Hike #9: Ball hut Route (Mount Cook)

Hike #9: Ball hut Route (Mount Cook)

Walk to Ball Hut, the scenic mountain hut facing Mount Cook, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Tasman Glacier and surrounding peaks.

About the Hike

The first 5 km section of the Mount Cook hike follows a historic route, now a trail for all-terrain vehicles. It opens on spectacular views after the end of the vehicle track, where the road becomes more difficult.

The moraine wall, formed by the glacier in this area, is very unstable and needs to be negotiated with caution. You will have to move carefully around collapsed areas at different stages of the course. Indeed, you will cross many landslides and you will sometimes have to climb with your hands. The view for Mount Cook is worth it.

Ball Hut is near the historic site of the first Ball Hut and offers superb views of the Tasman Glacier and surrounding peaks including Mount Cook. You can then stay in the small refuge with only 4 beds. It is not necessary to book but it is then first come, first served.

Characteristics

Level: Intermediate to advance because unstable and technical course on its last part.

Duration: 6-8 hours return.

Required equipment: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat / cap, sweater, camping gear and what to eat if you stay at the shelter.

In conclusion, the Ball Hut Route is a demanding hike to Mount Cook and skirting the Tasman Glacier but whose grandiose landscapes and out of the ordinary are well worth the effort. Not requiring much preparation but especially caution you can do it in a day or two if you want to sleep in the shelter. A must-see of New Zealand.

Localisation

The trail starts at the end of Tasman Valley Road, near the village of Aoraki / Mount Cook. To get there, you go through Lake Tekapo which deserves an article in its own right.

 

Hike #8 : Blue Pool Track

Hike #8 : Blue Pool Track

Nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offer a moment of tranquillity. The Blue Pool Track is one of our best short walks.

About the hike

The Blue Pool Track is an easy short walk through mature beech and podocarp forest leads to these natural wonders of pure glacial water gathered from the mountains. Walk through beech forest to a swing bridge over Makarora River.

Continue on a boardwalk to the second swing bridge, which is the viewing platform over the Blue Pools. Cross this bridge for great views up the river gorge.

There’s a limit to the number people allowed on the swing bridges at any one time – be prepared to wait at each end if numbers allowed have been reached. 

Caracteristics

Level: Easy for all the family.

Duration: 1 hour return

Required equipment: there are a lot of sandflies so cover your skin 

To conclude, the Blue Pool Track is a nice track to do with your family and not far from Wanaka. It worth it to have a look of the cristal clear water and see people jump from the bridge and, why not, try it !

The localisation

From Wanaka, drive north on the Haast Highway (SH6) to Makarora township. Continue past the toilets and airstrip near Rata Rd, along the highway for about 6 minutes / 8.5 km. The track starts from the Blue Pools carpark off the Haast Highway.

Hike #6 : Roys Peak Track

Hike #6 : Roys Peak Track

Admire the breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring / Tititea and the surrounding peaks after a steep climb through alpine meadows and hill meadows. It’s a popular trail and one of our best day hikes.

About the hike

This hike will give you a breathtaking view of the Wanaka area. You will pass from the lake level through the farmland, then climb to the peaks of hills up to 1578 m. In addition, the track is well laid out. It offers spectacular views of Lake Wanaka, its islands and bays. One can also see the imposing snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana and including Mount Aspiring / Tititea.

Be well prepared physically because despite an easy ride technically, the climb is really steep. There is no respite from beginning to end. However, the effort is worth it because the view is simply one of the most beautiful scenery we have seen in New Zealand.
The hike to the summit is 16 km long with a vertical drop of approximately 1200 meters. The track can nevertheless be continued on the heights for the bravest.

Characteristics

Level: Intermediate because intense and continuous effort.

Duration: 5 to 6 hours.

Required equipment: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat / cap.

The Roys Peak Track is one of our best memories of New Zealand. It offers spectacular scenery and scenery while being a real sporting challenge. Its location allows you to enjoy the dynamic Wanaka region. A pleasant city, young with a fish ‘n’ chips that is worth seeing ;).

