Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

I’ve been a bit slack with the blog posts over the past couple of months – and I’d like to think (ok, my excuse is) that I’ve been climbing a few personal mountains lately; new job, moving house etc. They’ve been sucking up my travel blog time like a black hole.

It's all down hill from here
Anyway, that clichéd analogy got me thinking about the mountains I actually have climbed. I don’t fancy myself as a hiker so it’s not a long list, but I do intend to add to it in the future. I thought I’d share it with you because, lets face it, there’s nothing like feeling as though you want to quit at the bottom of a climb, and surprising yourself when you get to the top!

Little Mount Peel, South Canterbury, New Zealand

Firstly, I’d like to point the ‘little’ in Little Mount Peel ain’t so small. It must be something about New Zealanders living in a country with so many mountains that made then want to call this monster ’Little’ Mount Peel. The peak actually has an older sibling, Mount Peel, which is actually is bigger. Fair enough.

Little Mount Peel, New Zealand
Little Mount Peel is located around 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island Peel Forest Park. If your fitness is ok you’ll probably get up and back in about three hours. We did the walk in summer, so it was pretty steamy while walking through the dense scrub at the bottom, but take a jacket; the higher you go the lower the temperature gets. The track can be pretty rugged and muddy in places, especially if there’s been recent rain, so wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

The track is steep in places, and you may need to stop for the occasional breather if you aren’t used to climbing, but the view is SO worth it.

Murree Hills, Punjab Province, Pakistan

I was lucky enough to visit Pakistan when I was a teenager in 1997. It was a somewhat different country back then, but even at that stage I appreciated how lucky I was to visit such an exotic, and sometimes, scary place.

Murree Hills, Pakistan
 The view from the Murree Hills over the disputed Kashmiri border still remains one of the most exotic views I’ve ever seen in my life. The hills were dark green and almost mystical looking, with low cloud swirling the peaks. Ok, I didn’t actually climb the mountains with my legs, most of it was done from the relative safety of the 4WD with my uncle, aunt and cousins, but there was some walking. With the travel sickness and the 4WD winding round and round the misty, mountain road, I still felt like I climbed the damn thing.

Mount Warning, northern New South Wales, Australia

Located about 40 minutes drive from the Gold Coast, Mount Warning is a great climb, with a good track and rainforest view. The mountain is also known as Wollumbin (meaning cloud catcher), and has great cultural and traditional significance to indigenous Australians.

Mount Warning
Due to the often warm and humid climate of northern New South Wales, the ideal time to climb Mount Warning is early in the morning or during the winter months. It’s also a bit of a gamble as to the view you’ll see when you get to the top. Even if it’s a clear sunny day, Mount Warning can often attract low cloud, hence the indigenous name, over its peak. Mostly, you’ll get great views, even on the way up, but it’s good to keep in mind your end result is completely reliant on the whims of nature.

The last part of the climb is rock face, and all you have to assist you up the top is a chain. It’s not as primitive as it sounds, but you have to be pretty mobile to finish the climb comfortably.

Mount Kosciuszko, New South Wales, Australia

I climbed Mount Kosuiszko as a teenager too, so I probably remember it being easier than it was, although you don’t need to be a professional athlete to complete this hike and still be able to walk the next day.

Kosuiszko National Park
I did the climb during spring so the track was conveniently free of snow, (in winter it’s one of Australia’s best ski slopes) and we followed a nature boardwalk virtually all the way to the top. The view rivals any I’ve ever seen in terms of absolute 360-degree views of Australia’s beautiful Snowy Mountains landscape. It’s also relatively easy on the way back down, which means you’ll still have lots of energy left to explore the tiny ski village of Thredbo.

On my to do list I have the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Have you done any of these? I’d love to hear about it if you have. What’s on your mountain list?


  1. We climbed Pacaya Volcano in Antigua, Guatemala in 2009 - it was pretty big climb that came with amazing views. We were able to get so close to the lava we actually toasted marshmallows! We then climbed/slid back down as night fell... an interesting yet great adventure! Peachy :)

  2. Wow! Sounds like an amazing experience! How fantstic that you cooked mashmellows on ACTUAL lava. You're much braver than me :)