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Stewart Island : Rakiura Track

3 days  //  32 km  //  1 kiwi sighting

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Roy's Peak

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Roy's Peak

1,578 meters  //  5,177 feet  //  16km return

//  View East over Wanaka + Lake Wanaka

//  View East over Wanaka + Lake Wanaka

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//  View North over Lake Wanaka with Mou Tapu island in the distance

//  View North over Lake Wanaka with Mou Tapu island in the distance

//  View North over Lake Wanaka

//  View North over Lake Wanaka

//  Panorama with these two Wanderers  

//  Panorama with these two Wanderers  

//  Short rest stop to take in the panoramic views  

//  Short rest stop to take in the panoramic views  

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//  Almost to the top

//  Almost to the top

//  Climbing puts us on a high! 

//  Climbing puts us on a high! 

//  <3

//  <3

//  Summit #11

//  Summit #11

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Mt Alfred

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Mt Alfred

1,375 meters  //  4,511 feet  //  full day's hike

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking North onto Paradise, the Dart River, Mt Earnslaw, and the Southern Alps

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking North onto Paradise, the Dart River, Mt Earnslaw, and the Southern Alps

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking South onto the Dart River, Lake Wakatipu, and the Sourhern Alps

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking South onto the Dart River, Lake Wakatipu, and the Sourhern Alps

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking East over the Rees River and the Southern Alps

//  Top of Mt Alfred, looking East over the Rees River and the Southern Alps

//  Soaking up the Sun

//  Soaking up the Sun

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//  Almost to the snow-dusted summit

//  Almost to the snow-dusted summit

//  We had the whole mountain to ourselves

//  We had the whole mountain to ourselves

//  Summit #10

//  Summit #10

//  Track near the trail head - lush and green even in late Autumn

//  Track near the trail head - lush and green even in late Autumn

//  Dart River valley at sunset

//  Dart River valley at sunset

//  Finished our hike just before sunset

//  Finished our hike just before sunset

//  Drive back to Queenstown, looking back toward Glenorchy and Mt Alfred

//  Drive back to Queenstown, looking back toward Glenorchy and Mt Alfred

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//   

//   

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Ben Lomond

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Ben Lomond

1,748 meters  //  5,734 feet  // 360° panoramic views

//  Summit, with a view South toward Queenstown + Lake Wakatipu

//  Summit, with a view South toward Queenstown + Lake Wakatipu

First solo summit!

For any summit-seekers living in or traveling to Queenstown, Ben Lomond is a must and is accessible from directly in town (Fernhill roundabout) or from the Skyline Gondola. 

I was stunned by the views - they were breathtaking near the top, with unimpeded 360 degree panoramic views at the summit. It truly puts Queenstown into perspective when you realize how nestled into the Southern Alps it is.

//  Trail head right off of the Fernhill roundabout in Queenstown  

//  Trail head right off of the Fernhill roundabout in Queenstown  

//  Waterfall near the trail head

//  Waterfall near the trail head

//  Between the tree line and the Saddle, looking South to Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak

//  Between the tree line and the Saddle, looking South to Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak

//  Typical terrain beyond the tree line, Ben Lomond summit in the distance

//  Typical terrain beyond the tree line, Ben Lomond summit in the distance

I summited on May 8, the last weekend before Ben Lomond received its first dusting of snow. I went early on a Sunday morning and didn't see a soul for at least 2 hours, and it was still relatively calm on the way down - not at all overcrowded like some trails I've been on in New Zealand.

It was challenging but very do-able for anyone who is moderately fit and equipped with proper shoes, a light jacket, and snacks and water. It's certainly a climb, moving up most of the track, with very few level portions. Under tree cover for about 25-30% of the journey up, then you're through tussock and rock to the top. It was only technically challenging near the very top with a bit of light scrambling and footing coordination. 

Approximately a 6-8 hour return. (For the Americans out there - 'return' means 'round-trip'.) You could also make the Saddle your destination if you are limited on time or means. The Saddle is about 2/3 of the way up to the Ben Lomond summit and still affords stunning views and a moderately challenging hike. 

//  Ben Lomond summit

//  Ben Lomond summit

//  the Saddle

//  the Saddle

//  Rest stop at the Saddle, looking North onto the Southern Alps

//  Rest stop at the Saddle, looking North onto the Southern Alps

//  Past the Saddle, views from the North side of Ben Lomond  

//  Past the Saddle, views from the North side of Ben Lomond  

//  North side of Ben Lomond, near the summit, past the Saddle

//  North side of Ben Lomond, near the summit, past the Saddle

//  Almost to the summit, views Southwest

//  Almost to the summit, views Southwest

//  Summit marker

//  Summit marker

//  Summit #9

//  Summit #9

By the way, the peak was named Ben Lomond by a Scottish shepherd after a peak by the same name in Scotland. Its first recorded ascent took place in 1860.

//  Panoramic views at the summit! Mountains as far as the eye can see. 

//  Panoramic views at the summit! Mountains as far as the eye can see. 

//  Nearly to the Saddle, view South onto Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and Cecil Peak

//  Nearly to the Saddle, view South onto Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and Cecil Peak

//  Views South toward Lake Wakatipu, Cecil Peak, + Walter Peak

//  Views South toward Lake Wakatipu, Cecil Peak, + Walter Peak

//  Retired aqueduct (?) parallel to the start of the trail

//  Retired aqueduct (?) parallel to the start of the trail

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