10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park
10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park

© NZPocketGuide.com

Attractions, Hikes, Tours and Places to Visit in the Mt Aspiring National Park

Welcome to the home of mountain wilderness. Wedged between the Fiordland and Westland Tai Poutini national parks, Mt Aspiring is a destination that many travellers don’t realise they’ve visited until they’ve been and gone. However, there are many reasons to stick around in this national park that also holds the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Area, whether it’s for its braided river valleys for walking or jet boating, or hiking high in the mountains. We’ll dive more into all those experiences and others in this list of the best things to do in Mt Aspiring National Park.

The best towns to access the Mt Aspiring National Park are Wanaka, Makarora, Glenorchy and Haast.

1. Hike to the Rob Roy Glacier

An icon of the Mt Aspiring National Park, the Rob Roy Track takes day walkers through the dramatic alpine landscape of the park to the Rob Roy Glacier. Sheer rock faces and tumbling waterfalls are just some of the magnificent features on this hike that takes approximately three to four hours to complete. This walk also features in The Top 50 South Island Walks.

Location: Raspberry Flat car park, Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road, approximately 54km (33.6 miles) west of Wanaka.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© Unsplash

2. Tackle the Routeburn Track

One of the acclaimed New Zealand Great Walks, the Routeburn Track offers breathtaking scenery the whole way through. The two-to-four-day trail encompasses both the Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park on its journey through beech forest, open alpine tops and vast valleys. Note that the trail is only open from November to April.

Location: Start from either the Routeburn Shelter, 25km (15.5 miles) from Glenorchy or The Divide Shelter, 85km (53 miles) from Te Anau.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© Unsplash

3. Check Out the Blue Pools of Haast

One of the best short walks on the South Island, the Blue Pools Track takes you on a one-hour return walk through majestic forest to two swingbridges. The final swingbridge crosses a deep pool of crystal clear glacial water with a vibrant blue hue.

Location: Well signposted along State Highway 6 opposite the Cameron Flat Campsite, approximately 12km (7.5 miles) from Makarora.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Enjoy a Scenic Road Trip on the Haast Pass

Lining the Mt Aspiring National Park, Haast Pass offers a spectacular road trip encompassing the iconic scenery of the park. Follow the Haast River from Haast township and stop by three waterfalls along the way: Roaring Billy Falls, Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls. At the Haast Pass Lookout, the river changes to the Makarora River on the way to Makarora where worthy road trip stops include the Cameron Lookout Walk, Makaroa Bush and the Kidds Bush Nature Walk. Find information on all of these walks and more on the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.

Location: State Highway 6 between Haast and Makarora.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Go on a Jet Boating Expedition

Experience jet boating where this Kiwi invention was intended; the South Island’s rivers. An excellent option is Waiatoto River Safari, taking you from the Tasman Sea near Haast deep into the Mt Aspiring National Park. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. Haast River Safari is another option from Haast, while Wilkin River Jets is available from Makarora. See more experiences like these in the 8 Things to Do in Haast with Kids.

Location: 1975 Haast-Jackson Bay Road, Jackson Bay, approximately 20km (12.4 miles) from Haast.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

6. See the Mt Aspiring National Park from Above

If there’s one thing other than hikes that the Mt Aspiring National Park doesn’t lack, it’s helicopter tours. See the national park from a stunning perspective with towering snow-capped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and waterfalls to feast your eyes on. Most helicopter excursions also include a high-altitude landing. Some of the helicopter tour operators include Greenstone Helicopters, HeliServices, Aspiring Helicopters and Haast Heli. Learn more about these tours in the 7 Luxury Activities in Haast.

Location: Greenstone Helicopters, HeliServices and Haast Heli are based in Haast. Aspiring Helicopters is based on 2211 Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, Wanaka.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© westcoast.co.nz

7. Try Out Canyoning

Pack your sense of adventure and join one of the local canyoning tours to swim, slide, climb, abseil and scramble your way through the Mt Aspiring National Park’s dramatic canyons. Tours are available with Canyoning New Zealand (more info on ViatorTripadvisor and Klook) and Deep Canyon (on Viator and Tripadvisor). For more canyoning trips, check out the 7 Best Places for Canyoning in New Zealand.

Location: Canyoning New Zealand – tours depart from Queenstown or Wanaka. Deep Canyon – tours depart from Wanaka.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

8. Experience a Beginner’s Overnight Tramp on the West Matukituki Track

If you’re new to overnight hiking or have kids in tow, the West Matukituki Track is a fantastic introduction. It’s only a 2h30mins one-way walk to the Aspiring Hut, which is a large serviced DOC hut in a beautiful alpine valley. A walking trail continues from here if you want to make a longer journey to Pearl Flat (1h30mins one-way) or all the way to the head of the valley (an additional 2 hours one-way).

Location: Raspberry Flat car park, Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road, approximately 54km (33.6 miles) west of Wanaka.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© Department of Conservation

9. Challenge Yourself to the Multi-Day Hike of the Rees-Dart Track

Of course, for serious hikers looking for some serious scenery, the Mt Aspiring National Park can provide, especially with the Rees-Dart Track. This four-to-five-day mission surrounds you in magnificent mountain scenery with a fair share of forest and glacier-fed rivers, as well as views of the Dart Glacier on a side trip.

Location: Muddy Creek car park, Rees Valley Road, approximately 22km (13.6 miles) north of Glenorchy.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© Unsplash

10. Experience Heli-Skiing

Finally, another one of the best things to do in Mt Aspiring National Park is heli-skiing. Swap the crowded ski fields for untouched terrain, especially on the Northern Buchanans and Albertburn. Heli-skiing operators like Southern Lakes Heliski, Aspiring Guides, Harris Mountain Heli-Ski and Alpine Helicopters will be more than willing to get you there.

Location: Tours depart from Wanaka Airport and Queenstown Airport.

10 Best Things to Do in Mt Aspiring National Park© Pexels

More Things to Do in the Mt Aspiring National Park

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in the Mt Aspiring National Park. For more activities to do in and nearby, check out the following guides:

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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