In summer our terrain offers an amazing playground for all kinds of activities. Whether you like to hike, fish, fly or ride, the mountains, lakes and rivers in the Aspiring and Mount Cook National Parks have something for everyone.
The Aspiring National Park which spans over many different mountain ranges like the North and South Buchanans, the Richardsons and the North Harris Mountains offer some amazing walks and hikes in the summer season. You can walk up to Rob Roy’s Glacier, an easy track that leads you up to a hanging glacier, or over grassed flats to the historic Aspiring Hut. You can also head into Siberia Valley either on foot or via jet boat, helicopter or plane. Fancy a longer trip? Go on a multi-day tramp on the Routeburn Track or the Wilkin Valley Track. Don’t be fooled by the weather though, it might be summer but New Zealand is known to have four seasons in one day so always be prepared to encounter some snowflakes even though the morning may start bright and sunny.
Mount Cook National Park is another area of great terrain for all kinds of hikes. Walk the Hooker Valley Track for some swing bridges and glacial lakes, climb the Stairway to Heaven for an amazing view of Mount Cook and continue further up to Mueller Hut for a proper alpine experience. You can spend the night up in the Hut and use the absence of any artificial light for some serious stargazing!
If you aren’t so much into walking and hiking, there are plenty of other ways to move around in our terrain. Cycling is a great way to take in the sights and sounds, the famous Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail starts in Mount Cook and can take cyclists all the way to Oamaru! Around the lakes in Queenstown and Wanaka are numerous mountain bike tracks that can take you either along the lake or higher up into the mountains. Don’t forget the famous Queenstown Bike Park, New Zealand’s first ever Gondola-assisted mountain bike lift! There are trails for all abilities and prices start from $40 per run. You can even get a season pass!
Fancy a different kind of saddle? Why not access the beauty of the New Zealand mountains on a horse! Follow the trails of the historic gold mining near Queenstown or explore some of the Lord of the Ring Trilogy locations from the back of a horse in Glenorchy, a 45 minutes drive away from Queenstown at the shore of Lake Wakatipu. The spectacular landscapes in this part of the country include everything from beech forests, creeks, meadows and high mountains and have been the location for many films like the Hobbit Trilogy, LOTR and the Narnia movies.
The many different lakes, rivers and creeks in the National Parks can be accessed via plane, helicopter or boat and you can choose between salmon, trout and fly fishing. Whether it is out of Wanaka, Queenstown or Makarora, which is at the other side of Lake Wanaka, there are plenty of tour operators that take you deep into nature.
Our winter playground is an all year round paradise but as much as we love summer we have to admit, we can’t wait until the summits are covered in snow again and the next heli-skiing season begins! We bet you know what we're talking about...