Adventure Magazine December 2019/January 2020


Issue @217 - Xmas issue
Waves, water, camping and more










DEC 2019/JAN 2020

NZ $10.90 incl. GST





If experiencing nature at its untamed

best is your thing, the West Coast is

tough to beat. From short day walks

to some of New Zealand’s most iconic

multi-day tramps there are endless

wild places to fall in love with.

Believe it or not, this magic spot on the

Pororari River is just a 15 minute walk

from State Highway 6!





introducing adventure vanlife

"Home is where you park it"

We have had our eye on this for a while but ‘van life’ has become hugely popular. In simple

terms it is people enjoying adventure and outdoors while living in a van. Any sort of a van, a

kombi, a panel van, a motorhome or and RV. It’s about being moveable and self-sustainable,

basically ‘home is where you park it’.

Surfer Michel Bourez is photographed by Leroy Bellet who

surfed behind him on the wave in order to capture this

iconic shot in Tahiti, French Polynesia

Visit Adventure Magazine online

There is an interesting feature from ‘Stuff’ – I have pulled out some of the key facts – if you do

not have time to read the whole feature –

Here are some of the key points:

• Consumer report reveals grey nomads - the term for road-tripping retirees popularised by

the 1997 documentary Grey Nomads - are the minority. Instead, a survey of more than

2500 people suggests the average age of an RV owner in Australia is 33, and almost half

have children at home.

• There are 679,378 recreational vehicles registered in Australia, according to the

Australian Bureau of Statistics' Motor Vehicle Census, roughly one for every 13

households. Ownership of RVs - including towable caravans and camper trailers,

motorhomes and campervans, 'pop tops' where a tent pops out of the roof of a van,

Kombis and converted panel vans - has grown 5.2 per cent a year for the past five years,

faster than any other vehicle type in Australia.

• Like the hippies and surfies travelling around in Kombi vans in the 1960s and '70s,

there's a counter-cultural element to the #vanlife phenomenon - this time with an

economic edge.

"There's a real trend in social media and generally in

society to have this kind of escape and a lot of it is to do

with people wanting to disconnect from the city ... and

slow down a bit,"


Steve Dickinson

Mob: 027 577 5014


Lynne Dickinson



Ovato, Ph (09) 979 3000



NZ Adventure Magazine is published six times a year by:

Pacific Media Ltd, P.O.Box 562

Whangaparaoa, New Zealand

Ph: 0275775014

Email: |

Contributions of articles and photos are welcome and must be accompanied by a stamped selfaddressed

envelope. Photographic material should be on slide, although good quality prints may

be considered. All care is taken but no responsibility accepted for submitted material. All work

published may be used on our website. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without

permission. While the publishers have taken all reasonable precautions and made all reasonable

effort to ensure the accuracy of material in this publication, it is a condition of purchase of this

magazine that the publisher does not assume any responsibility or liability for loss or damage

which may result from any inaccuracy or omission in this publication, or from the use of information

contained herein and the publishers make no warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to

any of the material contained herein.

Now sure these stats are from Australia but you can guarantee the same results here in New

Zealand and weather you hire a motorhome, buy an RV fit our your own panel van you will

be part of the wave of grow adventures who are taking their adventure on the road and their

‘home is where they park it’.

Steve Dickinson - Editor


Adventure is proudly powered

by Ssangyong

Please feel free to send any

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page 08

Image by Mike Dawson

page 24



08//aotea - The white cloud

By Mike Dawson

14//kai lenny

Entering the Surfers Hall of Fame

18//there be treasure, danger &


Jeremy Wadzinski takes us on a treasure hunt

Image by Ash Routen

24//the longest journey

Exploring Greenland's Ice Cap

28//Stu's crew

On the River Wild

32//cycling taiwan

With Erik Skilling

page 42


Jack Austin explores South Island's West Coast

42//Cliff hanger

Cliffnicking in Estes Park

48//adventure van life nz

Check our our new section on Van Life

Image by Jess Middleton Image by Steve Dickinson

page 50

65//urban adventure

Inspiration, activities and information for the urban


92//adventure travel

Norfork Island, Papua New Guinea, Niue, Vanuatu, New

Caledonia, Whitsundays


64. subs

82. gear guides

110. Active adventure







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Image by Leroy Bellet/Red Bull Content Pool


Some waves in the world are legendary, they don’t need a title, you can

tell it is that wave simply by the way it is breaking. Teahupoo, in Tahiti, is

one of those waves, it is as beautiful as it is powerful, a left breaking wave

that is perfection. The swell rolls in from uninterrupted water and then hits

a coral reef that has been chiselled by a local freshwater river, the wave

then peels like no other creating the most perfect of tubes.

There are a number of surfers who have huge reputations here at

Teahupoo. But possibly the most famous and without doubt the most

successful is Michel Bourez; on the World Tour they call him 'The Spartan'

because of his psychique and the was he charges every wave that is sent

his way. Michel is a modest guy and is like a soccer super star in the

islands of Tahiti.

The cover was shot by Australian Leroy Bellet for a Red Bull special

project. Leroy has become famous for these types of POV shots inside

nasty waves. In this shot he is surfing about 3 feet behind Michel shooting

with a fisheye lens in a water housing specifically made for this wave.

Effectively, he is dragged into the big waves by a jet ski with a surfer in

front of him and captures the images knowing in his position that he will

eventually get hit by the wave, with the hope of being not to get hurt on the

reef below. Bellet, who was 18 at the time of the shoot said ‘In terms of

perfection, it’s the Everest of intensity and challenge.’


"Chops is so sharp and shallow. When I was surfing on the days leading

up to the swell, I was like, 'This could end up bad.' I thought I might only

have one wave and I'd get sliced up and that would be it. Luckily we got

four chances."

Behind the scenes as photographer Leroy Bellet is seen paddling in Tahiti,

French Polynesia during filming of Chasing the Shot

Image by Domenic Mosqueira/Red Bull Content Pool

we ARE climbing

Climbers ascend the iconic

Grand Sentinel in Sentinel Pass,

Banff National Park

Photo: ex-Bivouac Staff member

John Price /

For over twenty five years Bivouac Outdoor has been proudly 100% New Zealand owned and committed to

providing you with the best outdoor clothing and equipment available in the world. It is the same gear we literally

stake our lives on, because we are committed to adventure and we ARE climbing.



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@ adventuremagazine




By Mike Dawson

The skyline of downtown Auckland slowly

disappeared into the mist, as the ferry headed

further into the Hauraki Gulf towards the edge

of the Pacific – Towards Aotea. The White Cloud

or as Captain James Cook decided - Great

Barrier Island.

4 hours of relentless swell and some 90

kilometers later a speck began to emerge on

the horizon, from the clouds clinging to the

wilderness in-front of us. Adventure a waits. Our

plan was to head out and explore the coastline

of Great Barrier Island by kayak – A group of

buddies, 8 sea kayaks, a ton of food and beer

heading out for a mission to try snag a fish or

two but mostly chasing good times.

Great Barrier Island is home to around 800

residents - most here for the solitude from the

hustle and bustle of the mainland. Finding the

serenity that is so elusive in modern times.

Adventure doesn’t always need to be

hardcore and Aotea is the perfect place to

switch off, explore and enjoy New Zealands

nature at it’s finest. Beautiful stretches of white

sand ocean beaches surround the shoreline

on the east coast while sheltered bays boarder

the west.

A beach landing and cave for shelter from

the raging Westerly for lunch on Arid Island,

just off the coast of Great Barrier Island.

A mere 19 kilometers separate the

Coromandel Peninsular from the Southern tip of

Barrier. Dramatic peaks pierce the sky, especially

the summit of Hirakimata (Mt Hobson) a pointy

rocky outcrop 621m above sea level.

We were instantly at home, time almost

stood still as we rolled into Harataonga beach,

set up camp before heading out on the water.

First stop exploring Rakitu Island (Arid Island).

The 4 km paddle out from the main island

seems somewhat remote with very little between

this island and South America. Blue seas and

dramatic cliffs surround the island as we paddle

around just taking it in. Seals swimming around

the boats and countless caves cut into the rugged

cliffs overtime, to explore. This was paradise.

Adventuring sea kayaker Jamie Garrod

paddles through the maze of channels through

scattered rock outcrops in on the Northern tip

of Great Barrier Island



From here we headed North for the

Northern Tip of Barrier, into the open

ocean. Passing by the pristine white sand

of Whangapoua beach, with Dolphins

swimming and out into one of NZ’s

unsung wilderness areas, an absolute

paradise of Mother Nature. Rugged cliffs

crashed into the Ocean ahead, as we left

the beaches behind us. Countless birds

soared above us – As well as epic scenery

Great Barrier is also home to a wide range

of endangered species particularly birds

including the North Island Kaka, Banded

Rail, Black Petrel, NZ Dotterel and Oyster

Catchers. Countless Tui keep you alert in

the bush with endless song.

With over 60% of the island under

Department of Conservation ownership,

Great Barrier also has incredible hiking

through conservation land. Leaving the

kayaks at the beach it’s possible to head

out for countless walks. From visiting local

hot pools in the Kiatoke Valley climbing

Mt Hobson or exploring the coastal

Harataonga Walkway there was endless

exploring to do.

We headed West across the island to

explore Blind Bay and Whangaparapara

Harbour. Here the scenery changes from

stunning beaches to sheltered inlets and

historic sites showcasing New Zealand’s

past and the first European settlers here

in the mid 1800’s as the whaling, forestry

and mining industries were established.

As we beached our boats for the last

time. Our 7 day mini adventure was over.

Exploring this epic place before loading

up and heading back to the mainland. All I

can say is GO.

Clockwise from top left: All the gear no idea -

Gearing up to head out on the water / Beached on

an isolated West Coast beach on Barrier / Kayaking

amongst the pinnacles of Arid Island / The boys’

enjoying some chill time - hammocks set for the

evening / Adventure mode engaged - Locked an

loaded and heading out on the mission. Blind Bay

Great Barrier / Crayfish dinner always satisfies / One

of the worlds few dark zones - the night sky lights up

beautifully / The lads heading out to the ocean.

Captain James Cook named NZ’s 4th

largest landmass “Great Barrier” on his

exploration of the Southern Ocean as the

245 km2 island acted as a formidable barrier

protecting the Hauraki Gulf from the Pacific


Kauri Dieback is a disease that is

threatening Kauri with extinction. First found

in 1972 on Great Barrier Island it has spread

throughout the upper North Island. While there

is no cure there’s plenty we can do to slow the

spread. Visit






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Hawaiian star Kai Lenny received another accolade in his

glittering career when he became the youngest person ever to

enter the Surfers' Hall of Fame in 2019, aged just 26.

He was inducted with Sam Hawk and Janice Aragon, their hand

and footprints immortalised in cement out the front of Huntington

Surf & Sport as the ceremony paid tribute to the stars who have

made an indelible mark on the sport, industry and culture of


Along with his surfing honours, Lenny has won the SUP world

title several times and was runner-up at the Kite Surf Pro World

Championships while he has become a leading global campaigner

in fighting ocean pollution.

Kai Lenny taming Jaws

Images compliments of Red Bull

Here is what the Maui native had to say after an

impressive 2019 season riding the waves:

How was your big wave season in 2019? For me

the big wave season this year was probably the best I

have ever had. We didn't have the most consistent big

swells, but some of the most challenging conditions

that I could ever remember. It was a lot of wind, really

big waves and very unforgiving. The fact that I was able

to survive another season but, at the same time, feel

like my level went up a notch meant that I accomplished

everything that I set out to do. Coming into this new

season, I am really excited because there is still so

much left to be done to go to the next level.

You have said in the past you sometimes felt like

an outsider, is that still the case now? I think I felt like

an outsider growing up mainly because I had my hands

in so many different sports and, within each sport or

discipline of surfing, there are little tribes that you jump

in between. You are either with the windsurfers, the

kitesurfers, the surfers or the stand-up paddlers, and

when you are not consistently in one, you don't really

have a place in any. I quickly outgrew that mentally

and now I feel comfortable in my own skin doing what

I would rather do. It was a good learning experience

growing up.

"I had my hands in so many

different sports and, within

each sport or discipline of

surfing, there are little tribes

that you jump in between. You

are either with the windsurfers,

the kitesurfers, the surfers or

the stand-up paddlers, and

when you are not consistently

in one, you don't really have a

place in any."

After winning so many big titles so early in your

career, what is your main focus now? For me, right

now, my focus is on winning a Big Wave world title

on the Big Wave Tour. I have been able to win a lot

of different things across a few sports. For me, each

event is not so much beating someone else but kind

of proving to myself that, 'OK, I have reached this

certain point and where can I go next?'. Winning is just

basically having a lot of fun doing it and my goals, for

sure, are always to try to be the best I can possibly be

and that requires me testing myself against the world's

best consistently.

What is it about the ocean that makes you so

happy? The sea makes me so happy because it is a

place that I can constantly test myself, but also enjoy

myself. It is always there. It is for free. I grew up doing

it for so long that it is who I am now. Imagining not

being in the water is almost worse than going to jail,

just because it feels like it is built into my cells. The salt

water feels really good, just being immersed in it and

all that other stuff sort of melts away that you take from


You are a shining star when it comes to

environmental issues, what more needs to be done

to help save our oceans? Growing up I have noticed

the changes in the ocean, mostly the pollution and

microplastics. Now, with so many people around the

world just spewing stuff into the ocean, there are a

lot of fish that are consuming microplastics which is

morphing into their DNA. That is going to go back into

us and, if we don't want to have cancer later on in life

from fish, I suggest that we try to keep the oceans

much cleaner. We have got to protect the environment

because we are part of it. If it goes down, we are getting

dragged with it too.




By Jeremy Wadzinski

What if I told you there is a treasure chest filled with precious gemstones, gold nuggets and priceless artifacts hidden

somewhere in the Rocky Mountains? That an eccentric art collector buried an antique, metal box worth over $5 million dollars

somewhere in the mountains between New Mexico and the Canadian border. And what if I told you he left clues? Nine clues

in the form of a 24 line poem. And what if I also told you, that these riches are free to whoever is brave enough, crafty enough,

or just plain lucky enough to find them. Will you grab your fedora, coil up your bullwhip, and book your flight for adventure?

Well. If you said yes, then you better get packing Indiana; the treasure is real and it’s free to the first person that finds

it. But, be warned: It is not for the faint-hearted. At least four people have died on this decade’s old quest. More are sure to

follow as the legend and the mystery grows.

This is the story of my hunt for Forrest Fenn’s treasure.


I first heard the legend of Forrest Fenn’s treasure while fly

fishing in the cool summer current of the Yellowstone River, false

casting a mayfly-dry to some trout determined to avoid my angling

seductions. I was waist-deep in the water when my best friend and

fishing buddy noticed a rather odd-looking dude marching along

the river banks. He was dressed in a random assortment of old

army surplus gear and neon coloured hiking kit. He was intently

looking at a map. After looking at the map he would raise his gaze

and search; the ground, the sky, the river, the mountains, and the

trees. He was looking everywhere but where he was going and

we watched as he crashed directly into a ditch and disappeared

from sight. He re-emerged covered in thistles and swearing and

continued on his haphazard way, constantly adjusting his glasses,

and consulting his map; now as torn and ragged as his clothing.

That’s when I heard my fishing buddy say, “I betchya that’s one of

them treasure hunting idiots.” That’s when I said the four words I

knew I would regret: “What treasure hunting idiots?”

You see, unbeknownst to me, I was about to be taken hostage

by my own imagination. When I heard the story of the treasure my

mind would not, could not, let it go. This mental fever is why the

legend of Forrest Fenn’s treasure grows with each passing year.

A gold fever pierces the imagination and clutches at the heart

of would-be explorers the world over. The thrill of the chase has

haunted hikers and bushwhackers from New Mexico, up through

Colorado, into Wyoming and Montana, and I was about to join their


The search area is literally a thousand miles long and it runs

along the jagged spine of America’s West. A twelve-inch-by-twelveinch

box is hidden somewhere among the countless peaks and

rivers and ravines. All logic says that this is a fool’s errand. That

only a madman or idiot would think they could find a needle lost

somewhere in a haystack the size of The Empire State Building.

But logic is quickly swept aside when it comes to gold and the thrill

of the hunt. The heart quickens at the mere mention of treasure.

When the fever takes hold, burning through the veins, one is made

mad with adventure lust. But first, some whiskey.



"Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyons down,

Not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown."

“The first clue in the poem is ‘Begin it

where warm waters halt’. That’s the first clue.

If you can’t figure that clue out, you don’t have

anything.” — Forrest Fenn

It all starts with the poem. The thirst for

adventure begins there. Forrest has said many

times, that everything you need is in the poem.

So, here it is…


Sitting on a porch, watching the

amber hues of a glorious sunset on the

outskirts of Yellowstone, I learned about

the one man who knows the exact location

of the hidden box. He’s the silver-haired

octogenarian that hid the treasure in the

first place. His name is Forrest Fenn.

Forrest Fenn has lived a lifetime of

adventure. Growing up, he had many

happy escapades near Yellowstone and the

surrounding Rocky Mountains. He grew up

exploring America’s vast South West before

he left for war. A Vietnam fighter pilot, he

flew over three-hundred combat missions

and was shot down twice. He retired from

the Air Force and moved to Santa Fe, New

Mexico, where he opened an art gallery

looking for a quieter and more peaceful

life. He and his wife, Peggy, dealt with

unusual and ancient items and antiquities

from all over the world. At one point the

gallery grossed more than $6 million

dollars a year. Life was good for the retired

adventurer and fly-boy.

But his luck took a turn when in 1988

he was diagnosed with a terminal form of

kidney cancer. Thinking he was on death’s

door, and looking for a way to secure his

legacy, he bought a 12th-century bronze

box for $25 thousand dollars and filled it

with treasure. He wrote a cryptic poem and

planned to march out into the wilds and

die with the treasure clutched to his chest.

There was just one problem.

He didn’t die.

So, his treasure stayed hidden. In a

vault. In his house. For two decades. Then

the economy took a nosedive in 2010,

and it was that year, with the publication

of his memoirs, that he decided to gift the

treasure and its hunt to the world. In his

book, The Thrill of The Chase; A Memoir, he

describes a treasure chest with gemstones,

gold nuggets, and jewelry, hidden “in the

mountains somewhere north of Santa

Fe.” And why after all those years, and

in full health, did he decide to finally gift

$5 million dollars to the world? Because,

as he said in an old TV interview, “I just

wanted to give some people hope.”

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold,

I can keep my secret where,

And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyons down,

Not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,

The end is ever drawing nigh;

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go

And leave my trove for all to seek?

The answer I already know,

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.

If you are brave and in the wood

I give you title to the gold.


After copious amounts of whiskey, cigars,

more whiskey, and a little bit of dinner, our

brains were fortified enough to contemplate

the poem and dissect its inner workings. We

berated each other as we cross-referenced

the map and the poem with passion born of

alcohol-induced hallucinations. Every clue

took on a life of its own, but we knew the key

was to start the hunt in the right place. If

you didn’t start right, you were pretty much

just a sucker wandering around the woods

like some treasure hunting idiot. And we

certainly were not idiots!

