Adv 223 Yumpu

Xmas issue of Adventure Magazine December 2020 - January 2021

Xmas issue of Adventure Magazine December 2020 - January 2021


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DEC 2020/JAN 2021

NZ $10.90 incl. GST



All is not OK

I do not like crowds, really; crowds, queues,

dentists, you know, people in my personal

space. Last week we were in Queenstown,

I did not mind the one-meter rule at the

airport, nor having to wear the mask on the

plane, I enjoyed the space.

But as we flew into Queenstown the sky

was blue and the Remarks had a slight

dusting of snow. I looked down to see that

the carpark was full, a field of parked cars

(it was not until later did I realise that it

was rental cars and campervans parked

up for storage due to a lack of use). As we

exited the airport it was half empty, we went

to the rental car office, same again, and

when we drove to our hotel in the centre

of Queenstown we got a carpark directly


If you have ever driven into Milford Sound

then you will know the usual chaos as

tourist buses and cars all head for a glimpse

of this unique part of our country. Last week

we flew into a completely empty carpark;

there weren’t just a few buses, there were

none! It was like a ghost town. I overheard

someone say, ‘this is great with no crowds’,

and I get how you could feel like that. But no

crowds means no jobs, no income, no food

on the table, and it is not like in Milford you

can stop being a kayak guide and go and

work in Bunnings.

It will be like that throughout New Zealand;

any tourist town, any tour operator, any

corner dairy where people will stop to buy a

pie or a fluffy kiwi. It is important for us to be

so aware it’s not OK for everyone.


Digital, Hardcopy, Web, Social




I don’t know Queenstown well, I don’t

know the names of all the streets, but at

one stage I stood in the middle of the road

looking both ways and the only person I

saw was my own reflection in a closed store

window. (Admittedly it was a Monday but

you get my point.)

Most of the restaurants are still open but

many have nobody in them. A town that

survives on huge numbers of tourists is


New Zealand has done amazingly well with

Covid, regardless if you feel it has all been

a bit draconian, we are safe, and people

are happy with that. The economy seems

ok, people generally seem ok. But it is not

OK. New Zealand's tourism industry

directly and indirectly employs

almost 400,000 people, or just over

14 per cent of the workforce and it

has all but gone. The loss in income

due to a lack of inbound tourism is

around 13 billion per year!

Now this is not a rant about opening

boarders and Covid being a con,

far from it. Personally, I think we

should stay safe; boarders should

remain secure till we are sure it is

safe. But I think it is important that

we accept that all is not OK for

everyone. There are hundreds of

thousands of people who have lost

their jobs or are now only working

part time. There are thousands upon

thousands of businesses that are

not making any income and in fact

are losing money just trying to stay

open. It is so important for us to

realise that some in our community

are not OK, because it is easy to


Exploring a bit of our own backyard with Canyon Explorers, Queenstown

Then what can we do about it?

It is as simple as buying local; buy from your

local store, stay off Ali Express, Wish and

Amazon. It might cost you ten dollars more

but that ten dollars might help keep a fellow

Kiwi in business. Visit local this summer,

don’t buy your kids another T-shirt from

some overseas website for Christmas, get

them an experience that will be the highlight

of their summer, a memory that will last and

will help sustain a business till we are back

to normal.

It is OK to admit that not everyone is OK,

and we may not be able to fix it, but we can

help. Steve Dickinson - Editor





Steve Dickinson

Mob: 027 577 5014



Lynne Dickinson





Ovato, Ph (09) 979 3000








NZ Adventure Magazine is published six times a year by:

Pacific Media Ltd, P.O.Box 562

Whangaparaoa, New Zealand

Ph: 0275775014

Email: steve@pacificmedia.co.nz


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

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contained herein.





Image compliments of Expedition Earth Image compliments of Tourism West Coast Image by Derek Cheng

Image by Steve Dickinson

page 16

page 42

page 84





What's not to love..

16//The Hollyford-Pyke Circuit

The holy grail of packrafting

22//Whatipu Caves and Pararaha

Eric Skilling takes us hiking in the Pararaha Valley

28//Climbing at altitude

How to climb your first 6000m peak

31//Northern Rocks

Finalists in the Westpac Business Awards

34//The Spring Challege

Tales from an epic event in Cambridge

36//The School of Mountaineering

Take a course with Aspiring Guides

40//Spirited Women

Get your adventure team ready and join the fun

42//Home Grown

The West Coast

56//The Old Snow Ghost Road

with Emily Miazga

62//Putting yourself out there

The evolution of Ellie-Jean Coffey

66//Adventure travel

• Vanuatu

84//Travelling the world

An unlucky beginning to a 350,000km journey


The vanlife hacks


72. gear guides

83. subs

96. active adventure








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This photo was an entry in the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 Kronplatz,

Italy. Photographer, Mahallia Budds captured Cole Kraiss on location in

Camarines Sur, Philippines. We loved so much about this shot, the colour, the

angle, the reflection. Just a great shot to represent the water issue for 2020.



70,000 followers can't be wrong



@ adventuremagazine

@ adventuretraveller @ adventurevanlifenz




What’s to love?

absolutely Everything

Words and images by Lynne and Steve Dickinson

What is there to ‘love’ about being gift-wrapped in

multiple layers of 6mm thick neoprene, a life-vests,

a harness, a helmet, socks, and boots then being

herded up a dusty track for half an hour in the blazing


Absolutely everything!

We were bundled up like Michelin men, hiking up the

Routeburn track just out of Glenorchy, hardly able

to move due to the numerous layers of neoprene.

But all you could hear was the friendly chatter, and

“Sh#T it’s hot” from various members of our group.

We were getting to know one another whilst waddling

towards our canyoning destination. Alex and Mike,

from Canyon Explorers, led the trip and the rest

of our group included Gisela and Ferdinand from

Dunedin, Althea and Marian from France and Steve

and I. It was a first time canyoning for most of us and

although we had read up what to expect there was a

certain amount of mystery and trepidation to what the

day held.

Canyon Explorers are based in Queenstown and

have been exploring canyons in the region since

the late 1990’s. They have been running canyon

expeditions since 1998 and a Via Ferrara since 2003.

Canyoning can be a half day or a full day experience

and we were enjoying the start of the full day as we

ambled up the track.

I’m not sure what it is, maybe a mixture of everything;

the setting, the adrenaline, the effort, the cold, the

fear, the pushing of your own personal boundaries, or

being with a group of likeminded people, that makes

canyoning such a great ‘experience’.

Our day had begun at the Adventure Centre in

Queenstown, where we met the staff and were

transported out to the canyoning base to be kitted

up with our multiple layers of clothing. From here

we were driven along the breath-taking drive from

Queenstown to Glenorchy and beyond into Mt

Aspiring National Park and the start of the infamous

Routeburn track.

If you have never visited the Routeburn, that’s an

experience to savour. The scenery is stunning,

and although Queenstown itself boasts incredible

views everywhere you look, there is something truly

magical about this part of New Zealand. Despite

the fact that it was a bluebird day, waterfalls still

cascaded down the surrounding mountainsides. We

sat in the filtered lights of the beech trees with birds

calling to each other and sweat running down our

face in rivulets, and it was the perfect introduction to

what lay ahead.

It was hard to imagine that we would need so many

layers because the sun was beating down and there

was not a cloud in the sky. But before long we were

gingerly crossing the first river trying to stay as dry as

possible. As we tip-toed across the shallows trying

not to get too wet, Alex called us to look at something

in the river then proceeded to splash us with water.

At this point we realised just how cold the water was

and also that our guide was a bit of a trickster.

Our walk up to the start of the canyon took us

through the rainforest and although it was somewhat

restricting to move in the multiple layers, the place

and the setting were a huge distraction. After a bit of

a gentle climb up, we stopped on the “story log” for

a much needed rest. With steam rising off our glad

wrapped bodies, we sat and listened as Mike and

Alex told us a little about the rainforest. Mike told us

the legend of Mahuika and her fingernails of fire and

then Alex handed us each a dark looking leaf telling

us it was from the Horopito Plant, otherwise known

as “the bubble-gum plant”. She explained that if we

chewed it to release the flavours, we would taste the

bubble-gum. So like gullible school kids we took a

bite of the leaf and eagerly chewed. It did not take

long to realise that the Horopito Plant was actually

known as the “pepper plant” as we spat the leaf onto

the ground trying to get rid of the burn. Apparently, it

makes an excellent spicy addition to any meal!

By the time we reached the Bridal Veil Stream Bridge

we were hanging out to jump in the water, not only to

cool down our bodies but also our burning mouths!

Crossing the first river as Alex makes sure we all know just how cold the water is


Half Day & Full Day Canyoning Trips


The team look on as Alex sends Althea down the first abseil

Save up to $120!

Canyoning adventures

from $99pp!


