6 epic hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park that will blow your mind


Ok, everyone, I know we’ve had a bit of a horrible spring and a somewhat lackluster start to the summer down here in New Zealand. The copious amounts of rain and flooding we had last month made us question if summer was ever going to arrive.

But finally, it’s official; summer is here in Wanaka!

Hot days, lake swims, summer tramping. It’s all go here on the South Island, and there’s nowhere better to be.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Wanaka is fantastic for a lot of reasons, but one of the best parts of this location 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 take you to some unbelievably beautiful places that will quite literally make your jaw 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!

9 ways hiking in New Zealand will change your life

hikes in Mt Aspiring

1. Cascade Saddle

Cascade Saddle is one of many terrific hikes in Mt Aspiring, but don’t underestimate it.

This expert hike routinely claims lives every season, so if you’re thinking of giving it a shot, it’s non-negotiable you check in with the local Wanaka DOC office before venturing out to make sure the conditions are right. Also, make sure to plan with the Mountain Safety Council before venturing into the kiwi backcountry.

No rain, no snow, no ice. You want to do this one dry and safe.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The track starts from the Raspberry Creek Car Park (an hour from town down a gravel sometimes impassable road) and leads up you the valley towards Aspiring Hut.

Once at the hut (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 climbs up over 1,000 meters, so make sure you have allocated enough time, water, and snacks for the ascent.

10 of the most iconic backcountry huts on the South Island

hikes in Mt Aspiring

This track is dangerous because it’s steep and covered in snow grass, which is mostly like hiking on slippery ice 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 footing, and you should be alright, along with having a head for heights. 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 here, so if you’re keen, you can spend the night but beware of the keas, naughty alpine parrots who notoriously will tear your tent to shreds without giving one single fuck about you or your restful night of sleep.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

For the extra keen, you can connect this track 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 multiple days, don’t go trying this track all willy nilly once you’ve reached the saddle. It’s long and will drop 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.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

2. East Matukituki Valley

The East Matukituki Valley tracks are such a hidden gem I’m almost afraid to share it publicly even though it’s public on the DOC site for all find. Hikes in Mt Aspiring like these will blow you away.

When you’re driving up the Mt. Aspiring Road, most visitors will head straight to the dead-end, which is where most of the tracks start. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see a sign for Cameron Flat, a few 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 completely impassable), or you can park at the swing bridge further up and walk across adding some kilometers to your tramp.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you’ve crossed the river, you’ve got a long boring walk through farmlands where you’ll fill your time hiding from the sun and dodging cow pies.

You will most certainly come across some cattle as well, so ignore them and give them a wide berth.

Once you’ve spent an hour or so walking through farmlands, you’ll head into the glorious bush of the East Matukituki.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You’ll follow an undulating track through fairytale-like forests. The route will most likely be wet in some places, so don’t be afraid to get your shoes wet. This track can take you all over, depending on your fitness levels and how much time you have.

You can head up the Kitchener Track to get a glimpse of Aspiring Flats 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 navigation, you can even go off-trail to explore Dragonfly Peak and Mt. Eostre. The options are limitless, and you won’t be sorry you chose this track as long as you’re prepared.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

3. Rabbit Pass

Perhaps one of my most favorite multiday missions of all time, Rabbit Pass is not to be missed if you have 3-4 days and the right weather window. Also, you need a solid hiking experience and a head for heights.

Rabbit Pass is one of the many hikes in Mt Aspiring known for taking 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 ends at Cameron Flat. You will need to have two cars and do a car drop the night before or organize some transportation options at the local iSite but trust me. This hike is worth the hassle.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You start the Rabbit Pass track by getting across the mighty Makarora River. This river 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 nearly chest high, so if river crossings are not your specialty, perhaps be like me and book the Wilkin jet boat to cross and knock some time off of it.

Not only will you get a fun 15-minute ride on New Zealand’s favorite watercraft, but you’ll also save nearly 20km of boring valley bashing. At over $100 per person, it’s steep but very much worth it.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you leave the jet boat, head up the valley to Top Forks Hut. You can spend the night here. If you have extra time, leave your bags at the hut the next day and explore Jumboland (or take your tent and camp up near the lakes!)

Having not much time, we only stayed one night before heading to the crux of the hike the next morning, the infamous Waterfall Face of Rabbit Pass.

Again, not to scare you, but this can be a sketchy as hell climb, which has also claimed multiple lives. Fatalities are common on this part of the Pass, so listen up.

I personally found the climb to be more comfortable than I expected, but it does take confidence, climbing skills, and nearly perfect weather. If the waterfall face is wet at all, you should not attempt to get to the top. Slippery grass, damp rock, and severe exposure can make this a deadly climb. With that said, with the right conditions and skill, it’s manageable.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you’ve topped out at the waterfall, get ready to enjoy some of the best scenery in the entire national park. You’ll follow the hanging valley up to Pearson Valley, where you’ll begin to make your way back to the valley floor. The descent can be a bit dodgy at times, so being a confident down climber will be a massive advantage for you. There are also bolts up here in case you bring ropes and decide to rappel down.

We camped at Ruth Flat that night, but you could camp anywhere along the valley. 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 drop you off at the Mt. Aspiring Road back to Wanaka. It is possible to hitch, but be mindful you may not finish the hike until quite late in the day/evening.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

4. French Ridge Hut

Ahh, French Ridge Hut. One of my first huts and certainly one I love to return to time and time again. This track starts at the Raspberry Creek Car Park and takes you along the flat-ish valley for several hours before crossing the river (via a bridge) and steeply climbing up for a few hours.

This track, while grueling at times, is immensely fun.

You’ll get a full-body workout, pulling yourself up and over the tree root track. It feels like a jungle gym for adults but with a heavy pack. Fun! This one of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring, and you can probably see why.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once out of the bush, you still have a way to climb before getting a view of the beautiful French Ridge Hut.

This classic red hut is perched precariously on the ledge of the mountain, looking over the valley below.

It’s a stunning view and a beautiful alpine hut!

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You can see the neighboring and smaller Liverpool Hut across the valley. There are stunning views of Rob Roy Peak, Glengyle Peak, Plunket Dome, Mt. Liverpool, and Mt. Barff.

You cannot see Mt. Aspiring from here, though.

If you want those views, you’ll need to try out Liverpool Hut, which as equally grueling but at a slightly lower elevation.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

5. Upper West Matukituki

Perhaps the best-kept secret in all of the Matukituki Valley. Most people head into the valley and seek out Liverpool, French Ridge, Rob Roy, or Cascade Saddle, but if solitude is what you’re looking for, head to the Upper West Matukituki. These are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring.

To access this track, park at the Raspberry Creek Car Park. Follow the signs for Mt. Aspiring Hut and then on to Pearl Flat. You’ll take the same route you would go for French Ridge, but instead of heading up the hill once you’ve crossed the river, follow signs to the Upper West Matukituki.

Overgrown but well-marked tracks lead to an isolated and quiet valley with amazing views. This route is often used for those heading up Bevan Col en route to Mt. Aspiring. Even if you’re not a fancy pants mountaineer, you’ll still find beauty and joy in this hike up the valley.

The valley floor is densely vegetated early on, so you may not find a great camping spot until you reach the absolute head of the valley near the waterfall. 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.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

6. Gillespie Pass Circuit

If circuit tramps are your thing, you have to check out Gillespie Pass Circuit. This tramp can be done in either direction, but I did it heading up the Wilkin Valley first.

Again, I opted for an expensive jet bot up the Wilkin instead of testing my shaking river crossing skills. Now there is a new track 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 cross safely.

From the jet boat drop off, you have a pleasant few hours walking to Siberia Hut, which is reasonably straightforward. Be warned, this hut is busy and requires booking from December to April.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

If you get to the hut early enough, you’ll have enough time to hike over to Lake Crucible on a side trip.

In my opinion, this side trip is best in the morning when it sees the full sun. 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 do it, you won’t regret seeing Lake Crucible. If you do it closer to spring, you may even see icebergs floating in this alpine lake.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The hike up to Gillespie Pass is steep and challenging. Snowgrass covers the track, thus requires extra careful footing 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 name, it’s genuinely a thing of beauty to look upon.

The track down is steep but manageable. After a few more hours, you’ll arrive at Young Hut, where you can stay the night.

The rest of the track is through the valley, and you can also add in the famous Blue Pools if you haven’t seen them yet. If you’re brave, you may even attempt to cool off by jumping off the bridge into the icy water.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

So there you go, here are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring near Wanaka, New Zealand.