We focused on the first clue; “Begin it

where warm waters halt.” Which we figured

could only mean one thing: it must’ve had

something to do with a hot springs. Luckily

the source of one of the largest hot springs in

North America was just outside our doorstep;

Yellowstone National Park. So. That was as

good a place to start as any. But then the

arguments took over. Were the “hot waters”

halting because they were getting dumped

in a river? Or were the “hot waters” halting

because they were the last hot waters on

the map? Should we be looking for the

Southernmost hot water spring, which would

be in Colorado or maybe New Mexico? Which

meant the beginning point was nowhere

near Yellowstone. And not only that, which

specific “hot waters”? It is estimated that

Yellowstone has over 10,000 geothermal

features. The clue was maddeningly opaque.

Okay. So, the beginning was impossible

unless we used more clues and worked

our way backwards. We moved on to “Put

in below the home of Brown.” This clue

was both obvious and obtuse at the same

time. It is well known that Forrest was an

avid fly fisherman. Many among our party

were convinced that this surely must mean

brown trout. And where do trout call home?

Rivers. So, clearly the search would begin

where a hot springs dumped its water into

a trout river somewhere... But, others were

not convinced. The house could be a literal

house. Why else would Forrest capitalize the

“B” in “Brown” in the poem? Legend had

it that, up in the mountains, an old Doctor

Brown had owned a cabin and when he

died, he was buried near his cabin. Was his

burial site the “home of brown”? Or perhaps

Forrest was referring to a brown bear. Bears

hibernate in dens through the winter. So,

surely we should be looking for a cave or

den of some sort? Or was it a log cabin? Log

cabins are brown. Maybe he meant a literal,

brown home?!? Another baffling clue.

The arguments went in endless circles.

Voices were raised. Maps were torn and

taped back together. More than one person

stormed off into the night to consult the

stars and pee on the fence. We moved on

to the next clue and then circled back to the

first clue. And then revisited the last clue.

Back-and-forth it went. On-and-on we argued

until the wee hours of the morning. Only

ending when the bottle ran dry and the last

smoke had been toked. But, in the haze of

our confused ramblings, somehow a cunning

plan had been hatched. We had cracked the

mystery of the poem. Our hunt would begin

first thing in the morning.


Exploring Yellowstone National Park in search of the treasure


The next morning we woke up neither bright, nor early.

The hangover from so much treasure hunting research

had left us all a bit worse for wear. By mid-afternoon we

were ready to strike out into the unknown. I would soon

be baptized into the ranks of, “treasure-hunting-idiot”. Our

treasure hunting crew consisted of two children, two dogs,

three adventure women, and two very hungover men. After

many promises and agreements as to the exact nature of

how we would split the booty when we found it (seven-ways

as is customary in these sorts of exchanges) we all shook

hands and pinky-swore before marching out into the wilds.

And here the treasure hunting story ends. To discuss

more about the minutiae would be to give away too many

clues about our theorized location, and since the first rule

of treasure hunting is secrecy, I would hate to be banished

from my treasure hunting society for breaking the rules.

But, I can say this. Looking around at the joy and hope on

the children’s faces as they spent their imaginary money

(One child, in particular, had a very clear vision of how

she’d spend her share of the treasure; a Pony and saddle) I

realized that Forrest Fenn had been right. His greatest gift

to the world wasn’t the treasure. It was hope.

Whether the search for Forrest Fenn’s treasure is

the greatest hunt, or the greatest hoax, ever crafted

is debatable. What is not debatable is that the world

doesn’t have too many mysteries anymore. Every nook,

cranny, crag, and bluff has pretty much been mapped and

remapped. Satellites drift by in the cosmos constantly

taking pictures of all the parts and pieces of our world.

"So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.

If you are brave and in the wood

I give you title to the gold."

Our treasure hunting crew consisted of two children, two

dogs, three adventure women, and two very hungover men.

Our own lives don’t even escape from the constant

bombardment of updates, eyeballs, and investigations.

The scrutiny of social media has become an ever-present

invasion into our daily lives. So, how refreshing and

joyous it is to have a little bit of mystery left in this world.

And to be inspired to set out into the wilderness, and

find a wealth of adventure, if not treasure. They say the

journey is the destination so, I suppose you could also

say: the real treasure isn’t in finding it, but in the hope

and adventure that it inspires.



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What made them take on the challenge?

“Youthful exuberance and a slight lack

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going to be like. If you haven’t been on an

expedition before, you don’t quite know

what you don’t know.”


By Ash Routen

In 2008 two young British adventurers completed

the longest unsupported Arctic expedition in history. A

decade later adventure writer Ash Routen caught up with

one of them to find out more about their remarkable


Even a decade ago the polar expedition market

was saturated. Our most extreme latitudes were well

explored, and the likelihood of finding funding for a

major expedition was almost non-existent.

But this hadn’t deterred Alex Hibbert, an ambitious

British University student, who had his sights set on

a big polar undertaking. “I wanted to ski further than

anyone before without support,” he says. “That was my

big aim. Initially, the plan was to do so in the Antarctic on

a new route.”

Over several years Alex managed to juggle his

studies with the search for teammates and sponsorship.

At one point, in 2007, he had formed a team and was

close to securing funding. However, as is often the case

in the expedition world, he was let down at the very last

minute, just weeks from jetting south.

Alex’s Antarctic dreams were in tatters. But not

being one to sulk, he set his sights on another frozen

wasteland – Greenland. Alex didn’t water down

his ambition and stuck to the aim of skiing further

than anyone in polar history without outside help. “I

decided, ‘Why not? Let’s go for the big prize again, the

unsupported polar distance record, but let’s do it over a

return route on the Greenland ice sheet’.”

With an out-and-back route planned across the vast

Greenland Ice Cap, Alex would be able to make enough

mileage to bring back the record, which previously stood

at 1070 miles.

Alex only had a few months to find fresh support and

new teammates. He managed to persuade a previous

sponsor to headline the trip and settled upon George

Bullard, an open water swimmer, as his new companion.

What was remarkable about this pairing was that Alex

was 21 and George just 19, and they had very limited

polar experience between them. In fact, George had

never skied with a sledge before.

You might be beginning to wonder how they

thought they could take on such a challenge. “Youthful

exuberance and a slight lack of understanding of what

it was really going to be like,” explains Alex in hindsight.

“If you haven’t been on an expedition before, you don’t

quite know what you don’t know.”

Above Left to right: Hauling the sled / Trans Greenland Expedition / On a meltpool, inland Icecap, Greenland

But Alex had confidence in his

planning: “If we did adequate training,

I brought together a team of talented

people, I did my sums correctly and we had

the right equipment, I couldn’t see why

it wasn’t possible to go from zero to 100

extremely rapidly.”

In March 2008, Alex and George were

dropped by helicopter on the southeastern

coast of Greenland. In The Long Haul,

Hibbert’s book on the expedition, he

writes: “I relished the simplicity of the

journey ahead. There was no momentous

speech made. We simply got down to work


The pair began clawing their way up

the steep glaciated coastline and onto

the ice cap itself, before skiing northwest

in a diagonal line to the opposite coast.

They stashed stores of food along the

way for their return journey. Behind them,

they were pulling crushingly heavy 195kg

sledges that contained supplies and


With a minimum of fuss, they inched

forward. Some days they made good

progress, covering 10-15 miles or so.

Other days they were almost brought to

a standstill due to bumpy ice and snow

formations called sastrugi, melting pools

of water, crevasse fields, and occasional


After 71 days and 716 miles, they

reached the opposite coast, their turnaround

point and halfway marker. Despite

having never been on an expedition

together, Alex and George had formed

a solid bond. “It could have ended up a

disaster,” he says. “It could have quite

easily led to an accident or a big mistake

or us not getting on. It could have led to a

number of things, but as it happened, it led

to none of those.”

Alex’s obsessive planning had paid

dividends, but that didn’t mean he

was totally immune from doubt or fear,

especially when it came to crevasses.

But crevasses pale into comparison to

Piteraqs – vast raging wind storms that

sweep across the icecap. Luckily they

didn’t encounter a Piteraq, and instead,

the overwhelming distance had played

on Alex’s mind earlier in the journey.

“There was a period where I was starting

– privately – to think, ‘Hmm, I don’t know

about this’…If you start to think that you

have to come up with a contingency plan,

that lack of singularity and thought can be

a deal-breaker.”

They skied one behind the other in

formation so that the second would benefit

from flattened tracks. Days were broken

down into ski sessions of 60 minutes with

10-minute rests. This routine went on for

11 to 12 hours a day until the pair settled

into their tent at night, something that

could become a life-or-death situation itself

if high winds arose when it was time to

make camp.

Evenings were spent preparing

dehydrated meals, tending to injuries,

making equipment repairs, checking in

back home and logging diary entries.

Routine was the order of the day, but

humour also played a role. “After a really

bad day, with high winds in your face, cold

temperatures, not much progress, difficult

to navigate, you get the tent up and dive

inside,” says Alex. “The two of us just

sat down for two seconds and chuckled

to each other, because we realised the

ridiculousness of where we were and what

we were doing.”

Alex and George had buried food

stores under the snow to lighten their load

on the outward journey. They made a snow

structure around the burial site and logged

its location on their GPS device. What they

had to do now was to hone in on these vital

supplies, and dogleg from depot to depot.

This went smoothly until the final 100

miles, where months of exposure to the

elements made it impossible to locate the

last two lifelines.

“It was a feeling of, ‘Oh, s***’. We

are still a long way from the coast and we

don’t have very much food left to last,”

recalls Alex. All the pair had left was a

few flapjacks. With such meagre rations,

they had to fight off dangerously low blood

sugar levels and the risk of simultaneously

fainting during skiing sessions.

The exhausted duo trod a fine line

between calling for rescue and pushing on

into oblivion, and Alex recognised this. “I

knew that there was going to be crevassing

ahead,” he says. “I knew we were going to

start to deteriorate physically pretty quickly.

We were in a bit of a dark hole after that


It didn’t help that their expedition

manager suggested they were only just

in range for a helicopter evacuation. But

interestingly Alex had somewhat expected

this scenario. So, with some confidence,




Helicopter ride into Greenland

he put aside thoughts of rescue and set

about pushing to the finish. Helicopter

evacuation or a food drop would have

killed off their record plans.

In The Long Haul Alex writes: “On

the one hand was the decision of

Shackleton to abandon his South Pole

attempt…on the other are tragic stories of

inexperienced clients and under-pressure

guides on Mount Everest… I felt that

the situation George and I were in fell

somewhere in the middle – a calculated

risk to finish the job combined with a

desire to come home alive.”

And come home they did. On the

16th July 2008, the pair hauled their

emaciated bodies over the finish line,

having journeyed some 1374 miles in

113 days. Nobody in history had travelled

further without support on foot in the

Polar Regions.

Pen Hadow, the only person to have

trekked solo from Canada to the North

Pole, said at the time: “The figures

alone are astounding. It rightly deserves

to be remembered as a classic polar

achievement, regardless of its moment

in history.”

Three years later Aleksander

Gamme of Norway skied 1,404 miles in

Antarctica. Gamme had broken the record

for the longest unsupported polar journey

in history, and it remains the record to

this day. However, Hibbert and Bullard’s

journey is still the Arctic benchmark. Quite

remarkable when you consider they were

barely out of their teens.

" I felt that the

situation George

and I were in fell

somewhere in the

middle – a calculated

risk to finish the job

combined with a

desire to come

home alive.”

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“He makes himself ridiculous

who is forever repeating the same

mistake” Horace

The quote came to mind as we rocked up to the

Rafting New Zealand headquarters in Turangi to sign in

for the 2019 edition of the River Wild Raft and Run race.

We’ve been participating in the event every year since

its conception in 2013 and every year we arrive in the

same slightly dishevelled state; usually a little hungover

from the night before with our bodies carrying numerous

injuries which are a sign of our age, not due to any sort

of overtraining. Actually, our bodies also tend to go into a

slight state of shock at the thought of rafting 16km and

running 8km as we mutter under our breaths, “maybe we

should have done some training.”

However, this is one of the things that makes this

event stand out from all others. It’s not about being the

fastest down the river, although we all secretly covet that

spot, and its not about being the fastest on the 8km run,

it’s simply about taking part with a group of friends or

colleagues and the sense of camaraderie it creates.

By Lynne Dickinson

Images compliments of Rafting New Zealand

Stu's Crew navigating our way through one of the 60+

28//WHERE ACTIONS rapids SPEAK on the LOUDER Tongariro THAN River, WORDS/#217

all smiles.

Above and below: Stu's Crew enjoying the ride both

on and off the river

"The River Wild is an event

for anyone and everyone,

it’s a great event for friends,

family and there is a fantastic

opportunity for corporates

and companies to use this

event for team building."

Rafting New Zealand & The River Wild

The River Wild is hosted each year by Rafting New

Zealand in Turangi. They offer a wide range of white

water rafting trips from family float trips to Grade 5

white water , raft-fishing and overnight trips.

The perfect activity for a family, a group of friends or

as a corporate challenge. Contact the team at Rafting

New Zealand to find out more:

0800 865 226

Being regular fixtures at this event

has meant we have got to know the

staff well and they seem to enjoy our

rather unorthodox style. So much so

that we have been lucky enough to have

the same guide (at both our and their

request) for the past three years. We

first stumbled across Stu when we were

competing in the Spring Challenge a few

years back during the rafting section

of the race. He was politely giving us

the safety briefing and commands for

rafting, to which one of the girls yelled,

“we’ve done this before, just paddle.”

We then blitzed it down the Tarawera

River in record time, telling jokes, talking

inappropriately and laughing the whole

way down. Seems Stu enjoyed our

company as much as we did his and

we meet each year at the River Wild to

catch up and laugh our way down the

river. We even changed our team name

to Stu's Crew, to honour our favourite


This year a few of us were carrying

injuries so we jockeyed for places in

the raft to suit our list of pains; sore

knees, sore backs, sore shoulders… You

don't have to be in tip top shape to take

part in this event, another reason why

we love it so much. Regardless of our

ailments, it didn’t stop us from setting

off at a blistering pace. However, it did

mean that we couldn't keep up the pace

so decided to simply enjoy the ride, the

scenery and of course, the company.

With over 60 rapids on this section of

the Tongariro River, there’s always plenty

of water flow so you never get stuck

having to really graft it out paddling. It’s

one of the most scenic rivers around

with plenty of trout and loads of the

supposedly rare blue ducks.

As we came off the river and took

our time getting changed into our dry

shoes (and sipped on a couple of cold

beers we’d snuck into our gear bag),

one of the other teams mentioned that

they had dibs on last place so not to get

any ideas. Of course, like every year,

there are teams that are in it to win it,

but there are also plenty of teams who

are there for the experience of working

together to achieve something in an

incredible setting.

With some injuries a little more severe

this year, and the fact that you have to

stay together as a team, we opted to walk

the 8km rather than run it. So, we set

off at a steady pace chatting about life

and continuing the laughs. If there was

a category for the team with the most

chatter, we would have been hands down

winners and would have come home with

a medal! We may not have come home

with a trophy, but we did come home with

a big haul of satisfaction, comradery and

the knowledge that we had not missed a


Rafting, and particularly the

River Wild, is an event for anyone and

everyone; it’s great for friends, family

and there is a fantastic opportunity

for corporates and companies to use

this event for team building. No one is

excluded, there are winners but really

everyone has fun. Paddling the river

you need to work as a team, you need

to listen and understand, you need to

perform but you also need to know when

to stop and enjoy the ride. Set amongst

the most amazing scenic background

in the North Island this is an event for

everyone to enjoy. My only advice is

book early – we have!


The dust settles.

Shoulder your Manaslu

Breathe in. Buckle up.

Zip, clip, adjust.

Life loaded on your back

A dirt track at your feet.

Brace yourself.

This is The Carry Moment

Breathe out, and go.


By Erik Skilling

The Taiwanese really get what

cycling is all about. Cycling in another

country is always a buzz, but Taiwan also

offers a great climate with temperatures

between 21 and 26 0 C and light breezes

all day. Add to that smooth tar-seal/

roads, a culture where it is ok to share

the road with bikes, a wide variety of

terrain to choose from, and at the end of

the day NZ$4.20 for a 600ml bottle of

cold Taiwan Gold Lager, and you see the

attraction as a place to cycle.

In our case we had added a bit of tension to our trip by choosing to ride to the

top of the Mount Wuling undeniably one of the toughest mountain climbs on offer

anywhere. A continuous gut-busting 55 km of climbing at an average 8% gradient,

into the thin airs at 3,275 metres, or 10,740 feet. To put it into perspective, the

summit tops Mt Aspiring by about 240 metres.

There were consolations. The road surfaces are a cyclist dream, clean and

genuinely smooth, and shared with very considerate drivers. We were also followed

by a van loaded with water, packed with bananas, apples, passionfruit and enough

packets of gels, electrolytes, biscuits, lollies and dried fruit to fuel the next 10 cycling

tours. The best news though was the main climb was split over two days - 1,865

metres the first day and a mere 1,300 metres the next. Easy.


Switchbacks approaching the summit of Mt Wuling

Our group of 11 cyclists could not be more diverse, ranging from novice cyclists who were

very happy to accept an E-bike, to Brett who recently completed the Tour of Aoteroa – 3,000km

of mainly off-road cycling from Reinga to Bluff, carrying all his gear. Even more intimidating,

Brett completed/finished in 19 days. Although obviously born with titanium knees, the

achievement demands respect. /Respect.

In between are 3 of us over-60’s who were very happy to accept almost brand-new Giant

Advanced bikes with its smart looking climbing frame and Integra gear including a very

forgiving 34 sprocket in the cassette. The low-body-fat members of the group either had their

own bikes or were very happy with the Giant Propel, 8.5kg of Aero-bike replete electric gearchange.

Like they needed that advantage.

"The road surfaces are

a cyclist dream, clean

and genuinely smooth,

and shared with very

considerate drivers."

The team from Giant Adventures were our chosen guides. Highly organised, cheerful and

sometimes tolerant group of 3 very capable cyclists. Min took up point position at the front

of the group. Weighing less than 50 Kg dripping wet, loaded with camera and gels, she came

armed with a whistle that she blew with a gusto way out of proportion to her diminutive size,

warning us of hazards, upcoming intersections, traffic lights and breaks.


"We had added a bit of tension

to our trip by choosing to ride

to the top of the Mount Wuling

undeniably one of the toughest

mountain climbs on offer anywhere.

A continuous gut-busting 55 km of

climbing at an average 8% gradient,

into the thin airs at 3,275 metres."

Above: Out of the saddle for one last effort before a lunch stop

Right clockwise from top left: Setting out for the final leg. A short time later the group would be spread over several kilometres / Angry

temple guardian / Morning briefing; distances, gradients, food stops, places of interest / Some much needed encouragememt along

the way / The summit of Mt Wuling 3,275 metres / Doing the macho thing at the entrance to the National Park

Sunny, another slightly built pack of

human Taiwanese cycling machinery, at the

back to keep us on track after photos stops.

Lastly Kevin, dedicated photographer and van

driver, with an encouraging “keep going, not

far now” smile.

Each morning Min gave us a

comprehensive briefing on weather, road

gradients, expected stopping points and

landmarks to look out for along the way. Then

into a short stretching session. Each day our

guides made sure we had plenty of stops to

take photos, refill water bottles and load up

with snacks, or just to take in the sights.

