Mount Aspiring National Park On a Budget
SightsMt. Aspiring National Park has many incredible natural sights almost everywhere you go. You will see glaciers, pristine snowfields, jagged mountains and the valleys that lie below, cascading waterfalls, and many different types of wildlife.
The Gates of Haast Falls are beautiful to see. They are found on the Haast highway, just after the Gates of Haast Bridge.
NeighborhoodsHaast, Makarora, Wanaka, and Glenorchy are a few towns that surround the park. If you are coming from the north, you will most likely be traveling on the Haast highway to get into the park. The most untouched coast of the country is just south of the town of Haast. However, it is only reachable by foot, helicopter, or boat. It is well worth exploring; you may even run into Robert 'Bean Sprout' Long, who is the father of New Zealand's most remote family and resides in a small hut in the forests along the coast.
Makarora is a town that is at the northern tip of Wanaka Lake. In this town, you can find accommodations, restaurants, gas stations, campsites, and a couple of hikes to do as well. On the opposite end of Lake Wanaka is the town of Wanaka. This is a larger town and attracts many travelers in both the summer and winter seasons. Treble Cone is a ski resort that is nearby, one of New Zealand's biggest resorts. Glenorchy is another town that borders the national park and is located on the Northern end of lake Wakatipu.
ActivitiesThe main activities in this area are hiking, jetboating, mountaineering, and heli-skiing. There are many different hikes in the park ranging from many different levels of difficulty. The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's great walks and is located in this park. The track takes about 3 days to complete, and it is best to do this during the summer, as the winter can bring pretty severe conditions to the trail. The track runs between Lake Wakatipu and the Te Anau-Milford Road. For a shorter walk, you could look into doing the Aspiring Hut walk or the Rob Roy track; they both take about one and a half hours.
Jetboating is an exhilarating activity to do while visiting Mount Aspiring National Park. It's pretty self-explanatory what jet boating is; you cruise around on a speedboat at very high speeds making fast turns and 360-degree spins. Usually, the boats will also stop somewhere so you can explore the valleys by foot.
There are many companies that provide guides or instruction for mountaineering on the larger peaks in the park like Mt Aspiring and Mt Awful. Heli-skiing is possible on the Northern Buchanans and Albertburn. Keep in mind that a lot of these tracks and activities are weather permitting, so always be sure to plan in advance for that and check with the Department of Conservation before embarking on long treks.