New Zealand Hiking and Camping – Alex Knob Track and Franz Josef Glacier

Hiking, or tramping through temperate rain forests, lush beech forests, up snowcapped peaks and immense glaciers, or even to stretches of clear white sandy beaches makes New Zealand a great destination for hikers who wants to experience a little of everything.

In this article, we will be sharing our hiking and camping experience to Alex Knob summit (1,303m), located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South island.? The National Park covers 1320 sq km, and is split by the alpine fault, and home to?Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe and Franz Josef Glacier/K? Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

The Alex Knob Track is named after a famous mountain guide and hotelier, Alexander Graham (Alec). This is a 17.2km hike from the Wombat Lake Trail to the summit of Alex Knob and return, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the Franz Josef Glacier, the Waiho River and valley and the Tasman Sea, set against a backdrop of massive mountain ranges. This is typically done as a day hike, but we decided to make it an overnight hike to spice things up a little!

Here we start our exciting journey through the lush rain forest with our backpack and camping gear! What makes this trek exciting, is that there are a couple of large fallen trees on the trail that one will have to scoot under or climb over/around. Definitely a full body workout!

In this region, afternoon cloud is often a feature of the local weather, and cloud begins to obscure the views. We met a couple of hikers descending and everyone told us they did not see any views up there today because of the clouds. Nevertheless, we kept on going with our fingers crossed, and admire the amazing flora and fauna surrounding us.

After hiking byChristmas Lookout and Rata Lookout, we finally got to the top of the treeline, and reach the summit at 1,303m after 4 hours. Unfortunately, visibility was still low amidst the low-lying clouds when we got there.

Time to set up our home for tonight and nothing beats a nice hot meatball dinner after a hard day’s work!

Is that the sun trying to break through the fog?

“Look behind you!” I exclaimed excitedly. What we saw over the next few minutes just blew our minds.

I was immediately reminded of a quote that I have read before, “Never give up hope because your miracle could be right around the corner.” That was exactly how I felt when I saw the clouds clearing and the peak of the mountain range emerged in front of us when moments ago, we were just surrounded in a thick fog.

The next morning, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a sea of clouds.

After packing up, with light-hearted footsteps, we started our descent.

Is this the same spot that we were standing on yesterday? What a view! Glad we camped out yesterday night and got a chance to see this after all!

Interested to explore other treks in New Zealand in other National Parks? Looking to have an adventure of your lifetime? Contact us at info@wildfirexpeditions.com and speak to us now to see how we can make it happen!

About Author

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Meiqi Liu
Meiqi Liu ? Senior Travel Consultant, Trekking Lead, Lead Rock Climbing Guide: Meiqi@wildfirexpeditions.com I have always been someone who loves to challenge myself and pushing myself to the limits as I know I have more to give. That is how I first got into marathon running over 10 years ago and am still doing this on an annual basis, proving mind over body prevails. Being from Singapore, I began escaping to Nepal with friends at a young age. I fell in love with the mountains, hiking, trekking, camping, and all that nature has to offer. Hiking is not entirely about summiting the peak, it is also about enjoying the process with either with like-minded friends, or with the joy of being by yourself. With the lack of mountains in Singapore, I got into sport climbing, but always striving for ways to take these skills outdoors. Looking at how ?graceful? climbers are on the wall really inspires me.