The first day started off as a deceptively

cruisy trip out of Yuanlin, onto Jiji a dedicated

cycle trail past small but immaculately

cultivated farms, and then we glided through

small villages and markets. The route includes

the Taoist Wuchang temple, built after the

original temple was destroyed in infamous 921

earthquake of 1990. The original temple was

not demolished, standing as a symbol to the

devastating power of the earthquake.

Then we hit the first hill. The phrase, “it

starts to climb after this village” just didn’t

do justice to the 13 km of non-stop climbing,

which just got steeper and steeper as I cursed

the lack of training before leaving NZ. I admit

though it was very pleasant getting into the

bush-clad hills, the smoothness of an almost

new bike, and no time pressures.

Two empty water-bottles later we were

looking out over Sun Moon lake. The wind up

here was very light and hardly a ripple broke

the surface of the water. I craved a quick

swim to cool down and settle my jelly-legs, but

swimming is banned so we had to settle for

cycling along the of-road trail to our hotel and

a hot shower.

Sun Moon Lake is a popular tourist

destination, with several temples set in the

bush-clad hills and plenty of well-marked trails.

A gently rolling cycle track runs for most of the

30km loop around the lake, popular with many

groups of families on rented bikes. The main

village had that busy resort town feel to it –

although a very modern and very Asian version

of one, with several tall hotel blocks and the

tantalising aromas of Asian cuisine from the

many restaurants and street stalls hanging in

the air.

Next day we joined the 'Come Bike Day'

fun ride around the Lake, with 4 of the group

finishing in the top 10. But racing was not

really what this event was all about. Before

the start all 500 or so participants join in

a synchronised warm-up session to some

serious drum-and-bass. It was all too much

for our token Californian Mamil who broke

ranks with some sort of uncoordinated break

dancing. Amusing for the locals but humbling

for us.

The last event of the day was a highly

competitive race around the paddock for the

under 5's. More entertaining than the attempt

at break dancing, with heaps more skill and

coordination involved. But not as satisfying as

the glass of Taiwan Gold over lunch.

Next day was 1865 metre day. 55 km with

35 km of climbing. The signs were good - the

coldest start by far. A freezing 20 0 C with a high

of 23 0 C but cooling at altitude, and once again

just a slight breeze. Perfect riding weather.

After a very pleasant cruise along dual

carriageway for an hour or so, we stopped to fill

water bottles and load up with electrolytes and

gels and then the ascent began. It wasn't long

before the corners turned into switchbacks,

legs were burning and speeds plummeted -

down to single figures in my case.

Once again, the locals excelled

themselves with plenty of ni hao and jia you,

pronounced jar yoh and meaning 'more gas'. I

am getting even more hooked on this place.

The last 50 metres is a demoralising

switch-back up the step driveway to the hotel,

but almost everyone else is already there,

waiting to cheer me up the hill in one last lung

aching burst before collapsing in the car park.

Tomorrow a mere 1,300 metres to the top.

Early start. About 16 0 C and the Taiwanese

are rugged up like we are going skiing. A mere

20km and 1,310 metres to go.

Within a few km we are a lot more spread

out than usual. The lead group is down to 3

people. Even the E-bike riders are noticing the

extra effort in the thinner air.

Up ahead I can see the top covered in thin

mist. Some serious drop-offs give spectacular

views of rugged valleys with the odd terraced

farms, all facing the rising sun.

The legs are doing ok, but the heart rate

feels like it is heading for max at every rise.

I reach around 2,700 metres and 11 km to

go. The van is parked at the next corner and

suddenly the thought of another 500 metres

at 11% to 13% gradient is too much. I bail.

Steve encourages me to walk 100 metres

and then give it another go. I walk about 30

metres, but the heart is still pounding and I’m

breathing hard. I turn back to the van.

After a few stops for photos of the other

making their way up, we reach the top to find

the lead group of 3 waiting. Kevin reached

there just in time to throw up. I console myself

knowing that, and also knowing I now have

just the reason I need to come back soon.

Only between now and then I will have put

in a few miles on the Bruce Road, with a few

trips to the Dome shelter for that extra altitude






Between the Towering peaks of the Southern Alps and the Wild Waters of the

Tasman Sea, lies one of the most remote regions in New Zealand; the West Coast

or Westland as otherwise known. It’s an area truly dominated by nature and its

many forms, from Nikau palm rainforests of the North, to the glaciated valleys and

fortress-like peaks of the South.

It’s an astounding fact that this stretch of Coast is over 600km long and

home to only 1% of the Country’s population, leaving a lot of space to roam and

explore. While much can be seen not too far from the State Highway, you will

need adequate gear and potentially helicopters to go off and explore some of the

otherwise unexplorable inner realms. The West Coast is often well-known for its

less-than-favourable weather patterns, with heavy storms often rolling in from the

Tasman Sea.

The ‘Coasters’ are a friendly and independent community who will no doubt,

add to your amazing experience following this rugged coastline. I’ve been lucky

enough to travel the length of the West Coast on multiple occasions, only to

find myself captivated yet astounded by its remoteness and startling change in

ecosystems each time.

Choosing the top 5 places to visit along this 600km stretch of rugged coast is

difficult, but I am certain nonetheless that these natural features and gems, will be

fantastic additions to any travel experience you find yourself on and I’m sure you

will enjoy them just as much as I did.

By Jack Austin

Porters beach, Kahurangi Coast


Gazing in awe at the surreal turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge

The Heaphy Track

To be named one of New Zealand’s

9 Great Walks immediately sets the tone

for what is an incredible journey through

nature. I can’t think of a walk I have done

that covers more different ecosystems

than the Heaphy Track. Being the Longest

of the Great walks done on foot at 78km,

the journey takes you from the rugged

coastline and Nikau Rainforest of the West

Coast, right through the baron plains of

the Gouland downs, passing through the

mountain-scapes of Perry Saddle before

finishing on the shores of the roaring Brown


If you don’t fancy the 3-5 day hike,

plenty of short walks can be done from both

sides but more so from the West Coast. One

of my favourite West Coast beaches, ‘Scotts

Beach’ sits 5km from the track start.

Hokitika Gorge

The waters of Hokitika Gorge are often

described as ‘an impossible emerald blue’,

followed by “I’ve never seen water that

colour… ever!” You’d be quite right. The

Turquoise blue that runs through this gorge

contains fine, ground “rock flour” that is so

fine, it suspends in the water as it flows;

producing an impossible turquoise blue

hue. With just a short walk from the Car

park until you reach the swing-bridge, you’ll

be immediately welcomed by the incredible

greens of the rainforest. Cast your eyes

down to the emerald blue waters below,

you’ll be wanting to make it to the rocks for

a swim right away. Be warned though, the

waters are damn cold!

The Haast Pass

One of the areas I haven’t quelled my

curious nature by exploring enough of. The

drive through the Haast pass I can only

describe as being the most ‘wild’ of the

three cross-country Passes (including Lewis

Pass & Arthurs Pass.) Steep cliff faces

encompassing you, many waterfalls lie on

this stretch which are most definitely worth

exploring including the fascinating Fantail

Falls and Roaring Billy Falls ; my favourite

being ‘Thunder Creek Falls.’ Another

feature of ‘emerald blue waters’ lies in the

form of ‘Blue Pools’ an incredible natural

phenomenon sitting amongst the dense

New Zealand bush. The terrain of this region

is steep and allows any explorer to get up

into the alpine very quickly with several

back-country/alpine DOC serviced huts

spread-out amongst the mountain tops.


Glacier country, as seen from above.

Oparapara Valley

One of my favourite places to visit in

the Karamea region is the Oparapara Basin;

home to the highest natural rock archway

in the Southern Hemisphere. Tucked away

amongst the West Coast rainforest, the

archways are mind-blowing examples of

nature’s elements creating such formations.

When done exploring here, the basin is full

of amazing features to be seen along with

several cave networks, astounding Tree

Fern Forests and my favourite; Mirror Tarn.

It’s a forest pool of dark, stained water

surrounded and sheltered by tall trees,

creating a reflection that is undisturbed and

actually very difficult to tell where the land

ends and the water begins.

Fox Glacier & Lake Matheson

As you begin venturing further South,

you’ll realise 2 things. Firstly, the mountains

get closer and much, much bigger and

secondly; it’s a lot colder. While the North

of the South Island receives arguably the

most sunlight hours of the whole country,

entering into Fox and Franz Josef means

you have finally made it to Glacier country.

This part of New Zealand is home to 2

incredible Glaciers; Franz Josef Glacier (12

km long) and Fox Glacier (13 km long). I

feel it’s important to note that both of these

Glaciers, as well as many others in New

Zealand are currently retreating. Rising

temperatures have had an astounding effect

and my 2 visits here, with a gap of 4 years,

made me realise just how much they have.

You can still go and explore the glaciers,

however if you’re wanting to actually walk on

the glacier, you will need to do so by going

with a Glacier Heli-guiding company located

in either Fox Glacier or Franz Josef.

Coming away from the Glaciers, one of

the best walks around is the world-famous;

Lake Matheson. You will not see a better,

more beautiful mountain mirror-reflection

than here, especially as that is of New

Zealands tallest peak; Aoraki Mount Cook.

You are more likely to get this mirror-like

effect in the early morning or late evening.

Cape Foulwind

One more for good measure! If you

really want to get an insight as to how

rugged and spectacular this stretch of coast

is, the well-known Cape Foulwind walkway

should be on your trip itinerary. Located in

the old fishing town of Westport, where you

can quickly escape to the shores and the

roaring waves of the Tasman Sea. Home to

a Seal Colony, there is no limit on the native

wildlife to be seen here along with incredible

views of the coastal formations. If the

weather allows, be sure to go all the way to

the Cape Foulwind lighthouse!

Needless to say, any travel experience

in New Zealand HAS to include exploring the

West Coast and its many natural attractions.

It’s wild, remote and has an uncanny effect

of drawing you back to explore it time and

time again.















Words by Lynne Dickinson

Images by Steve Dickinson and Kalley Rittman

Most of us have watched Cliff Hanger,

my husband had not. So, the night before our

departure to Colorado to go cliff camping, he

decided to watch it – bad move. For those

of you who also haven’t seen the movie,

or simply have forgotten, it starts with the

iconic scene of Sylvester Stallone climbing

with his best friends’ girlfriend when she

comes unclipped from her harness. Despite

Sylvester’s incredible physique he is unable

to hold onto her and she plummets 1000 feet

to her death.

Fast forward a few days and we’re

in Estes Park, on the outskirts of Rocky

Mountain National Park, being clipped

into our very own harnesses, Steve was

undoubtably a little nervous.

To make matters worse, the day before

we had been driving through the Rockies over

the highest sealed road in the US stopping

numerous times to take photos and enjoy

the incredible scenery. Later that evening

Steve began to feel a little under the weather;

headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and

went to bed early. The following morning, still

feeling pretty dodgy we decided to check in

with the local pharmacist to see what maybe

ailing him. Seemed he had a dose of altitude

sickness and was prescribed some travel

sickness pills for the nausea, ibuprofen for

the headaches, a portable oxygen cannister

for his breathing along with a box of ‘concrete

pills’ and told to go enjoy the day.

So, we checked into KMAC, (Kent

Mountain Adventure Center) and met our

guide for the day. Kalley (pronounced Cali,

as in California) was the quintessential rock

climber, who despite growing up in Wisconsin

(not renowned for its peaks) had fallen in

love with climbing and the mountains. She

was passionate about the outdoors and had

made a life for herself doing the thing she

really loved, climbing.

" It just goes against

all logic and took every

ounce of mind over matter

to simply trust that we

were indeed safe, when

all instincts screamed the


RIGHT: Cliffnic with Kent Mountain

Adventure Center and trying our

hardest to look relaxed.

Image by our guide Kalley



Left: Our platform for the Cliffnic / Right: Climbing the Via Ferrata

We were there to experience both the Via Ferrata and

Cliffnicking… I’ll explain….

Via Ferrata is an Italian phrase that means “iron way”

and it basically means a fixed climbing route has been

established enabling you to experience what it’s like to rock

climb, without needing to have any technical climbing ability.

The KMAC website describes the experience as, “somewhere

between scrambling and technical rock climbing, something

like a rope course up a cliff.”

Cliffnicking is lunch or dinner on a portaledge attached

to a sheer rock face hundreds of feet above the ground. Now

this does not appeal to everyone but if you have any sense

of adventure (which we did) this is one of those must do


Our day began with a 45-minute hike before securing

our harness and helmet to begin the Via Ferrata. After a brief

demonstration and practise we clipped into the first of the

anchored steel cables and began our ascent.

The Via Ferrata climbs roughly 600 vertical feet and

traverses across the middle of a steep cliff which is really

exposed, so it gives you a mental challenge as well as a

physical one.

The views from the climb are spectacular and we

managed plenty of stops to enjoy the sights and snap

photos (or suck on an oxygen bottle). Although the climb is

assisted in the way of ladders and steel rungs, it was great

to challenge yourself to use more of the natural features,

that way you could get a feel of really climbing. Regardless

of the path you choose it is still physically demanding so you

need to have a relatively good level of fitness. You know when

you’ve reached the top of the Via Ferrata as the scene is

somewhat similar to the prayer flags at the top of Everest.

After a brief stop, we walked down to the start of the

rappel for our portaledge lunch. Usually going down is the

easy part, but strangely that was not the case. Although

clipped into the rappel line, tipping yourself backwards off

the edge of a cliff is simply not a natural sensation. You are

putting all your faith in the line, with only your feet securing

you to the sheer cliff face.

As we inched our way down, the portaledge offered only

the tiniest of safe havens between us and the hundred of

feet sheer drop to the bottom.

It’s a strange sensation, to say the least, to perch on a

ledge held onto the side of a cliff by a few harnesses. Despite

being reassured that the safety holds were exactly that,

“safe” it was hard to really relax. It just goes against all logic

and took every ounce of mind over matter to simply trust

that we were indeed safe, when all instincts screamed the


I focused on watching Kalley as she gave off a sense of

calm and reassurance and I put my trust in her enough to

actually relax and enjoy the experience. I’m not sure I can

say the same for Steve. Despite his best attempt to “chill” he


At the summit with our wonderful guide Kalley

just couldn’t hide the inner turmoil and never quite looked at

ease. Kalley took a picture of us perched on the ledge and

we posted it (as you do) to our social media channels and

is the image that has received the most comments, most of

them along the lines of "are you crazy?" Well, maybe just a bit!

Steve has no fear of heights but a lifetime of being in

some fairly adventurous predicaments, like photographing

30-foot waves from a boat and shooting while hanging out of

helicopter (things not always going well), he has developed

a good sense of self preservation and this situation seemed

anything but. He asked about the portaledge and how it

was held on the cliff wall. Kalley pointed to the single bolt

in the wall that we were all attached our harness and the

portaledge. "So we are all attached to that one bolt?"

Kalley went on to reassure him of how it was rated and

perfectly safe of which he heard none. All he heard was we

are all attached to that one bolt and it was time to get down.

I could see he wanted to get down and but didn’t want to

be a pussy. Kalley unpacked a beautiful lunch – drinks –

sandwiches and crackers and hummus. I started to really

relax and enjoyed the experience; the weather was beautiful,

crows flew around the cliff face and you could see for miles.

On the other hand, Steve nibbled at his sandwich, nervously

twitched every time someone moved and kept a firm grip on

the rappel line.

Kalley: "More crackers?"

Steve: "No I’m good"

Kalley: "Another sandwich?"

Steve: “No I’m good?"

Kalley: "Water?"

Steve: "No thanks"

Kalley: "Shall we just hang out here then?"

Steve: "No I’m good"

We rappelled to the bottom and sat and looked up at the

tiny space we had been sitting on as it flapped in the breeze.

We were perfectly safe at all times but something’s its is hard

to get your head round, that you are sitting on the face of a

cliff 600ft off the ground dipping crackers in hummus!

Weeks later when we returned to New Zealand, this

experience is the one that I have relived many times as

people have asked me what it was like and was I crazy?

I know that the cliffnicking could have easily been

outside of my comfort zone, it was definitely outside of my

everyday experiences, however, isn’t it that that makes life

exciting. The minute you start putting things in the “too hard”

or “too scary” category means you stop living.

Our experiences make us who we are at any age and it is

way too easy to put some things in the too hard basket; I am

too weak, too unfit, too injured too old, the excuse list goes

on forever. Sure, you don’t want to overdo it, but each and

every one of us needs so desperately, for our own personal

wellbeing, to push the envelope; take that extra step, commit

to things we are not completely comfortable with, and all of

us will be better off for it.


" Each and every one of

us needs so desperately,

for our own personal

wellbeing, to push the

envelope; take that extra

step, commit to things

we are not completely

comfortable with, and all of

us will be better off for it."


Kent Mountain Adventure Center was

established by Harry Kent and has been

offering rock climbing and mountaineering

instruction since 1987 as well as providing

outdoor education programs for school. Many

of the staff are teachers, outdoor educators,

professional career guides and personal

coaches who cite their passion for the outdoors

and love of teaching as one of the most

satisfying parts of their lives.

You’ll find KMAC in the lobby of the The

Aspire at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

What else they offer: Whether you are

young or old and seeking a climbing guide or

looking for a group experience, KMAC can cater

something to suit your needs. Programmes

include: Via Ferrata, Cliff Camping, Rock

Climbing Programmes, Avalanche Education

and more. Check them out at and for

more adventures in the region.




To some, #vanlife is just an escapist hashtag. It was those amazing Instagram images of people living in

a van, like a crazy tiny house on wheels that really kick-started the change. But it has grown into a far bigger

movement worldwide. What originally was the domain of both modern-day hippies and at the other end of

the scale, retirees, now has been embraced by all walks of life for all sorts of reasons.

To some it represents freedom, travel, adventure, and to some minimalism. To some it is cheaper

than a holiday home and for other's it’s the basecamp of adventures. It’s become a movement, a way of

life; whether it’s a 24/7 life commitment, the holidays or just a weekend. It can be in a converted bus, RV,

motorhome or a van. It’s not what you park it is where you park it.

At its most basic, van life is just that: living in a van, something with wheels. It has little to do with the

vehicle itself. It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do, or where you spend most of your time. It doesn’t

matter what specific kind of vehicle you drive, or how much you spent on ‘building it out’ or buying it. It

doesn’t matter whether you travel all over or stay around one region, or whether you live full time, part time,

or just on weekends.

Vanlife does involve living in a van, yes. That demands a minimalist approach which is cathartic in

itself – living with less. There is often travel involved which itself is rewarding. There is greater access to

adventures, climbing, biking, tramping, kayaking, which can only be good. But deeper than that, vanlife is

about the commitment to create the most fulfilling life you can for yourself. It’s about not settling for what

you “should” be doing, it’s about focusing on what’s meaningful in your life and shedding what isn’t. Best

surmised as ‘more fun with less’ and about ‘creating your own path’.

#adventurevanlifenz will be a regular part of Adventure we hope it whets your appetite to join the movement.





There are a lot of options around having a

‘VanLife’, you can rent an RV, or a motorhome,

hire a van or build one from the ground up,

but regardless of where you start there are

challenges to be overcome. It’s not all hanging

in hammocks drinking wine and looking at the



Regardless of what you may see on social

media, vanlife is not all about hanging around

your van in gorgeous locations. Living an on the

road lifestyle takes work, and you need to be

almost continually strategizing, making a plan,

thinking ahead.

