Brewster Glacier & Mt Armstrong | Unmissable Hikes From Brewster Hut

Of all the hikes we completed in New Zealand’s South Island, nothing compared to the experience of waking up beside Brewster Glacier and witnessing the sun slowly drenching Mt. Brewster’s rugged peak in golden light.

Brewster Hut is a popular hike in Mt Aspiring National Park, with many adventurers spending the night in the iconic red hut and others simply visiting for a day trip. But even though the views are breathtaking from the hut, they pale in comparison to Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong.

If you’re searching for a little more challenge and thrill for your Brewster Hut Hike, then keep reading to learn everything you need to know about adding Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong to your adventure.

Sunrise at Brewster Glacier with the moon hovering over Mt Brewster

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Essential Information About Hiking To Brewster Glacier In Mt Aspiring National Park

Quick Statistics For The Brewster Track, Brewster Glacier & Mt Armstrong

Distance
3 km one way

Time
2 – 3 hrs one way (3.5 – 5 hours return)

Navigation Difficulty
Easy

Trail Difficulty
Moderate

Physical Effort
Hard

Elevation Gain
966 m

Highest Elevation
1,436 m

Distance
2.5 km one way

Time
1.5 – 2 hrs one way (3 – 4 hours return)

Navigation Difficulty
Hard

Trail Difficulty
Hard

Physical Effort
Moderate

Elevation Gain From Brewster Hut
333 m

Highest Elevation
1,760 m

Distance
2 km one way

Time
1 – 2 hrs one way (3 – 4 hours return)

Navigation Difficulty
Hard

Trail Difficulty
Hard – Very Hard

Physical Effort
Hard

Elevation Gain From Brewster Hut
719 m

Highest Elevation
2,174 m

These are the total statistics from our 3 day hike to Brewster Hut, Brewster Glacier & Mt Armstrong

Total Distance
14.8 km

Moving Time On Trail
7 hours and 45 minutes

Total Time On Trail
13 hours and 25 minutes

Total Elevation Gain
1,854 m

Highest Elevation
2,174 m

$40 for Brewster Hut (Optional)

*Price current as of April 2024

Trailhead
Car park

On The Trail
Toilet, shelter and untreated water at Brewster Hut

Where Does The Brewster Track Start?

Mount Brewster dominates the northeastern fringes of Mt Aspiring National Park. The formidable mountain is part of the mighty Southern Alps that carve a rugged line through New Zealand’s South Island from north to south.

Brewster Hut lies on a ridge to the south of Mt Brewster, beneath Mt Armstrong. The trailhead for the Brewster Track – which officially stops at Brewster Hut – is located at Fantail Falls Car Park, roughly 15 minutes north of Makarora and 1 hour 10 minutes north of Wanaka.

There are no toilets or other facilities at Fantail Falls Car Park, the closest public toilets are located back at Makarora. During the busy summer hiking season, the car park fills up quickly. We recommend getting there as early as possible to grab a spot.

How To Get To The Brewster Track Trailhead

Although buses linking Wanaka and Franz Josef are available, none include a stop at Fantail Falls. Driving yourself is the most convenient way to reach the starting point of the Brewster Track.

If you’re unsure about completing the Brewster Glacier hike on your own, you can choose to join a tour with either Aspiring Guides or Wanaka Mountain Guides. This is a good option if you want to experience glacier walking, but it is very expensive.

Driving From Wanaka To Fantail Falls Car Park

The drive to the Brewster Track Trailhead is quite straightforward. You’ll simply leave Wanaka and head north on SH6 towards Makarora. Continue past the small rural town for another 15 minutes and turn right into the partially hidden car park just past the highest point of Haast Pass.

Click here for directions from Wanaka to Fantail Falls Car Park

How Hard Is The Brewster Glacier & Mt Armstrong Hikes?

Hiking up the steep root filled trail on the Brewster Hut Track
Steep forest trail to Brewster Hut
Climbing down a steep rock face while hiking to Brewster Glacier
Climbing down to Brewster Glacier

The hike to Brewster Hut demands a good level of fitness and agility over uneven terrain, but it is relatively straightforward compared to the trails that continue on from the hut.

