Day trips from Albert Town (20-21 Sept 2014)

This past weekend we did some glamping (glamorous tramping) with our local tramping club. I call it glamping as we stayed in one of the member’s baches in Albert town (just outside of Wanaka) and even went out for dinner on Saturday night!

We didn’t know if we were going to even go on this trip considering the metservice had been predicting snow for Saturday, yet other sites said it would be fine. We decided to risk it anyways (we were staying in a bach after all) and started off from Dunedin at 6 pm on Friday night and stopped for tea at Subway in Alexandra. Funnily enough, the Otago university tramping club was also there having tea. Small world.

Saturday the entire party climbed Isthmus peak (1385 m). We had a rather inauspicious start by following the wrong track down into a small gully… *shakes head* We had a reasonably uneventful climb. A few people weren’t feeling very well. I was trialing out my new camera so spent most of my time at the back trying to catch up.

Eventually we reached the top and a bit of snow. Only 7 of our 13 actually made it all the way to the top of the peak. Those of us that did were rewarded with stunning views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and the neck. We took our time having lunch and I even got to try out my camera and remote control setting for the first time – with great success.

Top of Isthmus peak

Top of Isthmus peak

Lake Wanaka from Isthmus Peak

Lake Wanaka from Isthmus Peak

Saturday night we all rewarded ourselves by going out for tea to the kiwi classic, Speights Ale House, and then returning to the bach to watch New Zealand’s election results.

Sunday morning, despite our disappointment in the election, everyone decided to do their own thing. Four of us decided to tackle Roy’s peak (1578 m) – one of the more popular day walks from Wanaka. Most of the rest of the party did a strenuous 2 km hike into Wanaka to the cafes.

On our way up the mountain, we picked up 2 British tourists (easily identifiable in their NZ branded polar fleeces). They hung with us the whole way (as all of us were passed by a dozen or so very keen runners) and admitted when we got to the bottom that they probably would have turned back if we hadn’t been there. Considering it was the highest mountain they had ever climbed, they did very well! Especially considering we dealt out hours of travel and tramping advice!


Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka from Roy’s peak with Wanaka township on the right.

Lunch at the top of Roy’s peak was rather breezy (however due to the close range to Wanaka we were all happily able to post to our various social media accounts from the top), and it was too icy and treacherous for us to repeat our jumping photo from the day before. Instead we picked a less precarious spot a bit further down.

Then it was time to head back to the bach to tidy up before our drive back home. All in all, an excellent weekend with amazing weather (the snow waited until we were back home to arrive!).

For future recommendations, Isthmus peak and Roy’s peak are very similar track and time-wise (5-6 hours return). I personally preferred Isthmus with fewer people and more interesting scenery. Dylan liked Roy’s peak better because he enjoyed seeing the track below from the top. But apart from that they are very similar tracks and both would be recommended on a fine day for anyone of moderate fitness. In summer, we think it would be hellish to climb on a hot day as there is no water or shade.

Happy tramping!