Anyone who has done any time in a van will

know the joy of everpresent questions:

• When can I fill up with fresh water?

• Where will we sleep tonight?

• Where can we shower next?

• What shall we do with the greywater?

Cooking in a van is like cooking in a

cupboard – it helps if you can cook outside,

but if you can’t, then it is close quarter cooking.

You need to learn to put things away as soon

as you have stopped using them, there is no

piling them up in the corner and putting them

in the dishwasher later. There is an upside to it

that cooking as with most vanlife experiences

is about becoming a more of a minimalist,

keeping things simple and enjoy the quality

rather than the mass.

Unlike a house or an apartment, with a

vanlife you have to keep a close eye on the

water, how often do you need to fill up and

where, greywater what to do with it, black water

if you have it where can you dump it. You need

to keep an eye on fuel, propane/LPG. When

can I do some laundry? It takes a lot more

work than people imagine, but it’s not as bad

as having to do the lawns and paint the house.

These questions are relevant to how long you

are on the road for but anything over two weeks

you need to have answers to the daily question

and a developed awareness.


If you are not an outdoor person then

maybe vanlife is not for you! The key phrase you

hear is that ‘you don’t live in a van, you live out

of a van’. Vanlife, regardless of the vehicle, is

living and enjoying being outside.. No matter

how many amenities you included in your van,

you will still spend a significant amount of time

outside your van.

This is something that attracts a lot of

people to vanlife, and it’s one of our favourite

parts of this lifestyle. But it’s important to

realize that being outside all the time comes

with some unavoidable discomforts. There will

be dirt, mud, sand, and leaves. There will be all

kinds of insects; mosquitoes, flies, and spiders.

You will be cold, or hot, or damp, or sweaty.

Things won't be clean all the time, and you

won't be entirely comfortable all the time. And

the sooner you embrace this reality, the more

you'll enjoy living in a van.



When you live in a van, you can’t control the

environment like you can in a house, and you

are always at the mercy of the weather. If it's

wet outside it’s going to get wet inside; if it dirty

and dusty outside, then it’s going to get dirty

and dusty inside.

But you can make sure your van is well

insulated; if you have hired a van you can learn

to use the temperature controls, lots of vans

have heating and aircon. But for those older

ones that don't, then you soon get used to

knowing what to wind-up and what to pull down.

But the most significant thing, like everything

with vanlife, you learn to put up with it and

you understand you can’t control everything,

so tonight you may bake a little, but tomorrow

things will be back to normal. When you

deal with the weather and the environment it

connects you to what’s around you – it makes

you understand the seasons. When we are

locked in an office or home, we try to maintain

an equilibrium with vanlife; you learn to accept

and enjoy it.

The other joy of vanlife is if you don’t

like the temperature where you are, you can


Vanlife means different things to different

people, there are difficulties, but it’s turning

those challenges into being part of the value

of the lifestyle which makes it even more



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Dirtbag Dispatches with Derek Cheng

The policeman found nothing humorous

in the huge, black letters on the back of my

van spelling out ‘Free Candy’.

He had been called out to the van -

parked in the library carpark in Sandy, south

of South Lake City, Utah - by a concerned


"It’s pretty weird . You’re got ‘Free Candy’

on your van. There are children around. It’s

pretty weird … "

He did not seem to calm down upon

finding no children in or around the van.

I asked him if he wanted any candy. He

did not.

I asked him if he’d like to take a look

inside the van. He did not.

I went through some of the types of

candy I had. It did not change his mind. "It's

pretty weird," he repeated.

Adventure-seekers pondering vanlife are

often concerned about safety and security;

how vulnerable are you to thieves - or worse -

when you park in a public space by yourself?

In roughly three years of living in my van

in North America, I had more encounters

with dodgy police (one) than I did with dodgy

thieves (none). Free Candy crossed countless

miles visiting the most famous climbing

destinations, and mainly provoked fascination

from vanlife aspirants.

There was Caitlin, who was so inspired

by the van parked outside a climbing gym

that she left a note on the windshield saying:

“Your van is my spirit animal - admirer.”

Within a year, Caitlin had bought her own

van and moved to Boulder, Colorado, where

being a vanlifer is as common as coffee in

the morning.

There was Ara, an old man with kind

eyes, who had taken to the road on a

motorcycle - with his dog in a sidecar - as

a way of coping with his son’s death. I met

him in a laundromat carpark in Moab, Utah,

where he had upgraded to a huge RV. After

sharing a cup of tea, Ara gifted me one of his

three $500 Goal Zero powerbanks to light my

comparatively dreary living space.

"It’s pretty weird . You’re got ‘Free

Candy’ on your van. There are

children around."

Longtime vanlifer Ara, who gifted me one of

his three Goal Zero powerbanks

Derek Cheng with his "Free Candy"

Then there were simply the countless

people who poked their heads in the door out of

curiosity. The random way you meet people is one

of the great benefits of vanlife, but it’s hardly the

highest selling point. Many have dreamed of the

freedom of the road, and while few have taken

the plunge, more and more are.

It’s an easy lifestyle to sell. All the benefits

you see on social media #vanlife posts are real:

the gorgeous places you go, the immersion in

nature, the pursuit of the activities - climbing,

surfing, hiking, mountain biking - that make your

heart sing.

There are also the struggles that vanlifers

don’t post online: a curtain catching fire when

you were distracted from the cooking task

at hand, or breaking down in the middle of

nowhere, or simply those times when you sat in

the supermarket carpark at night feeling lonely,

isolated, even forgotten.

Many fear how vanlife will affect their ability

to find future work or afford a future mortgage.

Some think they'll get robbed or worse.

RIGHT: Keenan Waeschle and Cat Geras atop Eichorn

Tower in the Sierra Nevada, California


Others don’t think they could cope with the

lack of a convenient shower, or pooing into a

hole in the ground in the absence of a public


If you consider these issues to be

insurmountable, then yes, vanlife probably isn’t

for you, even though you could mitigate the loss

of comfort by buying a van of opulent luxury, one

with solar-panels that power a fridge, TV and

heater, with a gas kitchen and oven, and even a

compostable toilet.

These are increasingly the types of vans you

find these days. They are even becoming the

more dominant breed in dirtbag climbing circles,

where the cheapest vehicle possible used to be

the norm.

I’ve always been in the latter camp. There

was the Summerhouse, a 1987 Toyota Hiace

that wasn’t much more than a double bed

in the back of a van. Then there was Kiki, an

almost identical Toyota Hiace, followed by

Doris, another Hiace but with a game-changing


Doris had a top you could pop, enabling

this thing known as “standing” that had hitherto

been missing from my vanlife; hunching up to

cook at awkward angles as heavy rain poured

outside was not something that my fragile spine

ever got used to.

Doris, with her top popped, parked by the Takaka River in Golden Bay

"Social norms - from the importance of

looking your best or keeping up to date with

the latest TV fad - fade into irrelevance,

while weather reports become critical as

they dictate your next move."

Doris even had a sink with a retractable

shower-head that was operated via foot-pump;

you could shower as much as you liked, as long

as someone was inside pumping the water.

I must have yearned for the simpler lifestyle,

as my next van was a throwback: a 1980 Chevy

that looked nothing more than barely adequate.

Van Morrison made strange, random noises,

and broke down several miles out of Durango,

Colorado. It was pure luck that there was a gas

station nearby from where we could call the

American equivalent of the AA.

Free Candy was the best of all worlds: old

but hip, tall enough for standing in, yet cheap

enough to be kind to my savings.

It had a cooler (no fridge), a two-element

gas stove (no oven), a bookshelf and toolbox, a

coat rack, the Goal Zero powerbank (courtesy

of Ara), and abundant storage underneath a

memory-foamed double-bed.

It could provide refuge for five sleepers: two

in the bed, two on the floor on thermarests, and

one in a hammock tied to the roll-cage bars.

On days when the raindrops thundered into

the roof as if trying to reach the inside of your

belly, Free Candy provided a superb social

space: three chilling on the bed, three on the

back seat facing the bed and one on the floor,

lit by solar-powered lamps and some fairy

lights on each sidewall.

Free Candy was my ticket to dirtbag life

and I drove it endless miles from Canada to

Mexico and back, with visits to everywhere in


It braved the rugged roads heading into

the remote mountains of the Wind River

Range, in Wyoming, and the infinite canyons

of Utah. It endured the deserts of Nevada for

Burning Man, and survived being trapped for

days in Tensleep Canyon while a fire raged. All I

could do was camp at the brewery in the small

nearby town and drink craft beer, awaiting Free

Candy’s fate; I was very relieved to recover it


It even persevered through the -30C

winters of Canada, a fate it was forced into

when I decided I wanted to try ice climbing.

Such conditions drove the mattress to stiffen

into concrete, making it slightly amusing to

wake up in a human-shaped cavity that my

body temperature had created in the otherwise

petrified base.

Vanlife shrinks the number of your

possessions as you realise the things you don’t

need. Social norms - from the importance of

looking your best or keeping up to date with

the latest TV fad - fade into irrelevance, while

weather reports become critical as they dictate

your next move.

You become a frequent user of public

services, from toilets to parks to the library,

as well as an expert in finding places to park

overnight. Parking on conservation land in the

US is generally permitted, but vanliving in the

climbing mecca of Yosemite Valley is strictly

against the rules and can attract an instant

fine of about $200.

For weeks I scampered up granite walls

in Yosemite and, at night, surreptitiously

“borrowed” a campsite in the Upper Pines

campsite. I thought I had been sneaky enough,

but to the trained and watchful eye, Free

Candy was always likely to belong to someone

unwilling to pay $40 a night for a campsite.


"On days when the raindrops thundered

into the roof as if trying to reach the inside

of your belly, Free Candy provided a superb

social space: three chilling on the bed, three

on the back seat facing the bed and one on

the floor, lit by solar-powered lamps and

some fairy lights on each sidewall."


All the benefits you see on social media #vanlife posts are real: the gorgeous places you go, the immersion in nature, the pursuit of the activities -

climbing, surfing, hiking, mountain biking - that make your heart sing.

On my last night at the Upper Pines, I was

happily in dreamland when a Yosemite ranger

knocked on my door. When I opened it, she

asked me simply if this was my campsite and

whether I had paid for it.

I am a terrible liar.

“No,” I replied with sleepy resignation.

She told me I had to leave before the

arrival of those who had paid for the site. It

was 1am, and the conversation became a tad

prickly when I asked if she thought that the

arrival of said happy campers was imminent,

or likely at all. She thought it was. I did not.

A stand-off ensued, but my friend’s sixth

sense kicked into gear. She had been sleeping

in her car parked next to my van and, sensing

that a fine was about to be flung, she quickly

opened her door and told me roll out.

The only other testy exchange I

encountered on my vanlife adventures was the

policeman in Sandy, the one obsessed with

how “weird” my presence was in the public

library carpark.

If he had found my facetious offer of candy

humorous in any way, he was hiding it well.

I tried reason: I only had candy in my van

after seeing the disappointment from those

who had approached in the hope of finding

lolly-filled streets.

(There was even a time when I saw

children waiting by the van for the owner to

return, which compelled me to walk by as if I

had no connection to the van whatsoever.)

I tried blaming others: a friend had written

the words “Free Candy” on the van despite my

avid objections. (This was untrue, and I had

consented without really considering how it

might paint me as a potential paedophile.) I

asked what law I was breaking.

The cop was having none of it. He talked to

me like I was a second-class citizen. The fact

I was clad in my sarong may not have helped


I eventually resorted to flattery. “You’re

right, it is pretty weird.”

He ordered me to leave the carpark

and, while the whole exchange left an

uncomfortable mess in my gut, it was a tiny

blip on a glorious vanlife adventure spanning

five vehicles and more than a decade.

"Vanlife shrinks

the number of your

possessions as you

realise the things

you don’t need."



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Explore beyond the road, and your imagination

Ever wanted to leave it all behind

and travel the world your way?

Image by Dayna Andrews

Dave Clark, owner and director of

Clark Global, has always had an

insane passion for travel. After

a successful 20+ year career in

building and fabrication in

New Zealand, he embarked on his

first intrepid journey from Cape

Town to Cairo over six months with

a well-known overlanding company.

After 157 days of packed buses,

camping every night in every weather

condition, he learnt two important

things; 1) he needed to see more of

the world and 2) he needed to do it

on his terms, his way.

But what did that mean? Anyone can

pack a suitcase, book a tour and

see what the world has to offer - but

that is not what intrepid adventure

travellers aspire to do! Adventure

travellers want to explore beyond

the tours and experience the world

down the path less travelled. But to

do that, you need to be in control of

your own adventure, so that is exactly

what Dave set out to do.

18 months later, after returning

home to NZ from Africa and spending

a considerable amount of time

researching a vehicle that could

handle what it was going to be put

through, he put his life on hold and

moved to the UK. He began building

his first Unimog 1550 expedition

truck ‘Aroha’ with the plan to take

it back to Africa and explore the

Western Coast. Unfortunately, Ebola

had other plans, so a new route was

to be found.

Dave says “It’s liberating to be

able to pack up your home, set

off and explore the unknown …

Overlanding as a form of travel is

in itself a wonderful way to explore

what a country has to offer. More

so than not, many people fly into

main cities, see the tourists sights

and fly onto the next major city

without fully having the sheer joy

of immersing themselves in the

backcountry, meeting the locals

and experiencing the culture in its

purest form …”

“...This experience is only

enhanced when you have your own

overlanding vehicle, where you are

the creator of your own adventure

and destiny. Stop where you want,

stay in places where few people

have ever seen and do what you

want when you want. You don’t

need to be anywhere by anytime to

meet anyone - you can just be you.

A gift rarely experienced by people


Once he landed in the UK, he

collected his Unimog and drove it

back to the outskirts of London.

Once the crate arrived with all the

necessary tools to build her, less

than four months later, and with his

best mate in tow, they drove ‘Aroha’

on her maiden voyage from the UK

along the Silk Road via Mongolia and

Russia over eight months, totalling a

massive 41,000km and 17 countries.

Over the eight months the pair

experienced and encountered some

truly awe-inspiring events, including

arriving in Turkey and taking the

truck off-road into an unmarked

clearing in a forest to sleep on a

cliff top after travelling for 22 hours

straight. To then stay the next night

in a carpark they found in the dark,

only to discover the next day while on

an ANZAC tour that they unknowingly

had not only stayed on the cliff the

ANZACs had to climb up when they

accidentally landed in the wrong

place, but the exact place they stayed

had a monument that a specialist

they spoke to hadn’t been able to find

again in 10 years. To add to the awe,

the carpark they stayed at the next

night was on Brighton Beach, where

the ANZACs should have landed.

And it just got better. Seeing

the infamous Gates of Hell in

Turkmenistan, to being stuck

in quicksand for 27 hours in

Kazakhstan. They fell in love with the

majestic landscapes of Kyrgyzstan,

the vibrancy of Almaty and the

humble nature and generosity of the


"If anyone can replace a severed drive

shaft in the middle of Mongolia with the

only thing visible within 1000km is a

horse without a rider and still be back on

the road within two days ... it’s Dave"

When travelling through Mongolia

they went the first five days without

seeing anything but the odd camel

and shepherd. When they did come

across a nomad family, they were

excitedly chased down by spirited

children smiling and waving (the

sheer joy would compel anyone to

stop). They were then welcomed

into the family yurts where they

shared meals with families that

had little to spare. Giving what they

have is all they know - they have a

sharing culture.

They returned the generosity

throughout their travelling in kind.

They cooked and shared their food,

they prepared and smoked shisha

around family tables, they fixed

motorbikes, towed out trucks, gave

first aid to a family that rolled their

water truck down a bank and got

their truck back on the road.

As sparse as Mongolia is, they

still drove down rivers to camp as

far from civilsation as they could,

only to still hear the greeting of a

lone shepherd on a donkey at the

front door. Being able to immerse

themselves so deeply meant

that they met amazing people,

made lifelong friends and more

importantly sparked a dream.

Since the Silk Road, ‘Aroha’ has

spent time in NZ before being

shipped to the US to attend Burning

Man and then driven through some

of the most remote parts of Canada

into the North Pole to see the

breath-taking Northern Lights on

display, through to Houston over six

months just last year.

With ‘Aroha’ still in Houston and

set to be shipped over to the UK,

Dave has now built her big sister,

‘Arohanui’ which is his show and NZ

based truck.

Everything that Dave learnt and

experienced inspired him to

form Clark Global LTD and build

expedition vehicles that with the

right engineering will enable kiwis

and global overlanders to explore

the world on their own terms.

It just goes to show where a

passion and a dream can take

you. In only a few short years, Dave

has expanded his factory and

crew, built a new showcase truck,

consulted and built expedition

trucks for multiple customers - at

the same time expanding his global

connections and strengthening

his reputation as being one of

the leading expedition vehicle


‘Arohanui’, their new U1700

Unimog expedition vehicle, is the

culmination of their global travels

and displays the very best in

engineering, fabrication, knowledge

and specialist collaboration with

some of the leading suppliers in the

industry. | Auckland, NZ

@clarkglobal | #clarkglobal


Image by Jordan Sumner

Image by Jordan Sumner

“We believe that freedom

of travel is enhanced by

building a vehicle that is

100% uniquely you and

satisfies all your needs;

even the ones you didn’t

know you needed”


Dave Clark and the team bring all their

experience to create expedition vehicles

that drive, defy and allow you to see more of

the world, your way.

Image by Jordan Sumner

Starting from the bottom up Dave and his

team will work with you to build your dream

travel vehicle. They can work with any

chassis and cab. Couple that with the expert

design and precision build of the cabin - any

vehicle can become your adventure home on

wheels, no matter the conditions.

Clark Global offers a full 360 service. They

can work with you to provide:

• Consultation to find the right vehicle

for you

• Sourcing and management of

procurement of your base vehicle

• Import and export management

• Cabin design, build and supply with

their custom profile extruded fibreglass


• Parts and modifications

• Build and maintenance management

Image by

The team can design and build vehicles

that will satisfy all your dreams, needs,

challenges and creature comforts.

Clark Global is proud to be a kiwi company,

offering not only fellow kiwis, but the global

market, the ability to explore everything

the world has to offer, their way. Nothing is



Home is where you park it

Another awesome night spent on the beach with good company,

cold beers and a warm fire . We think someone's keen for dinner.



By Jessica Middleton

My boyfriend and I have always enjoyed what you would call the "van life".

My adventures started when I was a young girl exploring the forests and beaches

growing up in the land of the long white cloud - New Zealand. Growing up in a small

country you can't help but have the urge to see what is on the other side, for me that

was across the ditch to Australia. I met my boyfriend Jordan Whitcombe who grew up

in both coastal Perth and the outback of Western Australia in a small town of only

200 people, 'Beacon'.

For us the sense of adventure is to share our experiences in each other's

countries. We decided to pack up our jobs and travel around Australia in a van that

we renovated to be our home on wheels. People would state, "that's what you do

when you are retired," we couldn't think of anything more beautiful than to see every

nook of what these outstanding countries have to offer.

You just can't get that same experience flying place to place.

We are now living in a world which often feels like everything is in fast forward,

getting in the van allows you to put the brakes on when needed, having more control,

freedom and the ability to really S L O W things down and take time to realise what

matters the most; this earth and the connections we make.