Brewster Glacier and Mount Armstrong are technically expert routes. They are doable for experienced hikers during summer and fair weather but require a high level of experience and extra gear for winter expeditions.

To reach Brewster Glacier, additional trail awareness, rock scrambling and route-finding skills are required. There are several sections where you can get cliffed out if you’re not paying attention.

Hiking in snow on Mt Armstrong with Mt Brewster in the distance
Hiking in snow on Mt Armstrong

As for summiting Mount Armstrong, be prepared for a steep climb over loose and slippery boulder gardens and scree. We found the summit climb slightly more challenging than the Brewster Glacier Track, so we recommend starting with Brewster Glacier if you’re unsure.

Navigation On The Brewster Track, Brewster Glacier & Mt Armstrong

The Brewster Track to Brewster Hut is well-marked and easy to follow. Plenty of trail markers guide the way, positioned close together to assist you in foggy conditions.

Orange marker pinned to tree for easy navigation on the Brewster Hut Track
Forest section of the Brewster Track on the way up to Brewster Hut

The trail to Brewster Glacier is not officially marked, though there is a clear trail most of the way and you will come across numerous rock cairns guiding you in the right direction. You’ll also find rock cairns leading to the unmarked summit of Mt Armstrong, however, the excessive number of cairns spread across the peak tends to create confusion rather than provide assistance.

For Mount Armstrong, we found it easier to make our own way up to the peak rather than following the rock cairns and the route outlined on Alltrails. Although it took some extra time to evaluate the trail, we managed to ascend in a relatively straight line.

The Brewster Glacier Track is a little easier to follow thanks to a well-worn track and a higher chance of encountering other hikers along the trail. However, once you start descending into the glacier bowl, it’s very easy to find yourself off-track and in a dangerous position if you veer away from the rock cairns.

Rock cairns leading the descent into Brewster Glacier as we hiked down the rough terrain
Rock cairns leading the descent into Brewster Glacier

While we found it rather simple to follow the rock cairns down to Brewster Glacier, nearly every hiker that came to Brewster Glacier while we were up there went the wrong way, ultimately putting themselves in high-risk situations. Remember to stay vigilant and look for the safest passage by following the rock cairns.

To help you stay on track, we recommend downloading Alltrails and using our tracked activity for Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong. This App is free to use, however, you will need to buy a subscription if you wish to download an offline version.

Can You Hike To Brewster Glacier In A Day?

Hiking on Brewster Glacier with thick clouds rolling in over Mt Brewster

It is possible to hike to Brewster Glacier in a day, taking roughly 7 – 10 hours to complete the 11 km return track. However, you’ll likely have to choose between Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong as including both would be a stretch.

If you choose to hike to Brewster Glacier in a day (which is our recommendation over Mt Armstrong) then be prepared for a strenuous hike with a healthy dose of elevation gain and slow, technical sections.

Ideally, we recommend taking at least two days to complete the Brewster Glacier Track, either staying at Brewster Hut or Brewster Glacier for a night. This allows you to also tackle Mt Armstrong and truly enjoy the glacier and explore the deeply carved basin at a leisurely pace.

Should I Stay At Brewster Hut?

Unless you’re equipped for remote camping, staying at Brewster Hut is the best choice. This allows you to drop most of your gear and walk the remaining challenging sections with just the essentials.

Sunset over Brewster Hut and the beautiful mountains in the valley behind
Brewster Hut

How To Book Brewster Hut

Brewster Hut is a serviced alpine hut that’s managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). You’re required to pay a fee of $40 NZD per person, per night for the use of the hut year-round. Bookings are required through the summer season – from Labour Day weekend (late October) to the 30th of April – but during the winter season, it’s first in, first served.

During the summer season, you can book online using this link. In the winter season, you’re required to purchase hut tickets from the DOC centre in Wanaka and drop them in the honesty box once you arrive at Brewster Hut. You can also use a Backcountry Hut Pass during the winter season.

