A recent trip of mine brought me to a place I have, ever since, wanted to imminently return to; Nelson Lakes National Park. A 7 day hike along one of New Zealand’s fabled routes, the Travers-Sabine circuit, brought with it elements of sublime vistas, a removal from civilisation and an ever-longing to be back there exploring more of this amazing place. You see, as you may be able to tell from the name, Nelson Lakes plays host to a variety of alpine lakes dotted around the park. Combine that with endless ridge lines and a bush line that rises to a 1000metres above sea level, you have the perfect recipe for a grand adventure.
No visit to Nelson Lakes is an easy one, with high passes and deep-set valley floors, you will be expected to work to see the places that have made this place a back-country escape of epic proportions.
A journey up to Angelus hut is a popular overnight hike, set at the foot of Mount Angelus and sitting on the shores of Lake Angelus, the location to place a hut could not have been trumped. Sitting high at 1650m above sea level, the ever-changing conditions can make this hike challenging but not to a put a downer on things, check the local forecasts and ensure you have the correct equipment and you’ll have a wonderful time!
This hut will definitely leave you wanting to see more of Nelson Lakes, and that is certainly what I was lucky enough to do, venturing down to Lake Rotoroa and along the Sabine Valley, coming to a spot which has over the last few years, has grown in fame.
Water clarity in New Zealand’s South Island is among the best in the world, with fresh water springs dotted around much of the place. Recent studies have shown that one lake in particular, Blue Lake has earned itself a deserving title of the clearest fresh-water lake in the world, quite a title right? If you took purified water, and looked horizontally whilst embodied in it, you would be able to see a whopping 83metres, blue lake, you would be able to see an outstanding 80 metres, pretty crazy right? The place is sacred to Maori, no drinking nor any swimming is allowed in the lake, which has greatly contributed, I believe, to its preservation and its purity. It’s a decent 40km hike to get to this place, the serenity of it is unexplainable. I’m really glad its hidden deep in the park, for it were at the side of the road, the mystery, the purity and the blissful environment when you’re there, would all be lost. Instead of going up and over the travers saddle, you would need to continue along the sabine valley, steadily climbing up into the basin that holds blue lake.
The rest of the trip consisted of venturing back along the sabine valley and climbing over the Travers saddle, a knee-busting climb which took us a couple of hours; reaching the top never felt so good. The summit of Mount Travers sat just above us as we gazed out to the surrounding ranges, a truly amazing scene. We began sidling down the other side of the saddle, making a pit-stop at an empty Travers hut before we heading along the Travers river, following it all the way out until eventually reaching our last stop, Lakehead hut. 7 days of wilderness came to an end when we reach Saint Arnaud, bringing to an end an amazing trip. The countless alpine lakes, the multiple endless ridgelines and valley-floors, gave me an amazing insight into just how extraordinary this place really is.