These multi-day adventures are not for the faint of heart. Remember that tramping in New Zealand requires an advanced skill set and experience. The backcountry here is beautiful but unforgivable.

Where are your favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring? Have you tackled any of these tramps? Spill!

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The post 6 epic hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park that will blow your mind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand


Summer is in full swing here in New Zealand, which means two things: 1) unpredictable weather and 2) unpredictable tourists.

It’s no secret that New Zealand has become a hot spot destination for nature lovers around the world. While Kiwis are generally happy to share their little slice of heaven with the rest of the world. They only ask one small thing: don’t take the piss.

Need a translation? No worries, I gotcha.

Take the piss is a British/NZ/Australian term that does NOT mean go pee on something.

When someone in New Zealand is taking the piss, it means that the person has taken certain liberties at the expense of others — still confused? Let me put it in layman’s terms: If you visit New Zealand, please stop treating it like your own personal garbage can.

freedom camping

For a while, New Zealand was known as a dream destination for “freedom camping.”

In short, freedom camping is a poorly-named activity that allows travelers setting up camp anywhere, even places with no facilities or designated campsites. A classic kiwi pastime, it was all well and good when it was mostly just kiwis out freedom camping around their own country.

But what do you think happened when New Zealand exploded into tourism stardom, and millions of people flocked to this little island for a holiday?

If you guessed heaps of people saw it as a chance to travel for free, then you are correct. If you guessed that freedom camping pisses off a lot of locals and is a massive part of the overtourism conversation today? You are also right.

freedom camping
Image by RON ECKMAN

To be clear, New Zealand does still allow freedom camping but under strict guidelines (which many ignore). However, it’s often misunderstood, and it DEFINITELY does not mean you can pull up your wildly offensive Wicked Campervan and park at the most Instagram-able site you can find.

Don’t worry fam, if you’ve dreamed of renting out an outrageously expensive old VW Combi and camping by a wild, vacant turquoise lake filled with blossoming flowers; you’re not out of luck. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can have your cake and eat it too.

Here’s precisely how you can freedom camp responsibly in New Zealand, be respectful and not take the piss. Read on, dear ones.

freedom camping

1. Go self-contained, do it

There was once a time when freedom camping wasn’t as popular, and local councils didn’t view it as a threat to New Zealand’s pristine environment.

That all changed in 2011 when the Rugby World Cup resulted in entire fleets of campervans being rented out. The public 420 designated free campsites were trashed. People pooped everywhere. It was a mess.

In 2018, regulations got tighter. Now, the national standard says that all camper vans must be self-contained. Self-contained is the word to remember around freedom camping.

This means you need to be able to live in your vehicle for three days without requiring more water or dumping your wast.

freedom camping
No self-contained sticker

Let me put it differently.

This means you need to be able to shit in your van for three days without getting rid of your poo. So don’t come at me with your Toyota Estima telling me it’s self-contained unless you’ve got three days of poo stored up there to prove it, ok?

The regulations also require the vehicle to have freshwater storage, wastewater storage, a lidded bin for your rubbish, and a toilet that can be used inside the car, even when the bed is in place.

Let’s make it clear for the people in the back. If your van does not have a toilet, it isn’t self-contained.

Poo in a loo – and be prepared for when there isn’t one

freedom campingThis is what a self-contained van looks like. Does it look like something your grandparents would travel in? Yes, but that’s just how it works. It’s big enough to live in for days.

2. That little blue sticker doesn’t mean shit

If you’ve been in New Zealand, you’ve probably seen the much-coveted blue sticker that is supposed to prove your van is the self-contained meaning you can camp anywhere you damn well, please. Not true.

It’s usually stuck on the back windshield or bumper of a campervan – or shitty converted hatchback or mini-van used by long-term backpackers to bum around in.

If you’re shopping around for a camper van to use during your year-long working holiday, don’t let some slimy salesperson trick you into believing that blue sticker has any meaning whatsoever.

The magical blue sticker means nothing any more!


If you’re confused, refer to the requirements in point #1.

If you can’t poop in the van for three days straight according to the specifications, it’s not self-contained.

Even the van it has 10 of those blue stickers on the back, it’s not self-contained. I could get some of those stickers on the black market and pop them on my Subaru Outback. That doesn’t make it self-contained.

Don’t pay an extra $1,000 for that van you found on Trade Me just for the sticker! The sticker doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s the actual set up inside the camper. This is what they check for.

freedom camping
Do you think they’ve got a toilet and three days of poo in here? NO.

3. Where can you park your self-contained camper van?

Now that you know what your self contained camper van is and is not, you can start looking for designated freedom camping spots.

Just because you have a self-contained vehicle does not mean you can pull up on any quiet road you feel like and conk out for the night.

Chances are people probably live down that road and don’t want to see your ugly ass van when they wake up in the morning. Please respect the people and the land here. New Zealand is the home of many, and it’s not Disney Land. Would you park your car outside someone’s house and live out of it wherever you’re from? Then why would you do it here?

freedom camping

This also means you can’t drive up to the shores of Lake Wanaka for a peaceful night of sleep.

Try it, and you’ll be met with a $400 fine when you wake up in the morning. Trust me, it’s easier to pay for a campsite at that point.

But, if you’re dead set on finding free camp spots, you’re not out of luck.

There are plenty of spots for responsible freedom camping, but the rules and regulations change depending on the region your in, and the specific DOC land around said region. The best bet is to go to the local iSite Visitor Information Center, DOC visitor Center or check with the local council.

Rankers are also an excellent resource for those looking to find a proper freedom camping location.

freedom campingWhile it makes a beautiful photo, it’s unrealistic to think you can pull up to any old beach and park up for the night. Most likely, your free campsite will be an old gravel parking lot in the middle of nowhere.

4. How to be an excellent little freedom camper

Okay, you’ve got the right vehicle, you’ve found the right spot to park up for the night, now what?

Just like any camper, there are a few things you can do to be a responsible visitor. Remember, each location will have it’s own specific rules and regulations. These hot tips will be universal no matter where you are.

  • Generally, No Fires: Fires can be a serious threat to New Zealand’s ecosystem, especially in dry regions such as Central Otago. There are year-round fire restrictions on public conservation lands, and no open fires are permitted during the fire season. You should only light a fire at designated DOC campsites with fire pit amenities. If you’re hoping to roast some s’mores by the fire, you’re probably out of luck. Be prepared to cook all of your food on your gas stovetop.

freedom camping

  • Pack it in Pack it out: It seems ridiculous to have to say this in 2020, but here we go. You must take whatever littler you accumulate while camping out of the campsite with you and dispose of it in the rubbish bins or recycling bins. Chocolate bar wrappers, toilet paper, tea bags, we’ve seen it all. Don’t try to tell me it accidentally fell out of your pocket; we don’t care. When you’re getting ready to leave a site, do a thorough once over to make sure your site is clean.
  • Don’t bathe in the lake: As tempting as it may be to score a free shower in crystal clear lakes, resist all temptation and pay for an actual shower elsewhere. You can find cold and sometimes hot showers at campsites as well as paid showers at gas stations or hostels. Similarly, don’t wash your manky-ass clothes in the lakes or rivers either. Soaps and detergents are harmful to water life, so if you’re going to wash your clothes in a buck, dump the water in the soil to let the dirt filter it before entering the water systems.

freedom camping

  • Dispose of your wastewater at designated areas: Now that you know how to be a responsible freedom camper with a vehicle that can hold wastewater (greywater) for three days, what the hell do you do with it when it’s full? You don’t dump your shit anywhere other than designated waste disposal dump stations. Most official campsites will have dump stations
  • Boil your water for at least 3 minutes: In general, water in New Zealand is much cleaner than a lot of other countries, and often drinking from rivers and streams will be harmless, but it’s best not to gamble if you’re worried about the water quality. Give the water a quick three-minute boil to get rid of any harmful bacteria that may be lurking.

freedom camping

  • Lock your shit up: While it’s rare to find violent crime in New Zealand, theft is relatively common when it comes to visitors and camper vans. Be sure to lock up your camper van when you’re out or when you’re sleeping for the night. There have been a few sporadic cases of violent crime against camper vans; While you generally don’t have to worry about that, it’s always good to think twice before camping in a super remote and isolated area.
  • Lastly, pay for a freaking campsite once in a while: Look, I get it, traveling is expensive, and even $20 campsites can add up over a few weeks. But tough shit. That’s life. That’s traveling. Not everything can come for free. By all means, do your best to seek out one of the 500 open designated freedom camping areas. If you can’t find one close by, bite the bullet and find a local campsite.

freedom camping

5. Just stay in campsites or holiday parks

You can find holiday parks in nearly every town, and DOC campsites dotted all down the country.

