Family Hiking : The Remarkables
The Rastusburn recreational area is home to the Remarkables Ski field and whilst in Winter is a frequent destination for the family as we hit the slopes, in Summer it has multiple recreational options such as day treks, rock climbing, backcountry hikes and mountain biking (not for the faint hearted or unfit)
After parking at the base building carpark (along with plenty of other adventure seekers) instead of heading directly towards Lake Alta which is on a well formed trail our plan was to walk to the lookout located at the top of Shadow Basin and view out across lake Wakatipu and Queenstown from an elevation of 2025m. We would then look to traverse across and up to the top of the Sunshine Face ridge then drop down to Lake Alta, possibly have a swim then head back to the base building and car.
We headed out from the carpark and went up…straight up, no tracks or trails here, just a rocky and tussocky slope of around 40 degrees. If you look at a remarks ski field trail map we were on the right hand side of the valley floor run. Getting to the top of this ridge put us to the right of mid-station bowl so we veered right and followed the ridge line up and broke for a snack just below the top of mid station bowl (1850m) Leaving from there we broke further right with a gentler incline and came to the entry point to Homeward Bound ski run.
There is a “cat track” that is groomed in Winter to allow access known as the “Highway”. We walked up the highway (a change from the Winter months when we ride down it) and this took us to the top of the chairlift line. The boys veered off right and headed straight up to the top of the Remarks and a collection of antennae/solar panels scrambling up rock and tussock.The girls (and Striker our dog) took the more sedate worn path to the lookout. At the top was windy and although sunny the temperature did drop (we were at 2000m) so we descended and bivvied for lunch under some some rocks to give shelter.
Given the wind the general consensus was to head down rather than carry on higher and over to Alta so after a little more rock-hopping we followed the Shadow Basin chairlift down to the tarn at the bottom of “shady lady” run. Rather than follow the service access track down we took the more direct route down following the discharge from the tarn which gives rise to the ski run “waterfall” .This was more tussock bashing and rock hopping and we were back on terra firma around 100m from where we left the car 4 hours earlier. The kids held up really well, in fact they decided which way we would head down and although Striker had to be carried in places she enjoyed her big doggy adventure.
There are many more options up there for easy and more technical treks and loops of which we will continue to explore.