The location

The nearest cities are Wanaka (6km) and Queenstown (68km).

The trail starts at the Roys Peak Track car park on Mount Aspiring Road near Wanaka.

In times of heavy use, in the summer, consider going to the parking lot on foot or by bike (via the Waterfall Creek Trail that connects to the Roys Peak Trail) as parking is limited.

Hike #4 : Abel Tasman

Hike #4 : Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden sandy beaches, sculpted granite cliffs and its famous coastal route.

About the hike

Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s smallest national park, located at the north of the South Island. The hike is normally done on 3-5 days but we preferred to do part of the track on a single day. Many almost desert beaches and wild forests punctuate the hike. This allows you to fully enjoy the paradisiacal landscapes.

Plus, the track is one of New Zealand’s great walks. With a length of 60 km, it allows to discover several must sees like the “Cleopatre’s Pool” or a suspension bridge at 47 meters from the ground. Finally, know that there are many plots of hiking if you want to do a part like us.

However, if you plan to hike in its entirety, know that you will spend your nights in one of the 4 huts or in one of the 18 campsites of the route. The reservation is obligatory. You can book through the government site for a complete view of housing solutions: https://www.doc.govt.nz/abeltasmantrack

 

Caracteristics

Level: Easy to intermediate depending on the distance traveled

Duration: Some routes can be done in 20 minutes but the complete hike is done in 3 to 5 days

Required equipment: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat / cap, sleeping bag

To conclude, Abel Tasman is one of New Zealand’s great walks but not the most arduous. It’s possible to make a small part of it if you only want to enjoy Tasmanian landscapes. But if you want to challenge, it is quite possible to go through with a little organization, motivation, and especially a swimsuit!

The localisation

Abel Tasman is located at the top of the South Island; the nearest towns are Motueka, Takaka and Kaiteriteri.

Roads lead to Marahau and Totaranui at both ends of the coastal track (one hour and a half from Nelson) and provide access to the inland trail system.

In addition, there are regular and on-demand bus services to the park from local towns and Nelson, as well as boat launching and water taxi services.

 

Happy New Year at Northern Bass Festival

Happy New Year at Northern Bass Festival

To celebrate the new year as it should be, we decided to go to the biggest bass music festival in New Zealand, the Northern Bass. Return on 3 days (from 29 to 31 December) of music, party but also unforeseen.

 

But, why the Northern Bass?

 

First, we both like Drum & Bass and after some research, it turned out to be Drum & Bass’s biggest festival in New Zealand, with a catchy line-up. Then we were looking for a festival on the North Island before going down to the South Island and preferably to the North to enjoy the heat. The Northern Bass, located north of Auckland was then the perfect choice.

A few days after our arrival in middle ground, we decided to reserve our tickets for us but also for our van to be able to camp inside the festival.

And so, the Northern Bass, it’s worth it?

To be honest, yes and no.

First of all, what we really liked was the DJs we were waiting for (Pendulum Live, Danny Byrd, The Upbeats etc.). The sets were good and the sound was good. The scenes were well distributed and the Jungle Stage surrounded by trees had a real stamp. Moreover, the festival as a whole was pleasant to go with its well positioned campsites, its small square with the various food stalls and the Oasis scene with its pond where it was possible to bathe. Finally the atmosphere was good kid and friendly. Moreover, we have met very few tourists.

However, not everything was perfect. The first thing that struck us is the excessive pricing of consumption. Indeed, the food and drinks were quite expensive while at the same time, the organization forbade that we can bring back food to cook. In addition, a few days before the event, the organization has released the complete line-up and the time table and surprise, the Oasis scene and the Main Stage will open only on December 30 and 31. Great disappointment for us knowing that we intend to take advantage of the water point 3 days. Finally, we missed the fireworks due to a quack that shifted his shot 40 minutes while we were already gone to another scene.

However, despite these small inconveniences, we had a very good festival and a very good new year.

Do not hesitate to watch our video summary of the festival (just below) to discover the atmosphere of Northern Bass.

See you soon 🙂