0800QTCANYON | info@canyonexplorers.nz

39 Camp Street, Queenstown NZ

There is something about the rivers in this part of the country

that are quite different to those in the North Island. The rocks and

boulders are icy grey in colour and although today they sat like

granite sentinels in the turquoise waters, you can imagine the force

of the water crashing over them here when it’s raining, creating a

cauldron of white water. However, today all was calm and the water

smooth and inviting. A few words of wisdom from our guides, “if a

rock is grey you can stand on it in, if it is green or brown – do not.”

(wise words)

After a brief safety and how-too talk we were straight into it. Our

first abseil into the canyon was just below the bridge and this was

the last we would see of “civilisation” for the next few hours. We

dropped into the most pristine pool of water and were instantly lost

in the depths of the canyon.

The canyon changes your perception, you are focused on the water,

the walls and what is around you. The light is different, the sounds

is different, and it gives you a feeling of awe, simply put it just

makes you feel ‘good’.

To say the water was cold would be an understatement, I think the

average water temperature was around 10 degrees Celsius, which

I can assure you is chilly. We meandered down the river, abseiling

down sheer rocks and trying hard at first to keep our hands out of

the icy water. It did not take long before we were tasked with our

first rockslide and instructed to lay back and slide down the rock

face into the water below. Feet first, arms folded across our chests,

we dropped into the deep pool. Our heads submerged before

resurfacing, our breath taken away by the frigidness of the water. It

was an exhilarating experience, also known as a glacial facial.

The abseil before the big slide, with Mike at the top ensuring we are correctly

clipped in while Alex runs the safety line from below; these two make a great team


Not to be outdone by Mike, Marion goes backwards down the slide

as Alex and Althea watch on

Top: Ferdinand abseils down to the pool above the jump

Bottom: Jumping into the pool

Gasping for breath it was only a quick

swim to the rocks beyond where we

lay in the sunshine, smiles wide as we

rewarmed our bodies and watched the

next person sliding into the pool, now very

thankful for our layers or rubber!

Alex and Mike were an epic team, tying

and untying safety lines and abseiling

ropes, leaving as little a footprint as

possible on the pristine environment. One

abseil in particular, Mike helped us abseil

down into a turbulent pool known as the

cauldron. When we reached the pool we

had to release from the abseil line and

plunge into the water below and swim to

the edge of the waterfall where Alex was

waiting, firstly to stop you being washed

over the waterfall then to belay you down

into the next pool. We dropped one by

one, in a great display of teamwork and

met at the warming rocks at the bottom.

One of the highlights was the jumping

pool, where even though the water was

super cold, we slid down the waterfall into

the deep pool and then climbed back up

to jump back in time and time again. Mike

set the bar with his impressive back flip,

but I think Marion and Althea may have

taken the prize with their slides down the

waterfall headfirst! It was hard to wipe the

smiles off their faces.

As the canyon began to widen, sadly, it

was a signal our trip was coming to an

end. We clambered over a few more rocks

and back under the forest canopy to walk

the final few kilometres back to the car


When we got back to the van there was

a flurry of wetsuits stripping and then we

lay in the afternoon sun eating a welldeserved

lunch, retelling tales of our

adventure. By the time we got back to

Queenstown it was past 5pm. We had

been on the go since 9am that morning

and I it was hard believe that 8 hours had

passed so quickly.

"One of the highlights

was the jumping pool,

where even though

the water was super

cold, we slid down the

waterfall into the deep

pool and then climbed

back up to jump back in

time and time again."

Mike, our guide set the bar high, backflipping into the jump pool


When you see the images canyoning

can seem a little intimidating; cascading

waterfalls, jumping off cliffs, submerged in icy

water, but it is without a doubt an experience

of a lifetime. That may and seem very cliched,

but it’s true. It really is a mixture of the place,

the adrenaline and fear, but I think that it

is being in a place few people will ever get

to see or experience that makes it utterly



Huge thanks to the team at Canyon

Explorers: www.canyonexplorers.co.nz

and Ella from Destination Queenstown


Gisela takes the plunge

During our stay in Queenstown we resided at the Dairy

Private Hotel, a unique boutique hotel in the centre

of Queenstown, an easy walk to all amenities and

wonderfully hosted by Maria. www.naumihotels.com

Recommended places to eat:

Flame www.flamegrill.co.nz

Boardwalk www.boardwalkqueenstown.nz

The Boatshed Café & Bistro


Other things to do:

Wine tasting with Three Miners at the Hilton


Wine tasting with Emily from Gibbston Valley Winery


Bike the Queenstown Trail with Around the Basin


Helicopter tour with The Helicopter Line


It was hard to wipe the smiles off Marion and Althea's faces

For a full list of activities visit Destination Queenstown


R A V E N 3 G T X

The stoke is obvious! L-R: Lynne, Althea, Marion, Gisela, Ferdinand and Steve - Image compliments of Canyon Explorers

Designed to make light work of tough alpine terrain in variable conditions

b obo.co.nz/salewa




The holy grail

of packrafting

the Hollyford-Pyke circuit

By Derek Cheng

The pack-raft wasn’t built for two.

It was sturdy, exceedingly buoyant, and had

lots of room - for one person. But a slit had

been cut in Eva’s raft after she’d floated down a

section of river with hidden knives just under the


With only a short stretch to the next hut, she

simply jumped onto the front of my raft, the most

shatterproof of the bunch.

There was blessed little drama for a while. Eva

sat facing upstream, gazing at the serenity of

Fiordland as I navigated the river. It didn’t need

much navigating beyond avoiding logjams, a

consequence of the extreme weather that has

shaped the most rugged part of New Zealand.

Then, the hairpin rapid. Just beyond it was

a tree so gargantuan it could be classified

as a unique species all its own. It was halfsubmerged

and on its side, creating a maze of

spindly branches just above the surface.

I had naively come to believe in my abilities to

control the raft through sheer willpower. This

didn’t work very well. We pretty much drifted

straight into the massive wooden maw.

The end of one of the spindles took aim at my

eye, forcing me to drop the paddle and intercept

it. The maze immediately closed in, trapping us,

as the rapid pinned the paddle to the side of the

raft. Attempts to rescue it were futile against the

might of a huge volume of water travelling at


It was more than slightly unnerving to be

subjected to such powerful forces, yet remain

stationary. With alarm bells ringing ever-louder,

I joined Eva in grabbing any part of the tree we

could to disrupt the rapid’s grip. Somehow, the

raft came free. As it did, the paddle - pointing

skywards as if levitating - dropped benevolently

into my lap, as if rewarding our efforts.

"Are you guys alright?" Fellow rafters Sam and

Jess had started paddling towards us to help.

We were fine. No idea how.

"The main rafting

challenges of the Hollyford

River are navigating the

logjams and occasional

class II rapids."


Jessica Thorn contemplates the Fiordland scenery at the portage point just before the Little Homer rapids.

Clockwise from top left: Our sextet at Martin's Bay Hut, rafts and rafting accessories hoisted on our backs, ready for the first hiking section;

A series of dry river beds led us inland to the south-flowing Pyke River; Blue skies over the Tasman Sea offer a stark contrast to an overcast

estuary at Martin's Bay, where the Hollyford River meets the West Coast.

So it was with Fiordland’s waterways

during our six-day pack-rafting trip down

the Hollyford River to the Tasman Sea, up

the West Coast, and back inland to the

Pyke River. Frequently, the raft seemed

to do exactly what you wanted, chicaning

around corners with minimal effort. Other

times, the forces of nature had other ideas

- with consequences of completely random


Sometimes you got cold and wet.

Sometimes you ripped a hole in your raft.

Sometimes a tenuous situation arose where

you might have lost a paddle. Or an eyeball.

Indestructible, Unbreakable, Leaky and


The Hollyford-Pyke is hyped as the Holy

Grail of New Zealand pack-rafting, an

adventure along rivers, lakes and estuaries,

and through lush beech forests on the edge

of the glacially-carved Darran Mountains.

The upper Hollyford is known for its

difficulties, but the lower section from the

road end is a much tamer affair. The only

real hazards, beyond the occasional class II

rapid, are the logjams.

But you’re only as good as your gear. We

had rented and borrowed four rafts - two

singles, two doubles. The singles were

shiny and new, and quickly became known

as Indestructible and Unbreakable. The

doubles, within minutes of putting them into

the water, became known as Leaky and


I had insisted on joining this group of

Wellington-based misfits despite barely

knowing any of them, though that soon

changed in the week ahead. There was

Jess, whose humble nature made her a

reluctant leader but who was clearly the

most prepared. She had the topo maps, the

daily itinerary including contingency plans,

extra clothing and accessories - which,

predictably, every one of us would use at

some point - and endless treats including a

chocolate biscuit-birthday cake concoction.

There was Wim, whose choice to wear

cotton on day one - leaving him shivering

endlessly - belied his adventurous spirit;

Claudine, who revelled in a pathological

need to raft through the most turbulent

part of each rapid; Eva, who led the group

in dance aerobics whenever anyone was

feeling cold; and Sam, who felt compelled

to light a fire each evening and keep

it raging, no matter how sauna-like it


It was a typically moody Fiordland

afternoon when we pulled up to the start

of the Hollyford Track, the entry point to

the river. We happened to run into friends

finishing their own Hollyford-Pyke trip. They

reported exemplary weather, though strong

headwinds on Lake McKerrow had forced

them to portage.

It was thrilling to finally push the rafts

into the river. We accepted her delightful

cadence, coasting for a couple of hours

under cloud-cloaked mountains before

reaching the Hidden Falls stream

confluence. Here, we parked our rafts and

dragged our supplies across a grassy flat to

the fabulously warm and dry Hidden Falls


Curry was the perfect dinner, warming

our inner-most frigidities, though it was

somewhat hilarious at this point to discover

that curry was on the dinner menu for all

but one of days ahead. Some in the group

were also more enthusiastic than others

to learn that the predominant dessert was

dark chocolate.

A very fortunate chance stop

By morning, we had already fine-tuned

our systems to load the rafts and be in the

water with minimal sandfly bites. It wasn't

long before we came to the river boulders

that signalled the Little Homer class III+

rapids, where we portaged the rafts along a

muddy road.

This day was my first with Leaky. Its

questionable composition, along with

Claudine's pathological affliction, required

one of us to constantly bail water while the

other carefully leaned over the back of the

raft, mouth to valve, to re-inflate it.

The sky was grey and the air was heavy

with the kind of stillness that always seems

to precede a downpour. After a relatively

cruisy 10 km of river, we reached the edge

of Lake McKerrow and had to make a

call. Press on and we might get drenched.

Seek refuge at McKerrow Island Hut and

tomorrow will be more demanding.

The key factor was the lack of wind,

which had forced our friends to walk the

lakeshore rather than paddle across. As we

pressed on, the chief appeal of this mode

of transport became clear. Most of a tramp

is spent under a forest canopy, but cruising

the water allows you to behold all the faces

of the environment: the snow-capped

mountains, the verdant and vertiginous

valleys, the rushing rapids and stillness

of the lakes, the subtle shades of volatile


Thankfully, afternoon headwinds never

eventuated, but it was a lengthy 25 km

across the lake and many hopeful glances

in search of a hut before we reached a

pebble beach. Leaky needed a break. We

all did.

It was serendipitous timing. Not far from

where we pulled up, one of our crew

spotted a single, redemptive orange marker

which led to a trail up to Hokuri Hut.

This set in motion a pattern we repeated

every evening: secure the rafts, drag our

soaked, soggy selves to the hut, execute

gear explosion, strip naked and put on dry

clothes, hang items to dry, sit by the fire, eat

curry followed by dark chocolate, collapse

into sleeping bag.

The open sea – liberating, untameable,


Day three was my turn in Sinky. Leaky, at

least, had enough room for two people to sit

comfortably. Sinky seemed like it was built

for one and a half people, or two people

who didn’t have any legs.

It was another misty morning as we paddled

the rest of the lake towards the coast.

Jess took advantage of the conditions to

surreptitiously tie Unbreakable to the back

of Sinky for a cunning wee tow. She claims

to have done this openly, but this remains


We paddled by the remnants of Jamestown,

a lakeside settlement from the 1870s that’s

now little more than apple trees and rose

bushes. It had aspired to be a colonial

farming settlement, connecting Otago gold

to a shipping port on the coast, and then

on to Australia. But the estuary leading to

the coast is shallow and sandy, and the

land for Jamestown is the same unforgiving

terrain that Fiordland is renowned for. It

would have been easier to farm in cement,

and the first settlers’ boat ran aground in

the estuary. Jamestown was a ghost town

within a decade.

The dreariness of the failure of Jamestown

lifted as we approached Martin's Bay.

The open sea – liberating, untameable,

immense. We hurriedly de-rafted and ran

along the beach, launching ourselves

joyously from small precipices as if we'd

never experienced the vastness of the

West Coast before.



Stewart Island

The mists lifted by the time we'd finished

a leisurely lunch at the hut. With sunshine

on our backs, we packed up our rafts

and hiked a seldom-used track past a

coastal seal colony. It then turned inland,

featuring leg-swallowing mud-holes and

dense flax bushes that seemed designed

to catch any paddle strapped to the

outside of any pack.

We eventually re-emerged on the coast

and happily ambled to the aptly-named

Big Bay. The infinity of the sky matched

the expansive landscape: ocean-frolicking

dolphins; oystercatchers hopping along

streams; a strip of beach dividing West

Coast waves from wind-swept shrubs and

distant mountaintops. It was almost too

much to take in.

At the edge of the bay, we merrily dived

into the ocean as we washed all of our kit

before heading to the luxuriously empty

Big Bay Hut. Not even the sandflies could

dampen spirits.

The hard hiking was now behind us. The

next morning, a pleasant 15 km hike

along a 4WD track and then a series of

river beds led us to the Pyke River. Back

in the water, we were now seasoned

rafters, easily capable of pirate antics

such as raft-ramming or leaping from

one boat to another. Mother Nature had

practically invited such tomfoolery by


Lake McKerrow on a typically majestic, moody Fiordland day

bestowing upon us more sunshine.

This section of river was especially

glorious, with several deep pools of

turquoise water. A tail-wind picked up

later, launching us across Lake Wilmot

and inviting the use of any sheet-like

material for a spinnaker effect.

Perhaps I let my guard down in the wake

of these antics. Not long afterwards,

Indestructible was found to be less than

impervious to sharp objects under the

river surface. Eva and I then had our close

encounter with the gargantuan tree maw.

It was with some relief that we later landed

at the pebble beach just below Olivine

Hut. The customary gear explosion, strip

session and fire-starting ensued.

This fire was particularly important, given

the need for the driest possible conditions

to patch up Indestructible. It was also

New Year's Eve, and some obligatory

celebration - via single malt whiskey - was

in order, but we were still asleep by 10pm.

The inevitable storm

A familiar scene greeted us the following

morning: clag. Wispy threads of mist

clung to forest edges with inimitable

Fiordland charm. Our progress had been

quicker than anticipated, which came in

handy today. It was a short distance to

cross Lake Alabaster, but the skies were

looking inauspicious.

No sooner had we arrived at the lakeside

hut did the inevitable downpour unleash

- relentless, thunderous, the kind that

makes you want to strip and jump in the

lake, which we duly did.

We spent the rest of the storm in the

comfort of the hut. Some hikers we met at

Olivine Hut the previous evening arrived

later with tales of wading through mud so

deep that one of them had been stripped

of his shorts. We felt very appreciative of

our rafts.

The storm had abated by the morning.

There were only a few kilometres of the

Pyke left before being swallowed up by

the coast-bound Hollyford River. Instead

of a final, brief fling with the rafts, we

tramped 20 km to the start of the trail

with lightness in our steps as well as our


The track through beech forest was

what a Fiordland trip usually looked like,

offering occasional glimpses of the river

or a waterfall. It's not to be scoffed at. But

the rafting had left us enlightened, gifting

us stronger friendships, added resilience,

and a novel way to see more of the everchanging,

magical faces of Fiordland.

Explore the pristine clear

waters of Stewart Island

with its amazing marine

life, bays and sandy


Experience paddling paradise!

Stroll golden sandy beaches and take in the rich cultural history.

Full/half day/2 1/2 hour and sunset excursions available.

Registered owner/guide; passionate sea kayaker.

Kayak rental available (some conditions apply).





Whatipu Caves &

Pararaha Valley

By Erik Skilling

The West Coast at Whatipu is such a unique place –

the constant roar of Southern Ocean swells crashing

onto a black-sand coast, brooded over by crumbling

cliff faces. No maiden-hair ferns or daphne bushes

here, this is a place of hardier nikau, harekeke flax

and cabbage trees and as we would find out, almost

impenetrable stands of kanuka, gorse and blackberry.

We would also discover this place was being enjoyed

by some very unwelcome exotic mammals.

If the West Coast were a character, at times it would be

a beautiful Polynesian maiden with jet-black hair and

shining dark brown eyes but lose respect and it quickly

transforms into a Siren with dire consequences. It does

not care what your intentions are – it sets the rules.

Respect it and you will be amazed by its beauty.

So, in early spring with the promise a few warm days,

light northerlies and a mid-day low tide we set off for

Whatipu at the mouth of the Manukau Harbour. The

Gibbons and Zion tracks along the cliff tops were still

closed and a trip along the beach did not really appeal,

so our intention was to tramp to Karekare along the

base of the cliffs about a kilometre inland from the

coast. Our goal was to make it to Karekare Point by the

midday low tide. Easy.

After arriving a little later than expected, we didn’t

think too much about what would turn out to be a

painful mistake - we hadn’t packed full gaiters. We

set off in a bit of a hurry and as so often happens

we unintentionally took the short path to the beach,

emerged from the low scrub, stopped and stared,

amazed by the view in front of us.

Rugged Paratutai Island dominated the skyline to

our left, Te-Toka-Tapu-a-Kupe (nine pin rock) in the

distance ahead of us. A gentle offshore breeze was

holding up some quite small, very un-West-Coast

looking surf, but in the far distance we could see the

swells breaking on the infamous Manukau Bar. The

vastness was stunning.

We felt drawn to Paratutai Island and found the

battered remains of the 1880’s wharf and jetty, with a

view to the deceptively calm waters of Wonga Wonga

Bay. After scrambling up the foothills of Wing Head

we were rewarded with 270-degree vista. From Cutter

Rock and Pararaha Valley to the north-west, South

across the black sands of the bay to the Manukau

Bar and East across the Manukau Harbour to West

Auckland, all looking glorious in the spring sunshine.




"Even with several metres

of sand now filling the

floor of the cave, it must

be one of the largest I have

ever seen in New Zealand,

certainly one of the most

easily accessible."

Harekeke flax, ti kouka cabbage trees, kanuka and

gorse covered the undulating valley floor

The entrance to Whatipu Caves

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Whatipu is the name of the Taniwha that

once resided here which only adds the aura

of the place. This was far too spectacular

to leave in a hurry and with the weather

forecast looking even better for tomorrow,

we chose to change plans so we could

spend some more time here. We would

camp the night at the designated campsite

at the Caves and continue onto Karekare

tomorrow. It would turn out to be an even

better decision than we realised.

After enjoying an early lunch on Wing Head,

we sat sipping hot coffee and gazing out

at the priceless view. It was well over an

hour later before we made our way onto the

Caves Trail, an easy hour or so walk along a

well-worn path.

Although I knew of the existence of the

caves, I had no idea how many and how

large they were. The first cave quickly drops

to less than two metres high and then we

had to leave packs, turn on torches and

scramble a few metres into the darkness.

The other caves just get bigger and more

spectacular as you head north. To give an

idea of scale the aptly named Giant Cave is

so large that the locals held formal dances

back in the late 19th Century. Even with

several metres of sand now filling the floor of

the cave, it must be one of the largest I have

ever seen in New Zealand, certainly one of

the most easily accessible. Children would

love this place so plan for 2 to 3 hours. Bring

along cycling helmets. And torches.

Much later that afternoon we set up camp

and climbed a short track and settled down

under some Pohutukawas and enjoyed a

dinner of Go Native butter chicken and mash.

Below us a black swan and Pukeko were

feeding in a small pond in front of Windy

Point. Thick cloud on the horizon spoiled

the sunset a bit, but we eventually settled

in for the night to the sound of a couple of

Moreporks trying to outdo each other. A great

way to finish a memorable day.

Next day was as promised, bright and clear

with almost no breeze. The downside was a

dew fall that was wet enough to have been a

decent rainfall.

I had been warned of a “tricky little climb” at

Windy Point, the entrance to the Pararaha

Valley. As it would turn out “tricky little climb”

was a typically understated kiwi description

- standing on rocks set in shin high water,

the climb was only just over 2 metres high,

but very vertical with cracks that were not

tramping-boot-friendly. For my partner

anyway. My Keen Targhee III handled them

easily – well ok, maybe not entirely easy but

certainly a lot easier than it looked.

Once we had clambered over the ledge the

scene before us was mind blowing. Almost

as if we’d stepped into some secret valley.

The well-worn track that had led to the caves

was now covered in knee-high kikuyu grass

and would soon disappear altogether. Huge

rocks and boulders lay just below the cliff

next to us. The cliff itself was bare, crumbling

rock that had been dealt to by centuries

of wind and rain. Further north the lower

reaches of the cliffs were thickly covered in

pohutukawa and nikau. Ahead harekeke flax,

ti kouka cabbage trees, kanuka and gorse

covered the undulating valley floor.

We could still hear the distant roaring of the

Tasman Sea but here in the valley there was

no wind, making the stillness eerie. Very

eerie. It was easy to imagine Jeff Goldblum

and Sam Neill desperately stumbling across

thick matted kikuyu ahead of us, an angry

T-Rex in tow.

Inserts: Map of our walk, my trusty Keen boots, meal preparation / Main: A beautiful spot to camp out for the night

"We eventually settled in for the night to the sound of a couple

of Moreporks trying to outdo each other... We could still hear

the distant roaring of the Tasman Sea but here in the valley

there was no wind, making the stillness eerie."

This is another reason why we go

tramping. Five centuries ago, this

valley was used by Te Kawerau a

Maki people to grow kumera which

were stored in pits protected by the

steep faces of hills to the south of

Whatipu. Right now, it felt like we had

stepped into something only recently

discovered. I imagined how even

more magnificent it would have looked

before the logging of the massive

Totara, Kauri and Rimu began in


Although the thick kikuyu made it

reasonably heavy going, there were

numerous faint tracks, and it was clear

from the number of baits set that a few

people made the trip here. At the time

I didn’t really think too much about

the several tracks that seemed to be

disappearing into thickets of kanuka.

Every small rise we walked over led

to a different scene and we soon

reached the large pond fed by the

Taranaki Stream. The pond itself was

glassy calm, with a couple of paradise

shelducks calmly moving to the other

side as we approached. It looked so

amazingly peaceful.

It was becoming difficult to find a single

track that headed north. They all crisscrossed

the thickly matted kikuyu and

we often found ourselves in bog if we

ventured too far from the base of the

cliffs. After having to backtrack several

times around clumps of gorse or

kanuka and climbing over pohutukawa

branches at the base of the cliffs, we

eventually reached Ohaka Head. Then

it became difficult. The inland route

was very steep and getting steeper the

further we north we ventured. Below

the bluff was a waist high pond with a

floor of thick mud. If we were going to

make it to Karekare in time we had to

head to the beach, over a kilometre


We backtracked yet again until we

seemed to be clear of most of the

bogs, stopped for a snack and quick

coffee (shout-out to those Jet Boil

folk) and headed out across the


It was then that I came across a large

patch of flattened grass and it became

clear who was making the many tracks

through the grass and into thickets. I

am no highly experienced pig-hunter

but is obvious that many trotting swine

have free reign in this place.

It was slow, heavy going as we

would our way around thick kanuka

and impenetrable clumps of gorse.

Knee-high grass was interlaced with

blackberry - how I missed those full

gaiters. It was well over an hour later

before we emerged scratched, bruised,

hot and hungry onto the black sand of

the beach.

We knew we had run out of time. Time

to show that respect and head home.

Even so, we were in high spirits as we

headed back along the beach to a night

at the Whatipu Lodge camping ground,

a fresh cold shower, followed by some

spaghetti bolognaise (love those Go

Native chefs) and a well-deserved

glass or two of red wine.

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How to climb your first

6000 metre peak

By Suze Kelly, General Manager, Adventure Consultants

Climbing at high altitude is not on

everyone’s bucket list but it is a

very rewarding activity and physical

endurance achievement. There’s

something about being up high above

5000m, the air seems thinner, you can

somehow see further and that feeling

of being ‘on the edge’ is palpable.

Plus climbing above 6000m always

involves travel to the Himalaya chain of

mountains in Asia or the Andes in South

America so you have an adventure,

climbing and travel to explore a new

culture and land all rolled into one

journey. What could be more perfect!

Without being able to get to any of

these exotic destinations at present,

the best thing you can do is put the

time into preparing and training for your

future travel and high altitude climbing.

In New Zealand we are blessed with

Himalayan-like mountains, renowned

for their steepness, ruggedness and

glaciation but without the debilitating

breath sapping effects of high altitude

to deal with. When Kiwis go to climb at

high altitude overseas, they often do

very well as they have had such a good

base to train from.

A great place to start is to tackle some

of the Department of Conservation

Great Walks, carrying all your own

gear and generally getting yourself

what we call ‘pack fit’. Then, with some

experience in longer day walks there

are off trail or more rugged options

for routes to explore and access our

amazing network of backcountry huts.

Thus, doing what we call ‘mileage’ with

classic Kiwi tramping as a base for all

that is to come (why stop there!).

All the tramping that’s straightforward

in New Zealand is generally below

the snow line, so to gain experience

for skills that you need to safely move

around on snow, ice, rock and glaciers,

the wise choice is to then sign on to

a mountaineering course operated by

professional mountain guides. With

everything from 1 day to 12-day options

it’s more about time commitment than

anything as the cost is similar to what

you would spend on an overseas travel


On a mountaineering course you start

with the basics and your guides ensure

you are confident with snowcraft and

rope skills applicable to alpine climbing,

before moving on to glacier travel and

self-rescue, navigation, route finding

and weather analysis. Along the way

you learn more about pacing, self-care,

planning and preparation and all the

while getting to know your gear, what

works and what doesn’t. Plus, you even

climb a mountain or two! Courses are

usually based in Westland or Aoraki Mt

Cook National Parks and your first peak

might be Hochstetter Dome at the head

of the Tasman Glacier or Aurora Peak

above Centennial Hut.