New Zealand has an incredible network of cheap campsites and holiday parks galore where you can park up with heaps of facilities. When I am traveling around in a campervan, I often split my nights between holiday park campsites, freedom camping, and DOC campsites. After all, hot showers are fantastic.

If you end up at an unattended DOC campsite, don’t take the piss and try to pay for free. Don’t arrive late at night and leave before dawn all to avoid the $10 fee.

The money you pay for DOC campsites is much needed to maintain our beautiful ecosystems. It provides facilities to visitors so everyone can enjoy this country. Seek out freedom camping if you must, but don’t forget that there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashion DOC campsite once in a while.

freedom camping

Now, go forth and be free, you wild ‘lil freedom campers.

Get that shot that will win you at least 20 likes on the gram. Twirl in the field of lupins, New Zealand’s most beautiful weed.

Do what you need to do but do it responsibly. Thanks for visiting this beautiful part of the world. And an even bigger thanks for leaving it better than you found it.

Have any tips for freedom camping responsibly? Have you ever traveled this way before? Spill!

freedom camping

The post Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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6 epic hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park that will blow your mind


Ok, everyone, I know we’ve had a bit of a horrible spring and a somewhat lackluster start to the summer down here in New Zealand. The copious amounts of rain and flooding we had last month made us question if summer was ever going to arrive.

But finally, it’s official; summer is here in Wanaka!

Hot days, lake swims, summer tramping. It’s all go here on the South Island, and there’s nowhere better to be.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Wanaka is fantastic for a lot of reasons, but one of the best parts of this location 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 take you to some unbelievably beautiful places that will quite literally make your jaw 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!

9 ways hiking in New Zealand will change your life

hikes in Mt Aspiring

1. Cascade Saddle

Cascade Saddle is one of many terrific hikes in Mt Aspiring, but don’t underestimate it.

This expert hike routinely claims lives every season, so if you’re thinking of giving it a shot, it’s non-negotiable you check in with the local Wanaka DOC office before venturing out to make sure the conditions are right. Also, make sure to plan with the Mountain Safety Council before venturing into the kiwi backcountry.

No rain, no snow, no ice. You want to do this one dry and safe.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The track starts from the Raspberry Creek Car Park (an hour from town down a gravel sometimes impassable road) and leads up you the valley towards Aspiring Hut.

Once at the hut (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 climbs up over 1,000 meters, so make sure you have allocated enough time, water, and snacks for the ascent.

10 of the most iconic backcountry huts on the South Island

hikes in Mt Aspiring

This track is dangerous because it’s steep and covered in snow grass, which is mostly like hiking on slippery ice 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 footing, and you should be alright, along with having a head for heights. 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 here, so if you’re keen, you can spend the night but beware of the keas, naughty alpine parrots who notoriously will tear your tent to shreds without giving one single fuck about you or your restful night of sleep.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

For the extra keen, you can connect this track 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 multiple days, don’t go trying this track all willy nilly once you’ve reached the saddle. It’s long and will drop 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.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

2. East Matukituki Valley

The East Matukituki Valley tracks are such a hidden gem I’m almost afraid to share it publicly even though it’s public on the DOC site for all find. Hikes in Mt Aspiring like these will blow you away.

When you’re driving up the Mt. Aspiring Road, most visitors will head straight to the dead-end, which is where most of the tracks start. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see a sign for Cameron Flat, a few 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 completely impassable), or you can park at the swing bridge further up and walk across adding some kilometers to your tramp.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you’ve crossed the river, you’ve got a long boring walk through farmlands where you’ll fill your time hiding from the sun and dodging cow pies.

You will most certainly come across some cattle as well, so ignore them and give them a wide berth.

Once you’ve spent an hour or so walking through farmlands, you’ll head into the glorious bush of the East Matukituki.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You’ll follow an undulating track through fairytale-like forests. The route will most likely be wet in some places, so don’t be afraid to get your shoes wet. This track can take you all over, depending on your fitness levels and how much time you have.

You can head up the Kitchener Track to get a glimpse of Aspiring Flats 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 navigation, you can even go off-trail to explore Dragonfly Peak and Mt. Eostre. The options are limitless, and you won’t be sorry you chose this track as long as you’re prepared.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

3. Rabbit Pass

Perhaps one of my most favorite multiday missions of all time, Rabbit Pass is not to be missed if you have 3-4 days and the right weather window. Also, you need a solid hiking experience and a head for heights.

Rabbit Pass is one of the many hikes in Mt Aspiring known for taking 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 ends at Cameron Flat. You will need to have two cars and do a car drop the night before or organize some transportation options at the local iSite but trust me. This hike is worth the hassle.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You start the Rabbit Pass track by getting across the mighty Makarora River. This river 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 nearly chest high, so if river crossings are not your specialty, perhaps be like me and book the Wilkin jet boat to cross and knock some time off of it.

Not only will you get a fun 15-minute ride on New Zealand’s favorite watercraft, but you’ll also save nearly 20km of boring valley bashing. At over $100 per person, it’s steep but very much worth it.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you leave the jet boat, head up the valley to Top Forks Hut. You can spend the night here. If you have extra time, leave your bags at the hut the next day and explore Jumboland (or take your tent and camp up near the lakes!)

Having not much time, we only stayed one night before heading to the crux of the hike the next morning, the infamous Waterfall Face of Rabbit Pass.

Again, not to scare you, but this can be a sketchy as hell climb, which has also claimed multiple lives. Fatalities are common on this part of the Pass, so listen up.

I personally found the climb to be more comfortable than I expected, but it does take confidence, climbing skills, and nearly perfect weather. If the waterfall face is wet at all, you should not attempt to get to the top. Slippery grass, damp rock, and severe exposure can make this a deadly climb. With that said, with the right conditions and skill, it’s manageable.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once you’ve topped out at the waterfall, get ready to enjoy some of the best scenery in the entire national park. You’ll follow the hanging valley up to Pearson Valley, where you’ll begin to make your way back to the valley floor. The descent can be a bit dodgy at times, so being a confident down climber will be a massive advantage for you. There are also bolts up here in case you bring ropes and decide to rappel down.

We camped at Ruth Flat that night, but you could camp anywhere along the valley. 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 drop you off at the Mt. Aspiring Road back to Wanaka. It is possible to hitch, but be mindful you may not finish the hike until quite late in the day/evening.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

4. French Ridge Hut

Ahh, French Ridge Hut. One of my first huts and certainly one I love to return to time and time again. This track starts at the Raspberry Creek Car Park and takes you along the flat-ish valley for several hours before crossing the river (via a bridge) and steeply climbing up for a few hours.

This track, while grueling at times, is immensely fun.

You’ll get a full-body workout, pulling yourself up and over the tree root track. It feels like a jungle gym for adults but with a heavy pack. Fun! This one of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring, and you can probably see why.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

Once out of the bush, you still have a way to climb before getting a view of the beautiful French Ridge Hut.

This classic red hut is perched precariously on the ledge of the mountain, looking over the valley below.

It’s a stunning view and a beautiful alpine hut!

hikes in Mt Aspiring

You can see the neighboring and smaller Liverpool Hut across the valley. There are stunning views of Rob Roy Peak, Glengyle Peak, Plunket Dome, Mt. Liverpool, and Mt. Barff.

You cannot see Mt. Aspiring from here, though.

If you want those views, you’ll need to try out Liverpool Hut, which as equally grueling but at a slightly lower elevation.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

5. Upper West Matukituki

Perhaps the best-kept secret in all of the Matukituki Valley. Most people head into the valley and seek out Liverpool, French Ridge, Rob Roy, or Cascade Saddle, but if solitude is what you’re looking for, head to the Upper West Matukituki. These are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring.

To access this track, park at the Raspberry Creek Car Park. Follow the signs for Mt. Aspiring Hut and then on to Pearl Flat. You’ll take the same route you would go for French Ridge, but instead of heading up the hill once you’ve crossed the river, follow signs to the Upper West Matukituki.

