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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

The Buchanan Peaks

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Going on these adventures has been really good for me.

They provide a new perspective, away from the day to day stress.

Away from distractions and closer to the clouds.

Up here I have room to clear my head, I'm able to challenge myself and feel accomplished (as well as a little overwhelmed at times)😅

That being said I've always managed to get myself through those moments and I think I'm better for it.

I've been looking at bigger things the last couple of months. Whether that meant taller,further or trickier I've wanted to push myself more.

The Buchanan Peaks are nestled in behind Lake Wanaka and watch over this little paradise.

They caught my eye recently as I was browsing for another two thousand meter mountain.

I began my walk at the end of West Wanaka road, following the Minaret burn track lakeside for about 10 kms.

I passed a couple of little beaches and took a lunch break before heading up the Rumbling Burn track along to Daniels Spur.

This section of the track started fairly overgrown and before I knew it I was bashing my way through seven foot tall scrub.

Scratched up, dirty, sticky and convinced there must have been a better way I carried on😂

It's worth mentioning that once the Rumbling Burn comes to an end you're on your own across the mountainside, there's no track.

I had a breif description and route from someone a few of years back as my guide.

By the time I'd reached a thousand metres the terrain was predominantly tussock, the ground was crispy and steep.

As I gained elevation I kept an eye out for a broken fence line that would lead me towards Low Peak.

The weight of my bag was beginning to wear on me and I set up camp just before 5pm.

I pitched my tent at fourteen hundred metres, in a fairly flat spot with a few rises nearby to protect me from any strong winds.

I changed into my spare clothes, aired out what I could and took an edible to unwind😶‍🌫️

I slept with the doors of my tent open, under the mosquito net.

My sleeping bag is made for colder temperatures and I often end up overheating in huts so the brisk air was quite refreshing.

I could hear Kea in the distance and hoped they wouldn't dive bomb me for my food through the night 🙏😂

I woke as the sun started peering over distant hills, boiled some water for a coffee and packed up heading for a nearby tarn to top up my fluids.

This didn't take too long at all,

I threw a couple of aqua tabs in my bottles and continued up to Low peak.

It was another cloudless day in Central Otago, the sun was scorching, dirty water never tasted so good.

I took a break on Low Peak to plot my route across the remaining two.

In the distance I spotted a man heading my way, we got acquainted and after a little back and forth I discovered he was significantly more experienced than me.

It was reassuring to know that he wouldn't be far behind if I felt uneasy about anything.

Mid Peak required a bit of climbing but did level off a couple of times which gave me a chance to look through my photos and find the best way up by identifying rocks at a distance.

This proved to be really helpful as the gradient obstructed my view.


High peak looked daunting.

I made my way up the ridge,pausing before it's most arduous section.

I took off my pack and wandered around the hillside looking for the best path up,

Unsure I waited for guidance from my friend.

He didn't even flinch at what had stumped me so I decided to follow his lead.

We cut across the tussock a little more before shooting up, trading war stories kept my mind off the drop below me.

I was so glad to have found someone else up here right now😅

As the incline rounded off I knew we weren't far from our summit, at this height the snow is still hanging in there despite the blazing sun😂


From High Peak I could see it all,

Including a couple of other things on my to do list😏

My friend and I reveled in our sorroundings for a bit before we figured it was time we parted ways.

He was going back to his campsite at the Minaret burn end and I headed downhill towards a farm track that would take me back to my car.


Between the top of the farm track and High Peak would've been a lot tougher to navigate in the opposite direction, I was happy to have done my loop the way I did.

I could see where I was going and knew I'd have a clear path to my car.

The day began to drag on as I walked back, the sun was high and shade was scarce.

It was still too early in the day for the mountains to take some of the heat off me😅

I kicked rocks and zoned out to a podcast before coming to the conclusion I had miscalculated how long this road was🤦🏻‍♂️

I thought it was somewhere in the 10km range, it was more like 20kms😂

What I would've given to see a sympathetic farmer in a side by side,

All I really saw was antsy farm animals that I did my absolute best not to disturb 😅

By 8:30 I'd arrived at my car, I was a zombie who'd worried his mother sick.

See I told here I'd be home by 5😂

I called in my dinner as soon as I got into reception and proceeded to Firebird Wanaka, I sent mum a text to put her mind at ease then parked up by the lake to take in my mountain, alongside some hard earned nourishment🍗🍔🍟

It was a big weekend and I had done absolutely no life admin, but I had the rest of the week to get week in order🤷🏻‍♂️

This weekend was well spent.

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