Journey into a tramper’s paradise of cloud-piercing mountains, one hundred glaciers, boulder-strewn rivers and dense rainforests.
This wild adventure land is called Mt Aspiring National Park, and its centrepiece is a distinctive, pyramid-shaped spire known as ‘The Matterhorn of the South’. Mt Aspiring, at 3,027 metres, is our highest peak outside the Mt Cook region, and perhaps the most beautiful.
The park stretches along the Southern Alps from Haast River in the north to the Humboldt Mountains on Fiordland National Park’s border. Ice age glaciers covered much of this region and gouged out two lovely inland lakes, Wanaka and Hawea. The park now forms part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, and draws climbers, trampers, fishermen, hunters and skiers from all over the world.
Wanaka, Queenstown and Glenorchy are the main towns servicing the park. The Wanaka to Haast highway has short walks and tramping tracks such as the Wilkin-Young Circuit, which start near the settlement of Makarora. From Wanaka, the Matukituki Road provides access to the very heart of the park, offering a wealth of breathtaking views. Day tramps up the West Matukituki lead to stunning views from Rob Roy lookout and Mt Aspiring Hut. From Glenorchy, access is gained to the fabulous Routeburn Track as well as the Greenstone-Caples, and Dart-Rees Tracks. Hut and campsite passes plus transport can be arranged at visitor centres in the main towns.
Mt Aspiring National Park is one of the finest walking areas in New Zealand. The valleys are richly clothed in beech forest. Snow tussock and herb fields thrive above the bush-line, along with bright clusters of mountain buttercups and daisies. Expect to see bush birds such as the bellbird, robin, rifleman, parakeet, yellowhead, fantail and pigeon.
Sample everything Mt Aspiring has to offer, from the ice-bound peaks to the lowland beech forest. Stay a night in a backcountry hut and savour the atmosphere of this amazing alpine adventure land.