Van life is such an amazing experience, but

when you are able to share that experience with

someone you love, whether a friend or partner,

that experience becomes a whole lot better.


One of our all time favourite drives is through the Lamington

National Park , nature in its purest form.

Crispy sunrises with warm coffee.

"Naturally happiness is only real when shared".

With van life this can be achieved

even if you are travelling on your own.

It is truly heart-warming to bump into

all different types of people on your

journey and I often feel I learn the most

valuable life lessons listening to other’s

experiences. As the firelight would dance

deep into the nights, so would the stories

from all the incredible people we would


Friendly locals will always provide

you with deep information, you start to

understand what makes every place

special and see more than what lies

beyond the surface. I have learnt every

place has its own story.

As social as we both are there are

also times where we prefer to enjoy the

company of just each other, sometimes

you can have this overwhelming feeling

that you are the only two people that exist

on earth, it’s pretty incredible.

You may think being in a van will test

your relationship but when you have so

much to explore, there’s a lot of places

you can go to cool off or have some own

time. We often take the hammock with us

and set up little day area outside the van.

I like to often research places before

I arrive at my destination, you may not

have to worry about being at work, but

you do have to take into consideration

where your next food stop, powered site,

and service stations are. When budgeting

for a long-term trip the biggest point to

keep in mind is the cost of petrol.

Being behind the wheel means you

can take whichever route YOU want to,

honestly, we have found incredible places

by researching but also have stumbled

across our favourite spots as they were

unexpected little treasures.

You can have a choice to completely

go out bush or spend some time in a

powered site where you have a sense

of community. There are now extremely

handy apps you can download that will

give you the options you desire.

Waking up to the sound of

kookaburras rather than an alarm,

makes you want to jump out of bed and

go explore all the diverse wildlife and


On our adventures we love to include

waterfalls, mountain hikes, rainforests

and dive trips to further explore not only

land but the big blue.

Since travelling in the van we

have come across the most amazing

encounters with animals in their natural

habitats such a crocodiles, surfing with

dolphins, night dives with sharks, beach

strolls with bioluminescent plankton.

There was one time when we were at a

campsite in Karinjini and I wasn't really

thinking, I mentioned to Jordan, "You'll

be happy to see someone has turned up

with their dog." He asked what colour it

was, and I replied "sandy". That’s when

we realised there was a dingo strolling

straight past our van.

We are now lucky to have our own

dog Chet who loves the van life just as

much as we do. We are endeavouring to

find out the best ways to include our furry

friend on our travels as there are often

restricted areas for dogs.

Having the ability to have a milliondollar

view as your backyard and change

your home is something you just can't

buy. For us home is where the heart is,

travelling with each other, our border

collie Chet in our van.

Folllow Jess and Jordan: @our_van_life_ | @jessmiddletonxo | @jordan_whitcombe






"Blaenau Ffestiniog was once described as the wettest place

in Wales, this is no lie. Even when the sun shines, the puddles

are plentiful. I’ve always been attracted to their animations

when struck by a bicycle at full steep. The tyres of Katy Winton

making the perfect parting of this muddy sea."




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Issue #196//new zealand’s premIer adventure magazIne sInce 1981

new zealand

Issue 196


NZ $9.20 incl. GST

AUST $6.90 incl. GST

USA $9.99

CANADA $9.99

hiking winter


ice climbing

first rule

mt aspiring

don’t look down


colder than you think

gear guide

more than just a puffer

Issue #196//new zealand’s premIer adventure magazIne sInce 1981

new zealand

Issue 196


NZ $9.20 incl. GST

AUST $6.90 incl. GST

USA $9.99

CANADA $9.99

hiking winter


ice climbing

first rule

mt aspiring

don’t look down


colder than you think

gear guide

more than just a puffer


in the outdoors*


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easy to prepare Yoghurt and Muesli, Roast

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serve packs plus a pack of drinks and

ready to eat snacks.

For all the details go to:




New Zealand Subscriptions:

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inspiration: lia ditton

Style: urbanwear

health: hydration myths busted

business: Dragon & goodbye ouch

mind: leave your cellphone at home

tech guide:

Diversion: just add water
























































































Image by Charles Hambleton



In March 2020, Lia Ditton will depart

from Choshi, Japan on a mission to row 5,500

nautical miles, solo and unsupported, across

the Pacific Ocean to the Golden Gate Bridge of

San Francisco.

To date 2 people have rowed this distance.

Both were men and both men were towed

the last 20 and 50 miles respectively. If she

succeeds, she will be the 1st woman and 1st

person to row land-to-land.

This is her interview

How did you get into ocean

rowing? How did it all start for you?

A Danish Olympic was given my

number by a mutual friend. ‘Me? Row

an ocean? You haven’t even met me!’ I

still laugh at the memory of my phone

call with Lisa Kroneberg. I started

reading books about people who

rowed oceans – there were a total of

8 on the subject at the time. I became

fascinated. Within months I had

committed to row the Atlantic.

Rowing round the Farallon

Islands was something that you

were determined to do. Why is

rowing round the Farallon Islands so


The Farallon Islands are a chain

of gnarly-looking volcanic islands

situated 26 miles west of the Golden

Gate Bridge of San Francisco. The

islands are a wildlife sanctuary

prohibited to humans – a breeding

ground for elephant seals in the spring

and a shark feeding ground from May

to October.

A sequence of weather events need

to line up favourably in order to reach

the Farallon Islands in a rowboat –

a strong outgoing tide and a weak

incoming tide and either a break in

the wind or an easterly/north-easterly

breeze (which is rare). The islands are

right on the lip of the continental shelf

and subject to huge swells, which have

killed many sailors in the past.

Conquering the row around these

islands was a huge milestone in

your rowing career. Can you talk us

through the three attempts you made?

What was going through your mind

after you failed the first attempt?

What motivated you to continue for

another two?

I proved it was possible to reach

the Farallon Islands in my boat,

when I turned back 2.5 miles shy

of the Southeast Farallon Island on

my reconnaissance mission. My first

official attempt was foiled due to the

marine layer, a wind-fog phenomena

caused by a temperature differential

between land and sea. The experience

felt humiliating because of how much

media coverage the attempt received

(everyone loves a story of aiming big

and coming up short). My second

attempt ended with another battle

with the wind fog, but it’s possible I

might have been able to break through

the marine layer if I had deployed

my sea anchor when I went to sleep.

I didn’t, so I’ll never know! My third

attempt was in October after I had

rowed 350 miles down the coast from

San Francisco to Santa Barbara. I had

that row in the bank, was willing to

be patient for the right conditions and

when the weather presented a perfect

window I dropped everything and

went for it!

How much did achieving your row

around the Farallon Islands impact

your confidence in your attempt to row

the Pacific?

I feel that rowing around

the Farallon Islands was an

accomplishment in its own right.

The main take-away for me, was

never give up. In the end I think my

perseverance to succeed was more

note-worthy than the feat itself.

You spoke a lot about your

mentality during your rows. How do

you keep yourself motivated when

you’re struggling?

I try and think of the bigger

picture – the education programme

for 4-11 year old children who are

following along as well as my amazing

family of Believers who contribute

monthly on my crowdfunding platform My Believers

are terrific at offering encouragement.

Can you chat to us about your

boat? How does it work/ where do you

sleep/ what does it look like? What

technology is there on board?

My boat is a 21-foot ocean rowboat

with a cabin at one end and a storage

compartment at the other. I row

on a sliding seat. I have a Katadyn

desalination unit onboard, which

enables me to convert seawater into

drinkable water, a GPS antenna

to determine my position and AIS

(automatic identification system) to

see other ships and for them to seem

me. My YellowBrick tracker shows

you where I am on my website and to

communicate I use a Garmin InReach

satellite device that enables me to

send text messages using my iPhone.

What is it like on your boat, during

a storm? Do you feel safe? What goes

through your mind?

Storms don’t usually appear out of

nowhere. The sky changes, the waves

build. You know something is coming.

Hopefully this gives you enough time

to get ready – tidy up, tie down any

lose items, make food, wash. As the

storm arrives, the important thing is

to monitor how the boat is riding the

waves and make frequent equipment

checks. I have faith that my boat is

designed to withstand the conditions,

but storms are still stressful because

no storm is the same. It’s hard to

sleep, but even harder to eat and use

the toilet bucket!





















































































"To date, I have rowed 2,067

miles in training. By the

time I ship my boat to Japan,

I am hoping to have rowed

the equivalent of half the

Pacific (3,000 miles)."

Image byChristian Agha

What is your training regime like?

I try and do as much of my training in

my boat as possible. Nothing beats doing the

thing you’re training for! Off the boat, I swim

once a week with a full-face mask so I breathe

through my nose and train my diaphragm. I

do Bikram (hot) yoga for a serious stretch and

a minimum of 2 strength and conditioning

workouts in the gym.

You mentioned your diet is completely

different whilst you’re preparing for a row,

to what it’s like normally. Can you talk us

through that?

I expect to lose up to 23KG while rowing

the Pacific and so have been trying to gain as

much weight as possible, preferably muscle.

I have succeeded in packing on 13.6KG! To

achieve this I cover everything I eat in oil and

lean towards calorie-rich foods like Parmesan

cheese and dark chocolate.

training. By the time I ship my boat to Japan,

I am hoping to have rowed the equivalent

of half the Pacific (3,000 miles). Time on the

water breeds experience and with experience

confidence develops.

What would you say is the most important

thing you’ve learned, that you’ll take with you

into your attempt to cross the Pacific?

I have been through so many trials just

to get to the point of departing on my trans-

Pacific record attempt. Above all else, I have

learned humility. Anything can and will

happen and my job is to stay grounded and

persevere through the storms and the calms.

What are you most worried about?

Not being able to give the row a go –

through lack of finance, bureaucracy getting

my boat to the start line or an issue I can’t

even imagine right now.

What initially made you want to attempt a

solo crossing of the Pacific?

I met a man who had just completed

a row of the North Pacific with a rowing

partner. His rowing partner said the crossing

couldn’t be done solo. Two French men had

come close rowing solo in 1991 and 2005, but

both had been towed the last 20 and 50 miles

respectively to land.

What advice would you give someone who

was just getting into ocean rowing?

All of it is part of the adventure –

preparing the boat, raising the money,

recruiting volunteers and managing sponsors.

The row is the pay off at the end – be sure to

open your eyes and soak up the beauty of the

ocean. You don’t know when you’ll be out there


Image by Alex Sher

You said that everything you’ve done up

until this point has been, in essence, training

for your attempt to row the Pacific. How do

you feel your rowing experience up until

this point has prepared you for the Pacific


To date, I have rowed 2,067 miles in

What advice would you give someone,

attempting an expedition like the ones you do?

A positive attitude is the most critical

thing you need if you end up in a liferaft.

The same goes for getting through the highs

and lows of preparing and fundraising for an



"I have been through so many trials just to get

to the point of departing on my trans-Pacific

record attempt. Above all else, I have learned

humility. Anything can and will happen and

my job is to stay grounded and persevere

through the storms and the calms."
























































































Merrell NZ District Mahana

Backstrap $199.00

Never look back. With a fullgrain

leather upper, corkwrapped

footbed, and M Select

GRIP outsole, the District

Mahana Backstrap keeps you

moving forward. Weight: 360g

Keen Women’s Explore WP $269.99

Rab Momentum Pull-on $139.95

Why stop at sneaker when you can get

a hiker, too? Unplug instantly in this

women's crossover hiking shoe that's

always ready to explore. It’s lightweight

and waterproof in performance mesh.

Available in Tawny Port/Satellite.

Available at Kathmandu, Shoe Clinic &

Key Outdoor Independent Stores

The Momentum Pull-On is designed

for those looking for that extra layer

of protection in varied conditions.

Made from durable, wind-resistant

Matrix softshell with a UPF50+, this

versatile layer protects from both the

wind and sun while highly breathable

Motiv side panels ensure full freedom of

movement. Ideal for breezy MTB days.

Rab Arc Jacket $399.95

Mans and womens Pertex Shield®

3 layer rain jacket offers rain

and weather proofing as well as

stretch. Easily packable, helmetcompatible

hood and easily

accessible A-line chest pockets,

perfect for year-round use in

uncertain weather conditions.

Rab Momentum Shorts $99.95

The Momentum Shorts are light and

robust with a quick dry time and full

freedom of movement. From steep climbs

up jagged peaks to traversing ridges,

designed for covering greater distances at

pace. Made from lightweight but durable

Matrix double weave fabric they offer

full freedom of movement when hiking,

running or scrambling in the mountains.

Treated with a DWR these shorts will

repel water during light showers and dry



Featured product

Macpac Mannering Jacket $259.99

A lightweight alpine softshell, the

Mannering combines Pertex® Equilibrium

high performance stretch fabric with

an innovative design to create a flexible

protective layer. Designed to withstand

light precipitation and wind with a Durable

Water Repellent (DWR) treatment, the

Pertex® shell remains breathable and

supple during fast movement or when

you're stretched out on a climbing route.

Featuring a slim fit for low volume layering,

the Mannering is light and durable, offering

technical versatility in the mountains and

at your local crag.

• Pertex® Equilibrium with four-way

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Macpac Saros Jacket — Men’s $199.99

The Saros range presents hybrid innovation,

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Macpac Merino Blend Polo — Men’s $119.99

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natural temperature regulation and odour

resistance, this polo is perfect for travelling

or casual wear.
























































































At its elementary level, hydration is

simple... If you feel thirsty then drink.

However there is a tsunami of misinformation

and we are going to tackle some of those halftruths.

Hydration is one of the key ingredients

to performance. Simply it transports nutrients

to your cells and takes waste away from them.

MYTH: Dehydration won’t impact your

workout that much.

Truth: False! Whether you start the any activity

dehydrated or become dehydrated during that activity,

if you cross the dehydration “threshold” (a 2% decrease

in body weight), your exercise intensity drops off. Once

you reach this dehydration threshold, you will sweat

less, which will lead to a higher body temperature, and

your heart rate will be higher for the same exercise

intensity. Which basically means you will slow down

and it impacts on what you are doing that’s is at the

gym or hiking a mountain.

Myth: If you’re thirsty, you’re already


Truth: Actually, your thirst sensations are a pretty

sensitive gauge of your fluid levels. “Dehydration is

the body’s natural loss of water through sweat, tears,

and breathing. The kidneys control the water balance

in the body, and when they sense the need for more

water replacement, it sends a message to our brains to

drink more water by making us feel thirsty,” explains

kidney specialist Dara Huang, MD, founder of New

York Culinary Medicine.

Myth: You need a minimum of eight

glasses of water a day.

Truth: You do need to keep hydrated, but how

much is an individual thing. Everybody, especially

athletes and those at hotter temperatures have

different needs. There are lots of variables; size,

weight, altitude, temperature.

Myth: You need to wee clear to be


Truth: As long as what coming out is a pale

yellow, you're hydrated. If it's completely clear, it

just means you are in overflow and what's going in

is coming straight out. However if your pee is darker

in colour and/or particularly smelly, you are possibly

dehydrated, but it could be a range of factors.

Myth: Water only is best for hydration.

Truth: Although water is a great way to hydrate,

it may not be the best choice in all situations. For an

easy an easy activity on a coolish day, sipping water

is fine. But if you're running 10 miles in the sun are

going to need more water enhanced with electrolytes,

are good options


GU Energy Hydration Drink Tablets

Created primarily for hydration, GU Hydration Drink Tabs offer the

athlete a low-calorie drink option. Formulated with xylitol to help

reduce gastrointestinal distress when compared to sorbitol. Sodium,

the primary electrolyte lost in sweat, helps maintain water balance.

Use GU Hydration Drink Tabs before, during, and after exercise to

hydrate and replenish electrolyte levels. ELECTROLYTES Maintain

system balance and aid in optimum hydration.

Flavours: Watermelon, Lemon Lime, Orange, Strawberry lemonade &

Triberry (All vegan) Available in 12 serve tube or Box of 8 tubes

$15.99 for single tube or $127.95 for box of 8 tubes

Myth: Coffee dehydrates you.

Truth: While caffeine provides a

performance-boosting edge, however it’s

also seen as a diuretic, but recent research

shows that caffeine doses between 250 and

300 milligrams, about two cups of coffee, will

minimally increase urine output for about

three hours after consuming it. However the

research also shows that exercise seems to

negate those effects.

During activity, blood flow shifts toward

your muscles and away from your kidneys, so

urine output isn't affected, Plus you always

have a latte in the morning or a red bull at

lunch, your body is acclimated to the caffeine,

so its effect, on both your physiology and

performance, is negligible.

Myth: Drinking water flushes toxins

from your body.

Truth. If you are not properly hydrated,

your kidneys don’t have the right amount of

fluid to remove metabolic wastes as efficiently.

In other words, lack of water causes the body

to hold in toxins rather than expelling them

as required for proper health.

Myth: You can't drink too much.

Truth: You absolutely can drink too much

and it can be deadly." Too much water can

cause symptomatic hyponatremia, a condition

where the sodium levels in the blood become

dangerously low.

Myth: Dehydration can impair

cognitive function.

Fact. Studies have shown that when

individuals are dehydrated by approximately

3%, performance was impaired on tasks

involving visual perception, short-term

memory and psychomotor ability.

GU Energy Liquid Energy

The Liquid Energy Gel is based on the

proven GU Energy Gel, contains 30 ml

more water per gel and is therefore easier

and quicker to consume. GU Liquid

Energy Gel packs energy-dense calories in

a portable packet to help sustain energy

demands of any duration or activity.

Packed with 100 calories, GU Energy Gel

uses maltodextrin and fructose to deliver

efficient energy and diminish stomach


Flavours: Orange, Lemonade, Strawberry

Banana, Coffee (all Vegan)

Available in 60g individual serves or Box

of 24 single serve sachets

$3.99 for individual serves or $95.99 for

box of 24 pkts

GU Energy Roctane Energy Drink

Created for high-intensity and

demanding activity, GU Roctane

Energy Drink Mix packs even more

electrolytes and carbohydrates

than GU Hydration Drink Mix.

The 250-calorie serving contains

carbohydrates (maltodextrin and

fructose) that use non-competing

pathways to help maximize

carbohydrate absorption and

utilization while diminishing

stomach distress. Sodium, the

primary electrolyte lost in sweat,

aids hydration by maintaining water

balance. The amino acid taurine helps

maintain heart contractility and improve cardiac output during

long exercise sessions, while the amino acid beta-alanine helps

promote formation of the intramuscular buffer carnosine.

Flavours: Grape, Summit Tea, Lemon Berry, Lemon Lime &

Tropical Fruit (all vegan)

Available in 12 serve canister or Box of 10 single serve sachets


























































































Dragon Eyewear will roll-out of their proprietary

Lumalens lens technology into the brand’s line of performance

sunglasses. All new and key carryover sunglass styles will

be produced using the brand’s latest innovative lens offering.

Already used throughout Dragon’s snow goggles since 2016,

Lumalens brings Dragon’s sunglass collection to life in high

definition through intensely vivid colour optimisation, razorsharp

clarity, and remarkable depth perception. By filtering

out light attributed to haze and glare while amplifying the

light that intensifies clarity.

Additionally, all of Dragon’s new and key carryover

injected sunglasses (and ophthalmic frames) will be produced

using a bio-based resin made from castor bean oil.