Overgrown but well-marked tracks lead to an isolated and quiet valley with amazing views. This route is often used for those heading up Bevan Col en route to Mt. Aspiring. Even if you’re not a fancy pants mountaineer, you’ll still find beauty and joy in this hike up the valley.

The valley floor is densely vegetated early on, so you may not find a great camping spot until you reach the absolute head of the valley near the waterfall. 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.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

6. Gillespie Pass Circuit

If circuit tramps are your thing, you have to check out Gillespie Pass Circuit. This tramp can be done in either direction, but I did it heading up the Wilkin Valley first.

Again, I opted for an expensive jet bot up the Wilkin instead of testing my shaking river crossing skills. Now there is a new track 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 cross safely.

From the jet boat drop off, you have a pleasant few hours walking to Siberia Hut, which is reasonably straightforward. Be warned, this hut is busy and requires booking from December to April.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

If you get to the hut early enough, you’ll have enough time to hike over to Lake Crucible on a side trip.

In my opinion, this side trip is best in the morning when it sees the full sun. 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 do it, you won’t regret seeing Lake Crucible. If you do it closer to spring, you may even see icebergs floating in this alpine lake.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The hike up to Gillespie Pass is steep and challenging. Snowgrass covers the track, thus requires extra careful footing 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 name, it’s genuinely a thing of beauty to look upon.

The track down is steep but manageable. After a few more hours, you’ll arrive at Young Hut, where you can stay the night.

The rest of the track is through the valley, and you can also add in the famous Blue Pools if you haven’t seen them yet. If you’re brave, you may even attempt to cool off by jumping off the bridge into the icy water.

hikes in Mt Aspiring

So there you go, here are some of my favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring near Wanaka, New Zealand.

These multi-day adventures are not for the faint of heart. Remember that tramping in New Zealand requires an advanced skill set and experience. The backcountry here is beautiful but unforgivable.

Where are your favorite hikes in Mt Aspiring? Have you tackled any of these tramps? Spill!

hikes in Mt Aspiring

The post 6 epic hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park that will blow your mind appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals


Let’s be clear; there’s usually nothing easy about picking up your life and moving to a new foreign country and fitting in with New Zealand locals? There’s a lot to learn.

The food is different, and the language is (often) changed, the culture is different. It takes some serious guts to pick up and become an expat, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding moves of your life.

When I first decided to move to New Zealand, I stupidly assumed that because it was a westernized country where English was spoken, I’d have no trouble fitting it. But, as it turns out, life and culture in Chicago are vastly different than life on an Island Nation.

There are some things I wish I knew before moving that would have made my transition a little easier. Here are my best tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals

How to move to New Zealand as an American

fitting in with new zealand locals

1. Keep it casual

Kiwis live a relaxed lifestyle from the clothes they wear to how they address their superiors.

Dressing up for Kiwis often means donning their fanciest pair of jandals and their cleanest pair of stubbies. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it will eventually. Even in the workplace, the dress is usually reasonably casual. Unless you’re in a bank, you probably won’t see suits and ties.

When addressing superiors and colleagues, Kiwis prefer to use first names and often even nicknames. They like to treat everyone the same and often see their bosses and superiors as friends, doctors too.

fitting in with new zealand locals

2. Keep that work-life balance in check

Kiwis are famous for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.

They believe in putting in some hard hours at work but also respect their free time. Hell, the best coffee spot in town is famous for closing their doors over the Christmas break, the busiest two weeks of the year. Could they be making lots of money over that time? Sure, but is it worth the stress? Nah.

Kiwis know when to draw the line and make sure they have time to relax, and best of all, they don’t feel guilty for it. If you want to fit in with the locals, make sure you take some holiday time and respect others when they’re doing the same.

fitting in with new zealand locals

3. Sarcasm reigns supreme

Keen on fitting in with New Zealand? Learn to speak sarcasm.

If English and Māori share the title for the common language in New Zealand, sarcasm would undoubtedly be the second.

Kiwi humor is often described and dark and utterly dry, but if you can pick up on it, you’ll soon find yourself laughing along. A shortcut to understanding Kiwi humor is to assume the opposite for everything they say immediately.

For example, if someone calls you a winner, you’re most certainly not.

fitting in with new zealand locals

4. Stay humble

A quick way to get an eye roll out of a kiwi is to start talking about your most recent accomplishments. Start yarning on about all the things you’ve done, and you’ll be met with silence or a quick change of subject.

This is because Kiwis embrace the tall poppy syndrome, where people who brag about how great they are are resented and criticized. If you’re going to talk about your success, do so carefully and try to elevate those who helped you reach that success.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

fitting in with new zealand locals

5. Nix the small chat

Love it or hate it, Kiwis are genuine.

They don’t mince words, and if they ask you how you’re going, they genuinely want to know.

A quick way to piss off a Kiwi is to say, “Hey mate, how are ya” and then immediately move onto the next sentence without giving them a chance to answer. It may seem like a common language to you, but to Kiwis, they find it rude and insincere.

If you’re going to ask them questions, they’re going to want to answer. Kiwis don’t mind a bit of awkward silence, so they’d much rather sit in silence then fill the air with a frivolous chat about the weather.

fitting in with new zealand locals

6. But don’t get too personal

Here’s another goodie for fitting in with New Zealand locals  – don’t also get up in their business.

When you’re asking them questions, be sure not to cross the line by asking them super personal questions. Don’t ask them how much money they make, how much their house costs, or who they’re voting for in the next elections.

In my experience, I’ve found that Kiwis generally tend to keep their personal business to themselves and a select few friends, so when integrating into a Kiwi friend group, tread carefully with the deep questions.

fitting in with new zealand locals

7. Adopt the can-do attitude

Kiwis are famous for the #8 wire attitude. The old saying goes that on remote farms, Kiwis would often have long rolls of number 8 wire, which they would use to fix practically any mechanical or structural problem. The wire became synonymous with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and is a common cultural characteristic still to this day.

Perhaps part of it is because they are an island nation that has historically had to be self-reliant for a long time. If something is broken, New Zealanders will always give it a crack to try and fix it before buying new.

They’ll go to great lengths to solve the issue on their own, and if you’re trying to fit in, you should too. Kiwis wear their old duct-taped puffer jackets with pride here.

fitting in with new zealand locals

8. Respect the environment

Speaking of not buying new, most Kiwis hold the state of the environment near and dear to their hearts.

Perhaps because they live in a literal paradise, when you get to see pure beauty every day and the risks that beauty faces, you appreciate it, maybe it’s because they have a small population. Here it’s easier to enact change on a large scale.

Whatever it is, Kiwis give a hoot about the rivers and mountains and air. If you want to fit in, ditch your single-use plastic. You’ll quickly be ostracized for getting a plastic fork with your takeaway or forgetting your reusable coffee cup. Recycle when you can, but more than anything, if you want to fit in with the Kiwis, start with reducing the amount you consume, to begin with.

What do you think? Any tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals? Share!

fitting in with new zealand locals

The post An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals


Let’s be clear; there’s usually nothing easy about picking up your life and moving to a new foreign country and fitting in with New Zealand locals? There’s a lot to learn.

The food is different, and the language is (often) changed, the culture is different. It takes some serious guts to pick up and become an expat, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding moves of your life.

When I first decided to move to New Zealand, I stupidly assumed that because it was a westernized country where English was spoken, I’d have no trouble fitting it. But, as it turns out, life and culture in Chicago are vastly different than life on an Island Nation.

There are some things I wish I knew before moving that would have made my transition a little easier. Here are my best tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals

How to move to New Zealand as an American

fitting in with new zealand locals

1. Keep it casual

Kiwis live a relaxed lifestyle from the clothes they wear to how they address their superiors.

Dressing up for Kiwis often means donning their fanciest pair of jandals and their cleanest pair of stubbies. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it will eventually. Even in the workplace, the dress is usually reasonably casual. Unless you’re in a bank, you probably won’t see suits and ties.

When addressing superiors and colleagues, Kiwis prefer to use first names and often even nicknames. They like to treat everyone the same and often see their bosses and superiors as friends, doctors too.

fitting in with new zealand locals

2. Keep that work-life balance in check

Kiwis are famous for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.

They believe in putting in some hard hours at work but also respect their free time. Hell, the best coffee spot in town is famous for closing their doors over the Christmas break, the busiest two weeks of the year. Could they be making lots of money over that time? Sure, but is it worth the stress? Nah.

