Mount Aspiring National Park is a hiker's paradise and a must for mountaineers. The park spans a large area, from the Haast River in the north to the Humbolt Mountains in the south. Large valleys, carved out by ancient glaciers, dissect high mountain ranges -- the views are endless and unforgettable. Mount Aspiring National Park is part of Te Wai Pounamu, the southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Ancient Maori trails led through parts of what is now national park. Early travellers passed through in search of pounamu (greenstone), much valued as a material for tools, weapons and ornaments. After European settlement, many of the valleys were farmed and exploited for minerals including scheelite. Remnants of these activities can still be found in and around the park. Tourism development began in the late 1880s, when guided trips were first offered into the Routeburn Valley.
Mt. Aspiring itself is the only peak over 3000 metres outside Mount Cook National Park. One of the most unusual areas in the park is the Red Hills 'mineral belt' in the southwest. Here the concentration of magnesium in the soil is so high that only a few hardy plants survive.
Beech forests dominate below the bush line. Each beech species favours slightly different growing conditions so while you might find red beech in sunny, frost-free situations, you will usually find silver or mountain beech at higher altitudes, happily surviving winter snow falls. Ribbonwoods are among the first to colonise open areas (caused by slips and avalanches); these are among New Zealand's few deciduous trees. Above the bushline are snow tussock grasslands and herbfields with mountain buttercups, daisies, and ourisias.
Rifleman, bellbird, South Island robin, yellow crowned parakeet, mohua (yellowhead), tomtit, South Island fantail and New Zealand pigeon are common bush birds found in Mount Aspiring National Park. Towards evening, native bats and moreporks (small owls) can be seen and heard. Blue ducks and paradise ducks also live in the valley. Introduced animals include whitetail deer in the lower Routeburn valley, red deer throughout the forested areas and chamois about the mountaintops. Possums, rats and stoats are a widespread threat to native birds. Introduced brown and rainbow trout are found in the lower Routeburn and brown trout are present in Lake Howden. The park's alpine areas are home to the threatened rock wren and the high-profile kea. These mischievous mountain parrots have been known to take an unhealthy interest in visitors' packs, tents, car antennae and even bicycle seats so keep your belongings with you at all times!
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Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.
We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.
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Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.
With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.
It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.