Mt Crichton Loop Track, Queenstown

During a period of hot summer weather, we chose to walk the Mt Crichton Loop Track, not only for its scenic and historical aspects, but also because it provided  shade.  The walk includes river, waterfall, forest, and lake views and passes by historic landmarks. The nine kilometre track took around three hours (including stops) from a minimum altitude of 383 metres to a maximum altitude of 604 metres.  It is accessed from the Mt Crichton carpark, about 11km from Queenstown on the Glenorchy Road.

View of Lake Wakatipu from early on the  track

We completed the track in an anti-clockwise direction. Although the walk is not strenuous, this avoided climbing a few of the steeper hill sections.

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Kepler Track – Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut

The Kepler Track is one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand.  Situated in Fiordland National Park, in the southwest of the South Island, it is a 60km loop track that has been developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation. Normally it takes three or four days to walk the track, carrying packs.  There are three huts along the way, provided for sleeping.  However sections can be walked as day tramps.

In late November, in warm and sunny conditions, and with our day packs, we completed a section of the walk, from Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut. It is a  tramp of 8.2km (each way) and an altitude gain of 675 metres.  It took us under six hours of walking (return), including some food/water stops and time to admire the views.

Kepler Track map (click to enlarge)

Map source :


Water taxi at Te Anau

We began our day by catching the water taxi at 8.30am. It took us from the township of Te Anau across Lake Te Anau to Brod Bay, a ten minute trip.

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Ancient Clay Cliffs of Omarama

We wandered under the stunning ancient Clay Cliffs, near Omarama, in the Upper Waitaki River Basin, North Otago. Fantastic pinnacles and ravines, formed by natural erosion on the active Ostler Fault, laid down millions of years ago as ocean sediment.  There is a signposted road on State Highway 8, just north of Omarama, to access the Clay Cliffs.  There is an honesty box of $5 per car at the entry gate.

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Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, a set of premier tramping tracks.  Straddling Fiordland National Park and Mt Aspiring National Park, the Routeburn’s highest point is 1300 metres and its lowest point is 477 metres.  There are  rivers, lakes, forests, tussocklands and alpine views  – wild and scenic landscapes in its 32 kilometres.  We set off from the Divide (near the Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road) and completed the track three days later at Glenorchy, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu.

Day One – the Divide to Lake Mackenzie Lodge (12km)

Heading up to Key Summit, with a view of Mt Christina

Track to Key Summit

Leaving our packs on the track at the turn-off, we took a 30 minute walk up to Key Summit.

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