Wakatipu area offers many short and longer walks of all grades, from mountain tops climbs to lakeside strolls, all with spectacular views. Having few days spare we decided to dwell on the beauty of the area while doing little walking and having lot of time for admiring and resting.
Mt McIntosh Loop Track
After hearty breakfast in local cafe and famous Mrs. Woolly’s Full Monty gelato sundae, we set off for an afternoon walk. What was to be a leisurely walk to the hut, turned out to be quite strenuous one. Having in mind that this is only few kilometres walk we had not prepared ourselves mentally for such exercise. From the Glenorchy road through the overgrown bush we ascended above the tree line, and then we started steep climb along a fence line.
Although not difficult technically, it was totally exhausting – so steep that we had to walk on toes, which was quite painful in the long run. Looking up and ahead we were saying to ourselves: “oooh… that’s the top, only few meters up”. Reaching that ‘top’ however revealed yet another top and steep climb. Finally, we managed to reach the highest point, tired and hungry. We decided to walk towards McIntyres hut, as we were short on water, and we weren’t sure whether the other hut had water tank. It was good decision, as we found out next morning that the other one was quite busy. So we moved on along a ridge with superb views of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw and the Dart Valley.
There was no one in the McIntyres hut and there was plenty of water. We had nice and leisurely afternoon resting and enjoying the views. In the evening we were watching spectacular sunset with riot of colours.
Next morning we decided to go up and spend some time in the historic McIntosh hut. After the breakfast we started to walk steadily up, unfortunately it started to rain, wind was picking up, it got cold and miserable. We had some talk with people in the hut during their breakfast and then after they left, we had the hut for ourselves again. W e expected someone to arrive, but tat not happened, partially because of the weather (was miserable with poor visibility). When it cleared up a bit in the evening, we went for a short walk up the Mt McIntosh.
After reading the visitors book, we decided to follow the recommendation of some visitors and try to reach the Black Peak top. In the morning the weather was favourable, so with light backpack we set off on a pleasant walk in the full sun. The views were spectacular. We enjoyed the time up there, admiring the mountains around.
On the fourth day we decided to go back. Steady walk down on an old mining road towards McIntyre Hut and then further down to the Buckler Burn, where we had pleasant coffee break in the shade. Following Mt Judah road and passing the remains of the Glenorchy Scheelite Battery and the State Mine we reached the Whakaari car park.
Twelve Mile to Moke Lake
After a couple of day’s stay at the Twelve Mile Delta Campsite, and enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of the Wakatipu Lake, we set off for another short walk.
First we followed one leg of Mt Crichton Loop Track passing through mountain beech woods. This bit gave us some shade and some rest from the scorching Sun. We walked down to the Lake Dispute and then along it on a dirt road. We managed to have our coffee break in the shade of the mountains, before the Sun went higher on the sky giving us hard time. Ahead we had a short steep saddle to climb. Following the fence, we got to the valley floor and then going around the Moke Lake we arrived at the camping area.
It was one of the best camping spots, beautiful lake, mountains around, peace and quiet. We decided to stay for two night and enjoy our time. On the third day we woke up in the rain, so we both agreed to wait it over and stay yet another day. All day we stayed inside the tent, as it was cold and rainy outside. Our tent started to leak by the end of this wet day.
Overnight the temperature dropped so low, that the tops of mountains got covered with thin layer of fresh snow. With cold and stiff fingers we slowly packed up our wet tent and left this beautiful area.