Brewster Hut Facilities

Bunk beds inside Brewster Hut on the Brewster Track in New Zealand

Brewster Hut is a basic alpine hut, with no stoves, heating or other amenities you’d find at the more fancy huts like Aspiring Hut.

Here is a list of the amenities at Brewster Hut:

  • Mattresses
  • Untreated water
  • Long-drop toilet

Can You Tent At Brewster Hut?

The answer to this question is a little grey. There is no designated campsite at Brewster Hut and you cannot purchase a tent pass. We asked a staff member at the Wanaka DOC Centre regarding this and she explained that camping at Brewster Hut isn’t prohibited, but it is discouraged due to the fragile terrain.

Because of the lack of a designated campsite, the remote wilderness camping rules apply – which again, aren’t very clear. They state that you must camp 200 m away from a formed road, but don’t specify whether a hiking trail is included.

Flat alpine grass area where people have camped on the Brewster Track
Flattish grass area above Brewster Hut where people have set up camp

If you want to camp at Brewster Hut, there are several flat spots next to the hut as well as further up the ridge towards Brewster Glacier. However, we agree with DOC’s recommendation of not camping near the hut as there is no way to avoid setting up on fragile alpine vegetation.

Furthermore, remember that you cannot use the hut facilities while camping – except for the toilet.

Remote Wilderness Camping At Brewster Glacier

Cooking in a tent while camping in a rock bivy at Brewster Glacier

Camping at Brewster Glacier falls under the same regulations as above, but it requires a little extra commitment as there are no toilets. Because Brewster Glacier is an alpine region and consists of countless waterways, you must pack out your poo.

However, if you’re experienced camping in the alpine regions and are happy to pack out your poo, then Brewster Glacier offers some rock bivvies that are perfect for pitching a tent. But remember, the weather can turn nasty at a moment’s notice at the glacier so be prepared for all weather conditions.

To pack out your poo, you’ll simply do your business in a compostable bag, drop the toilet paper in it, wrap it up and place it in a poo pot. It’s as easy as that! You can dispose of the compostable bag in composting or long-drop toilets, but make sure it’s not a toilet that flushes or needs to be pumped out.

Best Camping Spots At Brewster Glacier

Beautiful sunset while camping at Brewster Glacier

The best places to camp at Brewster Glacier are to the west of the glacier, closer to the waterfall. We recommend choosing a rock bivvy that is elevated above the lake as while we were there, the lower banks flooded after some rain.

We camped in a sheltered alcove between the two alpine lakes, but the best spot to watch the sunset from your tent is next to the monitoring station.

What To Pack For Your Hike To Brewster Glacier

Hiking up the rough trail to Brewster Glacier from Brewster Hut

Brewster Glacier is a full-day adventure at the very least. For a day trip, we recommend packing plenty of high-energy snacks, warm layers, waterproof gear and – of course – your first aid kit and emergency beacon.

We wore hiking boots for our trek to Brewster Glacier and were glad for the choice on multiple occasions. While you could get away with hiking shoes or trail runners during summer, hiking boots assist with the consistently uneven terrain and any snow you’ll encounter once you reach the glacier.

As for water, we suggest carrying at least 2 litres of water. We take a 2.5-litre water bladder each and a reusable water bottle for refilling. There is nowhere to refill your bottles until you reach the hut – roughly 2 – 3 hours into your hike. The hut offers untreated tank water, and you’ll come across several streams along the route from the hut to Brewster Glacier.

Note: It’s highly advised to treat the water from the hut and the streams, especially if you’re not used to drinking from natural sources. We use the Sawyer Squeeze, which has a lifetime guarantee and doesn’t need to be replaced – saving money and unnecessary waste.

Eating snacks in front of the massive ice cave at Brewster Glacier

Apart from your overnight hiking essentials, such as a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and cooking equipment, here is some specific gear we recommend:

  • Hiking poles – the trail is very steep and uneven, and poles do wonders at keeping your balance and saving your knees on the descent
  • Tent footprint – the ground is quite rocky and a tent footprint will help avoid any tears in your tent base
  • Microspikes – if you want to walk around near the glacier, you’ll likely encounter ice and snow, and microspikes will be a great help
  • Poo pot – if you’re camping at Brewster Glacier, you will not be able to dig a hole (and shouldn’t) so using a poo pot or waiting until you return to Brewster Hut are your only options
  • Extra warm layers – We visited Brewster Glacier in December and it was freezing at the glacier!