At the end of a mountaineering course,

the sense of accomplishment you feel

with your new-found alpine climbing

skills never leaves you. The investment

of time and learning is everything you

need to set you up for next steps in

the exciting world of mountaineering,

which might be climbing a substantial

New Zealand peak such as Mt Aspiring,

3,033m. An alpine start (3.00am) is

required on such a big climb and you

are well into the climb once dawn

arrives along with experiencing one

of your first alpine sunrises, let alone

the feeling of satisfaction of reaching

the summit and then a descent back

to the hut for that welcome cup of tea

and overall feeling of tiredness and

satisfaction that a big day out in the hills


How does all this matter for climbing

Island Peak 6,189m in Nepal, or

Aconcagua 6,962m in Argentina, both

great choices for a 6000m peak? Aren’t

these called non-technical ascents?

The thing with climbing at high altitude

is that it requires immense energy just

to put one foot in front of the other, due

to the lack of oxygen reaching your

muscles, so the climbing you tackle

needs to be straightforward. Fixed lines

are used for safety and the climbing is

certainly not as technical, but with your

experience gained in New Zealand on

a mountaineering course, everything

feels second nature and you can focus

on the altitude hurdle. A summit day on

Island Peak typically takes 12-15 hours,

since you start climbing in the dark

at midnight, and return back to Base

camp by mid-afternoon. Good fitness

and endurance is imperative but just as

important is the ability to move efficiently

whilst encased in mountaineering

gear, and any new challenges can be

overcome, as you will have done all this

before, albeit at lower altitudes in New


So whilst we might have a long time to

wait until we can explore the greater

ranges of the world again, you can

use this precious time to upskill and

experience the best that the Southern

Alps has to offer. We are so lucky

to have this training ground in our

backyard here, and it’s the perfect place

to hone your skills and fitness and put in

the preparation time required to build up

to climbing a 6000m peak.

Adventure Consultants is a mountain guiding outfitter based in Wanaka, New Zealand operating

mountaineering courses, guided ascents and trekking journeys in New Zealand, and world-wide.





Rebecca Hounsell, Boulder Bash finals 2019

Photo by Lee Howell

By Sarah Hay: Partner, Northern Rocks

"When you first walk into Northern Rocks,

you notice how sunlit and colourful the

space is, which I’ve come to realise is

really a great metaphor for the community

there, too. I’ve been involved in sports

in some capacity my whole life, and I’ve

never been part of a community quite

like Northern Rocks. There’s friendliness

towards newcomers I’ve never

encountered and a willingness to help, to

encourage people to try something again

and again.

As one of Northern Rocks’ resident yoga

and mobility instructors, I’m privy to the

experiences of so many climbers who

share with me their similar love of the

climbing and the community. Women

especially have recounted to me how

comfortable they feel in a space they

assumed would be male-dominated and

unwelcoming, like most sports.

Some of this can be attributed to

bouldering, sure - not having to belay

anyone really allows you to use your

downtime to chat to new people, in my

case usually trying to acquire beta - and

failing over and over while projecting is

humbling for even the most experienced

climbers, so pretension doesn’t seem

to last long. But I think most of it has to

do with the space Sarah and John have

created, and their encouragement of

friendliness, excellence and the pursuit of

‘sends’." Kate Montgomery

Wow. What a year. What a.. almost two

years! This year, Northern Rocks were

fortunate enough to be nominated for

the Westpac & Chamber of Commerce

Business Awards and chosen as a finalist

in the category Best Emerging Business.

With 744 entries over seven categories,

this achievement is incredibly special to

me, to my business partner John, to our

staff and community. We are so proud to

have this recognition for the hard work

and passion we continue to put into

Northern Rocks. Thank you to all those

who have supported us, climbed with

us, and helped build our ever growing,

colourful, loyal, welcoming, vibrant


Bouldering has become a fitness

alternative, a staple for many people in

their weekly routine. We are coaching

total beginners right through to training

elite athletes, including those who may

in the future wish to qualify for world

championships, even the Olympics.

A highlight has been developing our youth

programs, seeing our young people thrive

in the boulder gym and hearing about

how the skills learnt in bouldering transfer

to greater self-confidence and confidence

at school, and how they have found their

passion in this sport. We are super proud

of our youth members, Rebecca Hounsell,

Grace Hansen, Finlay Cate and Monique

Gray who recently made the Climbing

New Zealand Youth Development Squad,

and to all the youth who participated at

the national championships.

"Climbing is everything to me! When I’m

on the wall I forget everything around

me, and I feel free. Since Northern

Rocks opened, I’ve gone almost every

single week. I don’t mind where I climb


Riley Howell, community support for a campus challenge! - Photo by Lee Howell

Sarah Hay coaching youth at Northern Rocks - Photo by Lee Howell



but Northern Rocks feels like home to

me. Since Northern Rocks opened, I feel

like I have found my place in the world

because climbing is my passion. All the

coaches are amazing there, they have

helped me improve so much over the past

few years. They also train and teach us

how to prepare for competitions. I have

met friends at the Boulder Bashes and

in the classes - it’s a lot of fun going to

competitions together and on outdoor

climbing trips. I don’t know what I’d do

without Northern Rocks!" Grace Hansen,

12 years

Our Boulder Bash social competitions

have become a fantastic community event

that is looked forward to by staff and

climbers alike. We held two in 2019, with

the second one focusing on raising money

for the NZ Cancer Society. Unfortunately,

our 2020 Boulder Bash events have had to

be postponed due to covid19, but we are

looking forward to kicking off the new year

with our overdue Birthday Boulder Bash

2021 (fingers crossed).

The NZAC (NIBS) National Indoor Boulder

Series is one of the highlights of the year,

and we were fortunate enough to hold

one in both 2019 and 2020. Both the

Boulder Bash and NIBS events are open

to all abilities, with young kids, beginner

and intermediate climbers right through to

some of the top advanced climbers in New


We hosted the Climbing New Zealand

National Open Boulder Championships in

2019 and look forward to hosting it again

February 2021 – so get training! We were

lucky to have Stream Shop live streaming

the event as part of the newly established

Sky Sport Next initiative, showcasing

youth in sport. It is fantastic to be able to

offer elite competition and training facilities

like these events, in addition to community

sport for families and young people.

The effects of Covid19 of course have

been difficult, with two full closures this

year during level three and four. The full

effects of the pandemic and subsequent

closures continue to be felt for months

after we reopened; however, many

have returned to the gym with relief as

it is ‘my zen place’ according to one

member. Our focus is to continue growing

our community and providing positive

opportunities for those around us.

"I never knew how much I needed

Northern Rocks until it came into my life.

The impact bouldering has had on me

has been unexpected and profound. This

place, this community... it's my home.

When I started here, other climbers were

so welcoming that I quickly felt at ease

and was able to learn so much, both

about climbing and myself. Now, having

worked here for the past year, I realise

how lucky I am to be part of a great

team and I am eternally grateful for the

experience." Henry Burgess

We recently held a fundraiser event for

Kenzie’s Gift, a charity care for youth

and families facing substantial grief or

loss. Rebecca Hounsell is a member at

Northern Rocks and has been climbing

since she was 4 years old. She's now

14yrs, but when she was 7 years old she

lost her mum to Leukaemia. Kenzie’s Gift

were there throughout her Mum’s illness

and when she passed away. Collectively

we have raised over $14,000 so far and

special thanks to Lee Howell for the video

and photography work for the event and


"Climbing gives me an opportunity to be

free; free from worry, free from doubt

and freedom from the judgement from

other people. By climbing outdoors and in

facilities like Northern Rocks I am given

time to be myself, do what I love and grow

as a climber." Rebecca Hounsell.

Kate and I have recently launched ‘Bo(u)

lder Women’, a supportive group for

women who love to boulder or want

to give it a go! We realised there are

a number of women who may feel too

intimidated to try bouldering or be in the

gym on their own. We wanted to initiate

a group to show women that bouldering

is gender equal and open to all abilities,

help them with ‘beta’ or how to solve the

boulder problems with technique and

movement advice, and give girls and

women opportunity to feel comfortable in

the gym.

Our next meet up is December 7th

6:30pm – 8pm, it’s free and just regular

entry applies. Come along and join us!

Other upcoming events:

• Christmas Carnival Friday 4th

December: celebrate the end of

the year with us! There will be

live music, silks performance,

challenges, a pizza oven (bring your

own ingredients, we’ll bake it!), and

a secret Santa (bring a $10 pressie

and we’ll swap gifts!)

• Boulder technique workshops and

regular yoga classes: check out the

website or give us a call 09 278 2363

• Climbing New Zealand National

Open Boulder Champs: February 7th


• Youth Climbing Classes 2021: join

our climbing teams! See website or

email for info

So if you haven’t given bouldering a go

yet – come on down! You’ll get a chance

to meet your fitness goals, make new

friends, socialise and enjoy this amazing

community sport. Follow us on social

media to get all the updates!

FB & Insta @northernrocks.climbing



Team "Slow down Cath" (Megan Bathgate, Catherine Wilson, Emma Stray)

during the paddle section of the 6hr race

the spring challenge

By Vicki Knell

Held in picturesque Cambridge alongside

the mighty Waikato River, the venue for

this year’s Spring Challenge made for a

spectacular setting for the event. On Friday

evening the teams from all over the North

Island gathered at the Sir Don Rowlands

Centre on the banks of Lake Karapiro for

race briefing and a warm up challenge.

