The trail up to Mount Fyffe Summit is a beautiful and challenging track just outside the small seaside town of Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand. A long and steep route will provide you with panoramic views of the Kaikoura Ranges on one side and the peninsula of Kaikoura stretching out into the ocean on the other. It's one of those special places where the snow-capped mountains dive headfirst into the ocean.
You can camp overnight in the Mount Fyffe hut, about 2/3 of the way up the trail. Reservations are not required; it is first-come, first-served. The DOC recommends carrying a tent in case the hut is full, particularly in the summer months. There are 8 beds with mattresses and heating.
You can hike this track during spring, summer and autumn. If you are well-prepared for winter hiking, this hike can be managed with proper gear; check in at the I-Site in town before attempting your hike. I particularly recommend hiking Mount Fyffe just before or after winter when the snow-capped mountains provide a wonderland-like backdrop.
This is by far one of the prettiest hikes I have done in New Zealand!
MOUNT FYFFE HIKE DETAILS
When: spring, summer and autumn unless you are properly prepared for winter hiking; also note that there will be snow at the summit in spring and autumn.
Where: the hike begins at the Mount Fyffe Carpark, 11km inland from Kaikoura. You can drive here down Mount Fyffe Road; alternatively an on-demand shuttle operates here.
Difficulty: difficult due to constant steep grade
Length: I completed this 20km round-trip hike in 5 hours (1h45m carpark-hut / 1h hut-summit / 40m summit-hut return / 1h20m hut-carpark return); give yourself 6-8 hours to complete in daylight. The summit sits at 1602m.
Directions: from the Mount Fyffe Carpark, pass through the gate and follow the only trail up the mountain. It's clearly marked, arriving first at Mount Fyffe Hut about 2/3 of the way up and then heading to the summit.
Bathrooms: yes, at the carpark and at Mount Fyffe Hut
Public Transit: no; you can either drive or call an on-demand shuttle