The Remarkables are a spectacular and picturesque range extending from Kawarau River to Staircase Creek, rising to a height of 7,688 ft at Double Cone. The west face has been shaped by a Pleistocene glacier formerly occupying Lake Wakatipu. The western or Wakatipu face of The Remarkables was explored by D. A. Cameron and A. A. Macdonald in 1859 when they named the Devils Staircase at the south end. The lower slopes are fine for grazing and were first taken up as a sheep run in 1860 by W. G. Rees. Wye Creek on the western face is used for generating hydro-electric power for Queenstown.
The first recorded ascent of Double Cone was by T. N. Hackett, a geologist, in 1864. Lake Alta, a cirque lake, lies just below Double Cone at about 7,000 ft, and at the head of Wye Creek is a number of glacial lakelets, the largest of which is Lake Hope.
Nevis Valley to the east of and parallel to The Remarkables was the scene of much gold mining; the valley is aligned on large faults and is underlain by quartz gravels, oil shale, and lignite.
by Bryce Leslie Wood, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.