Breast Hill : 40 minutes drive from Wanaka to start of track, 1578m summit, approx 1200m ascent, 8-10 hours return, 10km return
The Breast Hill Track is high country segment of the Te Araroa, a pathway that runs from the top of the North Island to the tip of the South Island. Away from the crowded trails that start closer to Wanaka, the trail rises from nearby Lake Hawea in a sharp zig-zag climb which overlooks the lake, sometimes with grazing sheep to greet you. After reaching the first saddle, the track follows a ridgeline, weaving through tussock and rock formations, with views on one side over the lake and mountains beyond, and to the other side, a rolling landscape of rugged hills and mountains. While part of the trail is formed, your guide will help you navigate much of the way past limited markings and along unformed track. Continue to the summit of Breast Hill (1578m), where you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view across the lake, which on clear days includes the prominent Mt Aspiring.
Rob Roy Glacier Hike : 60 minutes drive from Wanaka to start of track, 800m approx, 3-4 hours return, 10km return
For a shorter day that still packs a punch, the Rob Roy Glacier Hike is well-known for a reason, covering a variety of beautiful landscape via a well-formed track. Starting at the end of Mt Aspiring Road, the track crosses a swing bridge over the blue glacial water of the West Matukituki River, before continuing up through a gorge enshrouded by beech forest. As the trail climbs higher, you’ll emerge from the trees into alpine vegetation into an open valley with views of the Rob Roy Glacier and beautiful waterfalls cascading down the cliff face below it. Watch out for the mischievous kea, the world’s only alpine parrot!
Albert Burn/Dragonfly Peak : 20 minute heli flight from Wanaka to Albert Burn Saddle, 500 meters to summit, approx 2 hour return hike
A twenty minute helicopter flight amidst the towering peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park takes you to the Albert Burn saddle (1750m) on the north side of Dragonfly Peak. After a short walk up to the lovely and remote Whare Kea chalet, you’ll have the option of stopping in for a cooked lunch* or continuing towards the summit of Dragonfly Peak for a picnic lunch. Views are jaw-dropping in every direction, with both Mt Aspiring and the mighty Aoraki/Mt Cook prominent in either direction. From the saddle, there is a 500 metre rise along a broad spur where your guide will lead you through vegetated rock-step to the rocky ridgeline just below the summit, a walk suitable for any fitness level. Experienced and keen trampers may choose to scramble the last section to the summit. At the conclusion of your hike, enjoy another scenic flight out of the mountains and back to Wanaka.
* Whare Kea extra option - price of POA
Mt Alta : Heli flight from Wanaka to the tarns, 500 metres to the 2,300m summit, 3-5 hour return hike
A heli flight from Wanaka lands you by a set of tarns (glacial lakes) en route to the summit of Mt Alta, a 2300m prominent peak visible from Wanaka’s waterfront. A landscape of golden tussock and ridgelines greets you for the 500 metre journey to the summit, an approximately 3-5 hour round trip. Sloping grass gives way to scree as you approach the rocky peak, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the stunning Mt Aspiring National Park. Head back down to the tarns for a heli flight back home, and one of the area’s high peaks under your belt.