself up and over the tree seed way. It may seem like a jungle gym for adults but with a ponderous battalion. Fun! This one of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring, and you can probably examine why.
Once out of the bush, you still have a way to clamber before getting a consider of the beautiful French Ridge Hut.
This classic crimson shanty is perched precariously on the ledge of the mountain, looking over the valley below.
It’s a dazing viewpoint and a beautiful alpine shanty!
You can see the neighboring and smaller Liverpool Hut across the valley. There are stunning contemplates of Rob Roy Peak, Glengyle Peak, Plunket Dome, Mt. Liverpool, and Mt. Barff.
You cannot hear Mt. Aspiring from here, though.
If you miss those views, you’ll need to try out Liverpool Hut, which as similarly grueling but at a slightly lower elevation.
5. Upper West Matukituki
Perhaps the best-kept secret in all of the Matukituki Valley. Most parties psyche into the valley and seek out Liverpool, French Ridge, Rob Roy, or Cascade Saddle, but if solitude is what you’re looking for, principal to the Upper West Matukituki. These are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring.
To access this line, ballpark at the Raspberry Creek Car Park. Follow the signs for Mt. Aspiring Hut and then on to Pearl Flat. You’ll make the same street you would go for French Ridge, but instead of heading up the hill formerly you’ve intersected the river, follow ratifies to the Upper West Matukituki.
Overgrown but well-marked tracks to be translated into an isolated and quiet hollow with astonishing scenes. This direction is often used for those heading up Bevan Col en route to Mt. Aspiring. Even if you’re not a conception breathes mountaineer, you’ll still find attractivenes and delight in this hike up the valley.
The valley floor is densely vegetated earlier today, so you may not find a great camping spot until you reach the ultimate is chairman of the hollow near the cataract. There is a rock bivvy, but in my opinion, it’s a little damp to be comfortable, but it certainly could do in a pinch.
6. Gillespie Pass Circuit
If circuit drifters are your thing, you have to check out Gillespie Pass Circuit. This whore can be done in either direction, but I did it ability up the Wilkin Valley first.
Again, I opted for an expensive plane bot up the Wilkin instead of testing my shaking flow intersecting skills. Now there is a new trail and swingbridge the Blue-Young Link Track, which can provide access to the start of the Gillespie Pass when the river is too high to bridge safely.
From the jet ship drop off, you have a pleasant few hours strolling to Siberia Hut, which is reasonably straightforward. Be forewarned, this hut is busy and expects booking from December to April.
If you get to the hut early enough, you’ll have enough time to hike over to Lake Crucible on a area trip.
In my opinion, this surface trip-up is best in the morning where reference is looks the full sunshine. Maybe it’s best to wait until the next day, but if you do, you’ll have a double climb: one up the Lake Crucible and the second up the Gillespie Pass, which is steep and long.
Either way, you make love, you won’t regret attending Lake Crucible. If you do it closer to spring, you are eligible to even see icebergs floating in this alpine lake.
The hike up to Gillespie Pass is steep and challenging. Snowgrass clothes the track, thus asks extra careful foothold when wet.
The views from the top are seriously top-notch, so plan to spend your lunch at the top gazing at Mt. Awful. Despite its mention, it’s genuinely a thing of glamour to look upon.
The track down is steep but practicable. After a few more hours, you’ll arrive at Young Hut, where you can stay the night.
The rest of the racetrack is through the hollow, and you are able to contributed in the famous Blue Pools if you haven’t “ve seen them” yet. If you’re brave, you may even attempt to cool off by leap off the connection into the icy water.
So there “theres going”, here are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring near Wanaka, New Zealand.
These multi-day escapades are not for the faint of nerve. Remember that tramping in New Zealand requires an advanced skill set and know. The backcountry here is beautiful but unforgivable.
Where are your favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring? Have you tackled any of these hoboes? Spill!
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