Overlooking the stunning Lake Hawea, Breast Hill is the ideal spot to sit and watch a sunset. With views that encompass two lakes, plus Mt Aspiring, it is truly a stunning outlook. And with the Pakatui Hut completed in 2011, the hike is now easier to complete, when spread over two days.
Three quarters of the hike is a steep, fairly scrambley track, starting from the road on the east side of the lake. Beginning with a narrow zigzag up a tussock-covered face, then progressing into a more rocky, exposed route that steadily climbs up the ridge line; this isn’t a hike to bring the kids on. This is for experienced hikers only!
From the roadside to the Pakatui Hut is only a mere 4kms. But that’s 4kms at a relentless 35-45 degree incline, so it can easily take 4hrs to reach the hut. From there it’s about 1hr 30mins to the peak.
Breast Hill and back again is entirely doable in one day of between 8 and 10 hours, however the easier option is to stay at the hut on the way up. It is also possible to continue the trek across from Breast Hill to Stoddy’s Hut and down into the Timaru Creek track, however this requires a 27km walk out to the access road on the edge of Lake Hawea.
Spring and Autumn are the best times of year to do this hike. Summertime can be a challenge in the fierce sun, as there is not water en-route. And wintertime is much to precarious, as much of the track is shaded and can be very icy.