Mount Aspiring National Park is considered the most pristine and untouched national park in New Zealand. Located between Wanaka and the west coast in the south island which is also known as Te Waipounamu (meaning “the greenstone waters” for its abundance of greenstone (pounamu).

Mt Aspiring national park is part of the Te Wahipounamu/Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. The early Maori named Mt Aspiring Tititea meaning steep glistening white peak and were the first to set foot on this spectacular landscape, they came searching for food and pounamu (greenstone) and formed the “Greenstone trails” that still exist today across the mountain passes.

Mt Aspiring National park is a hikers and nature lovers paradise, here are some of the most popular things to do in Mt Aspiring National Park to enjoy this breathtaking alpine wonderland.

1. Hike The Routeburn Track

Hike The Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” and the ultimate alpine wilderness adventure. The track follows the Routeburn River through the Routeburn Valley passing alpine meadows, crystal clear lakes and spectacular mountain vistas.

The track starts near Lake Wakatipu at the end of the Glenorchy-Routeburn Road, just 35 minutes from Glenorchy and finishes in 85 Kilometres from Te Anau in Fiordland National Park on the Te Anau-Milford Road. Hiking the full track takes 2-4 days to complete.

However, it’s possible to do a section of the famous track in just a day. There are various day walking track options including Earland Falls Track, Key Summit Track, Lake Howden Track and Routeburn Nature Walk.

  • Prices:
    • New Zealand citizens:
    • Adult (18+ ): $65 per person, per night
    • Child (17 and under): free but booking still required
    • International visitors: $130 per person, per night
  • Duration: 2 nights / 3 days
  • Times: All day
  • Best time: Between November and March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

2. Hike the Rob Roy Glacier Track

Hike the Rob Roy Glacier Track

The Rob Roy Track is an easy way to enter the dramatic landscape of the national park, it takes 3-4 hours to complete and suitable for older children. Starting with a swing bridge across the Matukituki river, the track traverses through beech forest and alpine vegetation and boasts fantastic views of the Rob Roy glacier, waterfalls and sheer rock cliffs.

Look out for Kea birds, New Zealand’s native mountain parrot, they are very inquisitive and mischievous and often take an interest in backpacks. Make sure you don’t feed them. The start of the track is 54 kilometres from Lake Wanaka, the last part of the road is not sealed and prone to washout, so check the road and weather conditions before leaving.

  • Prices: Adults – $295; Children (under 15) – $205
  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours return
  • Times: All day
  • Best time: March to November
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

3. Jet Boating on the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers

Jet Boating on the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers

Wilkin River Jets operates the ultimate shallow river jet boating experience, skimming across the waters of the Wilkin and Makarora rivers through stunning, rugged landscape of native bush, pristine river valleys, snowfields and ice-capped mountain ranges.

A jet boat tour is a thrilling way to experience Mt Aspiring National Park allowing you to take in this stunning World Heritage Area from a unique perspective. The experienced drivers will share their knowledge about the history and geology of the Makarora and Wanaka region with an informative commentary during the tour.

  • Prices: $130 (adults) and $75 (children) family packages available
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Times: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Best time: Between November and March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

4. Take a Scenic Helicopter Flight

Take a Scenic Helicopter Flight

Explore this incredible section of the Southern Alps by helicopter. Aspiring Helicopters operate unforgettable scenic flights up the Matukituki Valley and around Mt Aspiring. You will get the chance to see the incredible views across the national park and get an up-close look at the spectacular icy-blue glacial fields and the surrounding snowy peaks.

The trip includes an alpine landing (depending on weather conditions) allowing you to set foot on one of the most remote and pristine parts of New Zealand. You can also contact Aspiring Helicopters about heli-skiing options.

  • Prices: $550 per person (with two landings)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Times: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

5. Hike the Blue Pools Walk

Hike the Blue Pools Walk

The Blue Pools walk is considered one of the area’s best short walks. An easy track that is mostly flat leads through podocarp and beech forest to deep pools of clear, blue glacial water which flow into the Makarora River.

Cross swing bridges and follow boardwalks on this easy one-hour walking track which offers stunning views of the river gorge. Try to spot a small yellow bird, known as yellowhead or Mohua, a native threatened species only found in the forests of New Zealand’s South Island and also Stewart Island.

The entrance to the Blue Pool walk is on the Haast-Pass Makarora road, 8 kilometres from the Makarora township.

  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: Around 60 minutes
  • Times: All day
  • Best time: Between November and March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

6. Take a Canyoning Tour

Take a Canyoning Tour

If you’re up for a full-on day of adventure take a canyoning tour of Mt Aspiring. Expect a day trip full of adrenaline, and stunning natural beauty as you take on down climbs waterfall abseiling, a 10-metre jump, slides and swimming.

Canyoning New Zealand provides all the gear and expert guides, you bring your swimsuit and towel. This tour is suited to those who have been canyoning before or are confident with adventure activities.

  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 6-8 hours (including travel time from Wanaka)
  • Times: Departures at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: 16 years

7. Hike the Greenstone & Caples Track

Hike the Greenstone & Caples Track

Follow the footsteps of the original Maori who walked this track to travel between Otago and the West Coast and gather greenstone. The track is a circuit that takes 4 days and leads through the wide, open Greenstone Valley with its tussock flats and beech forest, and the narrower Caples Valley which filled with forest dotted with grassy clearings.

The start of the track is at the end of Greenstone Road, 86 kilometres from Queenstown. A reasonable level of fitness is required to take on this hike.

  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Times: All days
  • Best time: Between November and March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

8. Hike the West Matukituki Valley & Stay at Aspiring Hut

Hike the West Matukituki Valley & Stay at Aspiring Hut

This hike through the spectacular Matukituki Valley leads to the historic stone Aspiring hut. It is a great overnight tramp and is suitable for families with children or those who are new to tramping.

Bookings are not required, but the hut works on a first come first served basis. The walk to Aspiring Hut is an easy valley walk mostly over grassed flats with a just couple of easily negotiated small climbs that give spectacular views up and down the valley.

Enjoy native forest, waterfalls, and stunning views of glaciers and mountain peaks. If you want to extend your adventures, you can continue further on the French Pass and Liverpool hut tracks.

  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes – 6 hours
  • Times: All day
  • Best time: Between November and March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions