Tussockland Park

My latest trip with the walking group was in the Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park. It was the gentlest of strolls, firstly through low valley fog, later (fortunately) in sunshine with a cooling breeze - the perfect lazy trip for a gardener's day off.

 Up the beginning of the track.
Starting in the Fog

A Tame Trip

There are many serious, wildly intrepid routes in this park, but our group chose a tame trip up the ridges towards a trig station overlooking Porter's Pass. It's a beautiful landscape, and so easy to reach from the main road.

 Where we stopped for lunch.
The Best Lunch Spot Ever

The Meanings of Life

Our lunch-stop had the best ever view. Visibility and moods were equally perfect - particularly when our leader declared we would go no further. So we enjoyed a long, lolling lunch, with ample time to lie down and contemplate the various meanings of life.

There were no red faces on this trip - the contours were too gradual for puffers or potential sulkers (me) - just one steep hill which was quickly over, and the wide expanses of shimmering tussock grasses.

Not Just Tussock

Just tussock? Well, I did spy a lot of Aciphylla, which gets planted pretentiously in minimalist courtyard gardens. And some clumps of vegetable sheep, which I'm always careful not to tread on.

 A very prickly New Zealand native.

A botanist, or a gardener wearing spectacles and carrying her plant identification book, would be able to list many more plant species. A more adventurous hiker would stride out for the Gap (at least eight hours), or for Foggy Peak (up, scramble, up, scramble, up)...

 Looking back the way we walked in.
Views from the Tussocklands

But a Head Gardener enjoying a day off was happy to wander slowly on the tussock tops, have a lazy outdoors day, and a leisurely afternoon tea at the Springfield tea rooms. Yum!


The Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park is approximately 21000 hectares and covers the Big Ben ranges and the Torlesse Gap. Porter's Pass is the entrance to the Southern Alps, New Zealand - the first track was made in 1858. The old Cobb and Co Coaches road is still visible on the park's boundary.