Adventure Magazine Issue 220


Issue 220: June/July
Winter 2020








NZ $10.90 incl. GST




McCashin's Brewery

660 Main Road, Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand

T:+64 3 547 5357

E: @stokebeer

Looking for the positives...

Over the last few months, we have seen massive change; to our lifestyle,

communities, and economy. It’s easy to throw out platitudes about ‘silver

linings’, but the reality is there are a lot of people, friends and associates whose

businesses have been devastated, years of work undermined. Now a murky

grey future of uncertainty still awaits them. Sure there are positives as in every

situation, but we need to look squarely at the future and know that what was in

the past will not be coming back any time soon – if ever.

But it is equally important to look at that which does not change – here at

Adventure we were astounded by the support that our online ‘free to the world’

issue received, which we brought out mid-COVID. I would love to say it was

carefully planned, but it wasn’t, it was us thinking on our feet trying to find the

best way forward. We sat daily bewildered by the number of people who read the

magazine. At one stage it was being read once every 25 seconds (you can follow

the link at the bottom if you wish to see that issue).

In a time of ‘whoa what’s coming next’ we had this beacon of positive

reaction. Regardless of what the world throws up, we are committed to an active

and adventurous lifestyle. Now more than ever, we generally believe that seeking

that adventures lifestyle is vital for us all. It makes us healthier, both physically

and mentally, it strengthens our environment and communities. We live in one

of the most incredible places on earth, and for every one of us, Adventure is


I am sure by the time you read this; we will be in Level One – embrace

all that it has to offer; visit local, buy local, and invest locally. Be an advocate

for your friends and family and encourage them to venture out. If they lack

confidence, then use one of the agencies that will introduce them and their family

safely to the outdoors.

You will see throughout this issue a new second logo associated

with Adventure called Taiao – it’s the simple symbol of a nikau palm and

the word ‘Taiao’ which means environment. It is time for us to grasp our

own environment. We can be proud of what kiwis have achieved through

this COVID experience, how it’s been overcome, how we have been

supportive of each other and how we have set a standard for the world.

Its now time to take that to another level and show the world how we as

kiwi can invest finically, emotionally and physically in our own Taiao our

own environment, because it is that investment locally, is what we can

control, what we can count on, that will give the most reward to both us

and our community for the future.

Steve Dickinson - Editor


Will Gadd ice climbs in a moulin on the Greenland ice cap

near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Image by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool


Steve Dickinson

Mob: 027 577 5014


Lynne Dickinson



Ovato, Ph (09) 979 3000

Visit Adventure Magazine online




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

self-addressed 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.

Exploring Bad

Lands National

Park, South

Dakota... Now

looking forward to

exploring my own

back yard.

Proud to be Kiwi!


Digital, Hardcopy, Web, Social


page 08

Introducing the


Perfect cold weather insulation for every body.

Image by River Valley Lodge Image compliments of MSC Image by Daniel Price

Image by Red Bull

page 16

page 24

page 36



08//Beneath the Ice

Will Gadd explores Greenland's ice cap

16//Aoraki/Mt Cook

Getting ready to revisit our favourite places

22//Alps to Ocean

Why do it guided, even if you're a Kiwi?

24//Avalanche Awareness

Staying safe on the snow

28//Playing safe

Explore the backcountry safely

32//The Day we Left

When surfing and snow collide

36//Home Grown

Exploring the Central Plateau

78//Adventure Van Life

• It's cool to travel when it's cool

• Live for AdVANture

98//Adventure travel

• New Caledonia

• Vanuatu


86. gear guides

95. subs

106. Active adventure






We know the dance that is winter hiking with a pack so we used heat-mapping to study

the way different bodies regulate heat while hiking in order to build the Ridgevent.



Heat-mapping shows that men retain

heat longer than women, so we’ve

increased the ratio of ventilation

to insulation in men’s styles.

Pictured: Men’s Ridgevent Hybrid Jacket / Sailor Blue

Many Paths. One Trail.



Blending 65% responsibly sourced,

waterproof goose down and 35%

ultra fine Primaloft synthetic

fibers for warmth even when wet.



Alleviates overheating with a

baffle construction that provides

warmth where you need it and

breathability when it matters.

............................................................................................ ................


Takapuna Whangamata Christchurch Queenstown


Photographer Christian Pondella, explains taking the cover shot while on

an expedition with Will Gadd to Greenland. See page 10 for the full story.

"In this kind of environment pretty much anyone with a camera or a phone

can take a really amazing photo because it’s such an amazing place, so

as a pro photographer you’ve got to find ways to exceed that. You’ve got

to be dynamic, evaluate the situation and give depth, use foreground,

middle ground, background, tr to do something that evoked emotion ,puts

the viewer into the picture, use dramatic lines and shadows, and then

draw them into the subject.

On this shoot, sometimes it was just a matter of hanging on a rope taking

photos, going up and down to line things up differently, shooting into the

light to make it dramatic, moody, bright and colourful. You always have

ideas before a shoot but you always end up changing your plan.

Every time I do a project with Will it turns out to be wild and adventurous. I

knew this one would be a tonne of fun and produce some amazing photos

and it turned out to be one of the coolest adventures I’ve ever been on."


Here is an Irish whiskey

that apparently will make

you think twice about it.

The engaging backstory

behind the birth of the

Glendalough distillery,

was created by friends

from Wicklow and

Dublin, with a desire to

set up a craft distillery

in Ireland to reflect the

heritage of the gone

by distilleries. They

took a risk by giving

up their jobs and created a distillery in the Glendalough mountains,

which was a favourite spot. Coupled with the sweet notes of cherry,

raisins, and fig flavour notes of the award winning double barrel

Irish whiskey, it was the right choice to use with a combination of

persimmon, pear, citrus and ginger. The tasting team commented

on the fruity, sweet but smooth whiskey flavour that shone through.

It was described as heavenly even when mixed with other fruit burst

flavour notes. Have you tried this whiskey?

• Muddle persimmon and pear together

• Add a few drops of essential black pepper oil thanks to @


• 2 jigger Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey @glendalough

• 1 jigger freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Bar spoon of Stones ginger wine

• Shake with ice, pour into glass and top up with a no sugar ginger

beer, and garnish with dehydrated pear and a matching rose.

Approx 10 carbs per serve

Follow Sue on Instagram: @cocktailontherock

To sign up for the weekly newsletter:

70,000 followers can't be wrong



@ adventuremagazine

@ adventuretraveller @ adventurevanlifenz

Beneath the Ice

In the remote, icy wilderness on the

Greenland ice cap, a gaping hole marked

the spot where climber Will Gadd and his

support crew and film team would descend

into the unknown. A moulin is basically a

giant hole in a glacier, created when surface

water finds its way into a crack in the ice and

melts through. And in this dream project,

the plan was to climb into one and go deep

inside the Greenland ice cap to a place

nobody has ever been before.

Story and Images courtsey Redbull

What they discovered was a sparklingly

beautiful, but terrifying 90m-deep cavern,

with a roof made of hundreds of tonnes of

cracking, creaking and groaning ice.

Having become the first person to ice climb

up Niagara Falls, Will Gadd is no stranger

to perilous situations. But the Canadian

adventurer undertook his biggest and most

dangerous challenge in Beneath the Ice, an

exploration within the Greenland Ice Cap

with the aim of collecting global warming

data. Will tells us what motivates him to

embark on such a journey…


Camp at the Greenland ice cap near Ilulissat, Greenland

Image by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

"Curiosity, more than any other emotion or motivation, has always

pushed me forward. It has taken me to the edge of human understanding

and ability, a place that gets me up in the morning.

The excitement of answering “what would happen if we…” first drove

me to explore caves in my teens around the same time that curiosity

introduced me to ice climbing. I hooked up with an older crew of cavers

who brought me along primarily because I could squeeze my skinny

frame through holes that they couldn’t. We’d move through the rock

thousands of feet below the mountains, and then they’d send in “the

probe”. I’d squeeze into places no human had ever been, all because it

was wildly interesting and scratched the raw itch of curiosity.

Lately, more than three decades after my first caving experiences,

my worlds of ice climbing and caving have collided. Yet again, it was

curiosity: what is down those moulins, those big holes in the glacier?

Maybe it was time to send in “the probe” once again.

I researched what was known about glacial caves, and that took me to

Professor Martin Sharp at the University of Alberta. Together we worked

under the Athabasca Glacier, and found new life forms growing inside the


I kept digging on the research front and wound up in contact with

Professor Jason Gulley, one of the top experts on glacial caves in the

world. Together we hatched a plan for what would become Beneath the

Ice, a project that pushed me further than any other project I’ve ever


Come the summer of 2018, I was learning how to cave dive in Florida

with Gulley. Why? Because our plan involved going deeping into the

Greenland ice cap than anyone had ever gone before, and to do that,

we were planning to dive once we hit the water table inside the glacier.

When we emerged from the depths of the ice sheet, we hoped to have a

better understanding of how the ice cap ultimately moves and melts.

RIGHT: Topside view as Will Gadd

descends into a moulin on the Greenland

ice cap near Ilulissat, Greenland

Image by Christian Pondella

Red Bull Content Pool


Will Gadd and Jason Gulley inside a moulin on the Greenland ice cap near Ilulissat, Greenland

Image by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

We took two trips to Greenland, that made up the Beneath the Ice project:

the first took place in August, where we identified the moulin we hope to

explore further; the second took place in October, where we hoped to put

our full scope of ambitious exploration into action…"

Will and Professor Jason Gulley reached the ice floor where they planned

to dive however, with massive blocks of ice falling from the ceiling above

they were forced to pull out of the dive. They still achieved a vital insight

into understanding how global warming works and what happens to rivers

of melted ice and rising sea levels.

Joining them to capture the event was photographer, Christian Pondella. He

explains the trip from his perspective…

"Wherever there’s surface water on a glacier there will be a moulin nearby,

but this one was special because it had a big opening facing the same way

as the prevailing wind. That meant the snow would block up the entrance

while we were inside. Obviously, that was pretty important.

Just getting out there was an adventure. It was a half-hour heli flight from

Ilulissat, with amazing views and then we were dropped off in the middle

of this ice desert. Just flat ice, as far as you can see. Totally surreal. When

we first dripped into the moulin, we found this giant amphitheatre. It was

stunning, with tonnes of overhanging ice. We were in the fall zone most of

the time, which was pretty nerve wracking.

One day there was a big temperature drop and you could hear cracking

around us as we stood on the ice cap. When you go into a cavern like this

you’re extremely exposed, so you’ve got to continually look for signs of

instability. We all saw them, so we took the day off. It turned out we made

the right call. The next day, when things got more stable, we went back in

and at the bottom, where we’d been standing two days before, there were

huge chunks of fallen ice. Massive. That was eerie and scary. If we’d been

down there the day before, well…"

RIGHT: Looking back as Will Gadd

descends into a moulin on the Greenland

ice cap near Ilulissat, Greenland

Image by Christian Pondella

Red Bull Content Pool


"When we first dripped

into the moulin, we found

this giant amphitheatre. It

was stunning, with tonnes

of overhanging ice. We

were in the fall zone most

of the time, which was

pretty nerve wracking."





"The real joy of hiking up this

far is to experience the mountain

during the many stages of the

day and night. From listening

to avalanches crash in the

distance and the beauty of the

uninterrupted night sky, through

to the sight of dawn over the

ranges the following morning, are

all reasons to stay overnight."

Looking back through old photo albums uncovered one of my favourite hikes to Meuller Hut in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

L-R: Taking a break at the start of the climb to Sealy Tarns and Meuller Hut | Our crew at the start of the track in Aoraki Mt Cook village

included two Kiwis, two Canadians, two Aussies and one American | Jai Ralls on the trail to Meuller Hut

Aoraki/Mt Cook

Words by Lynne Dickinson

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Located in the central part of the South

Island, Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest

mountain in New Zealand. It boasts 19

peaks over 3000m with Aoraki/Mount Cook

standing at 3,724m tall.

Climbing the mountain is a technical

challenge crossing large crevasses with

a risk of rock and ice falls, avalanches

and rapidly changing weather conditions.

The first attempt to climb the highest peak

was in 1882 by two Swiss climbers and it

is believed they came within 50m of the

summit and it was successfully summited

in 1894 when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe,

John Michael Clarke and George Graham

reached the top.

Unfortunately, Aoraki/Mount Cook, is also

NZ's most deadliest mountain, with over 80

people perishing on it’s slopes.

However, the area is not just about

extreme mountaineering. There are plenty

of activities for all levels of fitness and

technical ability and you’ll find something to

challenge you in this National Park.

Meuller Hut

As people were coming to grips with the

travel restrictions imposed during the

Covid-19 epidemic and the loss of their

potential overseas travel plans, the focus

turned to New Zealand and what we

have to offer the intrepid traveller and the

adventurer at heart.

The strange thing is, that for overseas

visitors, New Zealand is considered the

adventure capital of the world, yet we often

look overseas first for our next adventure.

So while in isolation, as most New

Zealanders did I am sure, I got to sorting

out the spare bedroom and came across

photo albums from back in the day.

One of the things that struck me most about

them was that most of my adventures

in my 20’s were located in New Zealand

(possibly because I didn’t have the funds

to travel back then). I have since travelled

extensively abroad and it made me realise

how much we have to offer here at home,

and I vowed that no matter whether the

travel restrictions at our borders were lifted

or not, I would not be so hasty to head

overseas before I rediscovered what we

had on our doorstep.

"The faded images brought back

memories of a summer spent

road tripping around New

Zealand with a backpack, a tent,

a sleeping bag and a great group

of friends (many who had come

from overseas)."

One lot of photos that stood out from my many

slightly faded albums was taken on the Meuller

Hut track in the South Island in Aoraki, Mt Cook

National Park. The faded images brought back

memories of a summer spent road tripping

around New Zealand with a backpack, a tent,

a sleeping bag and a great group of friends

(many who had come from overseas). One of

the things I remember most clearly about that

hike to Meuller hut, was sleeping in our tent at

night listening to the sound of the snow cracking

on the mountains around us as avalanches

fell throughout the night. It was an incredible


So the plan is to return to the scene of these

photos and relive some of those experiences.

This time we will be a little older (25 years older

to be precise) and we’ll be a little slower. We

may need to carry with us some self inflating air

mattresses and even a pillow, however I am sure

we’ll enjoy it just as much. I am looking forward

to seeing how much has changed in the years

since we last visited, but I am hoping, with the

absence of people over the past few months,

that nature has had a chance to restore itself to

its original glory. I will let you know what we find,

but in the meantime, here’s some information so

you too can plan for your next NZ adventure to

this beautiful part of our country.

Right:Sunset at Aoraki Mt Cook, Image by WIll Turner


The image above taken 25 years ago in 1995, not far from Meuller Hut.

The image on the right, taken at the same spot by Jamie Davies in 2018

Meuller Hut Track, Mt Cook (moderate to advanced)

This is the one we did, but as you can see by the photos, we were a lot

younger and therefore found it a lot easier than I would now.

Length: 5.2km one way

Duration: 4 hours one way

Meuller Hut: 28 bunk beds with mats, cooking gas and burners, drop toilets,

and running (but non-treated) water. The Mueller Hut costs $45 NZD per

person per night for adults, $22.50 for kids 5 to 17 years old, under 5 free.

Season: The track is open year round however, the best time of year to

attempt the Meuller Hut route is from December through to April, due to the

more settled weather. However don’t expect it to be hot, you are in alpine

conditions and temperatures range between 8-14 degrees Celcius. Be

prepared for all weather conditions; rain, strong winds and even snow. The

rest of the year, deep snow covers most of the track making it more difficult

to walk as well as increasing the risks of avalanches. The thing to remember

is that this is an alpine walk and if you want it to be enjoyable and safe, then

wait for a good weather window and make sure you are well prepared with

the correct clothing and shelter. Do not be fooled by the seemingly short

distance to the hut, the 5.2km rises 1000km in elevation, which is the reason

the estimated time to walk the short distance is around 4 hours.

The walk: As my memory is a little hazy

from doing this walk 25 years ago, I

consulted the Mountain Safety Councils

website, read a few articles and watched

a great trail information video. One of

the things I concluded, for my personal

journey to revisit this track, is that I have

to do this in good weather. The area is

subject to snowfall all year round and

parts of the track are exposed to high

winds, so this is something I would not

feel comfortable undertaking in less than

ideal weather conditions. For those of you

more accustomed to inclement weather,

I am sure you will enjoy the experience

regardless of the weather, but for me, not

so much.