It is during this pre-race time that the

atmosphere of nervous tension, friendly

banter and connecting with other teams

happens. One of the disciplines included this

year was the paddling of 3 person inflatable

self-bailing kayaks so an opportunity to have

a little practise was able to be done on the

Friday afternoon.

On Saturday with a race start of 12 pm for

the 3 hour race teams the Mis-Adventure

team were able to have a leisurely start to

the day. We had found a very cute Air BnB

farm cottage with extraordinary views out

over the Waikato countryside to stay in for

the weekend and fortunately for everyone the

weather gods had put on a stunning day.

While support crew are not essential for

this event we had support in the form of an

injured team member – a ski injury put paid

to my racing but did mean that I was able to

take on the support crew role with gusto.

The race started with the kayak section

from the Findlay Park Adventure Camp. It

seems the most difficult part for teams was

keeping the kayak heading in the direction

they wanted. There was certainly lots of

entertainment provided for the support crews

and spectators at the beginning of the 3 hour

race as teams battled to keep out of each

other’s way and to get going on a reasonably

straight trajectory. With great teamwork and

steering from the back the Mis-Adventure

team shot off really strongly and managed to

keep out of the traffic of other less controlled

craft, coming off the water in a creditable 3rd

place of the 50 odd teams competing, but

alas it was all downhill or should we say uphill

from here.

The first mountain bike section started with

a steep hill climb up out of Findlay Park

and then followed 8kms of undulating road

to farmland where there was the transition

for the orienteering section. Although only

covering 3 or 4 kms the orienteering is done

on foot and is a good test of the teams map

reading, problem solving and communication

skills – walking/running over uneven farmland

with some steep sections all the while looking

for the elusive checkpoints provides a

challenge for tired team members. Being able

to interpret and make accurate observations

of landmarks is crucial at this point.

By this time of the day the spring weather

was really heating up and after a quick

transition back onto the bikes the team were

off for the longer 18km mountain bike ride

which would take them south along the west

side of the Waikato River to cross the Arapuni

Swingbridge and then back north along the

beautiful Waikato River cycle trail up to a

last paddle back across to the Findlay Park

Adventure Camp and race finish.

The atmosphere at race finish was carnival

like. Teams from the 6 and 9 hour races were

finishing alongside teams from the 3 hour

race. To be clear though the 3, 6 and 9 hour

events take longer than their namesakes.

This year the 9 hour event was won by

Tron Express an open team who won with

a finishing time of 10:46:29 – and the final

team who were veterans came in with a time

of 21:51:14 – total respect for these amazing

ladies! The 6 hour event winners were

also an open team with a time of 7:24:49

– and the final team of this huge field of 64

teams were a super vet team with a time of

17:42:55 – an amazing show of resilience

and determination.

The 3 hour event winners were a super vet team (total

ages over 150) in a speedy time of 4:02:54 with the final

team of a field of 52 finishers coming in with a time of

8:38:25. While our Miss Adventures were stoked with

their 20th overall and 4th Super Vets placings with a

time of 4:54:42 especially with little training, it’s not

the finishing time or the placing that actually matter.

What matters is getting out there with a group of likeminded

women of all shapes, sizes, fitness levels and

capabilities. We were all inspired by the women we

witnessed participating in this event - the super fit lead

teams but especially the incredible later teams. What

makes us want to do it all over again is the satisfying

grins on the faces of each and every team member as

they cross the finish line, the weekend away with friends

in yet another stunning part of this beautiful country

we live in, the highs and lows during the race and the

satisfaction of being able to move these amazing bodies

to push ourselves to the limit and maybe even beyond

even when we are well over the super vets age limit.

A beautiful start to the Spring Challenge, Cambridge 2020

Thanks again Nathan and team for yet another awesome

event. In what other sport do we regularly have a multi World

Champ giving so much back to promoting the sport he loves,

how lucky we are!

See you all there next year... Spring Challenge Hawkes Bay,

15th-17th October 2021 : www.springchallenge.co.nz

Above: Team "North2South" (Katie Ridley, Aisling Davies, Kiri

Williams) looking for checkpoints in the 6 hour race

Left: Team "Mis-Adventure" crossing the Arapuni Swingbridge

Below: Our team "Mis-Adventure" Trudi Neill, Linda Lennon,

Lynne Dickinson and Vicki Knell at the pre-race briefing


Crisp and hard snow marks the entrance to the coolest classroom ever: Mt. Aspiring National Park. or // Crisp, hard snow, fresh alpine air and

bluebird days set the scene for a week's learning in the coolest classroom ever: Mt. Aspiring National Park.

Taking a stroll on the Bonar Glacier and seeing the first glimt of the hut.

The school of mountaineering

Mountaineering season is on and privileged

as we are, we live in a country with majestic

peaks and stunning alpine scenery.

Especially on the South Island which is the

home to some 23, 3000-meter peaks. But

as mesmerizing as the mountains are, we all

know they can be challenging places to be

and must be treated with the utmost respect.

For many of us tramping is not unfamiliar

and provides us with the opportunity to

connect on some level with our unique

alpine environment.

However, if you want to step it up and

explore the more remote parts of our

country, why not strap on some crampons,

grab an ice axe and add a whole new set of

skills to your outdoor-toolbox?

A Mountaineering Skills Course can equip

you for future alpine adventures - all taught

in stunning classrooms.

To give you a bit more of a feel for

what a Mountaineering Skills Course

generally entails we have captured

the experiences of one student who

recently decided to learn more about

the art of mountaineering.

The course was hosted by Aspiring

Guides, which is a long-time mountain

guiding company that has been based

in Wanaka for over 30 years.

The course starts with a spectacular

helicopter flight from Raspberry Flat in

Mt. Aspiring National Park, and you'll

feel on top of the world as you see the

valley getting smaller beneath and the

snowy peaks getting closer.

Landing on Bevan Col marks the start

of the day in the classroom and lesson

number one is walking with crampons.

A funny, yet challenging task with lots of

practice and lots of laughing when falling

and sliding down easy slopes. Managing

a good crampon technique is crucial when

heading into mountaineering and your

guide will make sure you're getting all the

right cues.

A part of the course goes through an

ocean of ice. You’re roped up and heading

into crevasse country.

The sharp, blue and tall ice cliffs make

you wonder if you are Beyond the Wall

in George R.R. Martin’s “The Game of

Thrones”. But walking along the giant ice

pillars is truly unique, and you will have

time to enjoy the spectacular views while

having well-deserved breaks.

Your heart will surely skip a beat when

the "whumpfing" sound of a thin snow

bridge is being tested by your weight.

But as a part of the Mountaineering Skills

Course, the guide will teach you how

to rescue yourself or a team member

from these sometimes seemingless

bottomless crevasses. You will also gain

experience in glacial travel and develop

an understanding of the characteristics of

avalanche terrain.

Colin Todd Hut is one of the million-star

hotels you may ever sleep in, and one of

the fun ways to access the hut involves

climbing roughly 100 vertical meters up

a steep slope. Here you'll get familiar

with your ice axe and hammer, and after

a while, the motion of 'hook, hook, step,

step' becomes a well known rhythm.

Colin Todd has a glorious view of Mt.

Aspiring and the North-West Ridge,

which is the most popular route to summit

the mountain. Colin Todd is also known

for its feather-covered guest: the Kea,

New Zealand's only alpine parrot with

a massive appetite for outdoor gear, so

make sure to store all your equipment


An alarm from a GPS watch at 3 AM

marks the alpine start. Hot drinks and

muesli with powder milk are downed

before heading out on a pitch-black

glacier. Only lit up by narrow beams from

head torches and flickering stars above.

One of the lessons you learn in the

school of mountaineering is to catch the

curveballs the weather throws at you.

From a crisp and hard surface, the snow

turns into a thick and saturated paste

sticking to your crampons or snowshoes.

But no matter the weather, the classroom

is still open, and the toolbox of

mountaineering is growing bigger by the

hour. Practising in different circumstances

constantly will bring you a well-rounded

learning experience. As the days in the

mountains fly by, you will get sweaty

from digging pits for your snow anchors,

discover new and narrow cracks for your

rock protection, and you will sigh with

relief when your ice screw finally sits

solidly in the icewall after spending time

with an the hammer and axe.

The sun is out, making the glacier look like

a thin blanket of sparkling crystals, and you

reach for your camera to perpetuate this

magical moment in the mountains. And as

you turn your face towards the camera to

take a selfie, you face something yourself:

You're an aspiring mountaineer, and you're

looking forward to climbing some more

great peaks in the future.


we ARE tramping

During the Mountaineering Skills Course you practise ice climbing and placing protection in rock, snow and ice.

Your heart will surely skip a beat when the

"whumpfing" sound of a thin snow bridge is

being tested by your weight. But as a part of

the Mountaineering Skills Course, the guide

will teach you how to rescue yourself or a

team member when falling into the deep

gaps. And also how to travel safely when

you see the remains of a fresh avalanche -

commonly at the bottom of Mt. French.