“As a leader in the performance and lifestyle eyewear

category, the expansion of our exclusive Lumalens technology

into our sunglass collection allows us to take another

major step forward to enhance our offering across multiple

categories,” said Lauren Makofske, Global Brand Director

of Dragon Alliance. “At the same time that we introduce

Lumalens to our injected sun offering, this is also the

first season these frames will be produced with our new

eco-friendly, plant-based resin material, simultaneously

asserting the brand’s commitment to innovation and social

responsibility to bring more sustainable practices to the

brand’s eyewear business.”

We caught up with Dragon Alliance Director / Retail

Division, Mark Hudson about the new Lumalens technology,

roll out plans and the key drivers of the bio-resin line.

Will the new bio-resin line be limited to certain styles? All

of the base material of our frames, going forward will come

from the plant-based resin. It’s something the R&D team have

been working towards for quite awhile, and it’s not limited to

any certain colours, it’s across the entire line.

Was the shift to plant based resin something which

was consumer driven or athlete driven? There’s definitely a

movement, as you’ve reported in previous ASB articles that

referenced Patagonia and those consumer insights (Read

‘Green is The Bottom Line – Not The Top Dressing‘) and

consumer preferences based on the values of those companies.

At a global level, Marchon have taken the initiative looking at

a number of their brands to make sure that there’s continual

improvement in our supply chain and environmental aspects,

importantly the materials we are using.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the bio-resin line is

Marchon working with a specific group based out of India

(the Pragati Project) Dragon sources its castor beans from

Pragati Project farmers. The Pragati Project is a program

aimed at improving the quality of life and increasing incomes

for farmers by teaching them how to produce higher yields

and preserve the environment through water and soil


How long has this been in the production pipeline? I get

the feeling this wasn’t something that happened overnight.

Absolutely. It’s been over 2 years and it’s something the

company wanted to make sure was a long-term ongoing play,

as opposed to isolating a certain brand or portfolio. It began

with the supply chain initiatives but we also want to ensure

that the quality of the product was maintained, whilst looking

at sustainable farming practices and the overall change in

production process.

What can we expect from a marketing standpoint? There’s

a number of elements in the go-to-market around the new

line. Central to that is the product, so we’ve got a lot of call

outs and logo lockups for the bio resin line. That will be clearly

identifiable in the cabinet, and easy for retail staff to distinguish

between the products. Importantly, we’ve got a print campaign

and VM throughout all the stores, as well as video assets that

will be rolled out this month.

Are you passing on any of the costs associated with these

supply chain initiatives to the customer? No there isn’t, Dragon

is absorbing the cost of this new production method and

therefore it’s not being passed on to the customer. Which is

fantastic, but also for retailers as well. We’ve had phenomenal

feedback so far and we’re ensuring this is communicated to staff

on the floor. Separate to that, we’ve got a new lens technology

(Lumalens) which will see a AUD$10 price increment. But with

the introduction of the bio-resin line, no there is no increase in

price. Specifically, around the Lumalens campaign we wanted

that associated with Mick, which is really important for our


Can you tell us what the green leaf symbolises? All the new

products will feature the green leaf logo and is indicative of

new life and it’ll appear on point of sale items and POP that is

being shipped to our core surf channel retailers now. The image

also reflects that of two surfboards. That messaging began on

September 1 and will appear on our social channels throughout

the month.

Dragon recently became involved with Lipped Podcast

too. Tom Wright has been integral to that project with Lipped

podcast. The important thing about that partnership was we

wanted an authentic channel to continue the mental health

message and conversation we started with Dragon’s Mental

Challenge last year. We wanted to continually reinforce that

message and the guys at Lipped have done a really good job at


Anything else? Lumalens is an important initiative, all of

the new product line will transition to that light optimisation

technology. Its had phenomenal feedback from retailers and

consumers, so it’s great to be able to offer that new addition

to the sunglass business as well. We had a staggered release

in the lens colours in snow and we’ll be doing the same across


We’re launching our new website, which went live at the

time of the launch of Lumalens. There are a few events in the

USA to kick off the new line, around the third PMI which is the

launch of the Rob Machado Collection, in Southern California

later this month.



Goodbye founders John (Kiwi) and Becky (American)

met in Nepal in 1996 while working as raft guides. A few

years later their founding product, Goodbye SANDFLY,

was formulated while they worked as guides on the

Dart River out of Glenorchy. The product was officially

launched at their outdoor wedding in 1999, just outside

of Queenstown.

This year they celebrate Twenty Years Outdoors with

Goodbye. SANDFLY has gone from a scrappy kitchenmade

product (pre-kids) to a product that consumers

expect to see on every supermarket shelf in the country.

Goodbye SANDFLY has been joined by sister brands

Goodbye OUCH Manuka Balm and Sun Balm.

These products are not their only babies. Daughter

Helena, 15 and son Isaac, 12 arrived along the way. John

and Becky are proud to say that all their products have

been robustly tested by their own family on their outdoor


Manuka Balm is the ideal outdoor companion. A

delicious formulation of natural ingredients developed to

soothe a raft of active ailments including cuts, scrapes,

bruises and stings. You really shouldn’t leave home

without it.

John and Becky’s newest product Goodbye OUCH

Sun Balm. This is a ground-breaking, high performance

natural sunscreen that delivers high SPF protection plus

the nourishing benefits of a skin balm. There is so much

to love about this unique water-free formulation. You

need only apply a small amount - much less than other

sunscreens. Unlike most zinc based products it absorbs

quickly in to your skin and doesn’t leave a white film.

And, good news - it will not slide off your skin or creep

in to and irritate your eyes. If that is not enough, rich in

quality oils and antioxidants, all ingredients have been

chosen to moisturise and protect the skin.

With high water resistance, Goodbye OUCH Sun

Balm is the sunscreen of choice for water sports and all

outdoor physical activity. And, it’s reef safe. Zinc oxide

is generally recognized as the safest sunscreen active

ingredient. With Sun Balm you know that you are

getting a tested, and certified natural product that is

safe for people, waterways and ocean.

All Goodbye PRODUCTS are NATRUE certified.

This stringent international certification for natural

cosmetic products gives the you confidence that you are

buying a truly natural product.

To celebrate their 20

years, they offer a 20%

discount on your next

purchase at

by using the coupon code


Say hi on Instagram

and Facebook: @

























































































Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like

endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing. So why, when you look through a

National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be


NOLSies will answer this in different ways—some might point out that most of our course

areas are in such remote wilderness that cell phones will work about as well as a pile of Legos

for communication, and others will point to this as just one of our many long-held traditions.

More important, though, is that students on NOLS courses keep finding value in

unplugging. What they learn about themselves, and others, is impossible to get when a phone’s

in their pocket. Now, we aren’t saying never to bring your phone camping. But take a look at a

few of the reasons why we leave phones behind on courses, and maybe you’ll consider a techfree

adventure next.


Outside of the many tools available on

a smartphone, one of the main reasons

people use their phone is, at its root,

distraction. We open social media apps just

to see what’s going on, watch entertaining

videos, or read.

When a phone is present, it’s almost

impossible for your mind to go “off”—your

attention is inevitably pulled toward your

phone. Studies show “Results from two

experiments indicate that even when

people are successful at maintaining

sustained attention—as when avoiding

the temptation to check their phones—the

mere presence of these devices reduces

available cognitive capacity.”

When phones are not present, our

attention is more free. Now, don’t confuse

free attention, or even boredom, with

nothing going on. When people claim to

feel bored, there’s actually a lot that your

brain does.

Brain imaging has shown that “The

brain as a whole is very nearly as active,

and indeed activated more widely, when

the mind is wandering than when it is


The nature of outdoor travel lends

itself pretty well to letting the mind

wander. Although you need to pay

attention to your surroundings, you’re

also spending hours each day hiking or

paddling or waiting for water to boil—

times of repetitive motions when your

mind has freedom to wander.

When we pull back from attending to

tasks, we free up our minds to plan for

the future, let ideas take root, and gain

perspective on our lives.

One researcher points out that

“Boredom is both a warning that we are

not doing what we want to be doing and

a ‘push’ that motivates us to switch goals

and projects”.

Next time you’re packing

your bag, think twice

about bringing your

phone. Do you really

need it? Then, consider

making it tech-free.



thing we rely on our phones for is quick

answers. You can look up the height of Mt.

Kilimanjaro, the year proper hiking boots

were invented, and the real length of an

inchworm in an instant.

Some of the most fun conversations—

and most heated debates—that happen

on NOLS courses center around just these

kinds of questions—things you could know

in a moment at home, but are impossible

to verify when you’re in a mountain valley

in Patagonia.

More seriously than honing your

debate skills, not having easy answers

available builds the mental muscles of

creativity and resilience.

Research conducted on NOLS

expeditions showed participants learned

ill-structured problem solving (solving

problems with unclear goals and

incomplete information) better than their

peers who had only learned in a classroom


Learning to cope with these types

of problems in a limited-information

environment helped those students

perform better when they returned to


Maybe your next expedition is an

opportunity for this type of creative

problem solving…



now rely on our phones for communication

and maintaining a sense of community.

This is often the most difficult part of the

beginning of a NOLS expedition—figuring

out how to deal with not being a part of the

conversation, or not being able to contact

who you want when you want to.

It can be really hard. But it’s also an

opportunity. Because you’re outside of your

normal support network, your expedition

mates become the people you turn to for

advice, for jokes, and for encouragement

when the trip gets difficult. With no

distractions, relationships form quickly.

Liz Blair remembers from her Outdoor

Educator course that “At the beginning

of our trip, we were 12 strangers, and

now we know each other as if we've been

friends for years. That's what happens

when you sleep, eat, sweat, and hike with

one another non-stop for three weeks.”

And more research is showing that

“conversations with no smartphones

present are rated as significantly higherquality

than those with smartphones

around, regardless of people’s age,

ethnicity, gender, or mood. We feel more

empathy when smartphones are put


Looking at your phone, on the other

hand, signals that your attention is

elsewhere—don’t interrupt me, I’m not

listening, I’m doing something else right


When you’re in the outdoors, the

people you’re with are the people

you’re with. For better or worse. You’re

committed to this group and your

shared goal of moving through a wild

place together. This opportunity to

focus on building connection outside

the phone doesn’t just stay with you in

the wilderness—it’s something you can

practice and build upon at home.




























































































a KTI PLB personal emergency locator beacon SA2G-NZ 406MHz $339.00

The New Zealand Coded Safety Alert personal emergency locator beacon SA2G-NZ

406MHz PLB is compact, fast and reliable; making it the ultimate global rescue

link for people who want peace of mind in the outdoors. A free Soft Pouch and arm

band are also included. Free contitional battery replacemet if used in a genuine



b Kaiser Baas X600 4K 30FPS Waterproof Body Action Camera $249.99

The first waterproof camera from KB that doesn't require a case. The incredible

stabilization and 4K technology will make your footage look sharp and smooth.

c Kaiser Baas S3 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal $129.99

Take your content creation to the next level and capture professional-looking

footage, every time! Compatible with Android & iOS Smartphones with screen

sizes below 6”.

d Kaiser Baas Carbon Float Grip $54.95

Never lose your Action Camera when you're in the water this summer with the

Carbon Float Grip.

e Kaiser Baas X450 4K 30FPS 14MP Action Camera $199.99

Designed for thrill-seekers that want stunning detail, the X450 boasts

exemplary 4K resolution and Video Stabilisation to capture super clear content.


f SunSaver Super-Flex 14-Watt Solar Charger $199.00

Putting out over 2.5-Amps of output on a sunny day you’ll charge your phone and

devices in no time at all, straight from the sun.

g SunSaver Classic 16,000mAh Solar Power Bank $99.00

Built tough for the outdoors and with a massive battery capacity you can keep all

your devices charged no matter where your adventure takes you.
























































































We've searched the internet for some great reads, no matter

what your water passion is...

No Barriers

The Emerald Mile

The Last Dive

Erik Weihenmayer is no stranger to

adversity. As the first and only blind

person to summit Mount Everest, he

continues to pursue seemingly impossible

goals. While the title claims “No Barriers,”

what it means for the rest of us is “No

Excuses.” Erik’s tale is one of motivation

and empowerment in pursuit of the best

in everyone. It’s somewhat rare to find

inspiring stories without braggadocio or

emotional terrorism. This is one of them.

And it’s happily infectious.

the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat

ride ever, down the entire length of the

Colorado River and through the Grand

Canyon, during the legendary flood of


In the spring of 1983, massive flooding

along the length of the Colorado River

confronted a team of engineers at the

Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented

emergency that may have resulted in the

most catastrophic dam failure in history.

In the midst of this crisis, the decision to

launch a small wooden dory named “The

Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand

Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream

from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not

just odd, but downright suicidal.

Chris and Chrissy Rouse, an experienced

father-and-son scuba diving team, hoped

to achieve widespread recognition for their

outstanding but controversial diving skills.

Obsessed and ambitious, they sought to solve

the secrets of a mysterious, undocumented

World War II German U-boat that lay under

230 feet of water, only a half-day's mission

from New York Harbour. In doing so, they

paid the ultimate price in their quest for

fame. Bernie Chowdhury, himself an expert

diver and a close friend of the Rouses',

explores the thrill-seeking world of deepsea

diving, including its legendary figures,

most celebrated triumphs, and gruesome


Fifty Places to Paddle

Before you Die

Swimming to Antarctica

A noted long-distance swimmer with a

love for cold water describes her eventful

career in the sport, from her recordbreaking

English Channel crossing and

her 1987 swim across the Bering Strait

from America to the Soviet Union to her

exploits in the Straits of Magellan, Lake

Baikal, and Antarctica.

It’s exactly as the title describes.

Chase your next aquatic adventure

with a book that understands

we all seek a bit of solitude or an

adrenaline rush.

Great as a coffee table book and

reference that will stoke the

wanderlust of you, your family, and

any guests fortunate enough to turn

its pages, you’ll learn about the best

locations from the very people who

spend their lives pursuing magical

paddling experiences.


Trail running

Thinking it's time to mix up your running

training? Then hit the trails. Our experts

explain why...

1. It gives your brain a workout: Following the

ups and downs of a trail gets your brain working

in a whole new way. "Rather than switching off

or worrying about your day, you have to focus on

the moment and the task at hand,” says Team

GB ultra-marathon runner Robbie Britton. “On

the trails, particularly a more technical route,

this can be a real boost for the brain.”

2. It improves every element of your fitness:

Running on trails can be better for your overall

fitness than the pavement. Andy Brooks,

professional coach at Peak Running explains:

“The resistance of running uphill improves

leg strength. Uneven ground improves ankle

strength, flexibility and balance. Having to

vary stride length to deal with roots and rocks

improves agility and coordination. Running down

steep hills improves leg speed and conditions

muscles against impact...” the list goes on.

“As well as making you a better runner on the

trails, your performance on the road or track will

massively benefit. You’ve only got to look at elite

Kenyan and Ethiopian runners to see this.”

3. It’s great for mental health: Running in the

great outdoors can aid your mental wellbeing

and give you much-needed headspace.

"Running wires your serotonin tap to your

musculature. It has a positive cognitive function

that we are only just beginning to understand,”

says Ceri Rees, Founder of Wild Running:

“Some of our past clients have suffered from

things like depression, and we sometimes get

mental health referrals from practitioners who

recognise the therapeutic benefits of spending

time outdoors.”

"If you want to see beautiful

places, find hidden spots

right on your doorstep or go

on a mini adventure, then

get on the trails."

4. You will reconnect with nature: Today,

more than 80% of Kiwis live in urban areas. Trail

running gives you an excuse to escape for an

hour or so, without the faff of planning a camping

trip or a weekend away. “Many of us have a

fundamental yearning to reconnect with nature,”

says Rees. “Exercise is a great way to immerse

yourself, whether you choose running, climbing,

kayaking, adventure racing, or any other sport

that gets you out of the urban jungle.”

5. You feel like you're on a mini adventure:

"If you want to see beautiful places, find hidden

spots right on your doorstep or go on a mini

adventure, then get on the trails,” says medallist

Robbie Britton. “There's nothing better than

getting lost in a muddy forest or running up a hill

‘just because it's there’. Trail running has, and

continues to take me to some fantastic places –

go find your new favourite trail today!"

6. You won't get bored: Running up and down

the same streets day after day can get dull. With

trail running, you experience different sights,

smells and terrain with every mile. Coach Andy

Brooks is all for it: “Even on the same trails,

things look different depending on the season,

time of day and weather conditions. And, as well

as fantastic views, you never know what wildlife

you’ll spot along the way.”

7. It will improve your balance: Twisty tracks,

roots and rocks demand more stability than

running on roads. To maintain balance, your

body naturally engages your core and wakesup

a stack of smaller, stabilizing muscles that

rarely get used when you’re on the flat. The

result is a fine-tuned sense of balance, better

body awareness and beautifully strong abs.

8. It's not as hard on the body as the

pavement: Grass, mud and earth are kinder

to your body than running on tarmac. If you’re

already a regular runner, give your bones a

break by swapping concrete for the countryside

once in a while. If you’re just getting started

as a runner, soft surfaces are a gentle way to

ease your body in – there's less impact on your

bones, and softer trails can also result in less

joint pain, and general wear and tear.

9. There's always a sense of achievement:

Wherever you run, exercise always makes you

feel good, but Andy Brooks is adamant that the

rewards of trail running are bigger and better.

“Regardless of your pace or ability, dealing

with hills and tough underfoot conditions or

navigational challenges makes you feel that

you have done more than just run from A to B.

You’ve conquered something,” he says.

10. It's fun: Let’s be honest. Pounding the

pavement can get boring. Trail running, on the

other hand, lets you unleash your inner child,

get splattered in mud, and yell ‘yee-ha’ at the

top of your lungs as you bound downhill. Robbie

Britton tells it straight: "Basically it's a lot more

fun in the mud, jumping in puddles and running

fast in the woods.”


Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

(NEW: Available in stores January 2020, std & wide fit, M&W)

Named for HOKA Athlete Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the

Speedgoat 4 is part of an award-winning family known for

making quick work of technical terrain. The fourth edition

features a new breathable yet rugged mesh. We included

3D printed overlays for increased midfoot support and an

overall more secure feel. Most importantly, we added a more

accommodating fit in the toe box for a more comfortable

ride. Grippy on the uphill and secure on the downhill, the

Speedgoat 4 is badass on every trail.

RRP $299.95


SALEWA LITE TRAIN K (men's & Women's)

The airy, quick draining seamless knit upper provides an

adaptable wrap around fit making this shoe feel as if it has

magically melded its ultra sticky Moto X inspired michelin

rubber directly to the sole of your foot. A great balance of

protection and ground feel for goin’ fast! It’s fully vegan to boot.

WEIGHT: 230G (W) 270G (M)

DROP: 6MM (HEEL: 18.5MM / TOE: 12.5MM)

RRP $279.00


Hoka One Challenger Mid GTX

(NEW: Available in stores mid Dec, M&W)

The Challenger Mid GORE-TEX® delivers on every surface

from trail to road. It features a waterproof Nubuck leather

upper for a clean look and an anatomical mid-cut collar

for support. It also features a GORE-TEX® waterproof

bootie to keep your feet dry in a variety of seasons.