The main difficulty in this is if you want to

stay in Meuller Hut you need to book well

in advance, so fitting it in with weather

conditions is not always easy. 25 years

ago we carried a tent and found a bit of

flat ground to sleep near the hut, this way

we could be spontaneous and picked a

day when the weather was just perfect.

I’m not sure how keen my friends will be

reliving the experience in its entirety but I’ll

keep you posted on how it goes.

The Meuller Hut route begins at the

Aoraki, Mt Cook village, outside the visitor

center, but do not let that fool you into

thinking this is another walk in the park, so

to speak. It begins on a well established

track called the Kea Point Track, which is

an easy 2km walk up the valley through

alpine meadows and native bush. Enjoy

this section as you will then turn off onto

Sealy Tarns track, and this is where the

going gets tough.

The track zigzags steeply up around 2000

steps and rises 520m till it reaches Sealy

Tarns, the halfway point. The track is

exposed and quite steep in places so you

may need to be able to use your hands as

support on the way up, but trust me when

I say the view from the Tarns is worth

every step. You will get hot walking up,

regardless of the weather, so take plenty

of time to shed and re-layer as you reach

the top and rest.

The tarns are a good spot to break for

lunch and is also a good time to reassess

your plans. If you found the first bit hard

it only gets more technical, so it’s a point

where you have to decide whether to

continue or to turn back. Keep in mind the

fitness of your overall group and make

sure you are all honest with how you are

feeling and make a sensible decision.

There is no shame in

turning round at this point.

If you decide not to go any

further, you simply retrace

your steps and return the

way you came.

For those of you who decide to carry

on you’ll notice the track becomes less

defined and you must keep an eye out

for the orange poles that mark the route.

The key is to make sure you spot the next

marker pole before leaving the one you

are at, easy to do on a fine clear day, but

not so easy if you have limited visibility.

The terrain is mainly tussock and boulders

and in places you will need to use your

hands to scramble over rocky steps.

The last section is through a scree rock

face with loose footing and you need to

take care on this section. Once you reach

the top, follow along the ridge until you

reach Meuller Hut.

The first ever hut here was built in 1914,

and since then the harsh conditions and

even an avalanche has meant there have

been four more built. The most recent one

was opened in July 2003 by Sir Edmund

Hillary, and is situated just below Mt

Ollivier – the first mountain Sir Edmund

climbed. Considering the last time we

climbed this track was in 1995 the hut is

one change we’ll see for sure.

Although some people treat the hike as

a day trip (crazy if you ask me), the real

joy of hiking up this far is to experience

the mountain during the many stages

of the day and night. From listening to

avalanches crash in the distance and

the beauty of the uninterrupted night

sky through to the sight of dawn over

the ranges the following morning, are all

reasons to stay overnight.

For those of us who have a few more

years under our belts, it’s often the walk

down that we find harder. Knees that

have been injured from years of outdoor

sports and activities can suffer under

the pressure of walking down so I would

recommend the use of walking poles.

Although they won’t be any help when

clambering over rocks, they can definitely

reduce the pressure on your knees when

walking down.

If Meuller Hut hike seems a tad too

challenging, try the Hooker Valley Track.




Low Prices Everyday

Free NZ Shipping on

orders over $150 for


Members Earn Equip+

Loyalty Points

shop online or instore

62 Killarney Road,

Frankton, Hamilton,

New Zealand

P: 0800 22 67 68


"This is one of the most

popular tracks in the

National Park, with

roughly a 100m change in

elevation the walking is

relatively easy."

Hooker Valley Track (easy trail)

Length: 10km one way

Duration: 3 hours return

Season: The track is open year round but the

best time to go is at dawn when the rays creep

over the Southern Alps, including Mt Cook.

The Walk: This is one of the most popular

tracks in the National Park, with roughly a

100m change in elevation the walking is

relatively easy. This track starts from the White

Horse Campground but you can begin from the

information center in the village (just add an

extra 30 minutes each way). The start of the

track will take you through open grassland and

passes close to Freda’s rock and the Alpine


Freda du Faur was the first woman to climb

Aoraki/Mt Cook in 1910 and the rock is where

she had her photo taken on her completion.

Three years later she completed the Grand

Traverse (all three peaks) of Aoraki/Mt Cook

and Freda’s ROck is the site where her now

famous photo was taken just after her first

successful ascent of the mountain.

The Alpine Memorial is dedicated to the lives

lost on Aoraki/Mt Cook. The plaque reads, "I

am not gone – I am in these mountains, I am

in the stars, I am all around you, always near,

never far."

Both are just a stroll off the main trail.

From here the track crosses the first of three

suspension bridges over the Meuller River just

below the Meuller Glacier Lake and continues

to weave back and forth before crossing the

river again, this time above the lake. Here the

track opens to a wide valley where you will

gain your first view of Aoraki/Mt Cook. This

view will be visible for the rest of the trail, so


If you are walking between December and

February you are likely to see large daisies

amongst the foliage and the Mt Cook Lily,

which both flower during these months.

Continue walking up the valley until you reach

the boardwalk, which has been established

where the valley floor becomes swampy.

Continue up the boardwalk until you reach the

final suspension bridge before climbing above

the height of the moraine wall to a picnic area

with views over Hooker Lake. In summer you’ll

likely see icebergs floating in the lake, whereas

in the cold winter months the lake can freeze

over completely.

The lookout point at the end of the Hooker

Valley track is the closest any walking track will

take you to Aoraki/Mt Cook itself.

Return the way you came and enjoy views

down the valley and over the Sealy Range.

Image by Tyler Lastovich

Alps to Ocean Cycle

Why do it guided, even if you’re a Kiwi

Words by Elaina Culbert and Natalie Tambolash - Images by Elaina Culbert

At a time where the world is closed to

international travel, it is time to delve

into those close to home adventures and

support local. Quite often, us Kiwis wouldn’t

dream of doing a guided or supported

trip here in NZ – we seem to have that “I

can do it” attitude. Elaina was one such

Kiwi. She would have placed herself in the

self-guided category before this, but after

cycling the A2O trail with her partner Tina,

it’s safe to say she’s had a change of heart.

Alps to Ocean Day 1 and my Word is

#Hot: We drove in sweltering heat and

started our first ride not far from Fairlie and

ended the day riding around the Tekapo

bike park plus got to have a favourite,

Emerson’s pilsner on tap! We are travelling

with two lovely Aussie guys and our tour

guide is amazing!

Alps to Ocean Day 2: Day 2 took us from

Tekapo to Twizel with a bonus explore

towards Aoraki/Mt Cook. Stunning scenery

and enjoyable once out of the insane wind!

Alps to Ocean Day 3 and my Word

is #Celebrate: What a way to spend a

birthday! We departed Twizel in high spirits.

About half an hour in, the rain came. We


Image: Rebecca Ryan

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle is the longest continuous ride in New Zealand. The trail descends

over 2000ft and travels 300km to the coastal town of Oamaru passing through glacial-fed

lakes, golden grasslands and limestone cliffs until it reaches the Pacific Ocean. The Alps

2 Ocean Cycle trail is a one way ride, so you’ll need to have a way of being dropped off

at the start point. There are quite a few companies that offer this service if you don’t have

someone who can do this for you.

We caught up with Elaina Culbert who recently completed the Alps 2 Ocean (commonly

known as A2O) with World Expeditions.

made it the first 20k where our amazing

guide was waiting with a hot cuppa and a

bday cake surprise. What a great team we

are with. The ride around Lake Ohau was

stunning in the misty, majestic scenery.

The track flowed beautifully. The rain came

harder. We celebrated making it to Ohau

lodge and it was a relief to have a complete

change of clothes. A beautiful platter was

served and we celebrated again with a

bday bubbles.

Next was the big climb over the saddle. It

was a day of determination. The rain set

in harder and the temp dropped. We were

soaked to the bone and FREEZING! As we

descended the other side the track became

a steady stream of water. By this stage

we just had to have faith that the ground

underneath was solid!

Finally made it to the next meeting point

where a warm van was waiting. We had

done 60k and celebrated our achievement.

Did we decide to pull out and take shelter?

Hell no, “let’s knock this off” Tina grins, so

off we go for another 20k of swallowing

mud! It was the best feeling to arrive tired,

numb and cold, celebrating once again.

Experience all that NZ has to offer!

Why not cycle an iconic trail - Alps to Ocean,

Otago Rail Trail, West Coast Wilderness.

Get out and explore your own backyard!

0800 350 354

Our thoughtful guide had already sorted

our room and bags were waiting for a

hot shower. We had beautiful salmon for

dinner, a well-earned drink and a soak in

the wood fired hot tubs. I couldn’t think of a

better way to celebrate my bday!!

Alps to Ocean Day 4 and my Word is

#Burn: Incredible scenery and riding today

around lakes and dams from Omarama

to Kurow. A cool start and the sun was

shining. A lovely picnic lunch by the lake

(we have been so spoilt by our guide who

is an absolute gem). The off-road tracks

were fast and smooth, just magic. Our

accommodation tonight is really unique and

we have just had the most amazing meal.

Oh, and the wine tasting was superb... and

the burn... well that’s sunburn on my left leg

and... chaffing!

Alps to Ocean Day 5 and my word

is #Peaking: After a fabulous night in

Kurow staying at the gorgeous Waitaki

Braids where we enjoyed luxurious

accommodation, outstanding food,

beautiful wine and the warmest welcome,

we set off for the next day of adventure.

I was peaking. The fresh air and scenery

was energising and happiness levels were

right up there. The riding today took us

into new scenery along the fast and high

flowing Waitaki river to the farm lands of

Burnside Homestead... magic.

Alps to Ocean Day 6 and my word is

#Exceeded: The high from yesterday

wasn’t quite as high upon waking to very

cold and drizzly weather. Luckily our

guide Jan was able to give us all a pep

talk to awaken the spirits! We set off from

"I feel like I’ve seen

NZ through new

eyes this trip and

learnt so much."

elephant rocks and 20mins into it I was

wet and muddy and grinning ear to ear.

Once out there I was loving it again. The

trail was a dream to ride with lots of little

ups and downs. We had some fun on the

downs, what a blast!

The scenery on this final day was so

interesting. I feel like I’ve seen NZ through

new eyes this trip and learnt so much

thanks to Jan’s exceptional knowledge.

After the last stop with only about 10k to

Our Stand Out Moments

• Stand out accommodation was Waitaki Braids (we

would definitely go back there, it's not just a bed, it's

an experience).

• Biking along the Lake Ohau track, the scenery was


• Enjoying the experiences outside of the biking like

the meals together, the hot spa pools, the picnic

beside the lake, wine tasting, photography.

• We found the tour guide highly flexible so that we

could adapt when the weather wasn't right. This

made the trip much more enjoyable.

• We thought the trail was extremely well built and

lovely to ride.

• Benefits of guided travel in New Zealand - Even for


• Having the time and taking the time to stop at

places we never stopped at (as we were always on

route to a destination)

• Seeing NZ through fresh eyes, through the eyes of

a tourist. Exploring small towns we haven't been to

in many many years.

• Not having to drive!! For me, who is normally

driving, I loved relaxing and looking out the window.

I saw things I would never usually see.

• Not having to worry! All we had to think about was

getting up and biking! Everything was so well taken

care of, it was lovely being taken care of and not

have to worry about the minor details.

• Not having to take the time to pre-plan the trip

• Being able to explore cycle routes that started and

finished in different places (self-guided and we

always have to finish where we started)

• Having a guide meant finding out about places,

gaining knowledge we wouldn't have if self guided.

• It really felt like a holiday and it was great doing

something we wouldn't normally do.

• Would be a great trip with a group of friends

For more information on a Kiwi iconic cycle, discover the

Alps to Ocean Classic here: https://worldexpeditions.


go we gave it everything and sped along

the track, adrenaline pumping with the

finish line so close!

What an adventure! A special thanks to

our guide, Jan, I knew I would love this

trip but the whole thing totally exceeded

my expectations in every way. Would do

it all over again in a heartbeat. Thank you

so much!



Words and Images by Mountain Safety Council

What comes to mind first when you think of

‘avalanche awareness’? Is it taking a training

course? Perhaps it’s making sure you have

avalanche rescue equipment and know how

to use it. Or, is it checking the New Zealand

Avalanche Advisory (NZAA) to find your

region’s avalanche forecast? They’re all

correct answers!


w areness

Getting the training, having (and knowing how

to use) the gear and checking the forecast

are the three essential steps to ensuring you

are prepared to head into the backcountry,

whether you are ski-touring, mountaineering,

ice climbing, or tackling a winter tramping trip.

But is that it, if you tick those boxes are you

good to go? Short answer is, you’re on the

right path, but as you probably expected there

is more to it. There are the more critical parts

of the process that require deeper thought and

consideration, and they probably don’t come

to mind quite as readily as they should.

Critical thinking and risk management requires

asking ourselves the more challenging

questions, like ’what does this forecast mean

for my route?’, ’what time of day am I going

to be in that avalanche terrain and what

will that mean?’, and even something as

simple as, ‘does this trip make sense right

now?’ Your group’s skill level and whether

everyone’s goals are aligned also needs to be


These considerations are the soft skills you

learn about during an avalanche course,

but they can’t be left there, they need to be

transferred into real life situations. Critical

thinking and risk management are essential

tools (and skills) that belong on every trip, just

like your skins or your crampons, and they

should be taken out and used just as often.

At the New Zealand Mountain Safety

Council (MSC) we do a huge amount of work

compiling and analysing outdoor recreation

data in order to gain insights into what

incidents are occurring and why.

When we take a detailed look into avalanche

incidents, it’s not surprising to find that

those more challenging questions and

considerations appear to either be glossed

over or overlooked entirely.


While there are plenty of reasons to believe that

that opportunities in the backcountry are scarce,

there is still no justification for downplaying

dangers that are present when you are out there.

Over the last 20 years a large proportion of the

avalanche fatalities in NZ involve the scarcity

heuristic trap. These were usually individuals not

who weren’t ignorant to the dangers in front of

them. Most would have been able to identify the

hazard. But, for various reasons, they decided to

accept an elevated level of risk because ‘scarcity’

influenced their decision making.

A clear, reoccurring example of this comes to

mind. I’ve heard numerous times ‘considerable’

avalanche danger referred to as “3 out of 5” or an

“orange”. This is missing the point. The danger

scale isn’t like ski-run grades or mountain-bike

track grades. In those cases, the black runs

are more difficult and dangerous, but they are

designed to be ridden. “Extreme” avalanche

danger is not, nor is “high” for that matter. These

are times to avoid avalanche terrain altogether.

“Considerable” avalanche danger effectively

means treating the snowpack like you would your

most challenging ski-runs and bike-tracks. It’s

going to require high-level experience and skills to

navigate through and pick the right line. And even

then, sometimes it’s just best to save it for another


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “I’ve got

this chance, I have to take it”. But as scarce as

those moments are (even in New Zealand!), there

will always be more. That might not be true if you

make the wrong choice and put the goal ahead of

the evidence.

“But it is one thing to read about dragons and

another to meet them.”

-Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

What came as a surprise to us was that

the people who were skipping those

steps and making those errors should

have known better. These individuals

were typically experienced, skilled and

would have had the training to learn

about and then apply critical thinking

over the years. The avalanches they

were getting caught in weren’t one-ina-hundred-year

unpredictable events.

These were often text-book examples of

avalanches that we see and hear about

every day and can easily be overlooked

or misjudged.

What’s clear is that heuristic traps

are a key component. If you’re not

familiar, heuristic traps are situations

we (humans) fall into where we may

make decisions (consciously or not) that

conflict with the evidence available or

the situation we find ourselves in. We

make assumptions, favour convenience,

or judge things based on a bias. These

‘traps’ are explained in different ways

depending on who you talk to, but

the acronym FACETS (Familiarity,

Acceptance, Consistency, Expert-Halo,

Tracks and Scarcity) is commonly

referred to and an easy guide. A quick

online search will lead you to a variety

of articles on this topic, many specific to

the avalanche space. It’s definitely worth

reading up on if you haven’t before.

Without diving into all of these (one could

devote a whole magazine issue to the

topic!), let’s focus on one heuristic trap

in particular, scarcity. Scarcity largely

revolves around the idea that we ignore

or discount elevated risks as they stand

in the way of experiencing something

rare or finite. Fresh, untracked powder

is a great example, or getting a bit of

summit fever on an alpine mission

because ‘I never get the chance to

get out anymore’. It’s fair to say that in

New Zealand, we all feel this pressure

from time to time. Our ski seasons are

short and rarely offer up the consistent,

powder-laden conditions often seen in

areas such as Japan or North America.

Likewise, climbing in NZ has a maritime

climate to contend with, greatly reducing

the frequency of suitable weather

windows for alpine climbing compared

to continental ranges like the European

Alps. Climate change isn’t helping any

of this either, with shorter winters and

retreating glaciers constantly adjusting

what the landscape looks like and how

we can access it.

For your regions avalanche forecast,

visit the New Zealand Avalanche

Advisory at, owned

and managed by the New Zealand

Mountain Safety Council (MSC). Here

you can also find useful resources

such as our online avalanche course,

avalanche safety videos, and a list of

avalanche course providers around the


For more information about the

MSC please visit our website www. where you’ll

find outdoor safety tools, resources,

information and heaps more to help you

stay safe in the outdoors no matter what

your pursuit.


Playing Safe

Words and Images by Aspiring Guides

After months of restricted outdoor access, we can all attest to

what a precious commodity time in the mountains is-- all the

more reason to ensure that it is time well spent. You might

have spent Lockdown stocking up on the latest gear, or have

the ability to carve it up like a pro, but planning a successful

backcountry ski trip is about taking a holistic approach. Here

are six tips to help you prepare for a season of safe and

memorable (in the right ways) backcountry touring.

• Use a variety of sources when planning

your route. Topographic maps are a good

source of information and can be useful for

approximations of slope steepness, but they

don’t necessarily contain enough information

to determine whether a route is feasible or not.

Vertical spacing between contour lines often

means that a lot of detail is lost, so use these

maps alongside other sources of information

that will fill in the gaps. These could be photos

or videos from the location, or check out online

visualisation tools such as Fatmap®.

Ski touring on Black Peak means epic views over Lake Wanaka.


Above and below: Learning to interpret

snowpack is an important tool in your

avalanche awareness toolkit.

• In New Zealand especially, flexibility is key.

Have plans for a number of objectives ready

to go. Then when the dates draw near, you’re

able to choose the most appropriate trip for

the given weather and conditions. Locking

onto a single plan and stubbornly plunging

forward regardless of the circumstances is a

big red flag.

• Be aware of the avalanche danger scale

and the public danger forecast from the MSC

NZ Avalanche Advisory before accessing

the backcountry. This should be a given!

When interpreting the danger forecast,

make sure you consider the forecasted

avalanche character; this will dictate which

risk management strategies you should apply

when you do head into the field.

Terrain on Black Peak is for advanced skiers, with options for ski mountaineers to take it to the next level.

• Make a realistic assessment of the team’s skills, experience and

abilities. Ideally you’ll get to know the strengths and weaknesses of

each team member through a progression of trips or other activities.

Knowing what you each bring to the table increases confidence

and ultimately safety. It’s also useful for individuals to have a clear

understanding of their own goals and motivations, and how these fit in

with the others on the team. Both these and levels of risk acceptance

will be big factors in decision making during the planning and

execution of a trip, and good teamwork is never a bad thing.

• There is an inherent risk associated with any

backcountry travel. In the event of an emergency,

remember that weather and conditions in the mountains

might prevent attempts at immediate rescue. Have plans

in place and carry appropriate equipment to keep yourself

as comfortable as possible during an extended stay in the

elements, including the right emergency communication

tools. How much and what you carry will depend on the

level of commitment and remoteness of your journey.

• Once your trip is finished and you’re back at

home with a hot chocolate and epic photos, there

is yet another step. Take some time to reflect on

your trip, whether successful or not, and use this to

inform your ongoing improvement in trip planning,

movement, technical systems and all the other

factors that contribute to a long and enjoyable career

skiing in the backcountry. Then get onto planning

your next adventure!


The day we left

Words by Forrest Shearer - Images by Jeff Johnson

As of yesterday, Heath Joske hadn’t been on a snowboard in 13 years

– too busy chasing surf around the world. Now, after a wrong turn, he’s

boot-packing with pro boarders Robin Van Gyn and Forrest Shearer in the

backcountry of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

There’s an unwritten rule in Wanaka that when it snows like it did last night,

you’re half-expected to cut from work or school (maybe at least for the

morning) to take advantage and get in a few runs. Well it dumped almost

two feet of fresh powder overnight and we’re looking at a bluebird day.

Robin and I are stoked to be chasing winter here in New Zealand, and it’s

even better that we get to show our buddy Heath a bit of our world on the


Heath's surf style is mirrored on the mountain when he finds some open terrain


Heath, out of his element and yet leading the pack.

We’d all gotten in a few good runs before

Robin and I peeled off to the left to stretch

our legs away from the crowds, boot

packing up to check out the ridgeline. We’re

headed back up after a run and I hear

“Case!...Hey! Casey!”

Someone is calling out behind me, but

it’s just me and Robin on this side of the

mountain. We had started as a four-some

but Heath Joske and Glen Casey, both

surfers, were sticking to the groomed runs.

As of yesterday, Heath hadn’t even been on

a snowboard in 13 years – too busy chasing

surf around the world.

“Casey!” I hear again. I turn around to see

Heath trudging towards me. “Shit mate, I

only followed you because I thought you

were Glen,” he says, frustrated, exhausted.

But I was glad to see him. If we’d left it up

to Heath to decide he’s ready to go off-piste

with us, it might not be this trip.

“Hell yeah, brother! You’ll be alright” I say

with a pat on the shoulder. I reckon this is

my favorite crossover to watch these days.

Surfers may be out of the water and out of

their element, but as soon as they get on

the mountain and strap into the board, the

froth is real.

“I’m still figuring out how to get off the

bloody lift” he says, sounding defeated as

we boot pack up a chute. Robin points out

to me that “even though he feels like he’s

out of his depth, he wasn’t anxious until he

realized you were the wrong person. He

was totally doing it.” She’s so right, it’s easy

to get intimidated when you’re in a new

arena, especially with people who are so at

home there. We’ve both been there before,

and will be again when we go surfing in a

few days.

But right now we’re still on a good 45-minute

thigh-burner and he’s not just keeping up,

Heath’s actually out ahead head of us.

Ocean or not, he’s still a top athlete.

Finally on the other side, the mountain

opens up into an epic view and a landscape

of options, and for a moment we’re just awestruck,

taking it in. Heath breaks the silence.

“I was shitting bricks back there,” he shares

from the safety of semi-flat ground.

“You’re good, Heath! Just do what you know

how to do,” encourages Robin.

Then there’s nothing left to do but drop in.

Right away we’re cruising some wide open,

uncrowded terrain. For the first time, Heath

has a length of proper powder to just glide

from turn to turn and let his surf style come

out. You can’t do that on the groomed runs,

especially on the best snow day of the year.

It’s a perfect day of riding with friends,

watching each other rip turns and seeing my

buddy quickly adapt his technique from the

ocean and apply it to the mountain, surfing

long, frozen waves, and conquering a few

burly hike missions with Robin and myself.

Ultimately whether on the mountain or in

the ocean, we’re all just after that feeling of

flying, and getting to share it only fuels the

fire. There’s something so gratifying about

taking someone with you who you know will

love it, and getting to show them your world.

Next we’ll be in on the coast in Heath’s

world. Hopefully he’s not holding a grudge

about that hike we took him on.

Heath, doing what he loves best



















































The Central Plateau

The Central Plateau covers a large

area in the central North Island of New

Zealand. The heart of the area is the

mountains and volcanic area of the

Tongariro National Park and then it

fans out north past Taupo, to the west

past Taumaranui, and to the south

past Taihape. Each of the towns offer

something unique...


The largest urban area in the Central

Plateau and the 20th in the country, Taupo

is located at the outlet of Lake Taupo, New

Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is the heart

of volcanic and thermal activity providing

natural hot springs throughout the region.

With the lake and Waikato River on its

doorstep it’s obvious that Taupo is home

to a range of water activities. However,

there is a lot more to Taupo than just the

water. Mountain bike trails and river walks

allow you to get into the outdoors, but if

it's an adventure that you are after, you’ll

find plenty of things to do in Taupo, from

Bungy Jumping, skydiving, jet boating and



On the southern edge of Lake Taupo

you’ll find the town of Turangi. Developed

on the banks of the Tongariro River, it

was originally built to house workers

from the Tongariro hydro-electric power

development project and their families but

is now a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. With

the Kaimanawa Ranges and the Tongariro

River on its doorstep, it offers a range

of outdoor activities, from hiking, biking,

fishing, hunting, skiing, rafting, kayaking

and more.


Originally a Maori settlement at the

confluence of the Ongarue River with the

Whanganui, this is where important canoe

routes linked the interior of the island with

the lower Whanganui River settlements.

Its proximity to the Whanganui River

means there are plenty of water activities

on hand and biking trails, such as the

Timber Trail, are close by.


20km south of Taumaranui, you’ll find the

tiny town of Owhango. The Whakapapa

River lies 2km east of the town and

the vast expanse of Tongariro Forest

Conservation Area and bisecting the forest

is one of New Zealand's best mountain

bike rides, the 42 Traverse. The forest also

has excellent tramping, camping and deer

hunting opportunities.

Skydiving over Lake Taupo and the Central Plateau

National Park:

Nestled between the North Island main

trunk railway line and State Highway 4,

lies what for many travelling past would

appear as an unassuming village. From

the highway, travellers will see a petrol

station, pub, hotel and a few houses much

like many other small Kiwi towns they pass


At an altitude of 820 metres, National Park

Village can truly claim the title of New

Zealand’s top town, being the highest

urban township in the country. But that’s

not what makes the village a destination of

choice for thousands of visitors each year.

As its name suggests, National Park

Village is located on the boundary of

Tongariro National Park in the Central

North Island. This makes the village an

ideal base for those wishing to explore

the natural and cultural wonders of New

Zealand's oldest national park and Dual

World Heritage Area, all year round.


Just 6km north of National Park, is home

to the famous Raurimu Railway Spiral and

a selection of accommodation options set

among and on top of hills offering some of

the best views over the park, there’s also

a pub !

Further south along State Highway 4, lies

Erua where you’ll find a mountain lodge,

backpackers, motel units and access to

a mountain bike park – all at the base of

Hauhungatahi, one of the lesser known,

yet highest volcanoes in New Zealand, at

1,521 metres.

Whakapapa Village:

16km from National Park - meanwhile lies

within the Tongariro National Park and

hosts the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel,

the Skotel resort hotel, a holiday park, café

and tavern.

Combined these villages offer the best

access to the Whakapapa ski area and

wider Tongariro National Park, along with

an exceptional choice of accommodation

and dining options catering for all budgets

and tastes.


Located at the southern end of Mt

Ruapehu, Ohakune is the gateway to the

Turoa Ski fields. But it is also a lot more

than just a ski town, with trout fishing,

mountain biking, tramping and bushwalking

all within easy reach of the town.

As well as boasting the famous Ohakune

Carrot (the worlds largest model carrot),

the world's first commercial bungy jumping

site was established just outside Ohakune

at the old railway viaduct. This was

operated during the 1980s until the bridge

became too unsafe to continue operations.

This bridge is now restored and a highlight

of the 'Old Coach Road' walk/bikeway.


South of Ohakune on State Highway 1,

you’ll come across the small settlement of

Taihape. Built near the confluence of the

Hautapu and Rangitikei Rivers, this town

offers a gateway to some great outdoor

adventures. Home of the gumboot, Taihape

offers an access to a taste of the “real” NZ.

Why wait?

Adventure starts here

Dual Heritage Tongariro

National Park




Kayaking the Kuratau River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Water, water everwhere: and most of it you can drink

When we normally write about water

adventure a lot of it is sea based

and salty. The Central Plateau boast

numerous rivers and lakes, the most wellknown

being Lake Taupo. Lake Taupo a

surface area of 616 square kilometres,

is the largest lake by surface area in

New Zealand, and the second largest

in Oceania (after Lake Murray in Papua

New Guinea).

With that amount of aquatic room to

move there is a lot to do. One activity that

gets a lot of coverage is sea kayaking

to visit the water based Maori carvings.

The first question you ask is how did

it get there? The answer is when

traditional marae-taught carver Matahi

Brightwell paddled past a rock alcove

on Lake Taupo in 1976, he had a vision

of a tattooed face. His grandmother, Te

Huatahi Susie Gilbert of Ngati Rauhoto,

Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Maiotaki and

Ngati Whakaue, had asked the young

carver to create a likeness of her ancestor

Ngatoroirangi on a totara tree to create

a permanent connection for her family to

the land. When Matahi arrived in Taupo

there was no totara tree to carve so he

journeyed onto the lake for inspiration.

The rock alcove at Mine Bay became the

canvas for one of the most extraordinary

contemporary artworks New Zealand has

ever seen. Sculpted over the course of

four years and completed in 1980,

There are a range of guided sea kayaking

trip around Taupo some offer longer

trips and kayak hire so you can go solo.

Paddleboarding has also become popular

in recently years and these are also

available for tours or hire.

If you would prefer not to go under your

own steam, there are several charter

yacht companies offering day tours and

overnight options both skippered and

unskippered vessels.

Moving away from the lake the Central

Plateau offers some of the most

significant rivers in New Zealand, some

to cruise and some to play in. Both the

Whanaganui and Waikato have been

used for centuries as a way of getting

around the country now they are used for

paddle canoe cruises. Companies offer a

gambit of options in terms of length and


The Whanganui River has been dedicated

as one of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’ –

or should be a great float?

The Waikato river also offer a range of

guided tours the most common around

the Taupo area both one and half day

tours some of which visit some of the

local attraction like the Bungee, Huka falls


Where there are flowing rivers and

some elevation you will find white water

kayaking – the Central Plateau is a

kayaker’s playground.

The most well-known waterfall would be

Huka Falls which produces breath-taking

power and only extreme adventure gurus

have run it (and its illegal). Below these

falls Aratiatia Rapids which rise with

awesome fury when the control gates

are opened, and this creates a great

spectacle. Its important be aware of when

these food gates are open as people have

been caught unaware. Ngawaapurua

Rapids, downstream from the Aratiatia

Dam, provide real Whitewater sport. A

huge breaking wave dominates the rapids

and a strong back-eddy facilitates reruns.

You can play here for hours -

locally call Full James. The is also

a doc camp site here so it has a

strong community feel.

Another river that rises out of the

sparkling snowfields, rock-strewn

slopes and windswept tussock

plains is one of New Zealand’s

most famous recreational river

systems. The Tongariro; is the

main river flowing into Lake Taupo.

It is both a renowned rainbow trout

fishery and a mecca for rafting and

kayaking enthusiasts. The most

popular run is a 3-hour, Grade 3,

full-on rafting experience through

60 rapids on the Lower Tongariro.

The put in is at the Poutu water

intake on the Waikato Falls Road

and the takeout is on the true left

bank of the Red Hut Pool.

Often forgotten the Whakapapa

River this is the major tributary of

the Whanganui and offers good

Grade 3 – 4 rapids after heavy

rainfall. The put in is the Rangipo

Hydro Scheme intake structure off

S.H.47. Experience is needed to

negotiate the tight chutes between

boulders and some rapids may

need to be portaged. The takeout

is below Owhango on S.H.4 before

the river joins the Whanganui.

Another little gem is the Mangakino

Stream, which flows into Lake

Maraetai south east of Mangakino

township. Put in at the Sandels

Road bridge after heavy rain and

ride some bouncy Grade 3 rapids

down to the lake.

This is just a small collection of

what is available in the region

Basically if there is any sort of

rafting operation in the area there

will be good kayaking – stick to

your limitations.

Viewing the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo

Image compliments of Sail Barbary

Canoeing the Whanganui River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Lastly a phenomenon that has grown

in popularity because of tourism is jet

boating the most famous being the

Huka jet. Which is a white knuckle

tour for a close up look at the bottom

of the Huka Falls, flying over shallow

water, spins and turn like a natural

roller coaster ride. Jet boat tour

operators are now available on most

of the major rivers.

Jetboating the Whanganui River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Water is the basis of so many

activities in the Central plateau

region. The natural central free flow

out to the edges of the region create a

playground that offers an experience,

an activity, a sport, a recreation –

something for everyone.



half price

rafting for


UNtil the end of


Grade 2 family fun trip

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand




There are a few commercially

raftable rivers in the Central

Plateau; the Tongariro and

the Rangitikei. Both rivers

offer options for day trips and

overnight experiences so you'll

find something to suit your

needs. Some of the best fun

you'll ever have!

Rafting on the Tongariro River with Rafting New Zealand

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand

Tongariro River:

The headwaters of the Tongariro originate in the Central Plateau and wind their way down through

the towns of Turangi until it arrives at Lake Taupo. This is New Zealand’s most fished river, but it

also proves an excellent choice for rafting.

There are three main white water sections which provide excellent rafting options, with two

gorges which are usually considered unpaddleable, (Tree Trunk Gorge and Waikato Gorge). The

river levels are controlled by the dam and two of the three sections are only able to be rafted on

the release days of the dam. The lower section of the Tongariro River offers a family friendly

experience to give a taste for first time rafters or younger children.

Section Put in Take Out Difficulty Length Time

Access 14 Rangipo Dam Tree Trunk Gorge Grade 4 5.7km 1-3 hrs

Access 13 Tree Trunk Gorge Waikato Gorge Grade 3+ 5.3km 2-3 hours

Access 10 Poutu Intake Blue Pool Grade 3 13km 2-4 hours

Scenic beauty on the Tongariro River

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand

Access 14 has a put in just below the Rangipo Dam and is the highest

and most narrow section of the raftable section of the Tongariro. It is

graded a 4, although there are only a few grade 4 rapids, however, the

continuity of the grade 3+ sections and the inability to walk out means

it keeps its grade 4 status. Also care needs to be taken to ensure that

the takeout is not missed, as just below this is Tree Trunk Gorge, which

could be fatal if entered on a release day.

Access 13 has a more difficult access and requires a walk in and

out and rafts have to be dropped down a 15m cliff into the river. It is

rated a 3+ and also has a critical takeout point just above Waikato

Gorge, another section of the river that could prove fatal. The riverbed

through this section is small, containing the rapids and making them

steeper. Due to the accessibility, this section of the river is rarely rafted


Access 10 is the most popular section of the river and most actively

rafted, due to the ease of access and the year round flow levels allow

rafting daily on this part of the Tongariro. There are over 60 Grade 3

rapids making for an excellent half day on the river. Take out is at Blue

Pool or you can choose to continue down to Turangi township, this

part of the river offers a fantastic grade 2 rafting experience, where as

young as three years of age can take part in the thrill of rafting.

you deserve

an escape

to adventure!



Rafting the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River

The upper Rangitaiki River - Images compliments of River Rats

Rangitikei River:

Rangitaiki River:

One of New Zealand’s longest rivers, the Rangitikei’s

headwaters are to the south east of Lake Taupo and

the river flows through the central plateau past Taihape

and Mangakiwa, before heading out to the coast south

of Whanganui. The grade of the river varies over the

185km stretch ranging from grade 1 through to grade 5,

all sections are raftable, it just depends on what you are

looking for.

Due to the length and nature of the river, a multiday trip

is a great way to experience the area however there are

plenty of options to do day trips of varying degrees of

difficulty. The scenery is spectacular and secluded and

offers real variety.

The highlight for white water enthusiasts is the grade 5

section that ends at River Valley Lodge just out of Taihape.

This 11km section of river starts with grade 2-3 rapids and

builds to a section of the river with 10 major rapids, from

Grade 3+ - Grade 5 line up one after the other.

Rangitaiki River

Rangitaiki River

Tongariro River

Rangitikei River

Situated 45 minutes from Rotorua or around 1 hour from Taupo,

there are two sections to the Rangitaiki River; the upper section is a

busy class 3 – 4 section and lower down there is a grade 2 section

suitable for children as young as 5.

The upper section requires good teamwork but without the drops

experienced on the grade 5 offerings it doesn’t feel as scary. It runs

through a beautiful river valley with a mix of native and plantation


The lower section runs through a stunning rock gorge with lots of

freshwater springs trickling into the river that you can stop and drink

from, there is even a spot to get out for a shower under a stunning

spring fed waterfall making for some great shots to ensure you have

a strong Instagram game. There are plenty of opportunities

to float down smaller rapids or swim in the calm pools. It has a few

bigger rapids but they are just nice rolling wave trains with not many

obstacles to avoid making it a great option for families or those

looking to experience the scenery without too much excitement.

The lower Rangitaiki River - Images compliments of River Rats



Rafting New Zealand are based in Turangi and have been

operating for over 25 years and is New Zealand’s most awarded

rafting Company. A part-Iwi owned business along with Luke and

Pianika Boddington, Rafting New Zealand was established in

1991.RNZ love to raft and love to share their passion for rafting

rivers with all their clients, this enthusiasm for their excellent

product is infectious and helps to create the unique experience

that is white water rafting with Rafting New Zealand.

Rafting New Zealand first began as Rock ‘n’ River Adventures in

1991. It’s founders Rod Brown (Pianika’s dad), and Tui Brabyn,

had a vision to operate, not necessarily the biggest, but definitely

the best white water rafting business in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

This vision is realised and continued today.

Rafting New Zealand offers a range of rafting adventures from

their Grade 2 family fun trips, suitable for the whole family,

through to their Grade 3 White Water adventures and raft/

fishing adventures. They also offer multi-day trips camping on

the banks of the river. For more information check them out at

kaituna RIVER

grade 5



for over



Kaituna River:

On the border between the central plateau

and the Bay of Plenty, lies the Kaituna River.

Beginning at the outflow of Lake Rotorua

and Lake Rotama, the river flows north until

it reaches the coast near Te Puke. The top

section of the river, near Okere Falls is where

the white water begins and has been rafted and

kayaked since the early 1990's.

One of the main draw cards to rafting the

Kaituna is that you get to run the highest

commercially rafted waterfall in the world, the

Tutea Falls. The 7 meter drop is super exciting

and suitable for anyone over the age of 13.

The Kaituna River has been run regularly

by kayak enthusiasts and rafters since 1991

and has become a winter destination for

paddlers from the northern hemisphere. There

is a slalom course that has been used by

international teams for off-season training at

the entrance to the upper gorge which itself

contains a number of play features including

the famous “bottom hole”.

Tutea Falls on the Kaituna River - Images compliments of River Rats

River Valley Lodge and adventure company, is conveniently

placed at the end of the Grade 5 white water rafting section of

the Rangitikei River. It is also the start point for several more

leisurely river trips. This Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River

has been placed amongst the top 8 rafting trips in the world by

the international brand, Red Bull. River Valley Lodge has been

operating for over 30 years and has grown to meet the demands

of the changing market.

What you will find at River Valley Lodge is a destination where

you can have fun on the river, choosing from a mix of day trips

and multi-day trips. Multi-day trips involve camping on the river

bank at night and exploring new stretches of the river by day.

They are a fun option for families or groups of friends.

There is no better way to explore the countryside, this beautiful

hill country, than by horse. Treks from a half-day to eight days will

be operating from October.

A River Valley Lodge stay, need not be just about rafting or

riding horses. The Lodge is also a great place to relax. There

are several short walks, a great swimming hole in the river, two

saunas and a spa, and plenty of places to just relax with a book.

River Valley Lodge is presently open for meals and

accommodation. Adventure activities, both on the river, or by

horse, will resume no later than the 1st October 2020, and

possibly earlier. Check out their website, to

start planning a stay at River Valley.

River Rats Raft & Kayak have been operating for 38 years and

have a wide range of trips so there is something for everyone.

The most popular trip is the Kaituna situated 20 minutes from

Rotorua, it features the world’s highest commercially rafted

waterfall, the awesome 7m Tutea falls. Although the trip provides

full on action it is suitable for adventurous beginners as all the

major drops run into calm water making it very forgiving for a

grade 5 trip. As well as the drops it has stunning scenery and

some fun surf holes.

River Rats also offers Grade 5 rafting on the Wairoa River and

grade 3-4 or grade 2 options on Rangitaiki Rivers and kayaking

on Rotorua's lakes. On Lake Rotoiti there are hot pools right on

the lake edge and fed from a natural hot spring. The paddle is

around an hour each way with plenty of time to relax and enjoy

the hot pools. In summer there is an evening option with a BBQ

dinner at the hot pools followed by a sunset kayak to a hidden

glow worm cave.

rangitaiki River

grade 2 &

grade 3-4


head office

hanger 14s rotorua airport

837 te ngae road

rotorua, 3074


promo code


for a 20%


free phone

0800 333 900


River Rats operates year-round and provides excellent gear to

keep you cosy regardless of the temperature.While the borders

are closed to tourists they are also offering a great discount for

the local market. Mention this article or use the code ADV20 on

their website to get a 20% discount on any of the trips. For more

46//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#220 information check out


Hooked on Fishing:

Worldwide, New Zealand is renowned

for its trout fishing and there is no better

location than the Central Plateau. We

can’t cover every aspect in these few

pages, but it will give you a taste of what

is on offer.

Almost every river, stream and lake in the

region has some ‘trout’ potential. Some

have world recognition like Lake Taupo

and the mighty Tongariro River (ranked

one of the best trout fishing rivers in the

world) but there are numerous rivers

and lakes many with easy access. Bank

walking, wading and boating are options

and provide superb fishing throughout

the region. Licenses are inexpensive

even guided trips are amazing value for


Nearly all of the central North Island

rivers and streams hold good numbers

of wild rainbow and brown trout, with

numerous on-and-off road access points

providing you with a wide choice from

small streams, spring creeks and lakes

to large rivers such as the renowned

Whakapapa and Tongariro. Most of these

major rivers also have smaller tributaries

of which many carry good fish.

If you employ a guide, (there are plenty

online or ask a local store) many have

access through private farmlands,

providing clients with an off-the-beatentrack

experience in almost untouched

back country rivers and streams. Or

you can venture into the remote ‘back

country’ yourself, where you will not see

a footprint all day. These back-country

fish have not been fished or even seen

a fishing rod, many are resident in these

rivers and grow to an impressive size.

Access can be a little more complicated

and it pays to go with a guide the first

time to anywhere too ‘remote’.



Fishing on Lake Taupo - Image compliments of Great Lake Taupo


The Tongariro River:



Sunrise on the Tongariro River - Image compliments of Great Lake Taupo

The Tongariro River near Turangi has won

a well-deserved reputation as one of the

world's foremost fishing experiences. In

winter, an estimated 10,000 rainbows and

over 1000 browns migrate up it to reach

the spawning beds.

The river is wide and fast-flowing in places,

with long gravel runs, rocky stretches

and deep lies but there is easy access,

even directly off the motorway. The fishing

pools are not only historic but legendary

among angler worldwide: Major Jones,

The Admiral's Pool, The Judge's Pool, The

Hydro, Red Hut, Kamahi, The Duchess...

During rainbow trout migrations

out of lake Taupo through

April to September the lower

Hinemaiaia offers great fly

fishing, especially. The river

generally runs very clear and is

ideal for nymphing as well as

dry and wet fly. Its banks are

overgrown, but trails give good

access. The fish often lie deep

and close to the bank, making

them a challenge to cast too.

The middle reaches of

the 'TT' as it is called offer

easy access off the main

highway and casting and

good fish between March

and September for dry, lure

and nymph fishing. In places

the bank is very high, and it

is easy to see trout laying in

the deeper pools.

Guided Fly Fishing:

The Big Lake:

Te Whaiau Canal:


Regardless your ability to fly-fish,

highly skilled or novice, fishing lake

or river you will have something to

meet your budget and time frame.

Whether it’s a half day learning on

the bank of the Tongariro river for

first timers or a day trolling around

Lake Taupo with the family, there is

something for everyone.

Local guides know where to go,

what to use and how to use it. From

half day introduction package to

full week away in the hills, drive in

– walking or even helicopter. Most

guides will provide all the gear and

organise a licence. Be prepared

most guides will not let you keep the

fish you catch but you will get some

great memories and photos.

New Zealand's largest lake (surface area of 616sq

km) is situated in the middle of the North Island on a

volcanic plateau 359 metres above sea level. Due to

its very cold clean water and abundant food sources it

produces huge numbers of well-conditioned fish. It is

very deep in places (up to 185 metres) but has many

areas that provide excellent shoreline fishing. Some

of the best areas for shoreline angling are around the

many stream mouths where fish congregate during the

warmer months and to which they migrate during the

winter spawning runs.

The most popular method for fishing the lake is trolling,

including leadline trolling, wire lining, or the use of

downriggers to troll at a deeper level. Jigging the dropoffs

and fly-fishing around the lake shore and at river

mouths are also popular methods (though note that

boat fishing is not permitted around many of the points

where rivers and streams enter the lake).

The Te Whaiau Canal is short slow

moving and deep. It generally

has steep banks with quite dense

vegetation coming down to the

water’s edge. There are few areas

however where the land opens up

allowing for good casting. Much of

the length of this water is difficult

to both find a good place to stand

and cast from. The fish numbers,

particularly early and late in the

season can be very high and the

fish tend to free risers. During the

warmer months they can often be

seen chasing emerging insects.

That said they are often very difficult

to fool and will rise close to anglers

yet reject even the most beautifully

presented fly.

The upper river rises in the Tongariro National Park and

connects with Lake Otamangakau and the Whakapapa river.

It runs through beautiful native forest, spectacular gorges and

farmland. This river has a reputation for rising quickly so it

pays to keep an eye on the weather forecast. The Wanganui

river generally clear, easy to fish and contains a good number

of trout and is renowned to have some large specimens.


The Whakapapa is a large, clear river with some wild rapids,

deep pools and long boulder runs that flows down from

Mt Ruapehu it runs through rugged country which is not

advisable for the inexperienced. Lower down it features many

kilometres of spectacular and productive wilderness fishing.

But the upper reaches you need to know what you are doing

and again be watchful of the weather.

Trout fishing anywhere in the world give you great access to

some of the most unique and beautiful aspect of the country.

But trout fishing in the Central Plateau is like nowhere else it is

varied, spectacular, full of history and legend. It offer something

for everyone, from kids fishing at the Turangi Trout Farm to heli

trip to the back of beyond. Your only limitation is time.





The Central Plateau offers a range of hiking options; from the

shores of Lake Taupo through to the Kaimanawa Forest and

Pureora Forest Park, but nothing quite beats the draw of the

Tongariro National Park.

Tongariro National Park is a land of volcanic wonders –

steaming craters, alpine rock gardens, surreal lakes and

tumbling waterfalls. Its hiking trails offer spectacular winter trips

complete with solitude and a backdrop of snowy peaks.

The 600-hectare national park is centred on three volcanoes,

Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. In their foothills,

Okahune, National Park and Whakapapa Village make great

bases for exploration, as do other little Ruapehu region towns

within easy reach.

Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park, established

in 1887. It holds dual UNESCO World Heritage status for its

cultural significance as well as its outstanding natural features.

The park’s striking natural beauty is the result of two million

years of volcanic activity. Ruapehu and Tongariro are two of the

most active composite volcanoes in the world.

Winter crossing of the Tongariro National Park

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Know before you go:

Even experienced trampers have

come unstuck in this extreme

environment. The weather can be

especially unpredictable in winter,

with big temperature drops and heavy

downpours that can make streams and

rivers dangerous or impassable. There

are also volcanic hazards, so it’s vital to

obey all warnings and signs.

Check in with the Visitor Centre at

Whakapapa for advice, forecasts

and hut bookings. The Walks in

and around Tongariro National Park

brochure has further detail on these

tramps and others in the national park.

A topographical map is essential for

longer walks.

Above and right: Hiking in the Tongariro National Park - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Day Walks:

Tongariro National

Park’s spectacular day

walks venture into all

corners and will keep

you occupied for a

solid week.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing:

7–8 hr

Snowy surrounds and low crowds make winter a fabulous time to hike

the Crossing, but you’ll need to go with a guide unless you’re an expert

alpine tramper. This challenging track starts at 1120m and winds up

the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mts Tongariro and

Ngauruhoe. You’re into crater territory as you reach the crossing’s

highpoint at 1886m.

The descent is via a rock scree track to the vivid Emerald Lakes/

Ngā Rotopounamu (greenstone-hued lakes) and Blue Lake/Te Waiwhakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa

(Rangihiroa’s mirror). The track then sidles

around the northern slope of Tongariro to descend via a zigzag track

past Ketetahi Shelter and down to the road end.

Attempting the Tongariro

Alpine Crossing in winter is a

very different experience than

during other times of the year.

From May to October, snow

and ice mean alpine skills

and experience are essential.

Therefore, the best and safest

way to enjoy the Crossing in

its full alpine glory is to go with

guide. Two Tongariro Alpine

Crossing guiding companies,

with decades of experience

and approved by the

Department of Conservation,

operate from National Park

Village - Adrift Tongariro and

Adventure Outdoors Tongariro,

and can guide you safely

across this incredible, yet risky,

wintery wonderland.

Multi Day Walks:

Round the Mountain Track:

Tama Lakes Tramping Track:

Lake Surprise:

There are two classic multi-day tramps in

Tongariro: the Northern Circuit Great Walk

and the Round the Mountain Track.

The Tongariro Northern Circuit:

3–4 days

One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, this tramp can

be completed in the winter months by experienced

trampers with all the right gear, preparation and

favourable conditions.

It’s usually started in Whakapapa Village and walked

clockwise, winding first to Mangetepopo Hut to join the

Alpine Crossing with its craters and surreal lakes. The

circuit then continues down the spectacular Oturere

Valley and around Mt Ngauruhoe’s foothills towards

historic Waihohonu Hut.

The final day sees you hike over Tama saddle between

Ngauruhoe & Ruapehu – with a possible detour to

the must-see Tama Lakes – before heading past the

tumbling Taranaki Falls to return to Whakapapa Village.

4–6 days

A more remote and advanced adventure than the

Northern Circuit, this unforgettable tramp traverses

a variety of landscapes from mountain beech forest,

tussock country and alpine herbfields, to desert lands

and glacial river valleys.

As much of the track passes through alpine terrain,

it is recommended that winter trips are completed

with a guide. The rest of the year it can be walked by

experienced, well-prepared trampers when the weather

is favourable.

Starting at Whakapapa, it heads clockwise around Mt

Ruapehu taking in many of the park’s most famous

sights: Taranaki Falls, Tama Lakes, Waitonga Falls,

Lake Surprise and Silica Rapids. It also takes in the

Rangipo desert, with its barren and peculiar beauty. Six

huts along the way each have their own character, too.

5–6 hr

This memorable walk starts at Whakapapa Village

along the Taranaki Falls Track with all its interesting

landforms and gushing streams. At the top of Taranaki

Falls, the track branches off through rolling tussock

country and alpine herbfields towards Tama Lakes.

Beyond the lower lake viewpoint (1240m), the track

climbs steeply to a 1440m-viewpoint of the upper lake.

Tama Lakes occupy several old explosion craters on

Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. In

winter, it’s essential to check in with Whakapapa Visitor

Centre on the current trail conditions.

Old Blyth Tramping Track:

4–5 hr

Starting on the Ohakune Mountain Road, this track partly

follows the historic route up Mt Ruapehu through significant

vegetation including mixed beech forest. When Blyth Track

was constructed in the early 1900s, much of the route was

through alpine bog; you can see the remains of ‘corduroy’

laid across the muddy surface. Return the same way or

walk out to the Mountain Road via the Waitonga Falls/

Round the Mountain Tramping Track, and then walk back

down the road – the views are epic.

5 hrs

Few walks are as aptly named this, but a hidden lake

isn’t the only surprise on this amazing day out. Starting

high on Mt Ruapehu, this advanced trail heads through

epic boulder fields, bluffs and scree slopes with alpine

gardens boasting a colourful array of flowers, lichens and

moss. A climb into Mangaturuturu Valley follows a waterfall

flowing over an ancient lava cascade. You’ll also pass a

70-year-old tramping hut, nestled amongst stunted forest.

Ever-changing views stretch from Ruapehu’s peak to the

edges of the volcanic plateau. The lake itself is tranquil and

untouched. The trail starts 20 minutes’ drive up Ohakune

Mountain Road.

Historic Waihohonu Hut:

3 hr

It’s well worth the half-day return hike to see this historic

hut, especially as you’ll get up close to the strange terrain

of the Rangipo desert, deep beech forest, and tussockland.

Built in 1903/04 as a stopover for stagecoaches, it’s

constructed of a double layer of corrugated iron with a layer

of pumice between. No longer used for accommodation, the

hut is preserved as an historical building and is classified by

the Heritage New Zealand. This track starts off the Desert

Rd (SH1), signposted 35km south of Turangi.





Short Walks:

A series of short nature trails in Tongariro

National Park take in the various habitats home

to fascinating and diverse native flora and

fauna, and are a great way to get to know the

park’s places and stories.

Taranaki Falls:

2 hr

A popular short walk form Whakapapa Village, this track’s upper and lower sections

form a loop and cross a variety of landforms along the way. It also offers spectacular

long-range views, and takes in various alpine vegetation types including pretty alpine

shrublands and beech forest. On a clear day Ngauruhoe’s symmetrical cone and

the older, eroded mountains of Tongariro and Pukekaikiore can be seen. There are

plenty of lovely sights along Wairere Stream, too, including Taranaki Falls tumbling

20 metres over a 15,000-year-old lava flow.

Silica Rapids:

Plenty of beautiful scenery to be found in the Tongariro National Park - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

2 hr 30 min

This is a slightly longer outing, also starting near

the visitor centre in Whakapapa. It begins along

Whakapapanui Stream, meandering through beech

forest to meet the turn off to Silica Rapids. The track

soon crosses a bubbling stream with a gold coloured

bed caused by iron oxide clays from upstream swamps.

There’s some lovely alpine vegetation along this walk

and some delightful birdlife, too.

Skyline via the Sky Waka:

1.5–2 hrs

A ride on Mt Ruapehu’s new state-of-the-art Sky Waka

gondola is a must for any visitor to the national park.

It whizzes you up in six unforgettable minutes to New

Zealand’s highest café, on Knoll Ridge (2020m).

Depending on snow conditions and your level of alpine

experience, it may be possible to head further up the

mountain, but check with the Whakapapa Visitor Centre

or local guide companies first.

Whakapapanui Walking Track:

2 hr

Another good leg-stretch from Whakapapa Village, this

trail begins just beyond the visitor centre, following the

gorgeous Whakapapanui Stream through beech forest

to reach the road 3km below Whakapapa Village. Take

in the epic mountain views as you walk back up to the

village via the highway, or return back along the forest

trail keeping an eye out for the endangered whio/blue



Waitonga Falls Track:

1.5 hrs

You can walk to the national park’s highest waterfall

on a well-formed track through mountain beech and

kaikawaka (mountain cedar) forest. The track also

passes Rotokawa, an alpine bog where the reflection

of Mt Ruapehu can be seen on still days. The Falls

themselves are 39m high and quite the sight! This track

begins high on Ohakune Mountain Road, around 11km

from town.

Timber Trail, Pureora Forest



There are so many

bike trails in the Central

Plateau, too many to list

here. So we've chosen

a couple that you can

access from each of the

major towns in the area.




Maramataha Suspension Bridge on the Timber Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Riders on the 42nd Traverse - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

From Taupo:

From Turangi:

From National Park:

1. Craters of the Moon (50km worth of


Grade 1-5

This mountain bike park, situated just

north of Lake Taupo, offers tracks for

every level of rider, from family friendly

trails to those for the more experienced

riders. Some offer excellent views of the

lake and river. Spend an hour or a full

day exploring the trails.

2. The Timber Trail (87km)

Grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate)

2 days

This backcountry adventure starts in the

Pureora Forest Village, between Te Kuiti

and Mangakino. The first day is graded

intermediate due to the initial climb. There

is accommodation at the end of the day

that needs to be booked in advance

or you can chose to camp. Day two is

considered easy to intermediate. Over

the two days you’ll experience incredible

scenery, suspension bridges and ancient

native forests.

3. Great Lake Trail 71km)

Grade 3

6 hours

Considered by some, one of the best Grade

3 cycle trails in the country. This trail follows

the northeastern shoreline of Lake Taupo.

This is an all-weather, all-seasons travese

through native forest with incredible views

across the lake towards the volcanoes of

the Tongariro National Park.

The trail has three distinct sections and can

be ridden in one day if your fitness allows.

Waihaha to Kotukutuku Stream (31km)

Begins 54km from Taupo, highlights include

a fun and flowing trail and biking over the

Kotukutuku Waterfall. From here a water

taxi will take you to the start of the next


Whangamata Road to Kawakawa Bay and

Kinloch (18km)

This section begins with a graded climb to

Rocky lookout, but it's worth the effort for

the fantastic views.

Kinlock to Whakaipo Bay (14km)

The final section climbs gently over the

Headland to Whakaipo Bay. You can do an

additional 10km loop of the headland if you

wish or continue to the finish at Whakaipo

Bay. If you still have energy to burn then

continue to ride another 13km to Taupo via

Acacia Bay.

4. Tongariro River Trail (15km loop)

Grade 2

1-2 hours

Starting in Turangi, follow the

Tongariro River, through farmland,

native bush and across swing

bridges. Multiple entry points and an

easy ride with family. The Tongariro

National Trout Hatchery makes for a

great stop on the way.

5. Tree Trunk Gorge (12km one way)

Grade 3-4

2-4 hours

Situated on the eastern side of the

mountain ranges this track takes you

through river crossings and magnificent

beech forest in the Kaimanawa Forest


6.Te Iringa (38km)

Grade 5

4-6 hours

A track for expert riders only set in

the backcountry of the Kaimanawa

Forest Park. Navigating steep hills,

fallen trees, and wetlands this track will

challenge the most avid rider.

7. Fishers Track (17km)

Grade 2

2-3 hours one way

From the National Park Railway

Station, Fishers Track is a mostly

downhill trail with great views of the

National Park mountains as well as

Mt Taranaki (on a clear day).

8. Marton Sash and Door

Tramway (13.8km)

Grade 2

2 hour loop

Leaving from National Park Village,

the trail follows a recovered

bush tramway route and some

backcountry dirt roads past a mix of

native forest and pine plantations.

9.The Pines Tracks (10km worth of


Grade 3-4

This mountain bike park, not far from

National Park Village, offers trails for

the intermediate to advanced riders.

10. 42nd Traverse (46km)

Grade 3-4

4-7 hours

Bike along the 42nd Traverse

following an old logging road through

the remote and rugged landscape

of the Tongariro National Park.

Start point 19km from National Park


There are a number of challegning

sections on one of NZ most iconic

mountain bike rides known for its long

and rutted downhills.

The track surfaces are often rutted

with gravel and mud, and there are

plenty of stream crossings and uphill

sections to challenge you.

Although the trail can be ridden either

direction it is recommended that you

start at Kapoors road end and finish

in Owhanga. If you look at the crosssection

map you can see why.

Cross section of the 42nd Traverse

Image compliments of DOC


Old Coach Road Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Bikers on the Mountain to Sea Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

From Ohakune:

11. Lakes Reserve (1.6km loop)

Grade 1 (great for families)

An easy loop ride that takes you

around Lakes Reserve a short ride from


12. Old Coach Road (15km one way)

Grade 2

2-4 hours one way

Follow the old coach road that joins the

two railheads of the never completed

Northern Trunk Line in the 1900’s. The

trail goes through farmland, native

forest and across historic viaducts and

tunnels. See the information centre in

Ohakune for shuttle services to the start

and you'll be able to bike back to the

centre of Ohakune. The trail is varied

and scenic with plenty of historical

landmarks to break up the journey.

You'll can finish off at the famed

Powderkeg, a great place to reward

yourself with a drink for your efforts.

13. Rangataua Loop Track (18.7km)

Grade 2-3

Beautiful views of Ohakune and some

beautiful New Zealand farms including

great views of Mt Ruapehu along most

of Ratamaire Road! The ride uses

sealed roads and unsealed farm roads.

14. Ruatiti Road and Middle Road


Grade 3

3-5 hours one way

This gravel road is the link between

the Ohakune Old Coach Road at

Horopito and the Mangapurua Track

which leads to the Whanganui

National Park. Start at Horopito, just

out from Ohakune, and follow the road

alongside the Manganu-o-te-ao River

to a great free camping and picnic

spot in the Ruatiti Domain. Usually

completed as part of the Mountains

to Sea track but can be done alone.

Mainly downhill, however there are

some steep climbs towards the end.

Multi Day Trips:

15. Mountains to Sea (297km)

Grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate) Plus

one section of advanced terrain.

1-6 days

This trail takes you from the fringes

of Mt Ruapehu to the coastal town of

Whanganui, through alpine mountains

and native forest. The track uses local

biking tails, public roads and even a

jet boat ride. You can choose to do

sections of the track or the whole trail.

There is plenty to see and great places

to stop along the way.











Grading system:

Grade 1-2 = Easy: Flat. Few obstacles.

Grade 2-3 = Intermediate: Moderately

steep. Uneven terrain with some


Grade 3-4 = Advanced: Some technical

terrain and limited alternate lines.

Grade 4-5 = Expert: Mostly technical

terrain. Advanced features with no

alternate routes

Terrain Park: With multiple rides and








Skiing the volcano: It's easier than it sounds

Like Mt Fuji, Ruapehu rises from a desert

plain and is a stunning site against a clear

blue sky, and it is still an active volcano.

There are three ski fields on Ruapehu, two

commercial; Turoa and Whakapapa and one

club field Tukino. The commercial fields are

serviced by local communities; National Park

Village and Ohakune. The two are operated

together, with a combined lift ticket for both

fields. Together, they are considered to be

the largest ski resort in New Zealand and

possibly the southern hemisphere.




Whakapapa is on the northern side of Mount

Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. The ski

season is generally from late June to late

October, depending on snow and weather

conditions. The terrain at Whakapapa is

loosely divided up as 25% beginner, 50%

intermediate and 25% advanced. Recently

there have been several significant changes

to this side of the mountain with the

introduction of a multi-million dollar mountain

gondola which makes access quicker and


Access to the ski field is by Bruce Road, a

two-lane, 6 km (3.7 mi) sealed road. There

is the accommodation on the mountain, but

you need to join a lodge. There is also an

array of accommodation at the mountain

base and National Park Village.

Tukino Club Field

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Tukino on the eastern face of Mount

Ruapehu. The field is a club managed

field, but open to the general public. The

ski area is serviced by two tows and an

over-snow vehicle giving access for skiing.

Tukino is known for its untouched trails,

uncrowded slopes, friendly atmosphere

and good weather. Accommodation is

available at Tukino for those that want to

stay and play, but bookings are essential.

Access is via the Tukino Access Road from

the Desert Road and is suitable for fourwheel-drive

vehicles only during the winter

months. Transport can be arranged by

contacting the ski field.

Whakapapa Ski Field - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Image compliments Mt Ruapehu





$830 for studio Queen unit with My-Sky

Package includes:

Transport up the mountain with flexible pick up times

Ride up the Gondola to NZs highest restaurant for two

and lunch for two.

(Those wanting larger family accommodation

contact Gillian on 021351103)

Bed and Breakfast

Budget Lodge Accommodation

Self-Contained Motel Units

Packages available for skiing and Tongariro Crossing | 0800 621 061

Snowboarder at Turoa - Image compliments Mt Ruapehu


Turoa (or Tūroa) is on the south-western side of Mt

Ruapehu. The area has been used for skiing since

the completion of the Mountain Road, but the first lifts

opened in 1978.

There are two beginner areas, and many

intermediate and advanced trails. The upper field is

a mix of natural pipes, steep drops, fast plains, and

more accessible slopes. The field is 500 hectares and

has 722 metres (2,369 feet) vertical drops.

The ski field is reached via the Mountain Road from

the town of Ohakune. The Mountain Road was built

by locals from Ohakune, mostly during weekends

after they formed the Mountain Road Association

in 1952. They aimed to open Ruapehu's southern

slopes for skiing, partly as a replacement industry for

the decline in logging which had sustained the town

for the previous decades

On a good day, it is possible to hike to the top of the

mountain with skis or snowboard in hand, view the

Crater Lake, and then ski back down to the field, or

Whakapapa. Also on a clear day, Mount Taranaki can

be seen.



Central Taupo Motel accommodation

searchers look for the best central location,

quality reviews and great service.

Welcome to Acapulco Motor Inn, the best

affordable Taupo Motel.

This Taupo Motel is a kiwi family run

business that loves their job and takes pride

in presenting the best choice for a Taupo

Motel. A short walk to central Taupo with an

array of shops and eateries. Try some local

kiwi flavours and some Must Do activities to

maximise your Taupo visit.

Acapulco Taupo Motor Inn has a range of

accommodation choices that can sleep from

1 to 8 guests. Some Motel rooms have a spa

Pool or spa bath. All Motel rooms have air


Check through our accommodation choices

to match your needs to the best Acapulco

Motor Inn room or apartment.

A: 19 Rifle Range Road, Taupo 3330 | T: +64 7 378 7174 | F: +64 7 378 7555 | M: +64 21 800 118

E: W:

The Alpine Centre

Home of Ski Biz and Snowzone!

When you're looking to buy or rent ski & snowboarding gear, or for workshop tuning or Hiking Gear rental – The Alpine

Centre located in National Park Village is the place to go.

The Alpine Centre is an amalgamation of two long serving winter businesses Ski Biz and Snowzone (Roy Turner Ski

Shop). At the end of the 2017 winter owners Shona and Robbie Forbes closed Snowzone @ Roy Turner Ski Shop for

the last time, a business that had operated in National Park since 1964. With a plan to build a massive extension of the

Ski Biz rental shop, joining the two long standing businesses, by creating one super store location for rental and retail

both winter and summer, The Alpine Centre was created. Now, two years on we have a well-established Alpine shop with

gear for hiking, camping, skiing and snowboarding and are open all year round.

With the Corona Virus pandemic causing delays for all

NZ ski areas its been hard to get an understanding of

how/what may open this season, many customers may

be turning to online buying of ski gear, and we also

now have around 80% of our stock listed on our online


However, Our primary focus remains to be

predominantly an actual, customer face to face service

store. We aspire to offer real service and advice to

everyone that comes in and are always prepared to

go the extra mile to find the right equipment for our

customers' needs if we don’t have it in store. For us

it’s not about making a quick sale, see you later, we

want to keep the customer, get the chance to tune their

gear in the future, and keep a repour for many years

to come.

We believe when purchasing ski equipment, it's not

a case of buying the cheapest, prettiest deal you

can find online, but offering great sound advice and

service means our customer has the best time on the

snow. E.g. When your boots are not fitted correctly, it's

like trying to drive with a flat tyre. Or you might think

you're getting a great deal buying a cheap ski jacket or

pants but are the specs good enough for our mountain

conditions (waterproof, windproof, and breathable).

Your helmet and goggles need to sit well together, but

also fit with your head and face shape.

Thankfully all our crew this season are returning

staff from various past seasons bringing a wealth of

experience and knowledge which is awesome for both

us and our customers and a real bonus in this post

(hopefully) Corona virus new normal.

Our winter 2020 team at The Alpine Centre all share a

passion for having fun on the snow and want to ensure

that everyone who comes into our store are equipped

with the right gear they need to have the best possible

and memorable snow experience!

Ski Biz / Snowzone @ The Alpine Centre

10 Carroll Street, National Park Village

Ph 07 8922 717


A range of skis for those that are never not sending. Those willing to create and explore.

Those who Ride Free. Each ski has a different personality. Designed to ensure you’ll find

the perfect match for your style. For the last three years we’ve tested all over the globe.

To ensure all conditions, terrain, and influences were considered. To build an all-new

vision of freeride. Progressive. Inclusive. Irreverent. Athlete-approved. Ready to send.

Welcome to BLACKOPS.


The all-new BLACKOPS range has been developed with a strong focus on

material sourcing and the product lifecycle. Each ski has been constructed

using PEFC certified poplar or FSC® certified paulownia wood cores

combined with recycled topsheet, base, and edge materials to help reduce

our environmental impact. Ride Free my friends.


Active Adventures

Words and Images by Active Adventures

Now that you’ve explored every inch of your

backyard, and house, and the internet – you’re

probably itching to reconnect with friends and

family and get back out adventuring in the great

outdoors. We get it – the virtual tours aren’t doing

much for us either anymore.

When we dream of travel, most of us go to places

in our minds that are far from our own backyards.

However, this is set to change for many Kiwis as

we collectively begin to look for adventure closer

to home. Your plans for a midwinter European

adventure being canned now gives you the

unprecedented opportunity to see some of New

Zealand’s best without the usual tourist buses or

people getting in the way of your perfect shot. If

you’ve always wanted to discover Milford Sound or

bring your family on a real backcountry experience,

now is a better time than ever.

With over two decades of experience up their

sleeves guiding thousands of happy travellers

around the world, Active Adventures take the

hassle and risk out of organising your trip. You

might think you know New Zealand, but their

knowledgeable Kiwi guides will show you some of

the country’s best kept secrets.

Here’s why you can say ‘no’ to organising a trip by

yourself, and instead get your family or group onto

an Active Adventure.

1. They’ll cater for all abilities

All their trip itineraries include a detailed

breakdown of the ‘activity level’ involved, from

‘What’s the Rush’ right through to ‘Challenge

Accepted’. They also provide detailed distance

and elevation information for each hike, so you

know exactly what you’re in for and you can make

educated decisions about which trip is right for you.

Within each trip they also have many options

available like add-ons for those keen for more, or

‘let’s just chill’ options for those who’ve reached

their capacity for the day. Their guides are also

there to help and encourage you through some of

the more challenging activities that you might not

feel so comfortable doing alone!

2. They’ll cater for all requirements

From specific diets to rooming requests to who

gets the front seat on the bus, their guides will

do everything they can to ensure that not only is

everyone catered for, but everyone can get the

maximum out of their holiday without worrying

about individual plans. They look after the big

stuff, so you can enjoy the small stuff. They also

offer private trips if your group is over 6 people,

meaning your experience will be completely

personalised to meet your groups specific needs.


Your New Zealand Adventure,

Your Way.


3. They’ll bring you to new places, off

the tourist trail

Their trips have always included a mix of

must-sees and hidden gems, but as a Kiwi

visiting your own country, you’ve probably

seen a LOT of the must-sees already.

That's why they’ve developed 8 news trips,

from 2 to 6 days, taken straight from their

staff’s bucket-lists. From a backcountry

adventure in Nelson Lakes National Park,

to flying deep into Aspiring National Park

to hike to the insanely blue Crucible Lake,

to an assisted biking adventure on the Alps

2 Ocean trail or a more relaxed retreat

under the sun with amazing food and wine

near Nelson – just take your pick!

4. You know you’ll be in safe hands

They’ve been guiding adventures here

in New Zealand for 24 years now – and

passion for the outdoors has lead them

to start guiding in other parts of the world,

like Patagonia and the Himalayas, always

using New Zealand safety standards,

which are some of the highest in the world.

So, whether they’re talking about the food

on your plate or crossing a river safely,

they make sure their guides get the best


5. They make logistics a breeze

While on a trip with Active Adventures you

won’t have to worry about a thing. They

make sure the jet boat on the Wilkin River

is waiting for you just at the right time, or

Clockwise from top left: Kayaking, Incredible scenery, the beautiful Braemar Station

the boat onto the Milford Sound has your

name and personal requests before you’ve

set foot on board. You’ll get a packing list

telling you how many pairs of socks you

need, and even a pre-trip training program

if you wish. Even if you’ve travelled these

parts of the country before – logistics for a

group can be a headache and can take the

shine off your holiday planning. Let them

do that for you. They'll even help you make

sure you get to meet the trip at the right

place and time, and have onward travel

sorted for when it's time to say goodbye.

6. Guaranteed value for your money

Quite simply, it is now more affordable

than ever to have your whole trip

organised for you, and having someone

else take care of the nitty gritty details is

the most important ingredient in you being

able to enjoy exploring, hassle free.

Sure, you can book a trip by yourself, but

you run the risk of getting messed around

with accommodation that doesn’t live up to

its photos, unreliable and uncomfortable

transport, and you miss out on the

expertise, knowledge and care of local

guides. It’s better to invest your money in

a trip that is guaranteed to be seamless

and stress-free, than cut corners to try

and save a few dollars by throwing a trip

together yourself! Active Adventures trips

are all inclusive, providing great value for

your money.

7.Your guides will be the best of the


If you haven’t spent your lockdown

period from Coronavirus studying the

flora and fauna of New Zealand and the

history of each area… don’t worry. On

an Active Adventures trip, you will have

2 Kiwi guides along with you every step

of the way who are not only great cooks,

budding comedians, pack carriers, safe

drivers and planning gurus – they’re

also walking encyclopaedias. Traveling

with their guides means that you won’t

miss the opportunity to see the Southern

Lights, have a flowering Rata pointed

out to you, or hear about the history and

movement of the glaciers. It's the kind

of details that can take your experience

from great to unforgettable. Oh, and it

shouldn’t be forgotten that they know ALL

the best coffee spots across the country,

so you don’t have to waste your precious

mornings hunting down the good stuff.

They’ll do that part for you too!

So just say ‘no’ to wrangling your friends

and family for a trip. They’ll do it for you –

headache free. Just decide which of their

22 adventures is the most tempting to you,

or just reach out at info@activeadventures.

com or 03 450 0414 to get the advice of an

adventure planner!

Crafting Award-Winning

Trips for decades

The Kiwi way


Choose Active Adventures this summer and have confidence you’re joining

New Zealand’s most experienced guiding company. An impeccable safety

record, garnered over 24 years and more guiding concessions than any other


Our flexible assurance allows you to change your plans up to 30 days before

your departure, so you can book stress-free.

Explore hidden gems

through our expert

local Kiwi guides


email us at or

call us at 0800 234 726 to plan your adventure!

Every detail covered

to maximise your time

and experience

4.5/5 from 18,580 reviews

Experience adventures

the way you want





By Jessica Middleton

"Chill when its chill for when

it's too hot you cannot. "

Don't turn the cold shoulder on winter. You might just warm

up to it, after all it's the perfect condition for soul-warming

activities and adventures.

It's honestly cool to travel when it's cool, and here's why.


In winter most people hibernate because leaving the comfort

of your warm snuggly home to go seek adventure isn't

always inviting. Game changer, what if the adventure came

to you, right on your doorstep? This kind of accessibility

has now opened up a whole new world of opportunities to

you, am I right? There's peace of mind knowing when you

head out that your reliable van will be waiting for you with

doors wide open, warm supplies, food, shelter, and all your

essentials right in the car park. This means no freezing longdrawn

drives back from an outing wearing wet soggy shoes,

ugh the worst! We depend on our van to shield us in the

winter, you just want to go up and hug the thing, but don't,

because the exterior can remain pretty icy. Instead, you can

thank your van by treating it with regular servicing as during

colder months your van requires some close loving care.


While you fix yourself a morning brew, make sure to take in

all the breathtaking views, you can stay tucked up in bed if

you want to. We have a habit of calling this - "Inside Out",

where you get to experience outdoor surroundings with little

guilt for lounging inside. It truly is the best of both worlds.

This is the perfect environment to set aside time to relax

and unwind, finish reading that book or art project you have

been working on. Chill when its chill for when it's too hot you

cannot. So if you have a travel companion take advantage of

all the snuggle opportunities you have now.


Have you ever been at home freezing away to find you go

outside and surprise, it's warmer out than inside? I hate

when I find myself in this situation, frustrated that I hadn't

braced the day earlier. As good as downtime is, the winter

world is awaiting you with an abundance of trails, lakes, and

mountains to explore. Our top tip is to keep active daily, get

that blood flowing and core temperature rising. We are built

to move and so are our vans.



There is nothing worse than being in an incredible environment

to be so bogged down by the weather you simply cannot enjoy

it. I've had times I swear my brain has frozen over just from the

memory of a place. Being from New Zealand, I have braced

some arctic winters in my time, and to be honest growing up

I dreaded winter every year. To the extent where I relocated

to Australia just to escape from it. They say you don't know

what's good until its gone, so I returned to my arched nemesis

and went in with a different tactic - PREPARATION. I have had

a complete shift in my mentality and prefer van life in winter, it

truly is a breath of fresh air.


Warm clothes are the greatest protection against the winter

chill and staying on top of it before the cold shakes your bones

is highly important too. I seem to feel the cold far more than

the average person. I cannot express my love for thermals,

snow socks and beanies and wear them like it's going out of

fashion. You'll often find me wearing multiple thermals at once

and even in my snowboarding gear, do what YOU have to do,

and never underestimate the cold. If you are prepared, winter

van life is extremely rewarding, trust me.

The perk of having a van as your home base is that small

areas require little time to heat up. If you are at a powered site

you may have access to get that heater cranking which means

you'll be tucked up like a little burrito in no time.


Speaking of food, cooking in winter is a task that you will

look forward to and undoubtedly treasure. There's nothing

quite like comfort food, it's like being served heaven on

a plate, and this doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be

unhealthy. Fueling yourself after a great hike with heartwarming

meals and a warm cuppa is sure to keep your

body toasty and spirits lifted. Home-cooked hot soups with

buttered bread, mmm gets us every time.


Do you ever just ache for those moments where you get to

experience a magic spot all to yourselves? As social media

has increased and tourism has spiked these untouched

encounters are unfortunately harder to come by. Winter

is a time where most people shy away, in turn, a vanlifers

dreams come out to play. Winters gift is a raw experience

without all the summer chaos and crowds. Peaceful and

soul-fulfilling adventures are topped with plenty of spots to

choose from with less competition.

If winter vanlife hasn't grabbed your attention yet I want

you to visualise it. Picture waking to the morning sunlight

glistening from the dewdrops on your window. Find yourself

awakening in a bed of clouds formed by the fog from rivers,

forests, and oceans nearby. These are perfect conditions for

a photographers dream, the adventure is honestly surreal

and provides a majestic start to your day.


This world is full of hidden gems and if you are traveling in

New Zealand, the most rewarding winter experience is the

moment you stumble across thermal pools and hot water

beaches. The only issue is you'll never want to leave! We

have hiked through the Kaweka Ranges and ended the day

by soaking in the natural hot springs, perfect for soothing

those adventure ridden muscles.


Looking to spice up your winter? Winter travel is regarded

as 'off-season' you will be thrilled to hear rentals come

at a lower cost. So our secrets out that vanlife is in fact,

enjoyable in any season. We encourage you to go discover

it first hand.


Traveled your country in summer and think you have seen

it all? I urge you to go back and do it in winter, you will gain

a totally different experience! Not only does the scenery

change it is accompanied by a complete shift in mood too.

Some places are even unrecognisable especially if they

have been sprinkled with snow, now that's something worth

traveling for.


Fire packs a punch, it not only brings light on the

subject it brings warmth too, and the subject in this

instance is overcoming the tough winter vanlife

reputation that even I admit I once believed in. We

honor fire for the contrast between warmth/cold, dark/

light and I guess what it boils up to is we have complete

respect and appreciation for it. We have spent

countless nights by the firelight gazing up at all the

stars listening to the sounds of nature, time passing us

by as we lay there deep in thought.

For me, winter vanlife is like the story of 'Beauty and

the Beast' I had to give it a chance to see its amazing

qualities, see it for what it truly is. So now you know

its possible to do van life in winter, but that you can

completely fall in love with it too.

Warm Regards,


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


"There is nothing like driving

down the highway with no

air conditioning, seeing the

Colorado River, and jumping

in. There is no schedule and we

are free to explore whatever we

want whenever we want. "



By Brittany Henning

Karma has a pretty funny way of

making life work, putting people in

the right place at the right time. We

had a decision to make, chase our

career and move to New York or buy

a van and see the world. Well a few

months later, unbeknownst to us,

buying a van was the best decision

we could have ever made, not only

because van life is awesome but

also because there was a pandemic

coming and moving to New York

would have been a nightmare.

Drew Glickman: I am from

Templeton, California. I work as a

freelance cinematographer filming

everything from brand content, reality

tv, and documentaries. Traveling

has been a passion of mine since I

was small. When I was younger my

family would travel the west coast

and camp anywhere from the sierras

to Baja Mexico. These early trips

installed the love of travel in me.

Since then I have searched out every

way to travel for cheap and see the


Brittany Henning: I am from Aiken,

SC. I also work as a freelancer

in event marketing. I never really

started traveling until I met Drew, but

ever since our first trip to Thailand

four years ago I’m addicted.



About a year ago, we started looking through Facebook

marketplace trying to find an upgrade to our 1998 Toyota

Tacoma. Drew built a bed in the back of it with storage and a

camper shell on top. It was perfect for short road trips, but no

way we could live in it. We wanted something more. We came

across a 2004 Sprinter Van 2500 with a 140 inch wheel base.

We drove all the way to Charlotte, NC to pick up our new

home. Drew, being 5’10, specifically wanted this van so he

could stand up in it without bumping his head. It’s small enough

to parallel park in a big city, but big enough to live in. Perfecto!