Colin Todd Hut is one of the million-star

hotels you may sleep in during the course,

and the direct way to the hut involves

climbing roughly 100 vertical meters up a

steep slope. Here you'll get familiar with your

ice axe and hammer, and after a while, the

motion of 'hook, hook, step, step' becomes a

well known rhythm.

Colin Todd has a glorious view of Mt.

Aspiring and the North-West Ridge, which

is the most popular route to summit the

mountain. Colin Todd is also known for

its feather-covered guest: the Kea, New

Zealand's only alpine parrot with a massive

appetite for outdoor gear, so make sure to

store all your equipment inside.

An alarm from a GPS watch at 3 AM marks the

alpine start. Hot drinks and muesli with powder

milk are downed before heading out on a pitchblack

glacier. Only lit up by narrow beams from

head torches and flickering stars above.

One of the lessons you learn in the school

of mountaineering is to catch the curveballs

the weather throws at you. From a crisp

and hard surface, the snow turns into a

thick and saturated paste sticking to your

crampons or snowshoes.

But no matter the weather, the classroom

is still open, and the toolbox of

mountaineering is growing bigger by the

hour. Practising in different circumstances

constantly will bring you a well-rounded

learning experience.

And as the days in the mountains fly by, you

will get sweaty from digging pits for your

snow anchors, discover new and narrow

cracks for your rock protection, and you will

sigh with relief when your ice screw finally

sits solidly in the icewall after spending time

with an the hammer and axe.

The sun is out, making the glacier look like

a thin blanket of sparkling crystals, and you

reach for your camera to perpetuate this

magical moment in the mountains.

And as you turn your face towards the

camera to take a selfie, you face something

yourself: You're an aspiring mountaineer,

and you can use your new skills to access

summits in our beautiful country.

Our course is an intensive 7-day

mountaineering course with

comprehensive instruction in all facets of

mountaineering and alpine climbing such


• Mountain hazards identification

and avoidance including avalanche


• Mountain weather

• Ropework, including belay, abseiling

and rescue

• Protection and anchors on snow,

rock and ice

• Glacier travel techniques and

crevasse rescue

• Multipitch climbing and rescue

• Snow, ice and mixed climbing

• Alpine rock climbing

• Mountain shelter and camp


• Equipment and clothing selection

• Route selection & navigation

• Trip planning including assessment

of weather and conditions, human

factors and terrain

At the end of the course you will be a

competent member of a mountaineering

team, being able to contribute to decision

making on mountaineering expeditions,

attempt summits via routes graded 1 to 2

(NZ grade) or undertake guided ascents

of more technical objectives.


Tramping on Mt Howitt, Hooker Range, high above the Landsborough Valley

Photo: Mark Watson / Highluxphoto

Whether it’s a day trip with the family or a multi-day adventure deep into the wilderness, Bivouac has the best gear,

from the top brands, to keep you safe, comfortable, warm and dry. Our friendly staff are happy to provide expert

advice, ensuring you get the right equipment and the right fit. If you need it for tramping, we have it, because at

Bivouac Outdoor we ARE tramping.






spirited women?

Are you female? Are you looking for a

challenge? Do you want to kick start

2021 on a positive note?

If you answered ‘’Yes!’’ to the above

questions, then look no further than

the 2021 North Island edition on March

13th and/or the South Island edition

on April 10th of the Spirited Women

Adventure Race. We invite you to find

your inner spirit, be brave, and together

with your girlfriends make up a team to

take part in an event that will provide an

unforgettable experience.

The Spirited Women - All Women's

Adventure Race is an event where

teams of four women navigate a secret

course on foot, mountain bike, and

kayak. Along the way, they will find a

number of mystery activities which are

always a highlight for participants. The

event is set up to provide women with

the opportunity to get out with their

teammates and have one hell of an


As one of our past participants put it,

“On event day, it is EVERYTHING that

is awesome. The unknown terrain, the

mystery activities, the water, mountain

biking, and supporting each other. It is

such a wonderful event, thank you for

the memories”

With a short, medium, and long-course

adventure option to choose from,

and with stable sit-on tandem kayaks

provided for all teams, all levels of

fitness and experience are welcomed

and catered for.

Event Manager, Debbie Chambers will

be taking over the reins in 2021. She

can’t believe her luck to have landed her

dream job. Debbie has been adventure

racing since 2000, she was part of New

Zealand’s most successful all women’s

adventure racing team, Team Girls on

Top, and has done multiple adventure

races all around the world. A highlight

for her was racing in the Amazon


“I simply love the sport of adventure

racing. I love the teamwork aspect of it

the most, but I also love exploring new

locations that you would never get to

visit otherwise. I love the navigation and

the challenges that get thrown your way.

There are so many facets to adventure

racing that you never get bored trying to

achieve the perfect race.”

“What I am most excited about is

working alongside Neil Gellatly, the

Event Director, to provide a worldclass

adventure racing experience

to New Zealand’s Spirited Women.

I love seeing women build their skill

sets, push outside their comfort zone,

and overcome challenges. I love

empowering women to try new things

in a supportive environment and the

Spirited Women events are the perfect

platform for this”

The Spirited Women’s Adventure

race is far more than creating an

unforgettable event experience shared

among girlfriends; it’s about women

making time for themselves, their health,

and fitness. For many participants,

the journey to the event is the most

cherished part. Regularly getting

together as a team to train, learn new

skills, and supporting one another to

push their boundaries. It strengthens

bonds and relationships, bringing family,

friends, and work colleagues together

for a weekend of unadulterated fun.

We asked Debbie what advice she

would give to a team just starting out.

Here is what she had to say; “Planning

and preparation make for a better on

the day performance and enhance your

enjoyment. My advice to all teams no

matter what their goal, is to take the

time to get comfortable with mountain

biking, trekking up and down hills, and

kayaking. Spend as much time doing

these things with all your teammates

prior to the event as you can. Also,

make sure your whole team is on the

same page in terms of your team goals.

Things tend to go bad when one team

member is there to be competitive when

the other three are there to have fun and

enjoy the scenery. One last thing, please

get your bike serviced prior to the event

as getting a flat tyre or breaking a chain

or having your brakes fail during the

event is no fun for anyone.”

So what are you waiting for? If you’re

looking for an outdoor adventure,

side by side with your three besties,

in unique new North and South Island

destinations each year, you may have

found the answer.

Check out the Spirited Women - All

Women's Adventure Race website






A region well versed in

its adventurous roots

Words by Chris Birt - Images compliments of Tourism West Coast

The spectacular Hokitika Gorge

The pre-dawn of February 26 1983 emerged with

a bracing breeze, as early mornings often do in

the shadow of New Zealand’s tallest mountain


In the half-light, thunderous waves crashed into

black sands at Kumara, just south of Greymouth.

At the water’s edge 79 hardy souls tentatively

anticipating the start of one of the biggest

adventures of their lives.

An excitable little man with an impressive beard

and a commanding character screeched through a

mega-phone: ‘Back, get further back!’

This small contingent of scantily-clad individuals

retreated, the reluctance at starting a new day

immersed in the vast Tasman Sea written all over

their collective faces.

As the chills enveloped them, I asked myself

what these crazy adventurers were doing there.

Equally, what was I doing in such a desolate place

as the sand flies honed in for the kill, especially at

that ungodly time of the day?

Alongside me was Graeme Brown, a young

cameraman in the infancy of his career but

eagerly desirous of having his work presented

to the adventuring world. At that frozen moment

in time he admitted to having those very same


Little did he know it but he was capturing on film

- digital imagery hadn’t been conceived at that

time - adventure racing history in the making.

[Graeme’s fantastic images accompanied my

words in the next Adventure Magazine].


When you spend time outdoors you feel

great, but your skin may not appreciate

your adventures.

Sun, bugs, salt, damp, grazed knees, blisters

and chaffing can take a toll on your skin.

Goodbye makes certified natural

products that take care of your skin

outdoors as well as the recovery

afterwards. From sunscreen to bug

repellent and the balm in between. Your

skin will be in better condition as a result.

Goodbye products are designed with care

by New Zealand based outdoor guides

Becky and John. Every product that they

develop and offer starts with a desire to

have a product that is truly natural, high

performance and a joy to use.

We belong


You belong outdoors. Goodbye products

help your skin belong outdoors too.



Entrance to


National Park


The evening before the large-as-life

Robin Judkins had met us, momentarily

as he was in full flight at the Kumara

Junction hall. Far too busy with lastminute

arrangements for the safety

briefing for what was to become one of

the world’s greatest adventure racing

events, this energiser bunny in a human

form looked at these two strangers and

without shame declared: “For a minute I

thought you were entrants, but one is too

fat and the other too young.” It did not go

un-noticed that he was staring straight at

me when he spoke of a somewhat portly

one, not too put too finer point on it.

Clearly he did not see me as a suitable

candidate for the inaugural two-day cycle

ride, mountain run, kayak and bike ride

from the wilds of the West Coast to the

gently-lapping waves of the Pacific Ocean

at Sumner Beach in Christchurch.