Best Time To Hike To Brewster Glacier

The best time to hike Brewster Glacier is in Autumn. Between March and May, you’re often gifted with crisp and clear skies – and a chance of snow dusting the higher peaks. Of course, summer provides the warmest weather, but it’s far busier during this time.

As for spring, this can be a challenging season due to avalanche risk and river levels due to snow melt. It’s generally only a problem in early spring, but the conditions change each year. It’s best to check in with the DOC visitor centre in Wanaka to learn about the current situation.

Brewster Glacier Ice Cave from inside

Hiking The Brewster Track In Winter

If you’re an advanced hiker with experience tramping in the snow, then it’s possible to reach Brewster Hut with the addition of crampons or microspikes. Just be prepared for sub-zero temperatures, snowstorms and very low visibility.

From Brewster Hut, the route to Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong passes through complex avalanche terrain and requires a high level of avalanche awareness and skill to navigate these areas safely.

Crossing The Unbridged Haast River

At the very beginning of the Brewster Track, you’re required to cross the Haast River. This river crossing is usually quite straightforward and the water is generally below knee high. But after heavy rain or snowmelt, the river can swell quickly and turn a murky brown.

Unless you have experience with river crossings and know how to read the conditions, we only recommend crossing when it’s a clear blue and flowing slowly. To make sure you won’t be stuck on the wrong side of the river when you return from Brewster Glacier, check the weather forecast for Haast Pass and avoid setting off on the trek if there is heavy rain on the radar.

MSC (NZ Mountain Safety Council) has a great resource on river crossings if you are looking for more advice.

Brewster Hut, Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong Track Notes

Fantail Falls Car Park To The Ridgeline

Don’t bother tying your shoes as almost immediately after leaving Fantail Falls Car Park, you’ll cross the unbridged Haast River. When we crossed in early December, the river was flowing slowly and its level was low, only reaching our knees at the deepest point.

Crossing the Haast River at the start of the Brewster Hut Track

Cross where it looks the safest – you should be able to see the bottom – and make a beeline toward the giant orange triangle.

To avoid the giant lunge required to start the track from the orange maker, walk to your left for roughly 15 metres until you find an easier path leading into the forest. You’ll see markers on either side of you, but follow the ones to your left.

Hiking up the root filled Brewster Track in the forest before Brewster Hut

You’ll begin ascending immediately, climbing over exposed tree roots that litter the trail. Orange markers are located close together, making navigation easy even in foggy conditions. 

The track continues ascending steeply through verdant beech forests, filled with hanging moss and flourishing ferns, for 2 km. Some sections require the use of hands to pull you up particularly rocky and rutted sections, but all were easy to navigate.

Hiking up rough forest trail on the way to Brewster Hut
Climbing up steep rutted trail on the Brewster Hut Track

Finally, after 2 km and 675 m elevation gain, you’ll emerge from the treeline onto a deeply rutted and rocky tussock slope.

The Ridgeline To Brewster Hut

As you leave the treeline behind, you’re faced with more steep and physical sections before you pop out on the open ridge. The deep ruts carved into the tussock slope are the main difficulty here and can become very muddy during wet conditions.

While the deep and sometimes rocky ruts aren’t technically difficult, they do demand extra focus to continue upward towards Brewster Hut.

But after you set foot onto the ridge, you’ll forget all the fatigue you’re feeling and be amazed at the sights you see.

View over Haast Valley from the Brewster Track on a cloudy day

The landscape will unfold around you, exposing the stunning Haast Valley winding between two towering mountain ranges.

You’ll gain glimpses of Brewster Hut’s toilet as you come over the first high point and step onto the bony ridgeline. Above, Mt Armstrong and Mt Brewster dominate the horizon (when they’re not obscured by clouds) and you can pin-point Brewster Glacier by spotting the waterfall that plunges over the grey cliffside to the northeast.

