Top Te Araroa Side Trips – North to South

Cape Brett Hut ..

Love lighthouses? Check out this spot! It’s awesome!! It’s a water taxi return off the trail or a wee drive from Pahia, but if you want to spend more time in the Bay of Islands I’d totally recommend it. Plus, its a good excuse for a boat ride (you could incorporate your return water taxi to get you to the track again at the head of the Waikare Inlet).

https://thegemsinourbackyard.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/cape-brett-hut-flashback/

Mt Manaia ..

Poking around for more good views in the Whangarei Heads area before heading across the harbour? This is an awesome wee mountain right off the track before McLeods Bay. It’s of volcanic origins and will give you 360 views worth more than its 420m peak.

https://kingofthecastlekiwi.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/mt-manaia-420m-flashback/

Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) ..

Sadly for me, life has conspired against me getting to this top spot despite passing it at least twice. It’s right off the track, part way across the Tongariro Crossing. If the weathers right, get up this peak, it’s awesome!! It’s our famous ‘Mt Doom’ from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And its a volcano! Volcanoes are just way cool, and your surrounded by them in this area.

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/places/tongariro-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/mount-ngauruhoe-summit-climb/

Lake Angelus Hut ..

This place is just a total gem. It’s actually surreal! In a high alpine basin, beside a beautiful lakes its practically a must do. It’s accessed directly off the track as an up and back, or you can go an alternative route through here and link back up with the TA.

https://thegemsinourbackyard.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/lake-angelus-hut/

Avalanche Peak ..

Head for heights? Nerves of steel? This side trips for you! It’s a day walk up and back from Arthurs Pass Village and the last wee section to the peak itself is knarly to say the least. If the conditions are right, check it out. If not, its a big fall from the top in a gust of wind, or a slippery footing! The views are insane though and you’ll likely see (if you haven’t already) our cheeky Kea 🙂

https://kingofthecastlekiwi.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/avalanche-peak-1833m-flashback/

Mt John ..

Just a wee leg stretch of a side trip this one, but beautiful views. Head up here on a clear night to view the famous McKenzie Country’s night sky. This is accessed directly from the track at Lake Tekapo.

https://kingofthecastlekiwi.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/mt-john-1031m/

Mueller Hut ..

Now, this ones a hitch hike and back off the track, or other alternative transport but I recommend it highly! It’ll get you amongst a mountaineering environment without the dangers of being in one (late summer / autumn is the generally safe time regarding avalanches – check with DOC). It’s in the National Park of our highest mountain – Mt Cook. It’s a really pretty village.

https://thegemsinourbackyard.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/mueller-hut-flashback/

Roys Peak ..

Directly off the Glendhu Bay track leaving Wanaka this peak has views to die for! Get up here, it’s well worth it.

https://kingofthecastlekiwi.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/roys-peak-1578m-flashback/

Ben Lommond..

My situation conspired against me attempting this one as I had to turn back due weather at the saddle. It’s apparently an amazing view from the top, and it was certainly pretty good at the saddle. I saw Keas up here too 🙂 The track starts in Queenstown heading out Fernhill way, or you can cheat the first 300m and start from the top of the gondola. On the way back down have the buffet dinner here (at the gondola restaurant). It’s awesome high quality food!! And obviously for a TA hiker all you can eat just adds more points!

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/queenstown-area/things-to-do/ben-lomond-track/

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Day 2; Kahuterawa Reserve – Tararua Forest Park Boundary

4.5 hours.

Today we set off from our awesome wee camping spot up the road to the start of the Back Track. I was in high hopes of seeing my brother and his girlfriend up here mountain biking as they come here often – but no such sighting. There were plenty of other mountain bikers about though, its a bit of a haven area for them.

The trek up the Back Track was familiar territory for me seen as I hail from Palmerston North until near the top (where I never made it faster than my brothers speedy turnaround). We stopped enroute for a snack (someone put that chair there so we better pay respect and use it – lol).

We came out of the bush near the top to follow Scotts road till the start of the forestry area that leads you to the Tararua Forest Park Boundary. We passed a couple of hunters heading out at the end of the weekend. It was a cracker day and we got stocked with water to camp at the top of the hill by the stile stairs.

We had a cracker view at this campsite out along where we had come and out over the Manawatu Plains. We were nestled pretty much behind Tokomaru, but it was out of sight due to the ridgeline in front of us.

Day 1; Palmerston North – Kahuterawa Reserve

4 hours.

Today we headed off from the Massey University carpark off to the hills after being dropped off by most awesome mum 🙂 Its a pretty easy track which takes you off behind the university and past the sports institute before heading past rural farmland.

We passed plenty of local walkers and runners and also a gentleman who was about to set off for a section of the Te Araroa in the coming week or two – we joked that we would see him as he passed with our leisurely pace lol.

We called it a day at the Kahuterawa Reserve as it was the most suitable place to camp, with a water supply (river), and toilets. Also, a resident chicken ….. lucky for him it was day one and we were in no short supply of food yet!

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Heading away from Massey.
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Along Old West road.
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First river crossing! 🙂
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Track along Turitea Road.
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Kahuterawa Reserve.