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Mount Aspiring National Park

Mt Aspiring is one of the highest peaks in New Zealand.

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.

Mt Aspiring National Park

Mount Aspiring is now a protected World Heritage site, but signs of early explorers in search of greenstone can still be found.

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.

Mount Aspiring National Park

Hike through varied beech forests teeming with bird life.

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!

See Mount Aspiring National Park on the following New Zealand tours

Rimu14 day South Island adventure trip
Tui8 day South Island adventure trip
Winter Rimu14 day South Island adventure trip
Kea Family13 day South Island family trip
Manuka14 day South Island hiking trip

Trip Reviews

  •   4.68 out of 5 (from 244 reviews)

    Incredible family trip!

    We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and our guides did an excellent job being understanding of the food allergies of my daughter
    Makenzie Birkey Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Kea, July 2016
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Everything we hoped for and MORE.

    This was my first trip to New Zealand, and to the southern hemisphere. We had dreamed of this for many years, and it was so much more than we had even hoped for. So many memories and highlights: Morning alpine glow on Mt. Cook. Any day that it was sunny and you could see those amazing mountains. Turquoise alpine lakes. The day we spontaneously stopped at a deserted beach on the west coast, and saw Hector's dolphins frolicking. The picnic on the hill at Braemar's station. The nights at Braemar, the laughing and wine. Racheal (our guide) encouraging me and talking about growing up on a sheep farm while hiking up Key Pass. The stars at night - the Milky Way and upside down Orion! The mystical drive down to Milford Sound in the fog and light rain, and the clearing while on the boat. Going under a waterfall and just yelling in joy. The amazing, kind, funny and interesting people we met on our tour. If you are even thinking about it - go! You will not be disappointed.
    Jeannie Puglisi Review Image
    – Connecticut, United States
    Kiwi, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Best trip I have ever taken

    There are many layers to this trip
    1. The Group - It was really fun being in a group, and our group was really fun! Sometimes I hung out with people in my family, sometimes I hung out with someone else in the group. This variety and freedom was very enjoyable.
    2. The Guides - Koru and Ash were sooo great. Koru is a polished, learned and experienced leader. Ash is a fabulous cook, so much fun, and cared about each of us on the trip.
    3. The Country - Stunning! We covered so much of the South Island that we were able to see many sides of it's weather and terrain. Really great route.
    4. Activities - It was great sharing a physical activity with others, something I know brings people together. Hiking was great. At the end of a long hike was a fabulous surprise, like a glacial lake with ice burgs, or a beautiful high-mountain vista, or a glo-worm tunnel. Biking was super fun, and I wish there had been one more day of it. In hind site I personally would have selected the biking 3day excursion. The kayaking was great. Heavy chop or glassy lakes, we kayaked in it.
    5. Accommodations - These were just great. As nice as it can be being out in the countryside. I loved how we all ate together every meal.
    5. Pace - I thought the trip was very well planned. Just when we needed a break in the beginning from jet lag, and our trip activities, a two day respite was there in Queenstown where we could recharge. I recharged and my family bungy jumped! Also, activities were structured so that the not so keen could bail out at a stopping point.
    Ginny Nayden Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    South Island Treking trip

    We are both keen walkers and had the Milford Trek on our hit list. We have already done the C2C in the UK, The Inca trail and the TMB in Europe (also in the 'top ten'). The Manuka trip allowed us to do the Milford Trek but also walk other treks on S Island such as The Diamond Lake and Mount Cook which were also awesome. The Milford Trek does live up to its name as 'The finest walk in the World'! The scenery everywhere is truly spectacular even when it rains which often enhances the experience.
    Dave Clark Review Image
    – East Yorkshire, United Kingdom
    Manuka, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    A Great Eight Days

    My wife, Shanen, and I had a goal of running a marathon on all seven continents and our seventh took place on March 18, in Rotorua, NZ. So two days after completing our goal, we returned to Christchurch and met up with our guides, Hillary and Dan, along with our fellow travelers. As good fortune would have it we all clicked as a group and off we went.

    For the remainder of our journey it was clear that both Hillary and Dan took great joy in what they do. Furthermore, and of great importance to us, they ensured meals had met our vegetarian and vegan needs. We were never made to feel our dietary needs were inconvenient to them and they were handled in such a way that all of us were able to enjoy our group meals.

    The actual adventure was well planned out and the expectations of each day were always explained. Our group was one that started together, made sure all finished and enjoyed the adventure.

    John Edmundson Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Tui, April 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

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.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

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.

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