Ten months, $8000, and one million Home Depot trips later we

had our new home customized the way we wanted it. Drew and

his dad built everything from scratch with the help of Youtube

Vanlife Build videos. Their motto: “90% thinking, 10% working.”

As we hit the open road the first day you could only imagine the

feelings and energy that was going through us. The excitement

of what’s to come, the sadness of what we are leaving behind

and the fear of the unknown are only a few. That is, until about

3 stop lights from our old drive way that we got rear ended.

Luckily there was no damage but it sure got us started into

what Vanlife is realistically like.

What is full-time Vanlife like you ask? Oh man, it’s exhilarating!

Not everyone is cut out to live this way. There is nothing like

driving down the highway with no air conditioning, seeing the

Colorado River, and jumping in. There is no schedule and we

are free to explore whatever we want whenever we want. Just

the other day, in the Sedona desert we looked at each other

and said “Let’s climb up that mountain and do yoga.” It was far

away from everyone and so peaceful.

There are no rules and we can live in whatever state we want

to and have no obligations. The more terrifying moments

come the longer you live like this. As we find places to sleep

(Walmart parking lots and rest areas) we never know who

might come knocking at our door at 3am. A cop telling us to

leave? A scary man threatening our lives? We just never know.

We also have the anxiety of driving around our entire life that

could be taken from us at any second. Our van is our house/

car with everything we own inside. All of these moments put

together are what makes Vanlife so exciting and we wouldn’t

want it any other way.

There are challenges and there are rewards. Everyone asks

us, “Do you still love each other?” Yes, we do, but we have

both struggled living with another human in such a small space.

“Why didn’t you clean your dishes?” “You’re going the wrong

way!” “You killed my succulent!” I could go on, but our four-year

relationship is definitely being tested every day and we look

at it as just another experience. Other challenges we face are

keeping things clean and occasional boredom. Cleaning is hard

when you have limited amount of water to wash dishes. We

have three 6-gallon water tanks, but it still doesn’t seem to be

enough. Bugs LOVE to fly in the second you open the door. It’s

a fun game of “who can catch the moth before it disappears,

and we find it in our bed later”.

We have picked up reading a lot more since we don’t have a

tv to binge watch every show on Netflix. Drew plays the mouth

harp and I play the ukulele to pass the time. These challenges

are nothing compared to the rewards we receive in exchange.

We have traveled all over the world, but our wanderlust is

never fulfilled fully. Every city has a story and we want to

read every one. From hiking next to grizzly bears in Alaska to

wakeboarding in Brazil. We hope to take our home on wheels

to it all.

Drew and Brittany in their home away from home



























































































HYDRO FLASK 32oz (946mL)

Lightweight Wide Mouth Trail

Series: Clay, Obsidian & Slate

Our Lightweight Trail Series flasks

are 25% lighter, making it easier to

take your cold hydration wherever

your adventure takes you.

RRP: $109.99


Ghost of Everest

Before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing

Norgay reached the summit of

Mt Everest, British climbers,

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine

attempted the same feat. However

they disappeared during the June

1924 attempt on the summit leaving

significant questions unanswered.

Ghost of Everest recounts the

expedition and the 1999 search for

their bodies in enthralling detail.

In the Kingdom of Ice

In 1879, the wealthy owner of The New

York Herald, sent Captain GEorge De

Long on a North Pole expedition which hit

pack ice and was stuck for two years. This

book recounts the epic tale of survival.

Enduring everything from snow blindness

and polar bears to ferocious storms

and labyrinths of ice, the crew battled

madness and starvation as they struggled

desperately to survive. With thrilling

twists and turns, In The Kingdom of Ice is

a tale of heroism and determination in the

most brutal place on Earth.

Terra Incognita

This is a book about the call of the wild

and the response of the spirit to a country

that exists perhaps most vividly in the

mind. Sara Wheeler spent seven months

in Antarctica, living with its scientists

and dreamers. No book is more true to

the spirit of that continent–beguiling,

enchanted and vast beyond the furthest

reaches of our imagination.

Black Nanopresso

Nanopresso Black, built around

a newly patented pumping

system, is capable of reaching,

with the help of your hands, a

maximum of 18 bars (261 PSI)

of pressure for unparalleled

coffee extractions qualities.

The Nanopresso works best

with finely ground coffee that is

tamped hard.


Stoke dark

Fill your mouth with toasted malts, balanced

by dry-hop flavours, for an indulgent yet easy

drinking dark ale. NO artificial additives, NO

added sugar, NO colouring or preservatives.


Welcome to the Goddam

Ice Cube


Icefall is a thrilling adventure story and

a report from the extremes of the planet,

taking you to collapsing Andean glaciers,

hidden jungles in Honduras, and the

highest points on Earth. In this gripping

account, our changing climate is not a

matter of politics; it's a matter of life and

death and the human will to survive and

thrive in the face of it.

Weaving fast-paced adventure

writing and ethnographic

journalism with elegantly wrought

reflections on identity, Welcome to

the Goddamn Ice Cube captures

the triumphs and the perils of

Braverman’s journey to selfdiscovery

and independence in a

landscape that is as beautiful as it

is unforgiving.

Stoke APA

Our version of an American classic, the

confident malt base supports a lively hop

blend that delivers resinous, zesty, stone fruit

aromas. NO artificial additives, NO added

sugar, NO colouring or preservatives.


lyres non-alcoholic spirits

Lyre’s is a premium range of 12 unique non-alcoholic

variants, crafted to pay homage to the flavours of the

world’s most classic, time tested spirits.

RRP: $44.99



Gear guide

Looking for a jacket to keep

you warm and dry? We've got

what you need...






a: Rab Electron

The Electron Jacket is a mid-weight, technical down jacket, with a water-resistant Pertex® outer shell, designed for

year-round climbing and mountain use. The Electron is designed with a stitch-through construction throughout, with

varying size baffles to help reduce bulk in key areas and to help eliminate cold spots.190g/7oz (size Large) of 800FP

European Goose Down provides exceptional levels of warmth and features a small-volume helmet-compatible hood.

Key technical features include YKK® VISLON® zips throughout, elasticated stretch woven cuffs and a zipped internal

security pocket.The Electron Jacket is designed for cold weather climbing and mountain use, however with high levels

of comfort and packability, it is suitable for day-to-day winter use.

RRP $549.95


b: Rab valiance

With 170g of 800-fill power

RDS-certified hydrophobic

European goose down, nylon

inner, Pertex Shield taped

waterproof outer, bonded

narrow box-wall construction,

synthetic insulation filled hood

and cuffs, helmet-compatible,

wired peak, YPP zips, hand

warmer pockets, internal

security pocket, drawcord hem,

stuff sack. 750g (m), 615g (w).

RRP $699.95


c: Rab Microlight Alpine

Filled with 143g of 750-fill

power hydrophobic down,

RDS-certified, water-resistant

Pertex Quantum Infinity

Weave fabric, harnesscompatible

hand pockets,

two-way front zip with

insulated zip baffle, stretch

cuffs fit over gloves, helmetcompatible

hood with an

internal stretch gaiter to seal

out wind. 470g (m), 430g (w).

RRP $399.95


d: marmot featherless

hybrid jacket

The light-weight jacket will

keep you warm and dry in

chilly, damp weather without

weighing down you or your

pack. 3M Thinsulate

Recycled Featherless

Insulation is made with 75%

recycled loose-fill fibres that

feel just as warm as 700 fill

power down, but still perform

in wet conditions.

RRP $349.95


e: marmot featherless


The lightweight Women's

Featherless Hoody features

3M Thinsulate Recycled

Featherless Insulation that

is made with 75% recycled

loose-fill fibers that feel just

as warm as 700 fill power

down, but still perform in wet

conditions. This space-saving

jacket packs into its own


RRP $449.00


Gear guide

g: macpac Ascend Hooded Down Jacket

Made from a stretchy nylon/elastane fabric and filled with 650 loft RDS duck down — ‘RDS’ being the Responsible

Down Standard for the ethical sourcing of down — the Ascend Jacket is warm and flexible. In addition to the

elastane content, the unique fabric weave is designed to create ‘stepped’ baffles, which binds the fabric in a way

that still allows it to stretch with you. To maximise warmth, the elastic bound hood, hem and cuffs help to trap warm

air against your body, while discreet zipped pockets keep hands cosy when the temperature drops.

RRP $379.99



A: Merrell Men's Glacial

Ascent Hoody

Synthetic warmth when wet

insulation. A featherless

insulated jacket that uses

700 fill power loose synthetic

fibers, created by scientists

to mimic the qualities of down

when dry and is warmer than

down when wet. Designed

with a slightly longer length

for ease of wear in urban or

outdoor environments.

RRP $399.00


b: outdoor research alpine

down hooded jacket

Made with water- and windresistant

Pertex® Quantum

fabrics, the shoulders, sleeves

and hood feature a heavier

weight for durability, while

the lighter weight traps the

insulating warmth of 800-fill

responsibly-sourced down

in a baffled construction that

eliminates cold spots. (Men's

and women's available)

RRP $649.99


C: Rab Kaon

Hybrid jacket with 70g of

800-fill power RDS-certified

hydrophobic European goose

down in hood and body,

Stratos synthetic insulation

in shoulders, cuffs and hips.

Ripstop nylon fabric, stitchthrough

construction, YKK

reverse coil chest pocket, YKK

front zip, half hem drawcord,

stuff sack. 250g (m), 235g (w).

RRP $399.95


d: Merrell women's

Ridgevent Hybrid Hoody

Perfect cold weather insulation

for every body. We engineered

the Ridgevent to alleviate

overheating while hiking in

cooler temperatures. Heatmapped

back baffles provide a

different balance of insulation

and ventilation for either men or

women. Blending 65% goose

down and 35% synthetic fibres

for warmth even when wet.

RRP $449.00


Gear guide





A: Patagonia Men's Macro Puff Hoody

We took the technology and successes of our revolutionary Micro Puff Hoody and expanded upon them to create the

Macro Puff® Hoody, an even warmer answer to biting cold. Its ultralight recycled nylon ripstop shell with DWR finish

stands guard against outside elements. The alpine helmet–compatible hood adjusts with a single pull for cocoon-like

warmth without messing with your peripheral vision. Inside, the Hoody features 135-g synthetic, down-like PlumaFill

insulation in the body and 90-g PlumaFill in the sleeves and sides (compared to 65-g overall for the Micro Puff),

wrapping you in deep, water-resistant warmth without weighing you down. PlumaFill replicates the structure of down

for great loft but offers the warm-when-wet benefit of synthetic. We quilt the insulation with a unique, minimal-stitch

construction to stabilize it and maximize loft. The two-way center-front zipper’s storm flap seals out drafts, and a soft

zipper garage at the chin saves your skin. Plenty of pockets sit where you need them, in and out, and the whole toasty

package stuffs down small into a separate stuffsack. Fair Trade Certified sewn. 434g.

RRP $659.99


b: Outdoor Research Refuge

Hooded Jacket

The water-resistant Refuge

Hooded Jacket uses high-loft

VerticalX synthetic insulation

technology for resilient, breathable

performance that will keep you

warm even when wet and so

compressible you can stow the

jacket into its own hand pocket. Its

helmet-compatible hood and an

elastic-drawcord hem allow you to

further seal out the elements.

RRP $419.99


c: macpac NZAT Arrowsmith

HyperDRY Hooded Down


A winter down jacket for alpine

conditions, the NZAT Arrowsmith

features an ultralight Pertex®

Quantum shell, DWR (C6) finish,

800 loft HyperDRY RDS waterresistant

goose down, boxed

and sewn-through baffles, large

zipped hand pockets, two internal

mesh pockets, helmet compatible

hood and internal fleece cuff.

RRP $659.99


d: Outdoor Research

MicroGravity AscentShell


The MicroGravity AscentShell Jacket

is a lightweight, fully waterproof

jacket built to withstand the changing

conditions in high-alpine terrain

while also breathing when you're

working hard via award-winning

AscentShell technology. Dynamic

Reach underarm panels and the

ability to stow it in its own pocket

when the conditions improve.

RRP $499.99


e: Macpac Nazomi Pertex®

Rain Jacket

A lightweight alpine shell, the

Nazomi is waterproof, windproof

and breathable with a Pertex®

Shield Pro 3-layer construction,

water-resistant YKK®

AquaGuard® zips, high collar

with offset zip, helmet compatible

hood, raised harness compatible

hand pockets, underarm lift


RRP $499.99


Gear guide







A: RAB Xenon

Stratos recycled polyester synthetic

insulation, ripstop lining and outer

fabric, under helmet hood with

stretch binding, two-way opening

YKK front zip with insulated internal

zip baffle and chin guard, zippered

handwarmer pockets, internal

zippered pocket, stuffs into pocket,

elasticated cuffs, hem drawcord.

326g (m), 285g (w).

RRP $349.95


b: Merrell women's Whisper Rain

Focus on the trail, not the weather. Be present and in the moment while in the outdoors

with a rain shell so quiet you can hear the enthralling sounds of nature. The wind howling,

the rain pattering, the birds chirping and the leaves rustling. The Whisper Rain is highly

waterproof but feels as comfortable as a softshell.

+ 20K/20K fully seam-sealed waterproof and breathable jacket keeps water and wind out

+ Built with four-way stretch to provide comfort and ultimate ease of movement

+ A swish-free durable three-layer construction gives you long-lasting protection against the


+ PFC free Durable Water Repellency (DWR) finish

RRP $399.00


c: Cactus rain jacket

Built from ultra-tough 3 layer WTF-

3 fabric, this heavy-duty jacket will

protect you from rain, wind, snow,

and whatever else nature throws

at you - and is guaranteed to last

the distance in tough New Zealand


RRP $599.00


d: Hydrophobia

Widely referred to as New

Zealand’s No 1 tramping jacket.

Tested thoroughly through

hard wearing and drenching

conditions with length that

makes it ideal for tramping in

the wet or everyday wet and

wind weather protection.

RRP $549.00


e: Patagonia Men's

Torrentshell 3L Jacket

Using H2No® Performance

Standard technology the

Torrentshell provides comfort

and protection in soaking

storms and steady drizzles.

The 3-layer jacket features

100% recycled nylon face

fabric, DWR finish, and tricot

backer. Fair Trade Certified


RRP $249.99


f: Nano Primaloft Jacket

A Primaloft jacket with a

seam sealed waterproof shell,

the Nano is suitable for the

most testing conditions. The

combination of a lightweight

waterproof and breathable

Entrant shell and 135gm/m2

Primaloft Gold means warmth

you can depend on.

RRP $799.00


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*

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 sizes.

RRP $8.99 and $13.49


take on chocolate self-saucing pudding,

with chocolate brownie, boysenberries and

chocolate sauce. Gluten Free.

RRP 150g $12.49





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






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.

Sunsaver Super-Flex 14-Watt Solar


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


RRP: $199.00


Kiwi camping 1.2L Collapsible

Turbo Pot

Flexible, lightweight and durable.

Collapses for easy storage. Durable

translucent lid. Hard-anodised

aluminium base heats evenly and

efficiently. Heat resistant silicone is

PBA-free and easy to clean.

RRP: $69.99


Sunsaver Classic 16,000mAh Solar

Power Bank

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.

RRP: $119.00


Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket

The Refuge Air Hooded Jacket is a water- and wind-resistant jacket

that helps you retain heat while working and sweating hard using the

adaptable VerticalX Air insulation that keeps you warm when you

need it and rapidly moves moisture the moment you start to perspire.

This jacket utilises ActiveTemp, a thermo-regulating technology that

keeps you cool, dry and comfortable on your highly-active adventures.

RRP: $399.99




free digital subscription

New Zealand Subscriptions:

with every hard copy

One year subscription NZD$48.00 That’s six issues (you save $7.20!)


Two year subscription NZD$90.00 That’s twelve issues (you save $20.40!)

Asia/Pacific/Rest of the Universe Get it online at or subscribe online

Name: ............................................................................................

Street: ............................................................................................


Suburb: .........................................................................................

Post Code:.........................Phone:...............................................


Clothing Size:................................ Shoe Size:...................................



in the outdoors*

Card Number: ...................................................................

Name: ...................................................................

Expiry Date: ...................................................................

Signature: ...................................................................

