Named for Mt Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, this park is a dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes.
A hiker's paradise, Mount Aspiring National Park offers a large number of short walks that are mostly concentrated at the end of the park's access roads.
Longer hikes through beautiful valleys, with options to traverse mountain saddles, include the Routeburn, the Dart/Rees River circuit, Greenstone/Caples and the Wilkin Valley tracks. In summer, it’s possible to walk from one valley to another over spectacular mountain passes.
In the past, Maori trekked through the region on their way to the pounamu fields of the west coast; Europeans visited to map, name and explore geographical features of the area; settlers attempted to farm and mine some of the valleys - the relics have blended into the stunning scenery.
In straddling the 'great divide' of the Southern Alps, the Mount Aspiring National Park presents a breath-taking range of landscapes.
At its heart is a massive area of wilderness - glaciers, snowfields, mountains, valleys and wildlife habitats that require days of hiking to reach. To the west of the divide, where rainfall is plentiful, the beech forest comes with a sound track of birdsong and waterfalls.
Deep in the glacier-gouged valleys of the east, grassy river flats are hemmed by imposing mountains. And above the tree line, subalpine gardens of tussock, lichens and dainty flowering herbs survive against all odds.
Rock forms are an unforgettable feature of the park. From the curiously coloured slopes of the Red Hills to the brittle grey schist of the Alps, ice ages and huge tectonic upheavals have created beauty with a hard edge.