For the final 600 m to Brewster Hut, you’ll continue traversing along the steep ridgeline. The trail consists mostly of rock and dirt, allowing you to dedicate most of your attention to the mind-blowing vistas encompassing you.

HIking along the impressive ridgeline to Brewster Hut

Eventually, after 3 km and 981 m elevation gain, you’ll make it to the bright red Brewster Hut. It took us roughly 2.5 – 3 hours to get here, including a snack break.

Brewster Hut

Sunset over Brewster Hut and the Haast Valley

Brewster Hut is another of New Zealand’s iconic red huts that boast sensational alpine vistas. Although we prefer the views from Liverpool Hut and French Ridge Hut slightly more, there’s no denying that Brewster Hut is one of the best alpine huts to camp in New Zealand.

The hut consists of one bunk room that sleeps 12, a cosy living and kitchen area and a large deck overlooking the valley and the waterfall below Brewster Glacier. There isn’t any heating at Brewster Hut, so be sure to pack warm if you’re planning to sleep here!

Brewster Hut To The Viewpoint Above Brewster Glacier

Leaving Brewster Hut, you’ll begin another steep climb up behind the hut. The track is quite muddy in sections and unmarked by poles, but there are loads of rock cairns to keep you going on the easiest route

Hiking up above Brewster Hut towards Brewster Glacier on a cloudy day

The going is slow as you ascend steeply through ruts and over rocks. But there are no technical difficulties and after roughly 30 minutes and 1 km, you’ll begin traversing around the northern slopes of Mt Armstrong towards Brewster Glacier – which will pop into view.

Clouds descending over Brewster Glacier on a dark day in New Zealand
View of Brewster Glacier from the track

The traverse is clearly marked with rock cairns, and there are only a few areas where some climbing and careful navigation are needed to pick the best path across slanted rock slabs. Occasionally, extra cairns may lead you astray, but if you maintain visibility of the trail ahead, you should have no difficulty staying on track.

Traversing the mountainside while hiking to Brewster Glacier
Crossing a small stream while traversing the mountain towards Brewster Glacier

You’ll traverse for 1.4 km before arriving at a breathtaking viewpoint of Brewster Glacier below. This is where the trail gets tricky and requires your full attention.

The Viewpoint To Brewster Glacier

Standing on the Brewster Glacier Lookout admiring Mt Brewster and the ice caves in the distance
Brewster Glacier Viewpoint from our final day, before summiting Mt Armstrong

From the viewpoint above Brewster Glacier, veer right and continue along the higher path, avoiding descending straight down toward the lake below. Some large rock slabs may seem tempting to descend, but it can lead to being cliffed out. Instead, follow the rock cairns and descend gradually towards the ice cave at the base of the glacier.

Descending down to Brewster Glacier along the boulder filled trail

Note: These rock cairns can sometimes be hard to find, but be vigilant and look out for them as they make descending this section a whole lot easier. Furthermore, if you’re using a GPS tracking app like Alltrails (which we highly recommend doing), stay above the 1720 m contour line until you’ve passed the chute – more on this below.

Roughly at the 5.53 km mark, you’ll come across a particularly challenging section. Here, you need to descend a short chute between two large rock slabs for several metres. After that, you will arrive at a ledge and continue traversing to the right. While the small chute offers many hand and foot holds, it becomes more challenging if it’s icy or wet.

Standing on a ledge of the chute while climbing down to Brewster Glacier
The chute

Once you’re past the small chute, it’s relatively straightforward to follow the rock cairns. This is where you’ll start to drop below the 1720 m contour line as you make your way towards the head of the glacier.

The route we took down to Brewster Glacier
Red is the path we took, green avoids some of the climb, orange is no go zone
Hiking towards Brewster Glacier Ice Cave while camping at Brewster Glacier

As you finally reach the edge of the glacier, you’ll get a full grasp of just how immense the ice caves are! We spent some time marvelling at the incomprehensible beauty of Brewster Glacier and the lakes before veering left (west) to find a campsite between the two terminal lakes.

