The island country of New Zealand is famous for its picturesque scenery and breathtaking mountain peaks. One of the best showcases for its natural beauty is the ever-inspiring Mt Aspiring National Park.
Mt Aspiring National Park is situated in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. It is located near the towns of Glenorchy, Queenstown, Te Anau and Wanaka, with roads leading to main access points from these towns. There are frequent bus services to Queentown, Te Anau and Wanaka, as well as an airport in Queensland, boat services from Glenorchy and Wanaka, and coach lines from Wanaka. Mt Aspiring National Park is next to New Zealand’s largest park, Fiordland National Park.
What to See There
Covering an area of 3,555 square kilometers, Mt Aspiring National Park is one of the largest national parks in New Zealand. It is named for Mount Aspiring, also known as Tititea, which, at an elevation of 9,951 feet (3,033 meters), is the next highest mountain in New Zealand after its highest peak, Mount Cook (Aoraki). The park’s other peaks include Mount Brewster, which has an elevation of 2,519 meters, and Mount Pollux, which has an elevation of 2,542 meters. The park boasts of a range of awe-inspiring landscapes, from its snowcapped peaks to its lush beech forests. Not surprisingly, the park has been used as a filming location for the Lord of the Rings films. It is also known for its unique rock formations, such as the Red Hills. Needless to say, Mt Aspiring National Park is a popular site for mountaineering and tramping (a combination of hiking and camping). The tramping trails within the park take between 3 to 5 days to trek and include the Greenstone & Caples tracks, which link the valleys of Greenstone and Caples; the Rees-Dart Track, which follow the rivers of Rees and Dart; and the 32-kilometer Routeburn Track.
In times past, the ancient Maori traversed through Mt Aspiring searching for greenstone or pounamu, which was at the time a valuable commodity used for making weapons, tools and ornaments. European settlers would later farm and mine many of the valleys, and tourism in the region started late in the 1880’s. New Zealand’s 10th national park, Mt Aspiring National Park, was established in 1964.
Mt Aspiring National Park is one of 4 national parks comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Site Te Wahipounamu (South West New Zealand), the others being Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, Fiordland National Park, and Westland National Park.