"There is nothing like taking that first step into a foreign world, and the great unknown that lies beyond it."

Fiordlands National Park. Gertrude Saddle, Homer Saddle, Peak attempts

Fiordlands National Park. Gertrude Saddle, Homer Saddle, Peak attempts

Gertrude Saddle, Homer Saddle and peak attempts. 

Whether you plan on hiking solely the Te Araroa or not you shouldn't leave New Zealand without seeing the Fiordlands.

Though these hikes were not multi-day and not on the Te Araroa trail they were in my opinion the most scenic of the all of the New Zealand hikes. The Darren Mountain range is simply spectacular. Both Gertrude saddle and homer saddle were only about 3 hours walk each way but required scrambling in some sections. The goal was to attempt Muir peak off of homer saddle and Talbot peak off of Gertrude saddle but the conditions were a bit snowy and icy and we didn’t have ice axes or crampons with us. The views from these saddles were mighty! In every direction you could see layer upon layer of granite walls, snowy peaks and glacier carved valleys.  
I attached a few pictures of the routes we took for the peak attempts. If you are a climber you will want to spend a lot of time in this region. I already know I will be back.

View from Gertrude Saddle, before Mt. Talbot peak attempt.

View from Gertrude Saddle, before Mt. Talbot peak attempt.

Heading up to Homer Saddle

Heading up to Homer Saddle

If you are down this way check out Milford Sound. Yes, it is touristy, but it's gorgeous!

If you are down this way check out Milford Sound. Yes, it is touristy, but it's gorgeous!

The route for the attempt up Macpherson over Homer Saddle

The route for the attempt up Macpherson over Homer Saddle

Lots of snow near Gertrude Saddle

Lots of snow near Gertrude Saddle

Attempting Mt. Talbot from Gertrude Saddle, but without ropes and crampons it wasn't possible because of recent snow and ice.

Attempting Mt. Talbot from Gertrude Saddle, but without ropes and crampons it wasn't possible because of recent snow and ice.

End of the day cheese and wine reward. This spot we found near Homer Hut.

End of the day cheese and wine reward. This spot we found near Homer Hut.

Check out the moon rising over the saddle!!

Check out the moon rising over the saddle!!

Nothing like blue bird days and mountain lake reflections

Nothing like blue bird days and mountain lake reflections

Queenstown to Wanaka and the Motatapu Track 3 days. 130 Kilometers.

Queenstown to Wanaka and the Motatapu Track 3 days. 130 Kilometers.

Mountaineering week!

Mountaineering week!