Mount Aspiring National Park: Places to go in Otago

Mt Aspiring National Park
Image: Jamie Muchall | Creative Commons


Mount Aspiring National Park is a wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers.


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A concession is required to use a drone on conservation land

  • New Zealand's third largest national park (355,543 hectares)
  • Part of Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area 
  • 59 bird species have been recorded (45 native and 14 introduced) 
  • Over 400 species of moths and butterflies exist 
  • The three largest of 100 glaciers in the region flank Mount Aspiring itself 
  • Nearly all the landforms in the park have been formed by intense glaciation
  • Location for Isengard - see Lord of the Rings filming locations

Place overview


  • Camping
  • Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Skiing and ski touring
  • Walking and tramping


  • Visitor centre

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Mount Aspiring National Park

About track difficulties
About hut categories

Climbing / Skiing and ski touring 

Most of the park's alpine areas lie over the Southern Alps. Glacier and high alpine adventures are popular but suitable only for experienced trampers/mountaineers with the appropriate equipment. Mountaineering, ski touring, ice climbing, rock climbing and abseiling are possible within the area.


Brown and rainbow trout are found in the Matukituki and Makarora area’s rivers.

There are limited opportunities for trout fishing in the mid Rees, and in some tributaries and parts of the Dart River. There is a limited open season from 1 November to 31 May with a bag limit of one fish.

Fishing licences can be obtained from Fish & Game NZ.

Walking and tramping

Short walks abound and are usually concentrated at the access roadends at the Matukituki Valley and Glenorchy. Short walks along the Haast Pass highway on SH6 have the easiest access to the flora and fauna in the park. The Routeburn is one of many excellent tramping tracks.

The Rees-Dart river circuit, Gillespie Pass Circuit, Greenstone and Caples tracks and the Wilkin Valley are wonderful valley walks, with options to continue over higher passes and into alpine areas. In summer these tracks are suitable for people of average fitness and experience. The West Matukituki Valley hosts a choice of huts with exceptional views.

In winter many tracks are impassable or require alpine skills. It is possible to take a guided walk on the Gillespie Pass, Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks.

Other activities

Jetboat trips can be enjoyed on a number of the park's larger rivers such as the Dart and the Wilkin.

Aerial sightseeing by helicopter or fixed-wing plane is available from Haast, Makarora, Wanaka, Queenstown and Glenorchy.

Scenic driving

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    About this place

    Getting there

    Mt Aspiring National Park straddles the southern end of the Southern Alps. The closest towns are Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy and Te Anau. It is one of New Zealand's larger parks at 355,543 ha and it lies alongside the largest, Fiordland National Park.

    In the northwest the park is traversed by SH6. Good tramping tracks and short walks can be accessed from the small settlement of Makarora between Haast and Wanaka.

    Roads also lead to main access points from Wanaka, Queenstown/Glenorchy and Te Anau. Local transport services run to most of these access points, including a boat service from Glenorchy to the Greenstone Valley, and the following services from Wanaka:

    Alpine ConneXions
    Phone +64 3 443 7966
    Daily scheduled shuttle services to tracks within the Mount Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka region. 

    Wanaka River Journeys
    Phone +64 3 443 4416
    Jet boat transport to Rob Roy Glacier and Mount Aspiring National Park walks from Wanaka.

    Bus services to Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau are frequent. Queenstown has an airport with regular services and Wanaka airport services domestic flights.

    Know before you go

    If you use the track system in the park for overnight trips, make sure you are properly equipped and well prepared.

    Make sure your group has a capable leader and that everyone is carrying a sleeping bag, cooking utensils, sufficient high energy food (with some extra for emergencies), a waterproof raincoat and overtrousers, gloves, a hat, and several layers of warm (wool or fleece) clothing.

    There is avalanche danger during winter and spring (June-November) on the Rob Roy Track, Cascade Saddle Route and Pearl Flat to the head of the valley.

    Check in at any of the local DOC offices for the latest information on weather and track conditions. 

    Follow the outdoor safety code

    Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.


    Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 443 7660
    Address:   Ardmore Street
    Wanaka 9305
    Full office details
    Whakatipu-wai-Māori / Queenstown Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 442 7935
    Address:   50 Stanley Street
    Full office details
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