Temple Basin – Walking in a Winter Wonderland


mountain views from temple basin hike

ok so how do you type a sigh – a really long happy contented enthusiastic sigh….. if I knew how to that’s what I’d be typing right now.  But I don’t so this will have to do aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

One hike I’ve wanted to do since moving to the West Coast nearly 12 years ago is the Temple Basin walk in Arthur’s Pass.   Some people like to use the expression “bucket list” – not my favourite term, a bit clichéd but I’m going to use it now too and my bucket list has a huge tick beside Temple Basin hike.

views of arthur's pass road from temple basin hike

This hike was everything I thought it would be and more – oh so much more.  Stephen and I must have picked the most absolutely perfect day for this adventure.  There wasn’t a cloud to be seen in any direction just clear blue blue skies which set off the pure white snow-capped mountains – well to perfection.

enjoying views from temple basin hike

Being the start of winter and with a bit of a frost to start the day we were well wrapped up to start the walk – beanie, thermals (layered of course), fleece, puffer jackets.

10 minutes into the hike and after 10 minutes of straight uphill, we started peeling those layers off.  Always best to be prepared but with the sun beaming down on us and some uphill exertion the layers were soon being buried in the bottom of our packs.

climbing steps on temple basin trek

With our heads down and carefully watching our every step we were surprised during one of our stops just how quickly we had got some serious elevation.  I stupidity made that very comment only for Stephen to come back at me with “well it is pretty steep and goes straight up so guess that is what happens…..”  mmmm fair enough I guessed I asked for that.

mountains and road views temple basin hike

We were in and out of the snow line depending on exactly which zig zag we were currently on.  The views were out of this world – snow-capped mountains in every direction.

resting on steps temple basin hike

bridal veil falls from temple basin hike

It was nice to take some breaks from the huffing and puffing and enjoy our surroundings – complete with great views of the Bridal Veil Falls cascading down the mountainside.

views to temple basin base camp

temple basin skifield arthur's pass

I learned very quickly why this is called Temple “Basin” – it really is a basin and you can’t see it climbing up the trail until you come over the top and she opens out for you.  Snow in all directions and the ski field buildings beckoning in the distance.  Part of me was thinking ok we’ve made it, this is far enough – as much as I didn’t mind hiking up in the snow,  with the sun beating down and melting the snow it had got super icy in places so was going to be pretty dicey (do you like that – icy/dicey….) coming back down.  But we didn’t come all this way to not go to the top so onwards we trudged – no we didn’t trudge, we careful placed each foot one after the other……. I know, slight exaggeration – it wasn’t that bad but caution was required all the same.  Give it a few more snow falls and it will probably be a lot easier to tackle.

coffee break at temple basin arthur's pass

Yowzha!  It was so worth the effort – absolutely magic up here.  Deceptive too as there were actually three base buildings perched in the basin.  Things had certainly changed since Stephen was last up here skiing many moons ago.  Temple Basin skifield is what is known as a club field in NZ – no airs and graces up here, no snow groomers, fancy chair lifts or anything – it’s back to basics and all the more fun for it I think.  There were quite a few ski tracks around so someone had obviously made the most of the early snow fall and come up for some fun.

reflecting views temple basin hike ski huts temple basin skifield arthur's pass

For us we just enjoyed sitting and soaking up our surroundings.  Sometimes I really have to pinch myself at the beauty of this lovely country we live in.

Time was marching on though and we still had to negotiate our way back down off the snow line.  This was going to be interesting to say the least.

descending the mountain temple basin hike

temple basin hike in the snowline arthur's pass

There were lots of giggles and some fabulous new dance moves put into play – I’m very thankful for my yoga sessions of late, a little bit of flexibility and core strength certainly helped out coming down.  I was well prepared to just sit on my bum and slide down any particular slippery sections should the need arise but it turned out that wasn’t necessary. It may not have been pretty to watch but I remained on my feet for the duration and best of all…… there was no-one to watch me lol! (Ok hubby but he was too busy watching his own footing for the most part – or so I thought).

Soon enough we back down on terra firma with grins from ear to ear.  What a day out – a magic day in the mountains.  Now for the drive home, we have two fur children awaiting their dinner……..

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring all this wonderful region of West Coast of the Southern Alps has to offer.

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
This entry was posted in Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Temple Basin – Walking in a Winter Wonderland

  1. Michael Nees says:

    Great blog Jan. Yes, there are so many places to explore right in front of our “door step”… we are so lucky to be living in New Zealand!

  2. Lovely, Jan… and good humor about the ascent and descent. 🙂 –Curt

    • coastingnz says:

      haha thanks – Stephen was concerned I made it sound like we were useless – but we (or perhaps just me….) were just careful.

      • I’ve wandered on several high, snow-covered passes where a misstep could send you plunging a thousand feet. There is no such thing as being too careful, especially if conditions are icy. I prefer having the two of you around to share your beautiful New Zealand. 🙂 –Curt

      • coastingnz says:

        aaaaw thanks. Totally agree too though, doesn’t take much and we still have far too many adventures ahead yet! 🙂

  3. Fotohabitate says:

    It’s a really lovely country you live in. Beautyful szenery!

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