Complete with our all-terrain outsole with 4mm sticky

rubber lugs, this versatile boot has smooth cushion. A

shoe that looks as good as it performs, the Challenger

Mid GORE-TEX® is more wearable than ever.

RRP $399.95


Hoka One One Torrent

Designed and built with the collaboration of

world-class HOKA trail athletes, the Torrent

boasts competitive credentials. Created as a trail

racer, it incorporates the seemingly contradictory

combination of cushioning and agility. The

lightweight performance is made possible with a

PROFLY midsole, providing a forgiving landing

and responsive toe-off. High-traction rubber and

aggressive lugs mean that when your feet are on the

ground they’re sure of their footing. Marry that with a

breathable upper and you’ve got a super lightweight,

nimble, and technical trail racer that allows you to

tackle a variety of terrain at any speed. Pedal to the


RRP $249.95


SALEWA ULTRA TRAIN 2 (men's & Women's)

Unmatched durablitly, protection and stablility in a svelt and

springy package. Seamless mesh upper, debris gaiter, full

rand, speed lacing, 3F heel locking system, and supportive

anti-rock heel counter sit atop an eva midsole with enough

cush to let you keep it redlined thorugh the rockiest routes.

Michelin rubber confidently sticks to both wet and dry

surfaces. Added bonus…vegan!

WEIGHT: 268G (W) 313G (M)

DROP: 8MM (HEEL: 26MM / TOE: 18MM)

RRP $299.00


Keen men's targhee exp wp

This updated trail shoe takes the immediate comfort of the

original Targhee and fuses it with a bold, streamlined design.

It's breathable and supportive, and the all-terrain outsole

adds stability. Available in Black/Steel Grey.

RRP $269.99



merrell Choprock mens

Packed with materials that dry out fast, grip on

slick terrain, and protect your feet from debris.

Vibram® MegaGrip®, Water friendly synthetic,

mesh and webbing upper.

RRP $239.00



This low-profile KEEN.CNX allows little feet increased flexibility

and freedom. It has a grippy rubber sole that won't mark up the

floor and KEEN's Secure Fit Lace Capture System. Available in

Very Berry/Lilac Chiffon

RRP $129.99



This supportive sandal can take anything a kid can dish out.

An adjustable hook-and-loop strap lets kids put them on

themselves, and quick-drying webbing is perfect in and out of

the water. Available in Blue Depths/Gargoyle

RRP $119.99


Featured product

Keen M Explore Mid WP & W Explore Mid WP

Adventure covers a lot of territory, so we made a waterproof

boot that does, too. Part hiking boot, part sneaker, this

lightweight, agile hiker is always ready to go.

• Speed hooks for easy lace adjustment

• 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction

• Stability shank delivers lightweight support

• Konnectfit heel-capture system for a locked-in feel

• KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane

• Radial support system adds midsole structure for

better lateral stability

• Notch in back for achilles comfort

Available in sizes:

Men: 8-13 (1/2 thru 12)

Women: 6-11 (1/2 thru 11)

RRP $289.99




Keep your running shoes and tramping

boots smelling fresh and increase their

lifespan with this turbocharged dryer.

Works great for gloves and clothing. Runs

silent, programmable, gentle on material,

240v. This christmas give the gift of good


RRP $149.00


Merrell Nz District Muri Lattice

District Muri Lattice features a foot-hugging

neoprene upper. Merrell Air Cushion+ in

the heel absorbs shock and adds stability.

Adjustable clip closure. Microfiber wrapped

contoured EVA footbed. Weight: 324g

RRP $159.00


Campfire 35 cm Non-Stick Bush Pan

The Campfire Bush Pan Non-stick Spun

Steel Pan has been developed using heavy

gauge spun steel with a triple coated nonstick

surface. Ideal for steaks, snags, chops,

omelettes and scrambled eggs.

RRP $49.90


Leatherman Free T2

Don’t call it light duty. The

Leatherman FREE T2 packs 8

tools into a slim, compact frame.

Equipped with the tools you require

to get you out of those everyday


RRP $109.90


Knog Bandicoot Headlamp

Bandicoot is different from any other headlamp out

there. It’s a streamlined, usb rechargeable silicone

headlamp without the bulk, endless batteries and

“boring” of conventional headlamps.

RRP $69.90


UCO Sprout Hang-Out LED


Powered by three AAA batteries, the

Sprout Mini Lantern is a compact

light that packs a punch and can

light any campsite… anywhere.

RRP $29.90


kiwi camping Intrepid Lite Single Air Mat

This air mat is ideal for tramping, weighing just

480g. Made of heavy duty 40D, 310T nylon

ripstop, it’s ultra-durable. Supplied with carry bag

and repair kit.

RRP $99.00


Gasmate Backpacker Stove with Piezo

Compact and lightweight, ideal for

backpacking. Windshield. Robust stainless

steel burner. Precise flame adjustment. Piezo

ignition. Gas consumption: 204g/hr. Weight:

280g. Output: 9,900 BTU. Fabric pouch


RRP $49.99



Kiwi camping Illuminator Light

with Power Bank

Light up the campsite with a bright 1000

Lumen LED with 5 lighting modes. The

hanging hook, built-in stand, and tripod

mount provide versatile positioning

options. Charges most devices.

RRP $89.00


Gasmate Power Fuel Iso-Butane


With a high 25/75 Propane/Butane mix,

Power Fuel High Performance Iso-Butane

performs better in cold weather and high

altitude than traditional butane. Available in

450g & 230g.

RRP $8.99 - $12.99



Climber-inspired ultra light stainless steel pocket

knife, titanium black finished blade with “liner lock”

locking mechanism, beech wood handle, belt clip,

new “wood colours” collection available in red, blue

(pictured), and green.

RRP $89.90


Merrell Nz District Muri Backstrap

District Muri Backstrap features a foot-hugging

neoprene upper. Merrell Air Cushion+ in

the heel absorbs shock and adds stability.

Adjustable clip closure. Microfiber wrapped

contoured EVA footbed. Weight: 348g

RRP $169.00


UCO 4 Piece Mess Kit

The UCO 4 Piece Mess Kit

is made from ultra-durable

material, the Mess Kit is

built to bang around in your

rucksack on the weekend

and pack your lunch on

Monday morning.

RRP $39.90


Kiwi camping Oasis 3 Shelter

Ideal for picnics, BBQs, sporting events or outdoor entertainment. Seam

sealed with 3000mm aqua rating and SPF50 UV coating. 19mm steel

frame. Top air vent. Side curtains available separately.

RRP $349.00


RAB ARK Emergency Bivi

Made with lightweight PE (Polyethylene),

the ARK Emergency Bivi bag is wind and

waterproof and reflects body heat. Super

packable, folding down 12x6cm in its stuff

sack, and lightweight at 105g.

RRP $19.95



Back Country Cuisine


chicken and pasta dish, served in a creamy

italian style sauce.


Mushrooms with tomato in a savory sauce,

served with noodles. Vegan.

Available in one serve 90g or two serve 175g


RRP $8.99 and $13.49


on chocolate self-saucing pudding, with

chocolate brownie, boysenberries and

chocolate sauce. Gluten Free.

RRP 150g $12.49


hydro flask 946mL (32oz) Wide Mouth

Flask & Wide Mouth Straw Lid

Carry just under a litre this summer – your water

will stay icy all day! Pair with the Straw Lid for

ultimate hydration on all adventures!

RRP $79.99 & $19.99


Back Country Cuisine

ICED MOCHA: Our mocha is

made with chocolate and coffee

combined with soft serve to give

you a tasty drink on the run.

Gluten Free. 85g.

RRP $3.99


Macpac Great Walks Bandana

A multi-purpose cotton bandana

illustrated with New Zealand’s great

walks — wear it on your neck, wrist,

head or pack, and tick your summer

adventures off one by one.

RRP $24.99


hydro flask 354mL (12oz) kids flask

Keep the little ones hydrated this summer!

Coming with a non-chewable Straw Lid and

a protective Boot, this bottle will be the

ultimate adventure buddy!

RRP $59.99


Marmot Catalyst 2P Tent

Designed as a roomy, livable tent that is still light in weight, the

freestanding Catalyst 2P has all the ideal features for a casual

camping trip, like a seam-taped catenary cut floor, color-coded

poles for easy set-up and two D-shaped doors, along with enough

room and pockets to stash and organize all your necessary gear.

RRP $399.95



Summit Skillet

Our new non-stick Summit Skillet packs the performance of

your kitchen pans into a trail-ready solution. Not only does

it improve your backcountry cooking versatility, the turner

nests into the handle for compact and lightweight travel.

After all, your meals on the trail deserve to be just as good

as your adventures.

RRP $119.95


Jetboil Flash 2.0


Blistering boil times come standard on our industry-leading

Flash. By modelling the combustion and selecting materials to

optimize efficiency, we were able to create the fastest Jetboil

ever — cutting a full minute off our best boil time.

RRP $239.95


kiwi camping Rover King Single 10cm Self-Inflating Mat

The compressible foam core expands in minutes. Covered in

durable soft-stretch fabric for extra comfort. 3-way valve for easy

inflation/deflation. Repair kit, carry bag and compression straps


RRP $219.00


Macpac Sentinel 50L Alpine Pack

Designed and tested in New Zealand,

the Sentinel is a fully-featured

mountaineering pack with a 50+ litre

capacity. Made from Eco AzTec® 8 oz.

canvas with an ActiveX harness, this

adaptable pack features a removable

foam back panel, hip belt, metal frame

and detachable top lid for lighter


RRP $449.99


Marmot Long Hauler Duffel

Burly travel demands a burly bag and the Long Hauler Duffle

series ponies up some seriously brawny features. A D-shaped main

zipper, with protective rain flap, opens to a cavernous interior that

is doubled up on the bottom for durability and decked out with a

compression strap. Available in Dm

RRP $399.95


Jetboil minimo

It's about cooking. MiniMo delivers UNMATCHED simmer

control, metal handles, and a low spoon angle for easy

eating! Starting with the innovative new valve design,

MiniMo delivers the finest simmer control of any upright

canister system on the market.

RRP $299.95


Chaco Playa Pro Web

Flip Flops are disposable no more. Meet the most durable 3-point

sandals on the market. Built to last with eco-conscious features,

these premium flips stabilize and protect your feet to handle the

most aggressive terrain that stands between you and pristine


RRP $99.95





Zempire Chill-Pill Self Inflating Pillow

Zempire Chill-Pill Self Inflating Pillows are the

ultimate compliment to any sleeping mat.

Stretch material and open-cell foam creates a

comfy, quiet surface for max comfort.

RRP $29.99


Wherever your next

adventure is about to

lead you, we’ve got

the goods to keep you


Est. 1998 Back Country

Cuisine specialises in

a range of freeze-dried

products, from tasty

meals to snacks and

everything in between, to

keep your energy levels up

and your adventures wild.

EXPED SynMat UL Lite Sleeping Mat

Provides comfort and warmth in a very lightweight and small

package. R-vale 2.5. Inflated dimensions: 183cm x 52cm x 5cm.

Only 390gm.

RRP $159.99


Black diamond Apollo 250 Lumens Lantern

250 lumens of glare-free, fully adjustable light on a

rechargeable battery (can also run on 3 x AAs) and

has a USB port so you can recharge your electronics

in the outback. Double-hook loop so you can hang it

up as well as folding legs.

RRP $139.99


RAB Expedition Kitbag 80

The Kitbag 80 is a hardwearing, heavy duty

kitbag, designed to keep your gear safe and

withstand the rigors of an expedition. Made

using a tough and durable 600D fabric and

is coated with a water-resistant film. Triplestitched

seams and a double thickness base

add further to the ruggedness of the Kitbag.

Contents are easily accessible through a large,

lockable main opening, and there are even 2

internal pockets underneath the lid.

RRP $179.95


Blis K12 Oral Probiotics

TravelProtect with BLIS K12 is an advanced

oral probiotic that can support your natural

immune system against airborne ailments when


RRP $21.95


RAB Mythic 200

The pinnacle of innovation, the Mythic 200

Sleeping bag is an ultra lightweight down

sleeping bag with the best warmth to weight

ratio in the Rab range. Designed for mountain

activists looking to reduce weight while moving

through the mountains, for use in warmer

conditions where weight and packsize are

crucial to success, such as long multi day

routes or summer trekking.

RRP $899.95


outdoor research Helium Bivy

A perfect shelter for solo fast-and-light adventures. It features durable,

waterproof, breathable Pertex® Shield+ fabric, a clamshell opening

with a No-See-Um mesh so you can breathe freely without letting the

weather or insects inside. 459gm

RRP $299.99


sea to summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks

Made with a lightweight, amazingly strong,

durable and waterproof fabric that is almost

completely translucent so you can see the

contents and has a slippery surface for easy

packing. Other features include tape-sealed

seams and a roll-top closure. 7 sizes from

1L to 35L.

RRP From $17.99


anatom Q3 Braeriach Boots

A durable, comfortable boot for ambitious

adventures. The waterproof/breathable tri.aria

membrane and Interface One lining keep your

feet dry, cushioned midsole provides improved

shock absorption, support and protection.

2.6mm Anfibio Leather. Vibram outsole.

RRP From $429.99


Dive and help preserve

the unexplored

Dive Munda is a multi-award winning SSI Instructor Training and Extended Range Centre in the Western

province of Solomon Islands committed to sustainable dive eco-tourism. Discover WWII history and

Kastom culture and scuba dive unexplored reefs, hard and soft coral, cuts, caverns and caves along with

pelagic life and shark action, all in one of the last wild frontiers left on planet ocean.

• Direct weekly flights from Brisbane to Munda with Solomon Airlines

Landline: +677 621 56

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Agnes Gateway Hotel, Lambeti Station, Munda, New Georgia. Western Province, Solomon Islands



Words and Images by Steve Dickinson

When poor Will McCullough was executed along with

thirteen others for mutiny in September 1834, he

was halfway around the world from his home. He

probably didn’t know that he would end up the poster boy

for Norfolk Island. Well not him exactly but his headstone.

His grave is in the Kingstone cemetery on Kingstone beach.

There have been a lot of changes over the last hundred or

so years.

Norfolk Island is immersed in history; in the first few sentences of

introduction, most of the locals will tell you their surname name with great

pride and their links to the original mutineers. If it happens, they are not

part of the original mutineers, with Fletcher Christian. Then they soon

update you that it was from Adams or Buffet, Evans and Nobbs or any of

the half dozen core historic names who joined them on Pitcairn.

I am no history buff, but the story of Norfolk is as engaging as it is

horrific. Set up as a convict colonially, then several there were attempts

to colonise with farming. Later the Bounty mutineers (that fled to Pitcairn)

offspring we transferred to Norfolk Island, some remained, and some

returned to Pitcairn. But Norfolk was a hostile, cruel place and the

graveyard attest too so many died very young and a long way from where

they called home.

Where in comparison to now; Norfolk seems idyllic, great weather,

stunning blue water lagoon, lush subtropical forest, no predators, snakes

or bugs. A growing tourism industry, which is extending from its normal

influx of older people. Has created a new and dynamic tourism industry

around biking, hiking, fishing, history, great fresh food and stunning


The cemetery at Kingston Beach

The headstone of Will McCollough

There is a tonne of accommodation on the island to meet

everyone's needs. We stayed at Endeavour Lodge, a stunning location

overlooking Kingston beach. With a blue Pacific Ocean background,

the traditional pines swayed in the breeze and the waves broke

relentlessly on the white sand and equally white Sheerwaters playing

in pairs along the cliff edge.

Currently, most of the tourists headed to the island are well past

retirement age and, once there, spend much of their time on tour

buses experiencing the island through the window. The upside of

which is whatever beach you go too or hike you take you are alone.

There are bikes and E-bikes for rent, so you don't need to take

your own. The terrain can be a little hilly, but nothing too strenuous

and the most significant danger is taking one hand off the handlebars

to wave, as it seems to be a custom no matter what type of vehicle you

are on when passing another is customary to wave.


The beaches are spectacular, and for me, that was the biggest

surprise. I had an expectation of rocky coastline and massive swell, which

was far from correct. There was a stunning lagoon great for snorkelling,

paddleboarding, swimming and kayaking. The snorkelling may not have

been Fiji, but it was still really interesting – for those not will to brave the

water there is a glass-bottom boat that regularly goes out.

Hiking here is also a must do. The island is ringed with beautiful

walkways and paths, a diverse range of wildlife and vegetation plus the

temperature is perfect. A perfect place to download a map and get some

idea what is available is

You might even see a green parrot. These are endemic to Norfolk


Personally, for me, the highlight of Norfolk island was the fishing.

There are a few charter boats on the island, and we went out with Darren

Bates on Advanced 2.

We arrived at sunrise at the wharf not a boat in sight. Actually that

is not 100% correct there was a couple of people kayaking in the early

morning light and I asked ‘was I at the right place?’ and before they could

answer, down the road comes a four tonnes of Advance 2.

The boat was quickly hoisted by a crane and lifted off the pier into the

water. I had heard about fishing in Norfolk (pronounced 'nor -folk’ locally,

not nor-fork) but to find any details on what is available was not easy,

what images I did find were an odd collection at best. Norfolk is an 8 x 11

km. volcanic outcrop in the middle of nowhere, it is like a hat as a local

described it to me, there is a shelf surrounding the island that goes out to

32x80 km. and remains at about 40m till the drop off then it plummets

for 4000 meters.

Above: Sweet lipped trumpeter fish - also called a trumpie

Right: Beautiful bay's all around the island

We headed directly out, the wind already rising from the south had

some bite to it, and the swell was bumpy and confused. In discussion

with Darren, it was clear the biggest hindrance to him was the weather

in terms of charters because you never know who you will get. Although

we coped with the bumpy swell, some older clients may have found it

challenging. Darren had a specific pinnacle in mind, as we approached

he slowed and put of two small lures, within seconds of them hitting

the water we had two bonito in the boat these were thrown into a bin.

As the boat stopped, the fish finder was now alive with fish - not just in

patches but from top to bottom.

There where a range a fish quickly pulled up snapper, kingis and a

beautiful fish officially called the Sweetlip Emperor (Lethrinus miniatus)

with pointy aggressive teeth and a dark red mouth. At that stage, I had

not eaten trumpie, but later that night, I had it pan-fried with lemon and

butter – and it was excellent, very similar to snapper but with a slightly

softer texture.

The wind continued to blow which is an issue fishing in Norfolk its

exposure to the weather, so we headed back – so much fun and so

many fish.

Norfolk is one of those underdone destinations, traditionally

labelled for older people who want to play bowls, but nothing could be

further from the truth. Norfolk has a fantastic climate with vineyards

and restaurants, great surf, mountain biking and numerous museums

and best of all untouched fishing. It is, without doubt, one of the bestkept

secrets of the South Pacific.

Air Chathams is now flying there and back every Friday, so there is

no excuse not to go and find out for yourself.