Kiwis know when to draw the line and make sure they have time to relax, and best of all, they don’t feel guilty for it. If you want to fit in with the locals, make sure you take some holiday time and respect others when they’re doing the same.

fitting in with new zealand locals

3. Sarcasm reigns supreme

Keen on fitting in with New Zealand? Learn to speak sarcasm.

If English and Māori share the title for the common language in New Zealand, sarcasm would undoubtedly be the second.

Kiwi humor is often described and dark and utterly dry, but if you can pick up on it, you’ll soon find yourself laughing along. A shortcut to understanding Kiwi humor is to assume the opposite for everything they say immediately.

For example, if someone calls you a winner, you’re most certainly not.

fitting in with new zealand locals

4. Stay humble

A quick way to get an eye roll out of a kiwi is to start talking about your most recent accomplishments. Start yarning on about all the things you’ve done, and you’ll be met with silence or a quick change of subject.

This is because Kiwis embrace the tall poppy syndrome, where people who brag about how great they are are resented and criticized. If you’re going to talk about your success, do so carefully and try to elevate those who helped you reach that success.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

fitting in with new zealand locals

5. Nix the small chat

Love it or hate it, Kiwis are genuine.

They don’t mince words, and if they ask you how you’re going, they genuinely want to know.

A quick way to piss off a Kiwi is to say, “Hey mate, how are ya” and then immediately move onto the next sentence without giving them a chance to answer. It may seem like a common language to you, but to Kiwis, they find it rude and insincere.

If you’re going to ask them questions, they’re going to want to answer. Kiwis don’t mind a bit of awkward silence, so they’d much rather sit in silence then fill the air with a frivolous chat about the weather.

fitting in with new zealand locals

6. But don’t get too personal

Here’s another goodie for fitting in with New Zealand locals  – don’t also get up in their business.

When you’re asking them questions, be sure not to cross the line by asking them super personal questions. Don’t ask them how much money they make, how much their house costs, or who they’re voting for in the next elections.

In my experience, I’ve found that Kiwis generally tend to keep their personal business to themselves and a select few friends, so when integrating into a Kiwi friend group, tread carefully with the deep questions.

fitting in with new zealand locals

7. Adopt the can-do attitude

Kiwis are famous for the #8 wire attitude. The old saying goes that on remote farms, Kiwis would often have long rolls of number 8 wire, which they would use to fix practically any mechanical or structural problem. The wire became synonymous with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and is a common cultural characteristic still to this day.

Perhaps part of it is because they are an island nation that has historically had to be self-reliant for a long time. If something is broken, New Zealanders will always give it a crack to try and fix it before buying new.

They’ll go to great lengths to solve the issue on their own, and if you’re trying to fit in, you should too. Kiwis wear their old duct-taped puffer jackets with pride here.

fitting in with new zealand locals

8. Respect the environment

Speaking of not buying new, most Kiwis hold the state of the environment near and dear to their hearts.

Perhaps because they live in a literal paradise, when you get to see pure beauty every day and the risks that beauty faces, you appreciate it, maybe it’s because they have a small population. Here it’s easier to enact change on a large scale.

Whatever it is, Kiwis give a hoot about the rivers and mountains and air. If you want to fit in, ditch your single-use plastic. You’ll quickly be ostracized for getting a plastic fork with your takeaway or forgetting your reusable coffee cup. Recycle when you can, but more than anything, if you want to fit in with the Kiwis, start with reducing the amount you consume, to begin with.

What do you think? Any tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals? Share!

fitting in with new zealand locals

The post An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand


This spring in New Zealand has been a wild one, bringing on a flood in Wanaka.

Here in Wanaka, where I call home, in the heart of the Southern Alps, it’s been raining, raining and raining some more.

Considering it’s usually hot and dry and cold and dry as a general rule, this is rather unusual. Spring is generally windy but warm, teasing us for a beautiful summer ahead.

For all my fellow northern hemisphere inhabitants, spring in New Zealand runs from September to November.

With the snowmelt that feeds into the rivers, the lake level was already high.

Two weeks ago, the typically white beaches that outline our stunning Lake Wanaka were completely submerged beneath shimmering blue water, with the iconic Clutha River running high and fast.

Our mountains were bright green, lush and verdant, an unusual sight, but one that I love. Usually, a dry part of the country, come springtime our hills and valleys generally turn green with the snowmelt.

And then a week ago it began to rain properly. And I mean torrential rain for days, the likes of which we don’t usually see.

Cue the latest Wanaka flood.

Lake Wanaka has a history of flooding since the town was founded. Everyone was wondering if this year’s flood would top the 1999 flood when the lake came up so far that the New World was a meter underwater.

wanaka flood

Lucky for us, the rain has stopped just in time, as the water was spilling across the main road and lapping at the quickly stacked sandbags across the lakefront shops. Phew!

While the vibe of Wanaka is changing fast as the world catches on to how cool this wee mountain town of New Zealand is, the pride of the locals still runs deep. With everyone rallying together to protect the downtown and prep for the flood, it raised my spirits to see the community passion still alive and kicking.

Anyone who has ever visited Wanaka knows it’s unique.

wanaka flood

As the rain briefly stopped on Wednesday, December 4th, I made my way to the lakefront to have a good look at the state of affairs. The water was lapping over park benches, the jetties were gone, and the lakefront parking lot was covered in driftwood.

The clouds momentarily lifted, revealing snowcapped mountains and thundering waterfalls.

And our iconic Wanaka Tree, the infamous willow tree in the lake, looked like it needed a snorkel.

wanaka flood

Not only were all our beaches gone, but the lake was ever so slowly creeping across the grass towards the town in Wanaka.

Curious, I drove out to Treble Cone towards the Matukituki Valley, and I wasn’t disappointed.

By Glendhu Bay, the water was already spilling over onto the road. The waterfalls were thundering, much bigger than usual. The small wooden bridge in West Wanaka, which straddles the Matukituki River was shaking; brown water rushed down from the mountains into the lake.

It was terrifying, and I quickly returned home. A few hours later, the road was closed off from flooding.

wanaka flood

With the South Island doused in the rain, washing away roads and bridges this spring, it’s put it into a stark reminder that we are at the mercy of mother nature down here, especially in the mountains.

New Zealand is still a wild place, with big mountains, glacial rivers, and waterfalls galore. Hello, that’s why we all want to visit here. But it comes with a price. Mountain weather can be intense, and when it comes knocking, we have to listen.

It’s not all that uncommon for big storms to close roads and impact travel on the South Island. It’s happened a handful of times around Wanaka since I moved here six years ago.

If you’re planning to travel around New Zealand, I recommend checking NZTA’s (New Zealand Transport Agency) website for the most up-to-date maps on road closures.

wanaka flood

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red

Usually, I’m not the kind of person who goes out to photograph something like this. When I’m home, I am not always inclined to pick up my camera. For the past few years, camera = work.

But I’m hoping to feel more inspired this year. I’m looking to challenge myself to take photos of things I might normally would otherwise. So it was time to drag my lazy bum off the sofa and have a little look at what our lake was up to. Camera in hand and with no agenda, I headed to the lake

Here are some photos from the Wanaka flood this year.

Have you ever experienced a flood on your travels? Have you seen anything like this? Any stories from the Wanaka flood to spill? Share!

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

The post 20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand


This spring in New Zealand has been a wild one, bringing on a flood in Wanaka.

Here in Wanaka, where I call home, in the heart of the Southern Alps, it’s been raining, raining and raining some more.

Considering it’s usually hot and dry and cold and dry as a general rule, this is rather unusual. Spring is generally windy but warm, teasing us for a beautiful summer ahead.

For all my fellow northern hemisphere inhabitants, spring in New Zealand runs from September to November.

With the snowmelt that feeds into the rivers, the lake level was already high.

Two weeks ago, the typically white beaches that outline our stunning Lake Wanaka were completely submerged beneath shimmering blue water, with the iconic Clutha River running high and fast.

Our mountains were bright green, lush and verdant, an unusual sight, but one that I love. Usually, a dry part of the country, come springtime our hills and valleys generally turn green with the snowmelt.

And then a week ago it began to rain properly. And I mean torrential rain for days, the likes of which we don’t usually see.

Cue the latest Wanaka flood.

Lake Wanaka has a history of flooding since the town was founded. Everyone was wondering if this year’s flood would top the 1999 flood when the lake came up so far that the New World was a meter underwater.

wanaka flood

Lucky for us, the rain has stopped just in time, as the water was spilling across the main road and lapping at the quickly stacked sandbags across the lakefront shops. Phew!

