Put on your hiking shoes you dirty little swine, come and explore the hills of Wanaka with me
Grab your hiking shoes, some layers, a little picnic, flask of tea, camera and a cheeky little tipple for the top, views are to be appreciated, not just a tick.
Before we get on our way, let me share a little favourite of mine and one I often think about, that tiny dot of a human, within a valley of nature:
“The earth was all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way.”
William Wordsworth, The Prelude
2 Hour Return
Mount Iron: the locals mountain. Hike around the giant rock that stands proudly in the heart of Wanaka town. Wandering up Mount Iron, you’ll see the local sun-risers, sun-setters that choose to tackle the mountain for exercise, fellow tourists wanting to see Wanaka from above and people like me, just looking to escape technology for a couple of hours.
Mount Iron is good for a variety of walkers. Its steady incline can be taken at your own pace, with plenty of rest and view stops on the way. The higher you go, the more Wanaka will reveal itself to you. This hike doesn’t require a sack full of technical accessories as it’s a well maintained track and you’ll often find people to say hi to. Mount Iron is also very accommodating for those with vertigo.
Located a two minute drive from the center of Wanaka, Mnt Iron is perfect for a quick escape into nature.
4 Hour Return
A twenty minute car trip from the center of Wanaka, Rocky Mountain is a mini favorite of mine. Wander through the trees, up the steps and be greeted with your first Wanaka Lake/ Diamond Lake view point. Though the start is a very clear track you do get that slight jungle feel as you wind around the rock face, and before long, the mountain opens up to you, giving the true sense of being at one with nature. From this point you have two options of incline. I personally think both are of the same difficulty and offer simpler views – take one on the way up and the other down. At the split, you will want solid footwear, especially in the wetter months as the tracks become thinner and the incline increases.
Once you reach the peak of Rocky Mountain, your eyes will leave you breathless, panoramic views of lakes and mountains New Zealand style.
I recommend this hike if you only have half a day and you like a little bit of a challenge
Rob Roy Glacier:
4 Hour Return
Day or night, this hike I love! After a very bumpy drive through a few fiords and past a couple of waterfalls, you’ll reach the base. This is the hike of layers, pack well my friends as you are likely to need four seasons worth of clothing.
Once past the cows, you’ll soon be on the photo bridge as you enter Mount Aspiring. Let the trees and stream guide you up this mountain, keep your eyes looking up as the glacier will surprise you. Parts of this walk might leave you a little breathless if you take it too hard. My advice for this one is take it slow and take in all the mammoth trees surrounding you. Like a bit of an idiot, my second time doing this hike, I left the boots in the car and opted for the converse, not my most smartest of moves! As you’re heading up towards the glacier, the track can become very slippery, wet and icy, and if you do have vertigo, some parts of this track will get your heart racing. After about one hour of walking, you’ll hit the first major viewing spot with a couple of benches and a Kodak moment of the glacier. As beautiful as this is, don’t stop for too long, as the next stop is jackpot! Past the toilet, over the rocks, you’ll find yourself the perfect lunch spot, go on, crack open that little tipple, you deserve it!
If you choose to do this on an evening, put your head back and let the stars take you into another world, listen to the flowing water, appreciate the moon-lit glacier and don’t forget to spot those glow warms on your way down.
My only dislike of this hike is the length of drive from Wanaka to the base – it’s all pretty until you hit the dirt road.
3 Hour, one way
There is only one way to do this hike justice: put on your overnight pack, fill it with yummy ingredients, a warm sleeping bag and a DOC pass, then be on your way.
Through the wooded lands and cute gentle streams, you’ll truly feel like an extra in Robin Hood. Over the bridge you’ll go, through the forest valley, then up, up and away before you enter the land of giant mountains. This is one hike where you realise as a human, we are just insignificant compared to the nature surrounding us. Mountains stand tall and everlasting, showing no fear as they guide us through their land.
With an overnight pack, this can be physically challenging and at the point your legs are becoming heavy, there it is, that little white hut nestled in the heart of the valley…….Only problem is, you’ve still got about another 30 minutes of technically difficult decline to tackle.
New modern hut, with running water and eight spots to rest your head. This really is a great walk, escape fellow humans and embrace the nature that surrounds you. Be safe as this can be a dangerous walk, with a few dramatic drops and wet tracks so technical gear is a must.
2 Hour, one way
Taking you in another direction towards Cardrona.
Meg Hut, honestly, is quite possibly the most boring hike I have done whilst living in New Zealand, a continual incline through open mountains on a track big enough for vehicles. Up, up, up, with my overnight pack strapped to my back, wondering if that next big incline I can see in the distance is going to be the last…….quite often, it’s not.
But why you should do this walk is the cutest, old school hut is a must see, standing in the middle of the valley, next to a small stream and some dead trees. Its definitely an Instagram moment.
Light up the fire in the hut, drink some wine, make some food and enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. We hiked out at 5am to catch the sun-rise, which was worth the early start.