A popular hill walk near St Arnaud is the Mt Robert loop which takes walkers up Pourangahau / Mt Robert a few kilometres southeast of the town. The 9km loop is comprised of two tracks: Paddy’s Track, a gentle trail passing Bushline Hut; and the lower section of Pinchgut Track which consists of steep switchbacks to the roadend carpark. We wanted a less steep trail so opted to take Paddy’s Track up to Relax shelter near the summit and return the same way (11km total).
The trail climbs up high above the lake, granting panoramic views across the entire regionThe party passes over a saddle near Bushline HutA walker crests the hill near Bushedge Shelter, about to tackle the steep downhill of Pinchgut TrackNeedle ice was present along much of the track. It's the first time I've experienced it.
Back in St Arnaud
We were only in town for a couple of nights but enjoyed heading down to Lake Rotoiti which was a short walk from our accomodation. I already want to come back to this region, possibly for some fast-packing in summer - there are so many interesting longer trails to explore.
Meeting the local longfin eels (tuna kuwharuwharu). They are friendly and squishy. I researched more about these creatures and learnt they can live to 60 years old before swimming to Tonga to breed.A night walk didn't reveal any kiwi, but a narrow layer of dense fog settled over the lake making for dramatic sights