Mt Fyffe

Mt Fyffe

Mt Fyffe is a walk up one of the most prominent mountains near Kaikoura with easy access.  It can be done as a day walk or an overnight trek. It is not a hike to be missed if you are in the Kaikoura region.  In winter the walk offers spectacular views of the snowy mountains out to the west. It’s like New Zealand’s little Nepal.


8 hours


15.5 km


1400 m





In Detail

Getting There

The drive began from Christchurch following the inland route to Kaikoura. This route proved to be a long drive. The road was rough in places, but the coastal route had limited access at the time of walking due to earthquake damage. The road leading to the start of the track, just out of Kaikoura, follows along farmer’s road.  It is not marked on Google Maps but is signposted and can be navigated using a topographical map.


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The Journey

The track is wide and very easy to follow.  It’s not technical, rather steep and requires a granny gear to climb, starting right from the carpark.  Bush surrounds the track until you reach an altitude of 560m where you arrive at a clearing with views out to mountains south of Kaikoura.  This spot is the perfect place to take a breather, rehydrate and grab something to eat. Seats are positioned along the track, ideally positioned for a quick rest with a view..  As you climb higher there is a point where you look west and see the snow-capped Seaward Kaikoura Range.

Views looking out towards Snowflake and Mt Saunders

Mt Fyffe Hut

The sight of Mt Fyffe Hut is a relief. The hut sits elegantly above the Kaikoura peninsula in the east and towering Kaikoura Ranges in the west.  It is well catered; there is a small alcove to leave boots and any dirty gear, 8 bunks, and a fireplace to keep you warm. It brings a sense of calmness, looking out the window to see the city lights of Kaikoura glimmer in the night.

Mt Fyffe Hut

Mt Fyffe Summit

The climb from the hut had us skidding on snow soon after we left.  It was icy in the shadow of the trees and had us kicking steps right the way to the summit.   There were patches in the trees where you could peek out and see beautiful views of the ocean.  There is a spot at 1280m that has an incredible view, definitely a good photo opportunity.

On the way to the summit of Mt Fyffe the next morning

Getting onto the final ridge nearing the summit of Mt Fyffe, there was tree cover from a hedge. This ridge is quite exposed and could prove difficult in high winds.  Reaching the summit of Mt Fyffe is rewarding, and the views that greet you at the top make it all worth it. It is cold, so make sure you do take extra food and warm clothes for this part of the walk.

Up the snowy track towards Mt Fyffe

On top of Mt Fyffe there are a couple of benches where you can sit and admire the view.  It was cold. With a strong wind blowing in our faces, it wasn’t long before we headed back down.  If you are staying at the hut and you have some time, pick up a few branches that are around in the pine forest and store it inside the hut.  Every little bit of wood helps when you are up here in the winter. Later, we cleaned the hut and made our way back down to the car.

Returning to Mt Fyffe Hut with a small bundle of firewood

The Return

Being such a steep climb the descent took it out on our legs, our knees suffering the most.  The time taken to get down was much less than that taken to climb. Although it was easier to take in the views as we were walking down, I think we were keener on a warm shower.  Attempting this in winter meant shorter days. By the time we were close to the car it would have been around 4 pm and be getting dark.

The sunset coming on as we descended to the carpark

The Debrief

All in all, it was a trip with incredible views.  It could be done as a day trip for the fit and energetic kind, however, if you are travelling from further afield Mt Fyffe hut provides an easy night’s accommodation.  The views right the way up to the top of Mt Fyffe are so incredible in beautiful weather conditions. It is really cold up in the mountains so make sure to pack plenty of warm gear if you do attempt this in the winter months.  It is best to do in good weather, as the mountain is exposed in places. If you’re a mountain climber this is definitely one to add to the bucket list.

Sunset and the final stride of the Mt Fyffe track