Trek Notes - New Zealand

Gillespie & Rabbit Pass 8 Days

The Gillespie/Rabbit Pass trip is the longest guided trek in New Zealand. Following the main divide of the South Island this route has exceptional views of the highest peaks, including Mount Aspiring. Even though this trek is challenging, there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. No heavy packs needed, accommodation is a combination of beautiful mountain huts and our pre-placed campsites.

If you want a challenging "real NZ" trekking experience, this is without a doubt "THE" trek to do in Mount Aspiring National Park. Once the grassy flats of the Wilkin valley are left behind there are no more huts. The unspoilt mountain valleys, alpine meadows, huge waterfalls and awesome campsites provide you with an unforgettable experience.

 Eight days of some of the finest mountain terrain New Zealand has to offer. From rain forest to hanging glaciers there is no better way to escape the crowds and usual tourist trail. The trip is appropriate for people with good balance and are okay on exposed ground. You will not find a better way to experience the fantastic mountains of New Zealand.

The Gillespie/Rabbit Pass Guided Trek is located in New Zealand's Mount Aspiring National Park. This challenging four day hike takes you from ancient Beech forest to alpine meadows. This area is so spectacular, it is designated a World Heritage Area. Surrounded by glacier covered peaks and waterfalls, is one of the greatest collections of alpine plants in the world. This is also home to the Kea, the only alpine parrot on earth.

Our professional guide will ensure your safety as we explore this remote and seldom visited area. Hiking times are kept achievable (5-9 hours hiking a day) to leave time for relaxing photography or side trips. All food and overnight gear is supplied; all you carry is a light day pack.

Evenings are spent at our spectacular campsites. Our camps are our home in the hills and we pride ourselves on luxurious and environmentally aware sites. Sit back while we prepare an outrageously good meal. We supply everything you need to relax and enjoy this alpine paradise.

New Zealand is a truly unique country. Due to its geographic isolation many plants and animals have evolved which exist no where else on earth. The only way to appreciate this biodiversity and get a sense of how glaciation shaped the southern alps is to walk through the densely forested valleys, relax by the crystal clear rivers and endure the trek up to a high alpine pass.


Day one                                                                                                                                  

 We pick you up at your accommodation and depart for the Young Valley. If the Rivers are high then Jet Boat access to the start of the track is provided. The Young Valley is a wonderland of dense native forest and high peaks.  The trail steepens and climbs steadily to tree line. 7 hrs 650m ascent 

Day two

The track winds its way up the valley sidewall under the awesome East face of Mount. Awful. This is really an Alpine Paradise. The climbing ends at Gillespie Pass and one of the great view points of the Southern Alps. 6hrs 550m ascent 550m descent

 Day three

It is all down hill today.   The track meanders through the beautiful Siberia Valley and then plunges steeply to the Wilkin River where your mountain hut awaits. 5 hrs 650m descent

Day four

Following the Wilkin River the track gradually rises until reaching the Top Forks.   This area is one of New Zealand's treasures with outstanding native bush and hanging glaciers. 7 hrs 300m ascent 

Day five

We leave our packs behind for a day trip to Lake Castilia. The track is rugged with plenty of stream crossings and boulder scrambling. Some may prefer a shorter day or just a rest day to swim and admire the world class views. 7 hrs 500m ascent 500m descent or a rest day     

Day six

An early start gets us up to Waterfall Flat. It is not hard to imagine where it gets its name with torrents of water pouring of the surrounding cliffs.   The improbable scramble up the Waterfall Face leads to Rabbit Pass. A long descent through native herb gardens is a magical end to an exhilarating day. 9-11 hrs 900m ascent 650 descent    

Day seven

Waking to sound of icefalls off the towering Mnt. Pickelhaub, we have a leisurely breakfast before heading down the East Matukituki Valley.  Even with no track the going is easy through this isolated scenic valley. Once we come to the magnificent Bledisloe Gorge the climbing begins again. From open river flats, through ancient forest and up to the alpine, this is a day that has it all. We camp at our incomparable Aspiring Camp. 7-8 hrs 200m descent 300 ascent    

Day eight

It is the last day of the trek, and we all know what that means, that's right: pancakes, whipped cream and blueberries.   The trail down to the valley floor winds through tall beech with Mount. Aspiring dominating the view.   Gradually the track opens out into farm land just before we meet out waiting transport back to civilization and a hot shower. 5 hrs 500m descent

Prerequisites                Hard Grade. Previous trekking experience essential. You will carry only light packs. See our Difficulty scale below.   To enjoy your Gillespie/Rabbit Pass trek you need to be fit and have good balance.   The track is rugged, steep, and exposed. Sometimes the footing is unstable scree and you will wade through many rivers and sidestreams.  Hikers should be able to maintain a slow but steady pace up hill for an hour between rest stops.   The trip is appropriate for people with good balance and are okay on exposed ground.   You will only carry a light daypack and each days walking is designed to be 5-9 hours long (not including rests).  

Accommodation            hut, tent

Bonus               Equipment included

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