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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

  4.53 out of 5 (from 4940 reviews)

Trip of a Lifetime!

I am still basking in the glow from this remarkable trip! I admit that I was a bit nervous at first as I was the oldest person in our group and not as fit (for hiking) as some in the group, so I worried about 'keeping up' on the hikes - especially the steeper climbs. Ben and Lauren were very reassuring and encouraging and I felt that I was able to 'hold my own'. In fact, while the hiking was probably the most challenging I've done in at least 7 years, it was the most rewarding/exhilarating part for me. I loved our group - a very positive, health-conscious and fun group of people from all walks of life. It was also wonderful that we were only 12 people - it helped to create a much more intimate and personal atmosphere. I felt we bonded together well - again, thanks to Ben and Lauren's great skills with ice-breaking, fun games, and ability to set and maintain a positive atmosphere from the beginning.
From the moment we set off from the airport to the emotional farewells back at the airport at the end of the trip, this was a top notch adventure. Our transportation was comfortable, our accommodations were always different and unique and very comfortable - I loved that they weren't all in your standard hotel and that some of them were really off the beaten track. The food was amazing - from the snack basket in the van, loaded fresh every day with fruit and other snacks, to the amazing meals that Lauren and Ben created and the breakfasts and dinners that we had at various restaurants - there was a lot of variety, special dietary considerations were accounted for and there was lots of it!
I did the kayak option and it was outstanding. The B&B and our hosts were wonderful (the hot tub at the end of the day was most appealing!) and our kayak guide, Nick was terrific - very accommodating, skilled and he made it all very interesting and fun!
I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the island - I loved listening to the legends/folklore and learning more about the vegetation, birds, etc. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Lauren was terrific with her cooking and meal presentations - meals looked fantastic and tasted even better! Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, organizing our Secret Santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, complete with Christmas crackers and special hats, managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind either in our accommodations or on a hike/kayak. They even had the perfect music for when we went through the Homer Tunnel and down into Milford Sound - the combination of the music and the scenery was so moving it had several of us in tears! They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each person. Their positive energy and enthusiasm was infectious. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went. It would be hard for me to say what the favourite part was or favourite view as the South Island is simply spectacular. I felt that the trip was organized in such a way that I really got a good feel and appreciation for the South Island. Truly New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places (both 'inside and out') that I have ever visited (and I've visited over 20 other countries around the world). I really loved the more laid-back way of life and the local people we met were so welcoming and kind. I would love to come back again and see the North Island but also re-visit the South Island!
I highly recommend this trip and have already suggested it to a number of my friends. It really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!
Sue Hazell Review Image
– Ontario, Canada
Rimu, January 2018
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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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