Waterfalls and glacier views make this a journey not to be missed. Gillespie Pass is located in the heart New Zealand's Mount Aspiring National Park. This trip takes in the Young and Siberia Valleys and culminates in Gillespie Pass at over 1500m, a stunningly beautiful location. The prepared track and bridges make this trek less daunting than Rabbit Pass, but like all Wild Walks, it is still a challenge.
It's important to remember the track won't be as well formed as the Great Walks - see our FAQ's for more info. While you won't be walking along cliff edges there are some sections (normally a few metres along) that will require your full concentration and good footing - here's a few more pics.
The Gillespie Pass Route takes you into the heart of Aspiring National Park
"We were very confident that Aspiring Guides would give us the small group experience we were looking for. I loved the Valley walking and the experience of the other people on the trip I also loved how beautiful the scenery was, just so unlike what we get in Australia. It was stunning. I was so impressed by Michael as our guide. He actually made the trip for me. While relatively young in years, his experience really shone and the way he dealt with people of differing ages and experiences was just so impressive. I learned a lot from him over the few days.My overall impression of Aspiring Guides from this particular trip was that it's a very professionally run organisation and you guys know what you're doing. It must get exhausting trying to make everyone's experience special and unique when you've done a trip so many times - but you guys do an excellent job of this and I felt very grateful. I survived and am looking forward to my next hike :)"
Untouched native forest, alpine pass, waterfalls, glacier views, and towering peaks – this trip has it all. The track begins in dense temperate rain forest and steadily climbs into wondrous alpine paradise. We finish the trip with a thrilling jet boat ride back to civilization.
On this trip we use Young Hut the first night and camp out the second and third nights. If the weather is inclement we can drop down to the comfort of Siberia Hut rather than camp out.
Our professional guide will ensure your safety as we explore this remote and wild area. All food and camping gear is supplied; all you carry is your own clothing and sleeping gear. You can bring your own sleeping bag and thermorest or we have this gear available for hire.
If native flora is your interest, the primordial plant associations will amaze you. Eighty percent of the native plant species are found nowhere else in the world! This is an experience you will never forget.
Pack 30-40 litre Weight 6-9kg
c= confirmed to run
Join a scheduled departure or book a private or custom trip to suit you.
To enjoy your Gillespie Pass trek you need to be fit and have good balance. This is classic New Zealand hiking which is to say the track is rough and sometimes wet. While there is a prepared track it is not groomed to the level of the busier Great Walks trails. Sometimes the footing is unstable and hikers need to be good on their feet and be comfortable on rough or slippery ground. While it can be slippery you will not encounter deep mud. Hikers should be able to maintain a slow but steady pace up hill for an hour between rest stops. You will only carry your own gear plus sleeping bag (no tent or food) and each day walking is designed to be 5-7 hours. There is plenty of time to rest, swim, and take photos.
Track times and distances in New Zealand can be deceiving. The tracks here are quite slow progress compared to other countries. The nature of the terrain means that you seldom get long stretches of fast travel. Tracks twist through the forest, there are streams and waterfalls to negotiate around as well as steep ascents and descents. In the alpine there can be loose scree or exposed drops. Do not be deceived into thinking that days with short mileage will be easy - the days that we travel less than 10km can be more tiring than days we travel considerably more distance. Call it what you want, but it is never dull!
We meet you at our offices in Wanaka. After checking through the group's gear, we depart for the township of Makarora. If the rivers are high then jet boat access to the start of the track is provided. The Young Valley is a wonderland of dense native forest and high peaks. The trail steepens and climbs steadily to tree line. Tonight we stay at Young Hut. Waterfalls, roaring canyons and beautiful temperate rainforest, a big day!
15km -- 7 hrs -- 650m ascent
The track winds its way up the valley sidewall under the awesome East Face of Mount Awful. This is really an alpine paradise with hanging snowfields and waterfalls galore. The track passes though open meadows that after 3 to 4 hours leads to the pass. The steep track winds up and up (and up) ending at Gillespie Pass and one of the great viewpoints of the Southern Alps. It’s pretty impressive with Mount Alba and Mount Awful dominating the skyline. Two hours downhill and we reach our camp next to tranquil Gillespie stream.
7km-- 6hrs--900m ascent--700m descent
Today we do a day trip to Lake Crucible. This unusual lake sits high above the Siberia Valley, nestled under Mt Alba. It is a steep climb through native forest with a small river crossing, and finally the ascent through a snowgrass flat until you reach the lake. Surrounded by towering walls, Lake Crucible is a geographic wonder carved by the glaciers. 14 km return --
7hrs -- 600m ascent -- 900m descent
This is the easy day so a sleep in and big breakfast are welcome after the big days so far. From Siberia Hut with the Siberia River in the foreground. Bring your camera! It is all downhill to Kerin Forks Hut at the confluence of the Upper Wilkin and Siberia Valleys. Here we meet our waiting jetboat for an exhilarating ride back to Makarora. It is a wild finish to a Wild Walk
This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for hiking in New Zealand.
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