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Mount Aspiring National Park - Among the waterfalls of the misty mountains - New Zealand

Now they rode away amid songs of farewell and good speed, with their hearts ready for more adventure, and with a knowledge of the road they must follow over the Misty Mountains to the land beyond.

The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

New Zealand is the land where the high mountains of the south meet the dramatic fjords and desolate wilderness. One of the places that appear in the "Lord of the Rings" films is Mount Aspiring National Park on New Zealand's South Island. A national park that offers wonderful hikes and truly fabulous landscapes among misty and rainy mountains.

The misty mountains of Mount Aspiring

Mount Aspire National Park is located on New Zealand's south-west South Island and is the country's third largest national park. The national park is named after the 3.033 meter high mountain Mount Aspiring, which in clear weather is present everywhere in the area.

The largest part of the national park is inaccessible wilderness that can basically only be reached by helicopter, but it is possible to experience many of the national park's most beautiful places from Haast highway. The Haast highway takes you through the national park from the tourist-dense town of Wanaka to the coastal town of Haast through lush rainforest, wild rivers, snow-capped mountains and misty ridges.

Blue pool's magical waters in Mount Aspiring
Blue Polish

There are plenty of hiking trails along the Haast highway, so it's important to start the day early to make it to all the stops. The actual drive from Wanaka to Haast takes just over 2 hours, but the hikes and stops can easily take another 8 hours.

One of the most popular hikes is the 3-kilometer round trip trail to Blue Polish. A hike that takes you over suspension bridges to natural blue (and icy) pools at the mouths of two rivers. Expect to stay for a while at the blue pools, the stop can easily take 1,5 hours.

Suspension bridge in Mount Aspiring

Two other stops down the road that shouldn't be missed are Fantail falls and Thundercreek falls, two wild waterfalls that spread magical water mist in a large area around the falls.

Summer (ie Swedish winter time) is the best time to visit Mount Aspiring, but be prepared for changeable weather during the short summer. It is not unusual to have four seasons on the same day and it often rains. The annual rainfall in the area is between 300 mm and 8000 mm.

Waterfall in Mount Aspiring
Fantail falls
The misty mountains of Mount Aspiring
Ferns in Mount Aspiring
Misty hills of Mount Aspiring
The forest
A private white beach in New Zealand
Beautiful water in Mount Aspiring
Gnarled roots in Mount Aspiring
Waterfall in Mount Aspiring
Thundercreek falls
Waterfall in Mount Aspiring
Misty mountains in Mount Aspiring
This greenery! Mount Aspiring
Blue River in Mount Aspiring
Snow-capped mountains in Mount Aspiring
Rocky beaches of Mount Aspiring
Foggy mountains
Hiking trail in Mount Aspiring
Mossy rocks in Mount Aspiring
Suspension bridges in Mount Aspiring
Rocky beaches of Mount Aspiring
The forest in the national park
Blue water in Mount Aspiring
Lush vegetation
Blue pools in Mount Aspiring
Waterfall in Mount Aspiring
Mossy branches in Mount Aspiring
Blue pools in Mount Aspiring
Blue water in Mount Aspiring
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About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.


  • Sushi
    7 April, 2020 at 13: 15

    New Zealand is absolutely fantastic! Your pictures also give the country justice, good job! 🙂

    • Eva Gyllenberg
      7 April, 2020 at 23: 03

      Thank you! Truly a lovely country, hope to return there again – have so much more to discover!

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