Stunning views make hike worthwhile


It’s not one of Mid Canterbury’s best known walks, but a hike up Mt Barrosa (1364 m) offers a good work out and outstanding views of the high country.

Located 17 km west of Mount Somers, the walking track starts from a small car park 500m east of Blowing Point Bridge on the road to Ashburton Gorge and the vast Hakatere Conservation Park.

The climb up starts off steady and crosses a clear flowing stream twice before the calves are tested with some steeper climbing.

There are few zig zag or flatter sections for a breather in the first hour of climbing, but progress is direct and you can see the poles marking the track high above you.

Watch out for the nasty sharp Spaniard grass as you climb. It grows in profusion and you often feel it before you see it as you follow the path.

The climb rewards you with views of the Ashburton River, Lakes Emma, Camp and Clearwater, as well as a number of lofty peaks including Aoraki/Mount Cook.

When you reach the fenceline on your right, you know you are on the final approach and will follow it to the summit.

The summit itself disappoints a bit and is a plateau rather than a peak, but the views around are impressive, especially those to the left looking out to the vast high country and Ashburton lakes.

The distance to the summit is 3.5 km and it will take most people between two and three hours.

The wind can be gusty on the ridges, so care and the right gear is needed just in case.

There are some short sections of loose stones on the descent, but the way down is quicker than the climb up and the views once again make it all worthwhile.

-By Mick Jensen