While the vibe of Wanaka is changing fast as the world catches on to how cool this wee mountain town of New Zealand is, the pride of the locals still runs deep. With everyone rallying together to protect the downtown and prep for the flood, it raised my spirits to see the community passion still alive and kicking.

Anyone who has ever visited Wanaka knows it’s unique.

wanaka flood

As the rain briefly stopped on Wednesday, December 4th, I made my way to the lakefront to have a good look at the state of affairs. The water was lapping over park benches, the jetties were gone, and the lakefront parking lot was covered in driftwood.

The clouds momentarily lifted, revealing snowcapped mountains and thundering waterfalls.

And our iconic Wanaka Tree, the infamous willow tree in the lake, looked like it needed a snorkel.

wanaka flood

Not only were all our beaches gone, but the lake was ever so slowly creeping across the grass towards the town in Wanaka.

Curious, I drove out to Treble Cone towards the Matukituki Valley, and I wasn’t disappointed.

By Glendhu Bay, the water was already spilling over onto the road. The waterfalls were thundering, much bigger than usual. The small wooden bridge in West Wanaka, which straddles the Matukituki River was shaking; brown water rushed down from the mountains into the lake.

It was terrifying, and I quickly returned home. A few hours later, the road was closed off from flooding.

wanaka flood

With the South Island doused in the rain, washing away roads and bridges this spring, it’s put it into a stark reminder that we are at the mercy of mother nature down here, especially in the mountains.

New Zealand is still a wild place, with big mountains, glacial rivers, and waterfalls galore. Hello, that’s why we all want to visit here. But it comes with a price. Mountain weather can be intense, and when it comes knocking, we have to listen.

It’s not all that uncommon for big storms to close roads and impact travel on the South Island. It’s happened a handful of times around Wanaka since I moved here six years ago.

If you’re planning to travel around New Zealand, I recommend checking NZTA’s (New Zealand Transport Agency) website for the most up-to-date maps on road closures.

wanaka flood

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red

Usually, I’m not the kind of person who goes out to photograph something like this. When I’m home, I am not always inclined to pick up my camera. For the past few years, camera = work.

But I’m hoping to feel more inspired this year. I’m looking to challenge myself to take photos of things I might normally would otherwise. So it was time to drag my lazy bum off the sofa and have a little look at what our lake was up to. Camera in hand and with no agenda, I headed to the lake

Here are some photos from the Wanaka flood this year.

Have you ever experienced a flood on your travels? Have you seen anything like this? Any stories from the Wanaka flood to spill? Share!

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

The post 20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red


One of my favorite parts about the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island is my proximity to glaciers. Growing up in suburban Virginia, I never really experienced mountains of this scale before – and now I’m hooked.

Living in Wanaka, the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and a peaceful lakeside mountain town, I’ve spent a lot of time in our neighboring national park – Mt. Aspiring.

Mount Aspiring National Park is a magical mix of remote high country wilderness, big mountains, and stunning river valleys. Home to over a hundred glaciers, it’s a place straight from the Lord of the Rings – literally. Every time I explore Mt. Aspiring, it takes my breath away.

But a new phenomenon has arrived in New Zealand – for the past couple of weeks, the smoke and dust from the unprecedented bushfires in Australia have arrived in New Zealand.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

I was away from Wanaka when I started to see posts from all my Wanaka friends on social media about their cars coated with thick red dust. It seems the devastating effects of the immense wildfires in Australia have made their way here.

As hundreds of uncontrolled fires burn across New South Wales and the Queensland coastlines in Australia, the wind has carried the smoke, ash, and dust thousands of kilometers across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

For days our usually clear skies were hazy, a bizarre thing to witness.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As the sky turned an ominous yellow haze, the smoke blanketed towns all across the South Island before eventually clearing up a few days later as the winds changed.

We carried on with our normalcy and routines, luckily free from the horrors of fires (at present). But as I journeyed back into Mt. Aspiring National Park last Friday, I noticed something unusual.

Why did the glaciers appear to be red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Hopping on a last-minute scenic helicopter flight with Wanaka Helicopters out to see the glaciers around Mt. Aspiring, I was fizzing with excitement as I piled into the front seat on one of those calm, spring mornings.

We’ve had a crazy amount of rain this springtime in Wanaka, so much rain in fact that the lake is high. Normally quite dry on this side of the mountains, everyone is worried the town might flood this week as more rain is on the way.

Right now is the perfect time for a scenic flight around Wanaka, and it’s definitely the most colorful time of year. The valleys are bright green with all of the rainfall, and there is still snow on the mountaintops. For photographers like me, we froth on these colors.

australia fire new zealand

As the snow melts and the mountains are pounded with massive rainfalls, hundreds of temporary waterfalls gush down from the glaciers in a scene out of a movie. It doesn’t look real.

Taking off from the Wanaka airport on a morning Amazing Aspiring scenic heli flight, conditions were just magical. No wind, blue skies, and warm air, spring was in the air, and I was itching to take in my favorite mountains again.

Zooming out over the town and down the iconic Matukituki Valley, I could see the river was pumping, and the lake was high, while the stunning peak of Mt. Aspiring twinkled in the distance.

And as we got closer and closer towards the first of the mighty glaciers, I pulled my sunglasses off to wipe them. Did I see things, or did the snow look, well, a bit red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

From far away, the glaciers looked almost dirty, a sooty look they often get at the end of a hot summer as the ice melts and rock tumbles down onto the ice in certain places. But it was springtime, and the snows were beginning to melt. What’s the deal?

Chatting with the pilot, I realized this phenomenon was tied to the raging wildfires plaguing the east coast of Australia. The recent westerlies brought a red haze and smoke across the pond here to New Zealand.

As the dust settled across the South Island, it coated our glaciers in a layer of red too.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

How crazy is that?

While I’m no scientist, I wonder this layer of red will exist in the ice to tell the story of the bushfires in a thousand years? The same way we could see the ash layers from ancient volcanic eruptions around the world now?

Curious. Curious.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As a frequent visitor to Mt. Aspiring, and flying as often as I can around these big mountains I call home, it was unusual and exciting to see something rare and different. How crazy is it that we can see the impact of fires in Australia here in New Zealand?!

It’s pretty remarkable to see the impact of the fires from so far away.

Our glaciers don’t need any more battles as they are already truly endangered; it puts the impact of climate change into even more stark reality we can’t ignore.

This will cause our glaciers to melt even faster due to the obstruction of the ice-albedo effect – where shiny glaciers reflect energy into space. Someone correct me, but this is how I understand it to work; the red dust is now covering the usually reflective glacial ice, causing the glaciers to melt faster. Ah, science!

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Cue the anti-climate change propaganda. Though I would be heartily surprised if there were any non-science believers still on my blog.

The higher temperatures caused by climate change allows for more dryness and worse fire seasons in Australia especially. Greenhouse gas emissions have a direct impact on increased temperatures, which equates to increased dryness.

Climate change definitely makes bushfires worse.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Nothing really puts into perspective both the immensity of our mountains quite like a helicopter flight. It shows just how fragile they are. Especially when you see the impact of something so massive here in New Zealand.

I want everyone to be able to experience the joy and euphoria that comes from these wild spaces. I want to preserve our glaciers for generations to come. It breaks my heart to see the devastation both directly in Australia but also high on our precious mountains here in New Zealand.

Good luck to everyone working hard to stop this.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you experienced the effects of wildfires before? I’m curious, share if you don’t mind.

australia fire new zealand

Many thanks to Wanaka Helicopters for showing me around my favorite mountains. Like always, I’m keeping it real – as if you could expect less from me!

The post Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red


One of my favorite parts about the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island is my proximity to glaciers. Growing up in suburban Virginia, I never really experienced mountains of this scale before – and now I’m hooked.

Living in Wanaka, the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and a peaceful lakeside mountain town, I’ve spent a lot of time in our neighboring national park – Mt. Aspiring.

Mount Aspiring National Park is a magical mix of remote high country wilderness, big mountains, and stunning river valleys. Home to over a hundred glaciers, it’s a place straight from the Lord of the Rings – literally. Every time I explore Mt. Aspiring, it takes my breath away.

