We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliott
Location: Matukituki Valley, Mt. Aspiring National Park, South Island, New Zealand
Elevation: 1,200m (3,937ft)
Difficulty level: Advanced
Trail length: 30km (18.6mi)
Elevation gain: 700m (2,296ft)
Camping / Huts: Yes / Yes (scroll down for more info)
Date hiked: 2011
This hike has two modes; chilled out ambling and knee breaking scrambling. Both really fun and the latter leads to an epic sense of accomplishment. Liverpool hut isn’t quite as high as French Ridge hut but it makes up for it with the steepness and slippery shale. Your reward is a beautiful view of Mt. Aspiring and the valley below, best appreciated from the bathroom. . . Read more of my Liverpool Track story + see spoiler photos
Description: 2-3 day hike
Day 1: Raspberry Creek carpark/parking lot to Aspiring Hut - Time: 2hrs / Distance 9km (5.6mi). Easy walk through beautiful farmland.
Day 2: Aspiring Hut to Liverpool Hut - Time: 4.5 - 5.5hrs / Distance: 11km (6.8mi). Easy walk for the first 1.5hrs then a very steep climb up to the hut.
Day 3: Liverpool Hut to Raspberry Creek carpark/parking lot - Time: 7 - 8hrs / Distance: 20km (12.4mi). Say goodbye to your knees after this day.
1. DEFINITELY take walking sticks! We only had one walking stick between the two of us, but an everyday hero in the Mt Aspiring Hut took pity on us enthusiastic amateurs and lent us 2 more. Which turned out to be a real life-saver, since the 3hr ascent/descent to Liverpool hut is often not described accurately as a 110-degree angle ascent/descent. It’s infinitely helpful for safely balancing your weight, not rolling down the mountain disgracefully, and taking some of the beatings off of your old joints (we were 27, still).
Bob: There is a quite scary bit where there are exposed shale and rock sections with a huge drop to what looks like the valley floor. It is near the top of the track and even the seasoned mountaineers that we met at the hut thought it was dangerous. Take extreme care if it is wet and slippery and stick as far left as possible away from the loose shale. Also, take a spare days worth of food as you may get stuck at Liverpool hut for an extra night if the weather closes in!
2. Download the Maps.me, Waze, or Google Maps app and download the route beforehand.
Trail: At times it's a well-maintained, hard-packed dirt or rocky trail. Other times it's very loose, slippery shale.
Organize before hike:
1) Lodge an Intentions Form at the DOC (Department of Conservation). This is required, and if you miss returning on your specified date, someone besides your Mom will worry about you and hopefully arrange a rescue
2) Buy hut passes for Mt Aspiring Hut & Liverpool Hut, get the latest weather report and hire an emergency beacon from the DOC in Wanaka
3) Track transport- Organise transport to and from the Raspberry Creek carpark. If you have a hire car, just drive there! It takes about 1hr from Wanaka