Adventure was hosted by Norfolk Island Tourism:

Norfolk Island offers an array of fascinating activities and adventures

in a beautiful setting. Visit

Flights: Air Chathams fly direct to Norfolk Island once a week from

Auckland. For more information, or to book visit

Hosted Accommodation: Endeavour Lodge – Rainbows End House

Fishing: Advance Fishing (Darren Bates) –

Charter Marine (David Bigg) –

Greenwoods Fishing Adventures –



From trekking the highest mountain in

Oceania to diving some of the world’s

most pristine coral reefs, island-hopping

across 600+ mostly-deserted islands and

discovering fiery active volcanoes, Papua

New Guinea is an adventure travellers


The lesser-known highlands and inland regions of

Papua New Guinea are where you’ll find mysterious

tribes and colourful displays of culture, worldrenowned

mountain treks, and the warm friendly

smiles of Papua New Guineans. Here are our top 3

picks for highland adventures in Papua New Guinea…


The annual Goroka Show (September) is the

region’s main drawcard. Attracting over 200 local

tribes and international visitors alike, the festival

is a spectacle of colour and culture. Visitors find

themselves enchanted as tribes tell their history and

celebrate their people through traditional Sing Sings.

But there’s more to Goroka than just the Goroka

Show, you can also visit the Asaro Village, home to the

mudmen or even visit the region’s coffee plantations,

where you can visit, pick and sample world-famous

Papua New Guinean coffee. Pacific Gardens Hotel

( offers modern accommodation

right in town.

A few hours drive from Goroka is one of the

world’s Seven Summits. At 4,509m, Mount Wilhelm

is not only Papua New Guinea’s highest peak, but is

also the highest mountain in all of Oceania. On a clear

day, the views are simply spectacular as you look out

across the north coast of the country. At the base of

the mountain is Betty’s Lodge, offering adventureseekers

basic but traditional style accommodation,

coupled with Betty’s famous hospitality. A local legend

herself, Betty is on hand to organise guided treks

of Mount Wilhelm (for those not on a pre-organised

guided tour), where it generally takes 2 days to



Huli Wigman | Photo by Jeremy Drake

Asaro Mudmen | Photo by Ulrika Larsson


A five-hour drive from Goroka,

or direct flight from Port Moresby,

Mount Hagen is capital of the

highlands region, the true final

frontier of Papua New Guinea. Of

course, if you are there in August

then a visit to the Mount Hagen

Show is a must for those seeking a

cultural display like nowhere else

on earth.

Looking for a luxury escape?

Rondon Ridge ( is

one of the country’s leading luxury

lodges. Not only can you expect

five-star service, but incredibly

picturesque surrounds. The hotel

boasts panoramic views of the

Wahgi Valley below, as well as vistas

out to the surrounding mountains

and city below. While staying at

Rondon Ridge, an early rise for

sunrise is a must-see.

Trekking world-famous Kokoda is not only a 96km physical endurance challenge,

it’s also a spiritual journey, retracting the footsteps of the thousands of soldiers and

Papua New Guineans who were killed or injured during WWII. In Australia, Kokoda is

regarded as a rite of passage, and those who trek it feel an overwhelming sense of

appreciation for what the ANZAC’s endured during the war. If that is not enough to sway

you, the scenery you walk through will blow you away as you experience deep jungle

and beautiful waterfalls. Reputable Kokoda tour operators are listed on the KTA website


@jackson.groves trekking Kokoda

Flights to Papua New Guinea are operated by Air Niugini, Qantas and Virgin Australia,

with connections from New Zealand via Sydney, Brisbane or Cairns. The most frequent

services are operated by Air Niugini, who also operate an extensive domestic route network

within Papua New Guinea. Flying time from Cairns to Port Moresby is only 1.5 hours.

For more information on Papua New Guinea visit





Get busy relaxing in Niue


Take time out and get busy relaxing in the South Pacific escape of Niue. Snorkel in crystal clear waters,

go game fishing a stone’s throw from the shore and have cocktails while cooling off in the pool. Now

that’s what I call a hard day’s work. Book direct with us and save on your next dream holiday.

0800 69 69 63 |



Words and Images by Steve Dickinson & Greg Knell

For many years Niue was promoted as ‘The Rock’ and to

be honest it did Niue some injustice. A rock is a hard

place, it’s unforgiving, it’s solid, dull, lacking in soul and

it’s cold. Niue is none of those things. Niue is warm and

inviting, it’s lush and clean, it’s bright and sunny, and its

people are warm and friendly. From the moment you arrive,

you feel this tremendous feeling of being welcomed from

the smiling customs officer to the those walking down the

road who wave to everyone they see.

In 1774 the first Europeans sighted Niue sailing with Captain Cook.

Cook made three attempts to land, but the inhabitants fought them off

each time. He named the island "Savage Island" because, as legend has

it, the natives who "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to be

blood. The substance on their teeth was, in fact, hulahula, a native red

fe' i banana. For the next couple of centuries, Niue was known as Savage

Island, it’s now known as Niuē, which translates as "behold the coconut".

Niue has its challenges; it does not have beaches, and it's a long way

from anywhere, but those challenges are also what makes its character

unique. It’s only 3 hours from Auckland with Air New Zealand. We stayed

at the Scenic Matavai Resort Niue, which is Niue's only resort. In 2004

there was a massive cyclone that devasted the island. Since then, there

has been a lot of rebuilding, and the Scenic Matavai Resort is, in a

word, spectacular. It perches on the cliff edge, and you can literally see

whales swimming past (in season). Its location is also central to the other

main attraction that Niue has to offer – for example, the dive operator

Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive is right next door.

Above: Home for the week at the Scenic Matavai Resort, Niue

Spinner dolphins - image by Anthony Brown Buccaneer diving

"Niue is warm and inviting,

it’s lush and clean, it’s bright

and sunny, and its people are

warm and friendly."



Niue is one of the world's largest

raised coral atolls. There are steep

limestone cliffs along the coast with

a central plateau rising to about 60

metres above sea level. The classic

feature of Niue is its number of

limestone caves and chasms along the

coast. These limestone chasms are

clearly outlined for tourists; your only

issue is tide. In our room at the Scenic

Matavai Resort, we had a tide chart

which related to each of the chasms

and the best times to go. You will want

to visit them, they are stunning; crystal

clear water against the backdrop of grey

limestone, just don't go barefoot, wear

reef shoes.

"Fishing in Niue is on a whole

new level. We spent half a day

with Fish Niue Charters and

pulled in over 16 fish."

The water is blue, so blue and deep. Within a few meters if the

shoreline the water drops away to phenomenal depths thus the whales can

get in so close, but it also makes it fantastic for diving and fishing. As there

is little runoff of water from the island in the way of rivers or streams, so

the visibility for diving is off the scale with regular visibility of 70 metres.

Due to the location, not only is the clarity amazing, but there is also an

abundance of fish life. Because of the limestone formation, the coastline is

riddled with swim-throughs and unique underwater terrain. There are a few

dive operators on the island, but if you are looking to go out it, it will pay to

book way in advance.

Fishing in Niue is on a whole new level. We spent half a day with

Fish Niue Charters and pulled in over 16 fish, BJ our skipper for the day

modestly said, ‘it’s not always this good’, but I think it is!

Due to the coastline and lack of a sheltered harbour, all boats have to

be craned in and out of the water. We arrived at 5am just as the sun was

looking to rise and we were fishing within 5 minutes of leaving the wharf

and within ten minutes of having rods in the water we had our first strike.

The gear on the boat is brand new which is not the case on a lot of fishing

charters in the South Pacific, so there was no fear of loss because of a

breakage of gear, and the equipment took a pounding as did we. A Wahoo

is a crazy fighting fish- aggressive long and narrow like a torpedo and just

as fast. We caught a range of fish; yellowfin tuna, pacific barracuda (which

is edible in Niue), but the Wahoo stole the show. We did catch the head

of an enormous Skipjack tuna the rest was shared with an even bigger

predator lucking in the dark deep blue depths – key Jaws music!

Our days in Niue were spent lapping up the afternoon sunshine, but

in the morning, we looked to do an activity of some sort. We explored a

few of the chasms, we fished two mornings and one morning we went out

with Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive and looked for Spinner dolphins. We

basically rode around the bay in front of the resort until we saw them – we

then cruised along very slowly with a mask and fins on and in the crystal

clear blue water you could see the pods of the small spinner dolphins just

playing in front of the boat. Once they had had enough of our company they

departed, and we moored and snorkelled along the cliff edge just outside

the wharf. We saw more dolphins, sea snakes, turtles and millions of

small fish. Once again, and sorry to repeat the same observation, but what

made it so amazing was how clear the water was. Swimming in Niue is like

swimming in gin.

It is hard to put your finger why Niue is so appealing because it's not like

any other South Pacific Island; maybe that it… maybe it’s just because it is so

unique. Thus their latest marketing #nowherelikeniue is right on target.

To have your trip taken care of top to bottom, flights, fishing, diving and

where to stay contact






Top to bottom: Amazing diving - image provided by Anthony Brown,

Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive / Greg Knell in the heavy end of a big

Wahoo / Smiling till our faces hurt - great day with Fish Niue Charters




Image © Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive

Home to unique dive sites, in some of the clearest waters

you will experience, Niue offers a variety of underwater

adventures. Explore underwater chasms, caves and

caverns, coves and canyons, chimneys and arches,

and discover diverse life including tropical fish, whales,

turtles, sea snakes and more. Let us help plan your visit

to this incredible destination.

Talk to an Active Travel Expert today



Working on your tan in Port Vila is certainly a lovely way to spend the day, but there’s

plenty of beauty outside the big Vanuatu hotels. On distant islands scattered throughout the

archipelago, you’ll find bubbling volcanoes, sugar-white beaches, coral reefs, remote waterfalls

and sweeping volcanic ash plains. Natural attractions are pretty much Vanuatu’s major export,

drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world. Here are but a few.

Swim Beneath Waterfalls on Efate

You don’t have to travel far outside Port

Vila to find Efate’s best waterfalls. Mele

Cascades are the most popular, hiding in the

jungle about 10 km from Port Vila’s major

resorts. The Mele Cascades is a collection

of terraced pools that tumble down a rocky

hillside, then plunge 35 metres into a natural

swimming hole. Just watch your step on the

rope-guided path to the top as it can get a

bit slippery. For somewhere less busy, try

Lololima Falls. It’s another stepped cascade,

equally photogenic, with sloping limestone

pools, hidden caves (search behind the

upper-tier waterfall) and even a rope swing.

For anyone staying on Tanna, make sure to

set aside a couple of days for idle waterfall

exploration: Louniel, Lenuanatuaiu and

Lenuingao Falls are all beautiful spots for an

afternoon swim.

Walk Over Black Volcanic Sand

Tanna is known for its picturepostcard

surf coast, particularly around

Port Resolution and Yewao Point on the

island’s eastern peninsula. It’s here you’ll

find some of Vanuatu’s best bungalow

accommodation (if you’re looking for larger

resorts, like Rockwater or Evergreen, most

of them are on the west coast). But thanks

to the smoking Mount Yasur, Tanna is

also home to several black sand volcanic

beaches. Louniel Beach is our favourite. It

sweeps along the northeast coast of Tanna,

and the inky black sands make for some

fantastic photographs. You can also explore

Lowakels Cove, which comes with nearby

Friendly Beach bungalow accommodation

or Iwaru Beach, just south of Lenakel,

Tanna’s major port town.

Venture into Millennium Cave

If the idea of setting off into the jungle,

hurdling river boulders and venturing

beneath the earth sounds appealing, you

need to explore Millennium Cave on Espiritu

Santo. It’s the largest cave in Vanuatu

and you can book cave tours from nearby

Luganville. After a bumpy 45-minute ride to

the village of Funaspef, it’s a challenging 1.5-

hour hike through the forest to Millennium

Cave, so you’ll need a decent level of fitness.

But the scenery is some of the best in the

archipelago. You’ll hike through the jungle,

explore an underground cave system (with

nothing but strong shoes and a torch),

then cool off in forest pools surrounded

by cascading waterfalls. If you’re after

something a little less Indiana Jones, take a

day trip on Havannah Harbour and visit the

World Heritage-listed Roi Mata’s Domain.


Notchup P2018144 - Crédit photo : Getty Images, © GHNC





I’m sunning myself on the bow of a

yacht, flickers of shade momentarily

passing as the sail dances in light

air. Rhythmic slaps of water on hull

providing a meditative soundtrack.

Dark circles move ahead of us in

the water, the surface swirling and

breaking as five adult humpbacks

appear, encouraging their young to

jump and dive. Their size dwarfs the

yacht, a marine circus providing a

spectacle you can only dream of.

They’re not fazed by us as they dive

beneath the boat pausing momentarily

to take a peak.

Humpbacks are the real show-stoppers in

New Caledonia, where the lagoon dominates

the landscape. This is one of the largest marine

reserves in the world, and has been a World

Heritage Site since 2008. It’s also a nesting

sites for illustrious turtle breeds, rare crab

species, tropical seabirds and other marine

wildlife. Welcome to David Attenborough

country - I feel privileged to be here.

With a week on my itinerary, sailing is only

the first of many lagoon adventures. I’m also

booked for a jetski mission and lead myself into

a false sense of security. I’ve seen the groups

at home - tourists trailing behind the instructor

in matching wetsuits and high-vis vests,

motoring at half speed around the harbour.

“This will be tame” I think.

The myths were quickly dispelled. A gruff

looking Frenchman of solid build presents

himself as our guide, two days of thick stubble

and mirrored sunglasses making him look like

Liam Neeson in the movie Taken. His safety

briefing consists of the words ‘”accelerator,

no brake” and a few hand signals, before

he opens throttle and takes off through the

channel, jumping wakes on the way.

A hundred metres behind, I fight to keep

up, clinging onto the handlebars like wolverine

and levitating from my seat with every bump.

I try to ride standing so not to give myself a

spinal realignment, but my puny legs don’t have

the quad-strength to cope. Crossing the lagoon

is a full-body workout but I’m rewarded with

sheltered waters, and a handful of giant sea

turtles on the other side. I toast my wind-swept

body in the sunshine and circumnavigate a tiny

uninhabited island before jetting off to explore

the reef behind Îlot Maître.

The lagoon offers the perfect playground for all water activies

Once back on dry land, I spend the

afternoon lazing around at Chateau Royal

– the only resort in town that’s right on the

beachfront. It has an epic pool area complete

with a swim up bar and boasts an indoor Aquatonic

Pool where you can work out and do spin

classes underwater. Bizarre concept, and I’m

disappointed to have missed the last class of

the day. For the macho men it’s important to

note, it’s compulsory to the rock the speedo

here – so if you don’t want to fish a pair from

the lost property then BYO.

Another must see attraction in Nouméa is

the busy waterfront produce market where stall

keepers sell piles of bluespine, unicornfish,

prawns of every denomination, lobsters, greenfringed

mussels, oysters, marlin, mahi-mahi,

octopus and crab. I discover big, ruby-red

chunks of glistening tuna piled at every other

shop and make sure my plate is loaded with

them at dinner.

Interestingly, after the stall keepers cleanup

for the day, their water runoff leads into the

Port Moselle marina. Those with keen eyes will

spot shark cruising alongside the promenade

waiting for an extra snack – although none big

enough to chomp a limb.

When I’m not on the water or in it, I’m flying

over it. From the seat of a tiny ultralight plane in

Bourail, I take off over an intensely hued stretch

of sea and sublime lenticular reef. I gaze over a

lagoon that goes on for kilometres before finally

breaking in toothpaste-white billows of surf onto

the reef. It’s a coral patchwork filled with every

shade of blue, from azure to turquoise, so vivid

and piercing it’s as though a filter has been

applied to the landscape.

Shadows haunt the lagoon below – slow

moving shapes of turtles and rays seeking

shelter in the shallow waters. And where the

reef drops into deep ocean, fishing boats loll

and are later are seen heaving under the weight

of their catch.

Rumour has it that you can surf this

western coast too. I’m booked for an afternoon

at ‘Secrets’ - a perfect left-hander that’s been

compared to Macaronis in the Mentawais.

Unfortunately I get a call saying it’s too small

today, curbing plans of long lefts and glassy

barrels. The wetsuit and wax in my bag a

constant weighing reminder of waves breaking

and departing without me. Nonetheless,

it’d be an epic destination for those keen

to road-trip from Noumea. Manu Hernu,

one of New Cal’s best surfers runs guided

boat expeditions here so fear of localism is


As the week wraps up, I board a plane back

to Auckland reflecting on parting words from my

guide: “Remember, nothing bad ever happens

here. In the water, or on the beach. You just

swim, explore, have a Number One beer and

watch the sunset”. C’est bon. It’s all good.

Fresh fish from the produce market





picture-perfect sunny day,

beautiful blue water, and a

sea full of boats and promises

of adventure. As I approached the

gigantic yacht that I’d be calling home

for the next two days, I attempted,

feebly, to size it up. Climbing on

board, it was easier to take in all the

different angles, and I began to feel

the excitement building. The 27 other

passengers and I sat together on the

deck of the vessel, not knowing quite

what to expect. Our Skipper told us

there was enough wind blowing that

we’d be leaning over a fair way. He also

made us feel oh-so safe explaining the

difference between the ‘high-side’ and

the ‘suicide’ of the boat!

Once out in the Whitsunday Passage, safety

briefing complete, volunteers were called upon

to hoist the humongous sails. Of course, my

hand flew up! Hauling the sail from the boom to

the top of the mast was no easy feat. However,

between me and the two other volunteers, we

were victorious – and apparently in record time!

Okay, that may have been a little-white-lie on

the crew’s behalf - but we didn’t mind – it made

us feel empowered! In no time at all, we were

seeing the fruits of our labour. Suddenly the

unassuming vessel that had been sat in the

dock transformed into the most commanding

yacht on the water!

Everyone was smiling and hanging on to

their hats, as we dangled our legs over the

edge. Meanwhile the crew ran around the

vessel totally effortlessly, making tiny tweaks

to the sails – all to ensure we were charging

through the water. All of a sudden, my sailing

experience on that small Croatian yacht with my

family last year seemed to fall by the wayside,

and I truly understood the difference between

‘Champagne Sailing’ versus ‘Maxi Sailing’.

"I began to imagine what

it must have been like

to be a crew member on

board when this powerful

boat competed!"

We watched the islands float past us as

the water splashed our toes, feeling very at

ease. Constantly realigning and rebalancing

our bodies, keeping up with the dipping and

weaving of the yacht dancing on the waves. I

began to imagine what it must have been like to

be a crew member on board when this powerful

boat competed!

Over the course of the trip, we jumped

into the water for a refreshing snorkel at

three incredible bays. Watching the colourful

fish swimming around right at my fingertips

was amazing! My duck-diving practice from

swimming lessons 20 years ago finally came to

good use. Ducking down to the stunning coral

to get a closer look was awesome and I reckon

even David Attenborough and his team would

be impressed by my video footage!

We visited Whitehaven Beach and Hill

Inlet Lookout, the incredible viewpoint on

Whitsunday Island overlooking the beach. Even

though this beach is visited by hundreds of

people every day, it is still incredibly untouched.

And, even though it is one of the most

photographed locations in the world, you still

need to see it with your own eyes to truly realize

its magnificence! I wholeheartedly support the

many awards and accolades this unique beach


As well as all the action, of course, the

trip was well-balanced with moments of calm,

which were also some of the highlights of the

trip. Watching the sun setting and rising over

the islands, sharing stories of adventures with

like-minded people from around the world,

and laying back on deck to point out the

constellations. Once the sun had set, although

not a moment of calm, the revelries took over,

and the rest you’d have to find out for yourself!

Explore Whitsundays called this trip ‘Fun

sailing for the adventurous traveller’ which

certainly rang true for me!



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