My favourite 10 hikes of 2019

And here we are again. 2019 is gone and I’m about to look back. I don’t look back very often, I’m trying to enjoy the present, leave the past at rest and be excited about the future.

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John Reid Hut via Chummies Track

John Reid Hut is a cozy neat hut just above the bush line in Wangapeka Valley in Kahurangi National Park. Anna and I went there to celebrate the fact that we’re about to get married. Let’s call it a pre-honeymoon trip.



Brass Monkey Bivouac from Lucretia Valley and down via Duchess Stream

Brass Monkey Bivouac is a highly elevated bivvy precisely settled on the tops of the Lewis Pass ranges. There is no direct route to it. There is an article in Wilderness Magazine “5 ways to Brass Monkey Bivouac” that briefly describes 5 ways to get up there. As this was only my second trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club trip, I opted for a relatively easy route up via Lucretia Stream. For the way down I chose the route via Duchess Stream which was a bit more… ehm – let’s stick with the word “adventurous”.


Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track Tramping Report

Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track is one of the most popular tracks in Craigieburn Forest Park / Arthur’s Pass broader area. About half of the track is part of Te Araora Trail. Anna and I decided to see on our own eyes if it’s as pretty as people say (spoiler alert: yes, it is!).


Tarn Hut loop along Youngman Stream Track

I’ve been wondering for a while if I can take my non 4WD vehicle into the Lees Valley. There is a long gravel road that I know is inaccessible in the winter for 2WD. After reassurance from a couple of the CTC members that driving on the road in the summer will be fine, I decided that it’s time to give it a go. My friend Jana and I drove there on Sunday morning and yes, the access to the valley is without any issues for a 2WD vehicles.


Mt Oxford loop via Ashley Saddle: my first tramp with the CTC as a leader

This was my first trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club. I scheduled the trip for Friday 15th November which was a public holiday. Until Thursday night it was only me and a couple of prospective members on the list which I thought would be fun. Then unexpected happened: all 3 multi-day trips that were planned for the long weekend were canceled due to a bad weather on Saturday.


Tramping around Mt Sommers and Mt Winterslow: high alternative to Mt Sommers loop track

Mt Sommers Track is one of the most popular overnight hikes for Christchurchians. Fair enough, it’s close to Christchurch and it’s pretty nice there. As the track doesn’t go too high up, I made up my own variation of the track with ascending Mt Sommers and Mt Winterslow which are the highest mountains in the area. Alright, I didn’t actually stand on the top of them but I was just an easy stroll away.



Mt Fyffe to Kowhai Saddle Circuit in Kaikoura Ranges

Anna, Sanita and I started our Kaikoura adventure down at Mt Fyffe car park. It was Sunday morning and we were quite stiff after 2.5 hours drive from Christchurch. At the car park, there were quite a few cars suggesting that last night at Fyffe Hut was quite busy.