But a new phenomenon has arrived in New Zealand – for the past couple of weeks, the smoke and dust from the unprecedented bushfires in Australia have arrived in New Zealand.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

I was away from Wanaka when I started to see posts from all my Wanaka friends on social media about their cars coated with thick red dust. It seems the devastating effects of the immense wildfires in Australia have made their way here.

As hundreds of uncontrolled fires burn across New South Wales and the Queensland coastlines in Australia, the wind has carried the smoke, ash, and dust thousands of kilometers across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

For days our usually clear skies were hazy, a bizarre thing to witness.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As the sky turned an ominous yellow haze, the smoke blanketed towns all across the South Island before eventually clearing up a few days later as the winds changed.

We carried on with our normalcy and routines, luckily free from the horrors of fires (at present). But as I journeyed back into Mt. Aspiring National Park last Friday, I noticed something unusual.

Why did the glaciers appear to be red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Hopping on a last-minute scenic helicopter flight with Wanaka Helicopters out to see the glaciers around Mt. Aspiring, I was fizzing with excitement as I piled into the front seat on one of those calm, spring mornings.

We’ve had a crazy amount of rain this springtime in Wanaka, so much rain in fact that the lake is high. Normally quite dry on this side of the mountains, everyone is worried the town might flood this week as more rain is on the way.

Right now is the perfect time for a scenic flight around Wanaka, and it’s definitely the most colorful time of year. The valleys are bright green with all of the rainfall, and there is still snow on the mountaintops. For photographers like me, we froth on these colors.

australia fire new zealand

As the snow melts and the mountains are pounded with massive rainfalls, hundreds of temporary waterfalls gush down from the glaciers in a scene out of a movie. It doesn’t look real.

Taking off from the Wanaka airport on a morning Amazing Aspiring scenic heli flight, conditions were just magical. No wind, blue skies, and warm air, spring was in the air, and I was itching to take in my favorite mountains again.

Zooming out over the town and down the iconic Matukituki Valley, I could see the river was pumping, and the lake was high, while the stunning peak of Mt. Aspiring twinkled in the distance.

And as we got closer and closer towards the first of the mighty glaciers, I pulled my sunglasses off to wipe them. Did I see things, or did the snow look, well, a bit red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

From far away, the glaciers looked almost dirty, a sooty look they often get at the end of a hot summer as the ice melts and rock tumbles down onto the ice in certain places. But it was springtime, and the snows were beginning to melt. What’s the deal?

Chatting with the pilot, I realized this phenomenon was tied to the raging wildfires plaguing the east coast of Australia. The recent westerlies brought a red haze and smoke across the pond here to New Zealand.

As the dust settled across the South Island, it coated our glaciers in a layer of red too.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

How crazy is that?

While I’m no scientist, I wonder this layer of red will exist in the ice to tell the story of the bushfires in a thousand years? The same way we could see the ash layers from ancient volcanic eruptions around the world now?

Curious. Curious.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As a frequent visitor to Mt. Aspiring, and flying as often as I can around these big mountains I call home, it was unusual and exciting to see something rare and different. How crazy is it that we can see the impact of fires in Australia here in New Zealand?!

It’s pretty remarkable to see the impact of the fires from so far away.

Our glaciers don’t need any more battles as they are already truly endangered; it puts the impact of climate change into even more stark reality we can’t ignore.

This will cause our glaciers to melt even faster due to the obstruction of the ice-albedo effect – where shiny glaciers reflect energy into space. Someone correct me, but this is how I understand it to work; the red dust is now covering the usually reflective glacial ice, causing the glaciers to melt faster. Ah, science!

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Cue the anti-climate change propaganda. Though I would be heartily surprised if there were any non-science believers still on my blog.

The higher temperatures caused by climate change allows for more dryness and worse fire seasons in Australia especially. Greenhouse gas emissions have a direct impact on increased temperatures, which equates to increased dryness.

Climate change definitely makes bushfires worse.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Nothing really puts into perspective both the immensity of our mountains quite like a helicopter flight. It shows just how fragile they are. Especially when you see the impact of something so massive here in New Zealand.

I want everyone to be able to experience the joy and euphoria that comes from these wild spaces. I want to preserve our glaciers for generations to come. It breaks my heart to see the devastation both directly in Australia but also high on our precious mountains here in New Zealand.

Good luck to everyone working hard to stop this.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you experienced the effects of wildfires before? I’m curious, share if you don’t mind.

australia fire new zealand

Many thanks to Wanaka Helicopters for showing me around my favorite mountains. Like always, I’m keeping it real – as if you could expect less from me!

The post Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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20 must-visit spots on New Zealand’s South Island


In August 2013 ago I took the plunge and hopped on a one-way flight to New Zealand. Six years later, residency and a newfound love for this pacific island nation, and I haven’t looked back since. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in those six years exploring the two islands that make up this magical part of the world and have gotten to know it pretty well. From climbing big mountains to road tripping through old farm country to eating at my favorite spots and getting lost all along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to discover some fantastic corners of New Zealand.

It’s a place I never tire of traveling around, and I love returning to old haunts again and again, especially on the South Island where I call home.

new zealand south island must do

If you’re looking to visit New Zealand for yourself (which you definitely should), be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get around.

And don’t miss the South Island in all its epic glory. A wild land of ice mountains, turquoise lakes, and gnarly haunted forests home to exotic birds and a few locals too, the South Island is a place that will blow you away. 

With a much smaller population than the North Island, and with much more dramatic scenery, the South Island beckons those looking to get off the grid in a place that seems somewhat otherworldly.

Here are my best tips after years of spots that are must-visits on the South Island. Enjoy!

Check out my interactive map for exploring the South Island of New Zealand

new zealand south island must do

1. Go hiking in Mt. Aspiring National Park near Wanaka

Wanaka is number one for me because it’s where I call home, and I’m unashamedly biased.

A beautiful little mountain town on the edge of a stunning blue lake an hour from the adventure capital herself, Queenstown, Wanaka was New Zealand’s best-kept secret until the lid got blown off. If you play your cards right, you might never leave. 

The gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park, home to some legendary hikes

new zealand south island must do

2. Get extreme in Queenstown

You can’t come to the South Island and not check out Queenstown, the adventure capital of Aotearoa.

The birthplace of bungee jumping, there is no shortage of high places to throw yourself off of in the name of adventure. Unabashedly touristy, Queenstown earns its accolades with epic views, big mountains, blue lakes, and experiences everywhere. 

I recommend the Shotover Canyon Swing for a pants-shittingly scary but fun experience, though less scary than a bungy (in my honest opinion) or a stunning zip-trek adventure overlooking the lake with Zip-Trek Eco Tours.

new zealand south island must do

3. Go look for penguins in the Catlins

The Catlins is a remote corner of the South Island of New Zealand, along the southeastern coastline, and it’s long been the seaside getaway of us Wanaka locals.

Sleepy holiday homes are scattered about the wild beaches, and the wind is often so strong here that the trees grow sideways!

But perhaps what I love the most about the Catlins is that it’s home to some of my favorite rare birds – the yellow-eyed penguins. You can safely watch them come ashore at sunset in Curio Bay, one of my favorite getaway spots.

new zealand south island must do

4. Go offline in Milford Sound

Milford Sound is often lauded as one of the many wonders of the world, and you don’t have to spend long there to understand that appeal.

Perhaps one of the remotest corners of New Zealand, Fiordland is home to some of the most epic scenery and a place none regret visiting.

If you have the time, my advice would be to pack up the car and spend a couple of days down in Milford Sound, go kayaking, on a boat cruise and take in some of the many hikes and walks along the famous Milford Road.

new zealand south island must do

5. Wake up in solitude in Doubtful sound

While Milford Sound is the gem of Fiordland, Doubtful is probably my more favorite spot. Peaceful and quiet, it’s a bit harder to get to and more overlooked than the shinier Milford.

Which is precisely why I love it!

Without a doubt, one of the absolute must-dos while exploring New Zealand is an overnight boat cruise in Doubtful Sound with Real Journeys. Book in quick, they sell out fast. It’s worth every penny.

new zealand south island must do

6. Dig the Jurassic Park vibes in Punakaiki and the Paparoa National Park

The west coast of the South Island is one of my favorite places in all of New Zealand, and I don’t say that lightly. Six hundred kilometers long and home to few, it’s nothing short of wild, wet, and rugged. I love the isolation here.

On the west coast, you’ll find big mountains that drop down to temperate rainforests and thundering beaches, with Jurassic Park vibes galore.

