Mt Aspiring National Park

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Landed in Queenstown and picked-up our “camper”. This is the first time we have ever used a small van camper. We choose the Sprinter camper model, as a test run and to answer the question, could we spend extended time in a van camper. Would breaking down the bed every morning and re-making it every evening send us crazy?

The first night was to be catching with a friend who had just recently moved to Wanaka, so off to Wanaka we went. It took us a couple of hours of very pleasant driving via the Comwell road. And of course it rained a little.

Lovely late afternoon and evening spent with Katja and Stewart. A little walking along the foreshore of the lake, dinner and a stroll around the neighbourhood under a full moon. Most appropriate for Halloween.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Breakfast with our friends before heading North to Raspberry Flat campground, located on the banks on the Matukituke River. It was a gravel road for about 30kms, and a nine fords to cross. The Sprinter van did ok, but lacking 4WD and nearly bald tires, there was always a little concern.

Stephen went for a hike to Mt Aspiring Hut, located a further 5 kms up the Matutikuke valley. Back in 2003 Stephen had climbed Mt Aspiring, and this a chance to revisit one of the huts used back on that trip. The valley is beautiful, although the trail was a quite wet in places. And a small creek to cross meant taking off the hiking shoes.

We spent the night Freedom camping, with only one other van in the carpark that night.

Monday, November 2, 2020

The plan for this 10 day trip was not to have a plan. Instead we would keep an eye on the weather and move to a new place on no fixed schedule. After consulting with the local cows that visited us, we decided to head in the direction of Arrowtown.

On the drive out we spotted a small plague located on a large rock. The plague was dedicated to Dave Hiddleston and Paul Scaife who died in an accident on New Zealand’s second highest mountain. Just 3 weeks before this fatal accident Dave had guided Stephen on Mt Aspiring.

On the way we stopped at Diamond lake, for a short walk and views over Lake Wanaka. This part of the country is spectacular, and we definitively need to spend more time here.

We didn’t make it all the way to Arrowtown, and stopped at Lowburn on the banks of Lake Dunstan. Here we freedom camped, along with about 30 other campers. We finished the evening with a lovely walk.