My New Zealand adventures continue as I head down to Kaikoura to hike Mount Fyffe.
Overlooking the seaside town of Kaikoura is Mount Fyffe, a 1,602 meter (5,256 feet) tall mountain. Kaikoura is about halfway between Christchurch and my current home of Blenheim on the South Island of New Zealand. At the time of my hike I did not own a car so I booked a bus from Blenheim down to Kaikoura. The ride was beautiful as I traveled along the coast and saw the mountains rising up from the sea. A long time ago New Zealand was actually underwater until powerful earthquakes pushed the islands up from the seafloor. In 2016 there was 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Kaikoura that destroyed the railway and highway into the town. As the bus neared the town there was a lot of construction work continuing as the highway is still being rebuilt.
Once in Kaikoura I was faced with a 13km (8 mi) walk to the Mount Fyffe carpark. So I stuck my thumb out and began walking. It wasn’t long until a nice woman in her sixties picked me up and took me halfway to my destination. I thanked her and assumed the position once more. In New Zealand it is very common to hitchhike and there are many backpackers who get around the country in this way. A van full of hikers pulled up and took me the rest of the way to the carpark. The other hikers happened to me from Michigan and were attending some sort university courses in Kaikoura. It was funny to see other Michiganders on the other side of the world!
At the carpark I began my hike up Mount Fyffe. The trail was a wide four-wheel drive track that climbed endlessly. The views were incredible overlooking the plains at the foot of the mountain that extended to the ocean. Kaikoura sat off in the distance on its small peninsula.
I continued climbing up and up until I eventually reached the Mount Fyffe Hut. It was a small shelter for overnighters but was empty. From there the trail became a single track and climbed ever higher. It wasn’t long before I reached the summit. The view was spectacular with the ocean below and Kaikoura in the distance. And behind me were the mountains of the Seaward Kaikoura Range.
The Kaikoura Range are two parallel mountain ranges in the northeast of the South Island. The Seaward Range is the eastern range closest to the sea while the closer to the sea while the Inland Range is to the west and closer to my town. On top of Mount Fyffe I could see the snowcapped peaks of the Seaward Range and the tallest, Mount Manakua.
After taking in the views and wishing that the saddle from Mount Fyffe extended to the snowcapped peaks, I decided to hike back down. I wished I had my trekking poles because it was hard on the knees to descend for thousands of feet. After hitching a ride back to the town of Kaikoura, I indulged in some beers and enjoyed the views of the Kaikoura Range from the ocean. New Zealand continues to amaze me!
Total Time: 5-6 hours
Total Distance: 10.6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,950 feet
I’ve been listening to “Stargazing” by Kygo for the last few months, especially on my way to work and on my hikes.
From apparel to prints, grab some awesome trail merch at the A Stray Life Shop!
To follow along with my adventures, sign up via email below or like/follow on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube: