Birding · Views
The little-known Silver Peaks, just north of Dunedin, are a hidden gem that offers spectacular scenery and exhilarating ridge-line hiking. This route follows Green Ridge as it ascends to the highest point in the Silver Peaks. The majority of the walk is above treeline, with exposure and non-stop views to match.
From the Mountain Road Trailhead, a signed path points the way into the Silver Peaks, toward Green Hut (which has been torn down) and Jubilee Hut. The first kilometer can get muddy in wet or spring-time conditions, and travels through scrubby manuka forest that offers a handful of good views of the higher peaks above. After about a kilometer of unremarkable hiking a signed intersection points the way to Swampy Ridge (save that walk for another day), and you'll continue to head toward the Green Hut. From here the trail soon gains Green Ridge, with intermittent views, as the trail rolls along through the manuka.
After a brief downhill the trail emerges at a clearing that was the site of the Green Hut. It offers a pleasant place to rest and contemplate the weather as you read the sign warning of possible dangerous conditions above. On a sunny day, the walking above is easy and care-free. The weather in the Silver Peaks is fickle, though, and can turn dangerous quickly. Caution and the right gear should be used.
Above the Green Hut site, the trail climbs steeply for a short way and can be especially slick and muddy in wet conditions. Quickly the trail reaches treeline near the summit of Green Hill, with gorgeous views to the south and west. From here the trail rolls along Green Ridge, and offers airy and spectacular walking with great views in all directions. The trail passes the base of Pulpit Rock, which is worth a scramble up as its precipitous northern face is hidden as you approach from Green Ridge.
The trail winds north from here, with signs pointing the way toward Jubilee Hut. Keep your eyes open for views of the "Painted Forest", a beautiful stand of Silver Beech in a drainage just west of the track. Fantastic rock tors and beautiful views abound, and the walking is generally easy as you approach a signed intersection (again, pointing you toward Jubilee Hut) below the high point of the Silver Peaks, which is curiously un-named (at 777m, Silver Peak 777 seems right). A quick steep walk leads to this summit, which commands outstanding views in all directions.
From here Jubilee Hut can be reached via a steep 2.5km descent via the "Devil's Staircase", or you can retrace your steps back to Mountain Road.
Flora & Fauna
Several locally rare birds occur in the Silver Peaks, including New Zealand Falcon, Fernbird, and New Zealand Robin. Australasian Pipits are often found on the rocky peaks.
Shared By: Almonzo Wilder