Call in for a stop at the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks further north and book in to do New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track.

new zealand south island must do

7. Explore where the mountains meet the sea in Kaikoura

Kaikoura has long been a beloved spot of New Zealand and has recovered significantly since it was shaken about by a big earthquake in 2016, changing the entire coastline.

Here huge mountains drop down to the sea, and then with a deep-sea trench right off the coastline, makes Kaikoura a perfect place to experience incredible marine life.

From whale watching to swimming with dolphins (responsibly of course) to looking for albatross and visiting fur seal colonies, Kaikoura is a pretty fantastic spot worth dropping in on any trip around the South Island.

new zealand south island must do

8. Sip all the Pinot Noir wine around Central Otago

Central Otago is a different region than what you might expect on the South Island, home to vast undulating landscapes, rugged snow-capped mountains, clear blue rivers, and tussock-clad hills, not to mention world-class Pinot Noir – come to me!

Dry and rugged, Central was once a booming gold-mining region in the 1800s only to dwindle to a quieter food-producing and wine-growing region today. With dry, hot summers and dry cold winters, it’s perfect conditions for grape-growing and harvests.

I love exploring Central Otago in the autumn (mid-late April to early May) and also in October when their annual food and wine celebration, Eat. Taste. Central is kicking!

new zealand south island must do

9. Dip your toes into the Blue Pools on the Haast Pass, if you dare

New Zealand has no shortage of crystal bright blue water thanks to the glaciers that feed the mountain rivers and lakes – for now.

But if one spot tops the rest, it has to be the infamous Blue Pools on the Haast Pass in between Wanaka and the West Coast.

So bright and blue you can see straight to the bottom of the river, on a hot summer’s day it certainly looks inviting – but remember that it comes straight off a glacier, and you can tell. Not to mention the minute you strip down and show some skin, you’ll likely be eaten alive by sandflies.

new zealand south island must do

10. Hunt for street art in Dunedin

Dunedin claims the title for one of my favorite cities in New Zealand, hidden away on the bottom of the South Island. A comfortable place to escape to, I love being by the sea, and the grungy, but bespoke scene speaks to my soul.

I’m always on the lookout for the fantastic street art decorating the walls of the city, and it’s a great way to get to know Dunedin.

Every time I visit Dunedin, something new has popped up, and I think I fall in love with it even more. It’s an excellent base for exploring the wildlife of the Otago Peninsula.

new zealand south island must do

11. Go for a helicopter ride and hike on Fox glacier

My all-time favorite activity is to do a heli-hike on Fox Glacier, one of New Zealand’s great wonders.

One of the only glaciers in the world that winds its way down from the mountains, like a river of ice into a temperate rainforest, Fox Glacier is one of New Zealand’s great gems.

The township of Fox itself is also pretty unique, with plenty of walks and beaches nearby, it’s a place I always enjoy visiting.

new zealand south island must do

12. Watch the sunset along the Moeraki Boulders

The Moeraki Boulders are one of New Zealand’s geological marvels. These huge egg-shaped boulders dot the beach outside the sleepy seaside town of Moeraki on the east coast of the South Island.

To me, they instead look like dragon eggs, and their mystery is appealing.

Moeraki itself is small and quaint, and a favorite spot of mine to escape to, especially for a meal or two at Fleur’s Place, one of the best restaurants in New Zealand.

new zealand south island must do

13. Marvel at New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt. Cook

Experience the beauty of New Zealand’s highest peak by heading on an inland road-trip to Mt. Cook village, deep in the heart of the South Island.

A behemoth of a mountain, Mt. Cook, while often shrouded in cloud, is stunning when he finally shows his face. The scenic drive along the neon blue lake Pukaki towards the town will take your breath away, especially on a windless day when the mountain can reflect in the waters.

From Mt. Cook itself, you can take in a variety of day walks, like to the Hooker Valley or a mightier tramp up to Mueller Hut. If you’re after something extraordinary though, hop on a heli-hike or snowshoe up the Tasman Glacier – you won’t regret it!

new zealand south island must do

14. Kayak with the local dolphins in the Abel Tasman

You only have to drive an hour or two in New Zealand for the landscape to change dramatically, and none more so than the top of the South Island.

Before you know it, you’ll arrive at the iconic Abel Tasman National Park, which looks like a tropical Southeast Asian paradise, home to sandy beaches, blue waters, and one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.

The sheltered bays of the Abel Tasman are perfect for hiking and kayaking, with plenty of opportunities to see the seals and dolphins who regularly pop in to say hello. My good friend Kyle “Bare Kiwi” kayak guides there in summer (Abel Tasman Kayaks) and is a total legend!

new zealand south island must do

15. Jet-boat up the braided rivers around Glenorchy

Less than an hour from Queenstown on one of the most beautiful drives in New Zealand, lies the sleepy adorable town of Glenorchy, and a gateway into the heart of the Southern Alps.

The starting point for many of New Zealand’s great tramps as well as a significant character in the Lord of the Rings films, there are also plenty of adventure activities to choose from in Glenorchy.

My favorite would have to be the Wilderness Jet Boat ride up the Dart River. A crystal clear blue glacial river that’s shallow and braided, the best way to get deep into the national park is by jetboat, a kiwi invention where a jet engine is strapped on the back of a boat that can power it through shallow mountain rivers.

Adventurous and fun, it’s the perfect way to see some of the incredible nature here without hiking for days.

new zealand south island must do

16. Road-trip around the Banks Peninsula

Just outside of Christchurch is a veritable paradise of beautiful bays, quiet beaches, and charming towns along the Banks Peninsula. Made for a road-trip, the drive out to Akaroa on the summit road is stunning, and it’s a place that, while seems rather small on the map, actually holds heaps to explore.

A summer road trip around Akaroa is a New Zealand South Island must-do for sure!

new zealand south island must do

17. Look for kea and waterfalls in Arthur’s pass

Arthur’s Pass is an alpine highway that connects Canterbury and the west coast of the South Island, one of the three mountain passes that traverse the mighty Southern Alps.

Climbing to more than 900 meters through Arthur’s Pass National Park, it’s one of New Zealand’s most stunning stretches of road, with plenty of big hikes, waterfalls, and viewpoints worth stopping and exploring along the way.

You have a good chance of seeing kea, New Zealand’s native alpine parrot along Arthur’s Pass as well, and make sure to stop for a walk to the Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall.

new zealand south island must do

18. Visit iconic Arrowtown in autumn

Arrowtown takes the crown for the cutest village in New Zealand.

A charming historic gold-mining settlement tucked in between Wanaka and Queenstown, Arrowtown is an absolute must-visit on a trip to the area. My favorite time to visit is in autumn (our April/May) when all the colorful trees turn gold and orange.

new zealand south island must do

19. Go stargazing in Tekapo

Tekapo has been a hot spot for tourists for as long as I have lived in New Zealand. While it can be packed come summertime, it’s definitely a New Zealand South Island must do.

If you find yourself in Tekapo, don’t skip out on a visit to the Mt John Observatory, where you will witness the clear and vast starlit skies of the world’s largest Dark Sky Reserve.

Here is some of the best stargazing in the world, and with virtually no light pollution, you’ll be blown away by the night skies here. If you’re lucky, you might even see the southern lights twinkling on the horizon.

new zealand south island must do

20. Soar around Lake Heron Station

One thing that makes the South Island so unique is its prevalence of high country sheep stations, beautiful farms that exist in what seems to be some of the most remote corners of New Zealand.

There is none so iconic as Lake Heron Station, a century-old family-run merino sheep station that spans across one of the most beautiful valleys I’ve ever seen. The geographical heart of the South Island, Lake Heron, is a stunning freshwater lake that sits at the end of lovely braided rivers dropping down from the Southern Alps.

You can stay out on the farm with the Todhunters in one of their cottages or huts and explore the area, which you will have all to yourself, though the best experience is to join them for a scenic flight around their land and the mountains. Prepare to have your mind blown!

new zealand south island must do

The South Island is magnificent, and it’s home to so many of New Zealand’s greatest wonders.

From thundering waterfalls to iconic mountain peaks, from friendly locals and historic ghost towns to a quirky art scene, it’s hard to pick a favorite spot.

What did I miss? Have you been to New Zealand? What are your must-visit spots on the South Island? Spill in the comments!

Check out my interactive map for exploring the South Island of New Zealand

new zealand south island must do

The post 20 must-visit spots on New Zealand’s South Island appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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