Hiking Adventures New Zealand - Queenstown & Wanaka

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February 13th 2014
Published: August 29th 2016
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Our first hiking adventures in NZ......

When: 26 January – 13 February 2014

Location: Queenstown – Wanaka

Arrived beautiful Queenstown via a direct flight from Sydney.

Our first day of hiking – Dave planned a warm up hike to get the legs and body ready – it a casual 20km hike up and down Ben Lomond Summit*

** The track begins among Douglas fir on Skyline Access Road/Tiki Trail. At about 800m altitude, you enter alpine tussocks and shrubs, climbing to the 1326m Ben Lomond Saddle (Ben Lomond Station). The track gets steeper and rougher as it approaches Ben Lomond's 1,748m summit. In fine weather, the view includes Mounts Earnslaw / Pikirakatahi and Aspiring / Tititea.

We had a picture perfect day, starting with low cloud that concealed Queenstown but then cleared away after we reached the Summit so we had spectacular views.

Dave planned and organised all of the logistics including hut bookings and equipment for our first hiking (or Tramping) trip where we had to carry our own food (rolled oats for breakfast, dehydrated meals for dinner), cooking gear, sleeping bags – We did not
Ben Lomond SummitBen Lomond SummitBen Lomond Summit

We hiked up very early so the clouds had not cleared over Queenstown......
need to carry a tent as we stayed in the Department of Conservation (Doc) huts, which were fantastic, very comfortable and some very new. Their website has all the details of the walks and huts facilities et al.

We had one tough day when a whole day’s trail had been washed out due to a land slide. The DoC cut a rough track with chain saws and using coloured ribbons to help hikers get out to the road access point. Please note as at January 2016, the section of track has not been re-opened to hikers / trampers as too damaged by land slide. It was surreal to see how many giant trees had submerged by rising water or cut down by land slide. We had to scramble to get out on the ad-hoc trail but we had good motivation to catch our pick up bus service so we did what we needed to do.

All our prior hiking adventures in Europe/UK/Nepal we’d stayed in overnight accommodation like B&Bs/Gites/Refuggios/Teahouses all with catering so no need to carry any food.

1. Greenstone and Routeburn Tracks (73 km – 5 days hiking)***

2. Dart Glacier / Rees Track (80km – 5 days hiking)

3. Arrowtown to Wanaka (79km – 3 days hiking)

In between each hiking adventure we returned to Queenstown to resupply, have nice hot shower and fabulous food and wine. Our final destination was Wanaka where we stayed 2 nights at the beautiful guesthouse where they even had complimentary laundry for guests!!! Yummy food and wine on offer in Wanaka.

Hope you enjoy the pictures of our hiking adventures. The Dart Glacier was spectacular and hiking was amazing.

We loved it so much we did another NZ hiking adventure in December 2015 – refer post and pictures of that trip; and think there will more to come as such a beautiful country.

***The Caples and Greenstone tracks start from the car park at the end of Greenstone Road, 86 km from Queenstown, via Glenorchy. Alternatively, they can be started from Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track.


The Caples and Greenstone Valleys are linked by McKellar Saddle, a sub-alpine
Ben Lomond SummitBen Lomond SummitBen Lomond Summit

Cloud cleared to reveal Queenstown below
pass, to make a moderate 4- day round trip. It is a moderately demanding tramp with some days averaging 6-7 hours of walking. A reasonable degree of fitness is required.

The Greenstone Valley is a wide, open valley with tussock flats and beech forest. In comparison, the Caples Valley is a narrower valley filled with forest interspersed with grassy clearings. Either of these tracks can be linked with the Routeburn Track, or they can be walked as a one way track starting or finishing either at the Divide or the Greenstone Shelter.

The superb diversity of natural features in this area is recognised internationally with the establishment of the Te Wāhipounamu-South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 24


Routeburn TrackRouteburn Track
Routeburn Track

Lake MacKenzie Hut
Routeburn TrackRouteburn Track
Routeburn Track

Beautiful (but chilly) swimming pools & waterfalls at Routeburn Hut
Dart Glacier - Rees TrackDart Glacier - Rees Track
Dart Glacier - Rees Track

Captain taking a little nap
Dart Glacier - Rees TrackDart Glacier - Rees Track
Dart Glacier - Rees Track

Check out the glacier in the background....

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