Cape Brett Hut ..
Love lighthouses? Check out this spot! It’s awesome!! It’s a water taxi return off the trail or a wee drive from Pahia, but if you want to spend more time in the Bay of Islands I’d totally recommend it. Plus, its a good excuse for a boat ride (you could incorporate your return water taxi to get you to the track again at the head of the Waikare Inlet).
Mt Manaia ..
Poking around for more good views in the Whangarei Heads area before heading across the harbour? This is an awesome wee mountain right off the track before McLeods Bay. It’s of volcanic origins and will give you 360 views worth more than its 420m peak.
Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) ..
Sadly for me, life has conspired against me getting to this top spot despite passing it at least twice. It’s right off the track, part way across the Tongariro Crossing. If the weathers right, get up this peak, it’s awesome!! It’s our famous ‘Mt Doom’ from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And its a volcano! Volcanoes are just way cool, and your surrounded by them in this area.
Lake Angelus Hut ..
This place is just a total gem. It’s actually surreal! In a high alpine basin, beside a beautiful lakes its practically a must do. It’s accessed directly off the track as an up and back, or you can go an alternative route through here and link back up with the TA.
Avalanche Peak ..
Head for heights? Nerves of steel? This side trips for you! It’s a day walk up and back from Arthurs Pass Village and the last wee section to the peak itself is knarly to say the least. If the conditions are right, check it out. If not, its a big fall from the top in a gust of wind, or a slippery footing! The views are insane though and you’ll likely see (if you haven’t already) our cheeky Kea 🙂
Mt John ..
Just a wee leg stretch of a side trip this one, but beautiful views. Head up here on a clear night to view the famous McKenzie Country’s night sky. This is accessed directly from the track at Lake Tekapo.
Mueller Hut ..
Now, this ones a hitch hike and back off the track, or other alternative transport but I recommend it highly! It’ll get you amongst a mountaineering environment without the dangers of being in one (late summer / autumn is the generally safe time regarding avalanches – check with DOC). It’s in the National Park of our highest mountain – Mt Cook. It’s a really pretty village.
Roys Peak ..
Directly off the Glendhu Bay track leaving Wanaka this peak has views to die for! Get up here, it’s well worth it.
My situation conspired against me attempting this one as I had to turn back due weather at the saddle. It’s apparently an amazing view from the top, and it was certainly pretty good at the saddle. I saw Keas up here too 🙂 The track starts in Queenstown heading out Fernhill way, or you can cheat the first 300m and start from the top of the gondola. On the way back down have the buffet dinner here (at the gondola restaurant). It’s awesome high quality food!! And obviously for a TA hiker all you can eat just adds more points!