Eating dinner in front of the massive ice cave at Brewster Glacier

It took us roughly 1.5 hours to hike the 3 km from Brewster Hut to Brewster Glacier, making the total stats for the day: 6 km, 1,299 m elevation gain, 3.5 hours moving time and 6.5 hours total time.

Brewster Glacier

Watching sunset over Brewster Hut from the western edge of Brewster Glacier
Sunset over Brewster Hut from Brewster Glacier Lakes

It’s truly impossible to describe the magnificence of Brewster Glacier until you stand within the monstrous glacial bowl. We pitched our tent on an elevated rock slab where we had views of Mt Brewster above the glacier and the sunrise and sunset were spectacular!

The following day, we got up early before the sun melted the ice and wandered around the basin and explored the ice caves. Microspikes were extremely helpful in navigating the slippery snow and ice.

Inside the Ice Cave at Brewster Glacier

If you have extra time after exploring the glacier, we highly recommend venturing to the cliff edge to the west and looking out across the yawning valley towards Brewster Hut. This is also an epic place to watch the sunset.

Brewster Hut To Mt Armstrong

We summited Mt Armstrong from Brewster Glacier, but we will explain the track notes as if we started at Brewster Hut to make it easier to follow. If you choose to summit from Brewster Glacier as we did, you can follow our route on Alltrails.

The track to Mt Armstrong begins in the same way as Brewster Glacier, following the worn track east from Brewster Hut. As soon as the trail begins to traverse (after roughly 1 km) you’ll leave the worn track and continue to ascend the northwestern slopes of Mt Armstrong.

Leaving the Brewster Glacier Track to summit Mt Armstrong

There’s no obvious marker that tells you where to leave the Brewster Glacier Track to begin the ascent and instead, we loosely relied on Alltrails.

However, you’ll soon realise that there really isn’t a trail to follow to the top of Mt Armstrong. You’ll have to make your own judgement and warily follow the cairns – which aren’t good to rely on solely because they are everywhere!

Hiking up the shaley track to Mt Armstrong Summit

We ended up making our own way up, keeping an eye on Alltrails to ensure we didn’t venture too far left or right. The ascent is shaley and loose for the most part, with a few rock slabs to scramble over. But we didn’t come across any part where you could potentially get cliffed out.

Hiking up the scree on the track to Mt Armstrong
Hiking along the boulder fields that cover the summit of Mt Armstrong

That said, the entire climb is very steep and it’s essential to have sure footing and experience navigating scree. We also encountered several patches of snow near the peak in early December. We didn’t have our microspikes with us, which we regretted but it was possible without thanks to the warming sun.

Hiking to Mt Armstrong's summit in the snow

Finally, after roughly 1 hour 45 minutes, we made it to the precipitous peak of Mt Armstrong. From the summit, you’re afforded breathtaking views along the rugged ridgeline toward Mount Brewster, down into the plummeting valley to the east and across to the Southern Alps carving up the western horizon.

Standing on the summit of Mt Armstrong overlooking Mt Brewster while hiking at Brewster Hut

Once we managed to tear ourselves away from Mt Armstrong’s summit, we began the slow and careful descent back to Brewster Hut – making it down in an hour. It’s quite easy to find your way down as you can either follow your own route from Alltrails (or a similar GPS tracking app) or keep an eye on the red hut in the distance.

Returning To The Car Park From Brewster Hut

Hiking down to Brewster Hut from Mt Armstrong looking over the Haast Valley in New Zealand

When it’s finally time to leave the magnificent Brewster Hut and the surrounding peaks and glaciers, you’ll follow the well-marked trail back to Fantail Falls Car Park. The descent took us 1 hour 30 minutes, cutting off almost an hour of walking time compared to the ascent.

We completed Brewster Glacier and Mt Armstrong over three days, spending the middle day exploring the glacier and enjoying the peace and quiet at our campsite. You could easily complete all the trails within two days and still have enough time to explore the glacier.