Or send cheque/money order to:



Or Pay online: 389015 0000282 00

Or Email:

For all subs enquiries call: Steve @ 0275775014













Like a ‘perfect storm’, we have seen a dramatic growth and

development in online stores over the past 5 years. Now as we are

made to keep our ‘distance’, online, ecommerce takes on a whole

new meaning and value. We are dedicating these pages to our client’s

online stores; some you will be able to buy from, some you will be able

drool over. Buy, compare, research and prepare, these online stores are

a great way to feed your adventure addiction while you are still at home.

Ultra lightweight running shoes, made by runners. No

matter where the trail takes you, Hoka One One will

have you covered.

Earth Sea Sky has more than 25 years experience

in New Zealand’s outdoor clothing industry. Their

experience in design, production and sales fills a

growing need in the market for outdoor clothing that

combined comfort, style and performance.

Never have a dead phone

again! Because now you can

charge straight from the Sun

with SunSaver. Perfect for

that week-long hike, day at

the beach, or back-up for any

emergency. Check us out at:

A leading importer and

distributor of snow and

outdoor products in New

Zealand. Stock includes

Salewa, Lange, Dynastar,

Spyder and more.

Bivouac Outdoor stock the latest in quality outdoor

clothing, footwear and equipment from the best

brands across New Zealand & the globe.

Shop for the widest range of Merrell footwear, apparel

& accessories across hiking, trail running, sandals &

casual styles. Free shipping for a limited time.

The ultimate sandals

with core concepts like

durability, pull through

strap design and the ability

to re-sole.

Full-service outfitter selling hiking

and mountaineering gear and

apparel, plus equipment rentals.

Specialising in ski & snowboard

touring equipment new & used;

skis, boards, bindings, skins,

probs, shovels,transceivers &

avalanche packs.

Whether you’re climbing mountains, hiking in the hills

or travelling the globe, Macpac gear is made to last

and engineered to perform — proudly designed and

tested in New Zealand since 1973.

The ultimate in quality outdoor clothing

and equipment for travel, hiking, camping,

snowsports, and more. Guaranteed for life.

Developing the pinnacle

of innovative outerwear for

50 years. Shop now and

never stop exploring.

Gear up in a wide selection of durable, multifunctional

outdoor clothing & gear. Free Returns. Free Shipping.

Offering the widest variety,

best tasting, and most

nutrient rich hydration,

energy, and recovery

products on the market.

Fast nourishing freeze dried food for adventurers.

Stocking an extensive range

of global outdoor adventure

brands for your next big

adventure. See them for travel,

tramping, trekking, alpine and

lifestyle clothing and gear.

Specialists in the sale of Outdoor Camping Equipment, RV,

Tramping & Travel Gear. Camping Tents, Adventure Tents,

Packs, Sleeping Bags and more.

Jetboil builds super-dependable

backpacking stoves and camping

systems that pack light,

set up quick, and achieve

rapid boils in minutes.

Supplying tents and

camping gear to Kiwis

for over 30 years, Kiwi

Camping are proud to

be recognised as one of

the most trusted outdoor

brands in New Zealand.


Outdoor equipment store specialising in ski retail, ski

rental, ski touring and climbing.

Making great gear for the outdoors,

right here in New Zealand: high

quality items that have been

crafted with care to include all the

features that are important, nothing

superfluous and, above all, that

are more durable than anything out

there in the marketplace.

Scarpa designs and manufactures top

quality ski boots, mountaineering, hunting,

rock climbing, hiking, alpine running, and

mountain footwear.

Excellent quality Outdoor

Gear at prices that can't

be beaten. End of lines.

Ex Demos. Samples. Last

season. Bearpaw. Garneau.

Ahnu. Superfeet.




Not just a summer destination

With its white sand beaches and sparkling blue

lagoon, it is easy to think of New Caledonia as a

summer destination. But, thanks to its semi-tropical

climate, it is perfect to visit year-round and a closeto-home

spot to escape the winter chill. Located just

less than three hours from Auckland, in the South

Pacific, New Caledonia’s average winter temperatures

sit between 20-23°C. The cooler temperatures in the

winter months are in fact ideal for experiencing the

litany of adventurous experiences on offer in New

Caledonia. Here are four ideas for people looking to

escape the winter chill and discover New Caledonia:

Notchup P2018144 - Crédit photo : Getty Images, © Pauline Massé / NCTPS, / NCTPS



Above: Blue River Park - © Terres de Lumière / NCTPS


You might also be surprised to learn that New Caledonia offers a range of biking

trails, and the sport is booming amongst locals. There are many options to get out

on two wheels, both just outside Noumea and further afield. Outside Noumea, Les

Boucles de Tina features 20 trails, some of which have been outfitted with wooden

obstacles, as well as a bike park and a pumptrack to challenge even the most

seasoned bikers.

Another option is Blue River Provincial Park. Not only does it offer trails for all

levels, its bright red soil is a striking change from the lagoons and beaches New

Caledonia is known for.

On the West Coast, experienced bikers will love the challenge of the Grande Boucle

trail, which sits within the Tango Plateau in Koné. The trail is nearly 40 kilometres

long, about 510 metres in altitude and climbs more than 1,600 metres!

For a more family-friendly option, Deva Domain, which is just outside of Bourail,

offers a range of scenic biking trails.


Above: Exclusiv Golf Deva - © M. Dosdane / NCTPS


As learnt in the last issue, New Caledonia is a

surprising hiking hotspot, with many options for all

timeframes and experiences. For those that love

hiking, but only have time for a daytrip, head to

Fayard Park in Dumbea. A 30-minute drive from

Noumea, it is home to the ‘Trail Of The Old Dam’,

which follows the Dumbea River and offers views of

natural rock cavities along the way. Labelled an easy

hike, it is a round trip and takes just over four hours to


If staying in Bourail, on the West Coast, the Three-

Bay Trail is a must-hike. It follows the coastline from

La Roche Percée (a landmark of the region), to Turtle

Bay and onto Lovers’ Bay, and has striking views

of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed lagoon and a

range of unique flora. The Three-Bay Trail is an easy

round-trip hike, taking approximately one and a half

hours to complete.

For travellers staying a week or longer, it would be

remiss not to experience one of New Caledonia’s

long-distance trails. The GR1 Nord trail passes from

Ponérihouen to Touho, and takes approximately four

days to complete, while the GR1 Sud trail winds from

Prony to Dumbea and takes about seven days to

complete. Both trails are recommended for seasoned



For those who love to get out on the green, New Caledonia is home

to four golf courses and a driving range. Nearby to Noumea, Garden

Golf de Dumbea features one of the longest and most complicated

par-5 holes in the Pacific, alongside striking mountain views. Also

nearby to Noumea, Golf de Tina overlooks the world’s largest lagoon

and uses natural geography – it is quite a hilly course – to challenge

players. And the Pacific Golf driving range allows players to practice

their swing in the heart of the city.

North of Noumea, on the West Coast, there’s Golf de la Ouenghi at

Boulouparis. Set between New Caledonia’s central mountain chain

and the Ouenghi River, it sits at the gateway to New Caledonia’s


Further North, there’s Exclusiv Golf Deva, part of the luxurious

Sheraton Deva New Caledonia Spa & Golf Resort. Designed by

Cynthia Dye, it is the only Dye Designs course in the Pacific. It

features a driving range plus a 6,677 metre-long, 72 par course, and

has an onsite shop, equipment for hire and sessions available with



Another activity perfect for the cooler months is diving. New

Caledonia’s clear waters are home to spectacular coral reefs and

a myriad of marine life with options for beginners, as well as more

experienced divers.

One of New Caledonia’s most picturesque dive spots is the

Isle of Pines. Located just an hours’ flight from Noumea, it has

an incredible diversity of marine life, including sea snakes and

loggerhead turtles. There are numerous dive locations in the Isle

of Pines, and divers of all experience levels will enjoy changing

underwater scenery including corridors, passages and seagrottos.

For more advanced divers, one stand-out grotto to explore

is the ‘Grotte de la Troisième’, which is accessible via a narrow

underwater corridor and features dramatic rock formations.

For anyone concerned about travelling with diving gear, there are

several professional diving centres across New Caledonia that

offer access to quality equipment and run great guided dives.

For more information on hiking, golfing, biking and diving in

New Caledonia, as well as equipment hire and more, visit

Above: Dumbea - © Terres de lumière / NCTPS

Right: Scuba Diving - © Darren Jew / NCTPS


Dive into a different world

Reef crayfish on a night dive at Hideaway Island

Home to stunning, healthy reefs, fascinating

wrecks and a wealth of ecologically diverse

marine life, Vanuatu’s teeming waters are the

perfect destination for scuba diving.

While snorkelling can offer a glimpse into the

world below Vanuatu’s gentle waves, scuba diving

immerses you in it. Outstanding locations for

diving can be found off Santo, Efate and Tanna,

with tours suitable for every level from novice

through to expert. From colourful reefs alive with

darting fish and gentle sea turtles to underwater

caves and forgotten shipwrecks, these places are

just begging to be explored. Discover life under

the sea with Vanuatu’s collection of exceptional

dive sites, renowned the world over amongst

those in the know.

Diving the President Coolidge, Santo


Tranquility Island Reef Dive

Banner fish and butterfly fish at Twin Bommies, Efate

Diving Efate Hideaway Island Bonzer Wreck

SS President Coolidge, Santo

Big Blue Cathedral Cavern, Efate

Million Dollar Point, Santo

Located off the southern end of Santo,

just 6 kilometres from Luganville, is

Million Dollar Point. After World War II,

this was a dumping site for thousands

of tonnes of US Navy equipment, said

to collectively be worth a million dollars.

Trucks, forklifts and bulldozers are all

slowly being covered by the corals. Pacific

Dive can provide you with equipment hire

and all the information you need to dive

both Million Dollar Point and the nearby

shipwreck of SS President Coolidge.

SS President Coolidge, Santo

The wreck of the SS President Coolidge is

one of the world’s most talked-about dive

sites. The Coolidge is a former US Naval

vessel sunk by mines in 1942. With the

hull almost completely intact, divers often

spend multiple days at this site traversing

the plethora of corridors, decks, guns and

discarded relics that litter this 200-metre

long troop carrier. Don’t miss 'The Lady'

(a beautiful statue of a woman riding a

unicorn) which can be found in the main

dining room, the highlight of the dive for

many visitors.

Cindy’s Reef, Santo

A dive not to be missed, there is a huge

variety of corals to be found here, from

staghorn corals to large plate corals and

even ‘potato head’ coral, which has only

been identified in Vanuatu. A relatively

simple dive that’s great for beginners,

Cindy’s Reef is also home to an

abundance of marine life, with a myriad of

tropical fish as well as turtles and sharks.

Tutuba Point, Santo

This reef is found off the northern end of

Tutuba Island, just a short boat ride from

Santo. Depth starts around 6 metres and

descends the wall to a maximum of 30

metres, with visibility at this site often

outstanding. As well as spotting an array

of crayfish, divers at Tutuba Point also

have the opportunity to explore plenty of

underwater caves and chasms. Both Aore

Adventure Sports and Santo Island Dive

and Fishing provide regular dive trips to

the sites off Tutuba Island, including both

Tutuba Point and Cindy’s Reef.

Blue Hole One + Blue Hole Two, Tanna

The volcanic island of Tanna offers a

dramatic underwater landscape with blue

water caves, swim-throughs and reef

walls. Opened in 2015, Volcano Island

Divers provides access to the dive sites

located off the island. Blue Hole One

consists of four connected sinkholes.

Access between them and (and to the

outer reef) is via swim-throughs and

tunnels, providing an exhilarating dive.

If you’ve got time, Blue Hole Two is also

worth a visit. At low tide, this dive site

is accessible from shore with another

array of interconnected tunnels as well as

intricate caverns and grottos to explore.

Throughout your dives in Tanna, keep

your eyes peeled for turtles, moray eels,

reef sharks, blue-spotted ray and even the

elusive dugong.

Tasman, Efate

Shipwrecks are one thing, but how about

the opportunity to dive a plane wreck?

The Tasman offers just that. This is a deep

dive, down to 40 metres, and visibility is

often not the greatest, so the Tasman is

best tackled by experienced divers. For

those willing to take it on, the wreckage

of the ill-fated Qantas S26 Sandringham

Flying Boat (which hit the reef on takeoff

in 1951) is mostly intact, and divers can

climb through the cockpit, making this dive

one for the bucket list.

Hideaway Island, Efate

Hideaway Island is a marine sanctuary in

Mele Bay, just 30 minutes from Port Vila.

With a certified PADI dive resort situated

on the island, this is definitely a beginnerfriendly

dive, with training courses also

available through Hideaway Island Dive.

Calm waters provide crystal clear visibility

and a great variety of brightly coloured

corals are on show here surrounded by

prolific marine life.

Ollies Lolly, Efate

Not far from Hideaway Island and just

beyond Blacksands Reef is Ollies Lolly.

This large reef is only nine metres down

and houses an abundance of soft corals

as well as huge red anemone with playful

clownfish darting in and out of them.

This dive boasts excellent clarity, and its

shallow depth and vivid colours make

Ollies Lolly a paradise for photographers.

Twin Bommies, Efate

This popular dive site about 15 minutes

from downtown Port Vila consists of two

large coral ‘bombora’ as well as a steep

wall peppered with brightly coloured

coral formations. There’s a huge variety

of fish here to keep you company as

you explore, including butterflyfish,

lionfish, leaf scorpionfish and colourful

nudibranchs. Dive trips to both Twin

Bombies and the Tasman seaplane wreck,

as well as many of the other dive sites off

Efate, can be arranged through Big Blue.

MV Semle Federsen, Efate

This cargo trading vessel was sunk off the

Pango Coast and now forms an artificial

reef located not far from Port Vila. This is

another deep dive at between 40 and 60

metres but offers spectacular visibility the

whole way. If getting a spectacular view

of the whole ship as you descend isn’t

exciting enough, making your way through

the cabins and stern of the wreck certainly

will be.

The Cathedral, Efate

Located just off the Pango Peninsula, to

the south of Port Vila, The Cathedral reef

is a must for avid divers while in Vanuatu.

This dive site offers a vast cavern filled

with shafts of light, from which it gets

its name, and the effects created are

truly fascinating. As well as marvelling

at the optical effects, divers also get the

opportunity to explore a ‘chimney’, which

extends up to a large pool on the surface

inside the reef.

Mele Reef, Efate

Off the coast of Mele Bay sits a sizeable

reef that offers divers a vast range of

corals and marine life to explore. The

main reef rises to around 6 metres below

the surface and a dive here is ideal for

beginners. The bay that surrounds Mele

Reef is also home to two major wrecks,

both worth exploring while in Vanuatu,

the MV Konanda and the Star of Russia,

with Nautilus Watersports coordinating

dive trips to both. The MV Konanda was

purposely sunk, creating a safe diving

experience that’s ideal for those new to

wreck diving. Exploring the cabins and

holes and bridge areas makes for a fun

dive. For the more experienced wreck

divers, the 90-metre long sailing ship Star

of Russia sits 30-metres down in Mele

Bay. This grand vessel was crafted by the

same builders as the Titanic and it is now

home to schools of tropical fish.



a d v e n t u r e



Small enough to

fit in your breast


4hrs from camp then 2 days walk

out – you slip badly – you know

you’re in deep trouble

Enjoy All Press coffee,

gourmet meals, freshly

squeezed juices, and

home baking from the

tranquil courtyard.

Enjoy a relaxing

atmosphere with some

fish n’ chips and tap beers.

Or, if in a rush, grab some

yummy takeaways!

4/4 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown

p: 03 442 0227 e:

Daily savings

at your fingertips...


0800 438752


Access 2,000 discounts

across NZ & Australia.

Join now:


The best handmade crocheted hacky sacks

you can buy!


P.O. Box 104, Whangamata, 3643

p: 027 451 8255 e:

Your Mobile

Power Solution

Tasman Glacier Heli Skiing

Exclusive heli skiing at the head of NZ’s

biggest glacier. Tick off your bucket list

with a four-run Tasman Glacier Heli Ski

day. Ice Canyons, ice caves and four long

runs through spectacular scenery.

Heli hiking also available.

0274 342277 /

Photo by Neil Kerr.

Fraser McDougall & Sam Smoothy

in the Richardson Mountains,

New Zealand.

Since 1987 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. Gear to keep you dry, warm and safe

either in-bounds, sidecountry or backcountry this season. Ski, board and gear hire plus full workshop and

servicing facilities available this season at our Tower Junction (Christchurch) store.



More magazines by this user
Similar magazines