Isthmus Peak (1390m) is the northernmost hill of the range that divides Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Its convenient location right by the state highway 6 makes it an ideal stop for travelers passing by. Don’t be mistaken by the word “peak” in its name – it sounds like a small mountain and yes, there are bigger mountains around, but it’s still over 1100m climb from the car park.
Being back in New Zealand after nearly 3 years of nomadic across a couple of continents meant one thing for me: I was ready for a hike. It was the end of March and the first morning frosts had begun to appear across the South Island.
When the three of us stopped to take our 101st break of the day, desperate to get a few drops of water from our near empty bottles, I gazed over towards the northeast and there lied this giant mass of rocky earth. “That’s Girdlestone,” I murmured almost silently, partly because I had little energy left, partly as I knew clearly my friends had this same voice in their mind: “last big climb!”
The St James Walkway is a 66 km multi-day hike in the Lewis Pass, New Zealand. You can often read that it’s suitable for beginners or even families with kids. Well, it truly is if you are well prepared. Though, it’s still a long hike through New Zealand wilderness and it could be really demanding especially when the weather goes wrong.