Other Important Information For Hiking To Brewster Glacier In Mt Aspiring National Park

FAQs About Hiking To Brewster Glacier And Mt Armstrong

Can You Walk On Brewster Glacier?

Unless you have adequate skills in mountaineering and understanding glaciers, we don’t recommend walking on Brewster Glacier. There are a high number of crevasses throughout the glacier which can be hiding beneath a thin layer of snow or ice.

We did walk on the glacier in the early morning when there was a thick layer of snow, but after seeing the crevasses once the snow began to melt in the midday sun, we realised we probably shouldn’t have.

Can I Climb Mt Brewster?

Mount Brewster is a mountaineering peak and requires additional skill and equipment to attempt. The only peak around Brewster Hut that is accessible for experienced hikers without mountaineering skills is Mt Armstrong.

Leave No Trace

Admiring the view over Haast Valley from Brewster Glacier

Brewster Glacier and the surrounding landscape boasts a unique beauty with ancient rainforests, glacially carved valleys and a monstrous glacier. But the sad truth is that the glacier is receding and the fragile vegetation on the ridgelines are eroding.

To ensure that we continue to have these beautiful destinations to explore in the future, we all need to do our part to protect them. It’s as easy as following the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

When you visit Brewster Hut and Brewster Glacier, ensure you pack out everything you pack in – including your poop if you camp at Brewster Glacier. Stick to the trail where applicable and camp on hard and durable surfaces like rocks.

Where To Stay Near The Brewster Track In Mt Aspiring National Park

Sun beaming into the Hidden Spring in Wanaka
The Hidden Spring

The Brewster Track is located 1 hour 10 minutes north of Wanaka, one of our favourite towns in New Zealand. We recommend basing yourself in Wanaka if you plan to do several hikes in Mt Aspiring National Park or the mountains surrounding the region.

Here is a list of our top recommended places to stay in Wanaka:

  • The Hidden Spring – this cosy studio is our favourite budget-friendly place to stay in Wanaka, located just a 5 minute drive north of the town centre
  • Kauri House Apartment – a beautiful eco-friendly traditional style B&B with stunning views and a delicious breakfast included
  • Lakeside Apartments – a centrally located mid-range accommodation option that offers fully self-contained apartments right across the road from Lake Wanaka 

Check out our guide on the best places to stay in Wanaka for more information, tips and suggestions.

Camping Near Brewster Glacier

Car and tent camping at Cameron Flat Campground in New Zealand
Cameron Flat Campground

We believe the best way to experience New Zealand’s South Island is by travelling in a campervan. And luckily, there are plenty of stunning campsites in New Zealand that are either cheap or free!

The best campsites near the Brewster Track are:

  • Cameron Flat Campground – a DOC managed campsite opposite the Blue Pools near Makarora, just 10 minutes south of Fantail Falls Car Park. This campsite is $10 NZD per person, per night or free with a DOC Campsite Pass.
  • Pleasant Flat Campground – another DOC campsite located 10 minutes north of Fantail Falls Car Park. This campsite is also $10 NZD per person, per night or free with a DOC Campsite Pass.
  • Red Bridge Freedom Campsite – this is the closest freedom campsite for self-contained campervans only. It is located 1 hour 15 minutes south of Fantail Falls Car Park and 10 minutes east of Wanaka.

Read our guide on the best campsites in Wanaka for more options and information about camping in Wanaka.

Final Thoughts

Hiking along the impressive ridgeline on the Brewster Track while camping at Brewster Glacier

Brewster Glacier truly left us speechless once we laid eyes upon the colossal landscape. The walk to the glacier and to Mt Armstrong offers a fun challenge for moderate to advanced hikers, providing incredible reward for your effort.

With that said, there have been several rescues at Brewster Glacier of hikers that were well out of their depth or encountered severe weather conditions. Before heading out to Brewster Glacier or ascending Mt Armstrong, check the weather conditions and ensure you have the skills necessary to navigate the unmarked routes.

If you have any further questions about these treks in Mt Aspiring National Park, please don’t hesitate to reach out via Instagram or email. We are always happy to help!

Happy Hiking 🙂