In the shadow of Mt Rolleston...On my way back from my recon of the Otira River I took the opportunity to go for a walk up the Otira Valley. The Otira Valley track can be located just over Arthur's Pass on the West Coast side of the mountains. The track goes up valley to the Northern face of Mt Rolleston and is an easy and very beautiful walk of about 2-2.5 hours duration.
|Map of the Otira Valley track and surrounding area|
Walking the Otira Valley Track
|Otira Valley from the car park on SH73|
|Otira Valley car park, with Arthur's Pass in background|
|DOC track sign, start of the Otira Valley Track|
|Start of Otira Valley Track, Arthurs Pass NP|
|View to West from the Otira Valley Track|
|Track junction, Otira Valley Track - Lake Misery Track|
|Otira Valley avalanche warning...oh yes...they are not kidding!|
|Looking west to SH73 from Otira Valley Track|
|Rocky section of the Otira Valley Track|
|View onto alpine tussock land, Otira Valley|
|View towards Temple Basin Ski field|
|Close up of Temple Basin from the Otira Valley|
|View of the massive bluffs, west side of Otira Valley|
|Pt 1728 from the Otira Valley Track|
|Otira Valley, 250+ meter bluffs around Mt Philistine|
|View down to the footbridge in the upper Otira Valley|
|Numerous waterfalls on Eastern side of Otira Valley Track|
Common Mountain Lilly, Celmisia semicordata which are endemic to the Otira Valley. There are certainly a lot of them growing in this area.
|Common Mountain Lilly, Celmisia semicordata|
|Close up of |
Common Mountain Lilly, Celmisia semicordata
|Small stream, Otira Valley Track|
|Waterfall on the East side of Otira Valley Track|
|Beautiful pool in the Upper Otira River|
Who wants to be squashed by a couple of thousand tonnes of rock and snow? Not me!
|Footbridge over the Otira River...start of the mountaineering route!|
|Western side of Otira Valley near bridge...|
|Warning sign, Otira Valley Track|
I headed back down to the bridge and stopped for a late lunch before starting back to the trail head.
|Heading into the Upper Otira Valley...|
|Pt 1728 on the far side of SH 73 from the Otira Valley Track|
|Crossing rock fall path, Otira Valley Track|
It can be climbed from the northern side but the common route is up the Crow Face which is on the southern, more gentle side of the mountain.
|Mt Rolleston, 2275m from the Otira Valley Track|
|Jon Moake, with Mt Rolleston in the background|
|View from my high point, Otira Valley Track|
|Terminus of Otira Valley Track, from Annette Woodfords site|
|Lunch at the bridge, Otira Valley Track|
|View of Upper Otira Valley from lunch spot|
It is awesome to see them in their natural setting.
|Fist sized chunks of Pounamu embedded in rock in the Otira Valley|
Access: Track starts just to the west of Arthur's Pass on SH73, there is a small car-park on the left of the road
Track Times: 1.5 hours to the foot bridge over the Otira River, another 1-1.5 hours to the cirque at the base of Mt Rolleston, same to return.
Miscellaneous:Extreme avalanche danger in Spring/Winter along all of this track. Do not enter the valley in heavy rain or after a late Spring snow storm. I'm really not joking...it looks ok but is awesomely dangerous until the snow pack melts.