This visit to the West Coast was not my

first and nor was it destined to be my last.

That’s what happens when a place like

this gets under your skin, luring you back

time and again as it slowly reveals its

many layers. Beware, because it can be

highly addictive.

The Fox Glacier

The opportunities for visitation and the

range of experiences for those with

adventure in their souls have increased

dramatically since 1983. But the untamed

natural wilderness that sits at the heart of

these adventures has not.

The natural landforms on which the visitor

industry of 2020 is anchored have been

there, seemingly in-situ, for millennia. The

vast caverns and subterranean chasms

at the Oparara Basin just north east of

the enticing little hamlet of Karamea are

an example of how little ‘The Coast’ has


Similarly the limestone formations at

Punakaiki were created over millions of

years as minute sea creatures gave their

lives for what is, today, one of the region’s

most impressive natural formations, with

its huge wave surges from an ocean that

has its origin 2583 kilometres away.

The vast ice shelves that carve their way

through dense rock in their quest for the

sea, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, are

further examples of how time has stood

still on the West Coast of Aotearoa New


tribespeople who crossed mountain

passes and braved raging rivers in a

quest for pounamu/greenstone, by then

already prized for tools and weapons.

Every day was an adventure for those

who made the journey from the sedate

eastern coast, through what is today

known as the Main Divide, and down the

valleys to the Tasman Sea.

In 1846 one Thomas Brunner, an

Englishman working as a surveyor for the

New Zealand Company joined two others

in a bid to scout for possible agricultural

land south-west of Nelson. During a

three-week expedition they reached the

Buller River and then Maruia, before a

scarcity of supplies drove them home.

All three of these intrepid adventurers

were later honoured by having landmarks

named after them. Charles Heaphy’s

name lives in one of the most popular

walking and mountainbiking tracks in the

region - this emerges from the Kahurangi

National Park near Karamea - while

William Fox has a glacier bearing his

name. Brunner got a coal mine and

a picturesque lake to immortalise his


The West Coast 37 years ago, when

Judkins’ dream event began its path to

international fame and, for him, fortune

- it has now hosted 20,000 adventure

racers from every corner of the planet -

was vastly different to that which can be

experienced now, in some respects but

not in others.

Some of the greatest adventures

undertaken on the West Coast had their

genesis in the earliest days of human

exploration of that remote, wild and at

times desolate region.

The first to take up the challenges posed

by such a hostile and yet stunningly

beautiful landscape were the early

Brunner made adventure an art form with

exploits that arguably have never been

surpassed. In December 1846, just six

years after the British Crown and some

tribes signed a Treaty which promised

a partnership unparalleled anywhere in

the world, Brunner, two Maori guides and

their wives left Nelson to forge a path

from Nelson to Milford Sound.


The West Coast is rich with untouched beauty, Fox Glacier shows the timelessness of the area

Top: West Coast Wilderness Trail / Below: Mountainbiking in Reefton

Later referred to as the Great Journey,

this mission of epic proportions lasted

a gruelling 550 days, traversing some

of the most difficult, uninviting and

inhospitable terrain in this far-flung

outpost of the British Empire.

Brunner and his loyal guide Ketu made

it back to Nelson in March 1848, long

after his superiors and indeed most the

growing settler community had given

them up for dead. To his dismay, he

recalled that the little dog which had

been his constant companion had been

sacrificed during one of his many stints

of near-starvation.

Brunner’s epic endeavours - an

18-month series of adventures that

pushed him to the limits of human

endurance - gained him a place in

history, with news of his exploits

reaching Wellington and ultimately

London. The Royal Geographic Society

honoured him with its Patron’s Medal

and its French counterpart, the Société

de géographie, awarded him a diploma.

Brunner’s reputation-building expedition

set off a surge among those seeking to

emulate his achievements. Wave after

wave of adventurers headed for the

West Coast. Brunner had discovered

coal and when gold was found just as

the Land Wars erupted elsewhere in this

British colony, a rush of unprecedented

proportions unfolded.

Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prizewinning

novel The Luminaries led to

a BBC mini-series which screened

recently on TV1. It captures that era on

the West Coast superbly.

Those that stayed at the end of the

gold rush, and the many thousands

who followed - to hack farms from the

wild jungles, to harvest the vast timber

resources or to build communities -

all helped create a region in which

adventure became an integral part of

everyday life. This is the foundation on

which the West Coast’s visitor industry

rests today.

Everywhere on The Coast there’s an

adventure to be experienced and a

postcard vista to be recorded at each

turn of the trail, bend of the river, or

ripple on the lake or at the edge of

what is now known as the Big Ditch.

They range from the hot and smelly to

the placid and gentle and everything in

between. Mixing and matching of these

various elements has a lot going for it.

Here is just some of what is on offer:-


The West Coast hosts two of New

Zealand’s most challenging multi-day

riding trails. The Old Ghost Road

traverses the north-east of the region

[see accompanying article for details]

and is becoming increasingly popular

with advanced MTB enthusiasts

seeking a connection with the past,

as well as with nature. The newest

multi-day trail is through the Paparoa

National Park and includes the

Pike River mine memorial. It is 55

kilometres, one way and takes three

days. Grade 4. Check with DOC for

hut space availability and bookings.

Those seeking a more leisurely, less

strenuous cycling experience can

opt for the West Coast Wilderness

Trail, which begins in Greymouth and

terminates at the small former gold

mining hamlet of Ross.

One of the most accessible and

smoothest trail rides in the country, it

can be done over three or four days,

passing through ancient rainforests,

along the banks of glacial rivers and

moody lakes and around wetlands.

Parts of the trail involve cycling along

bush tram lines and water races with

history and heritage everywhere

- old gold mining settlements and

workings, historic bridges and a

chance to experience the hardships

of life in the mid-19th century, when

the West was occupied but never

conquered. This trail can be tackled

guided or un-guided. Grade 2 with

some Grade 3 on-road sections.

A multitude of short rides and helibiking

options exist over the length

of the West Coast, each with their

own characteristics and degrees of

difficulty. Reefton is a great base for

heli-biking, but other locations also

offer options. Short rides for all ages

and experience levels can be found

throughout the region. The i-SITES

in Westport, Greymouth and at Franz

Josef can make recommendations.

The Denniston Plateau, site of the

biggest coal extraction operation in

New Zealand at one time and hosting

a tram line with one of the steepest

inclines ever built is a favoured haunt

of backcountry riders. The trails in

that location total 50 kilometres,

offering rides from one and 12 hours

in duration. Grade 2 to 4 - easy to



The Upper Waiau-Uwha

North Canterbury

3 Day Rafting Adventure

Jetboating near Haast

The Upper Māwheranui /

Grey River, West Coast

2-3 Day Rafting Adventure

Choose from a range of day and multiday rafting

adventures. Come and explore Aotearoa’s

stunning wilderness with us! All within a

three hour drive from Christchurch.

www.inlandadventures.co.nz | 0508 RAFTING(723 846)

Water Sports:

Much of the action on the West Coast is

centred on jetboating, rafting and kayaking -

the latter involving white water or on lakes and

rivers. A main centre for white water rafting

and kayaking is the Buller River gorge, with

operators based there who specialise in this

challenging environment. Grade 4 and 5 in this


Cave rafting is centred on Charleston, with

the small but fun-filled Nile River providing

excitement. A bush steam train provides novel

access to this adventure. Glacier rafting,

centred on Ross, is an option with everything

from scenic drift trips to Grade 5 white water

action in New Zealand’s highest mountain


Paddle boarding and kayaking are offered

around Punakaiki and in the majestic lakes

surrounded by ancient rainforests to the south.

Mahinapua and Mapourika are stunning

locations for these activities.

Jetboating: Operators provide river tours in

the lower Buller gorge and at Karamea. The

Buller River is characterised by massive rocks

and tight bends, making for a white-knuckle

ride. Tours pass under a historic structure,

New Zealand’s longest swing bridge, while

the adjacent Cometline provides a rush for

those who have little fear of being secured

in a harness high above a raging river. By

comparison, jetboating at Karamea is a tame

affair - a scenic tour with commentary on the

region’s post-colonial settlement and history.

On the Waiatoto River near Haast jetboating

offers the only tours that carry passengers

from the ocean to the Alps within a UNESCO

world heritage park. Options include an ecotour

or fast and furious white-water adventure

designed to get the heart pumping on all


Fishing: The West Coast boasts some of the

most valued fishing venues in New Zealand

- along the sea coast for a range of species,

in the rivers and in the lakes. A multitude of

options exist for novices and seasoned fishing

fanatics alike. Sea run trout, yellow eyed

mullet and kahawai are common, while the

Buller River and Lake Brunner produce wily

brown trout, which they say get to die from old


No visit to the West Coast would be complete

without indulging in the whitebait which come

ashore and into the rivers. Watching the

hundreds of whitebaiters ply their trade in their

favourite and fiercely-protected possies is

an adventure in itself, but outside the fishing

season cuisine featuring these translucent

little creatures is available in most locations.

Whitebait fritters or patties provide a unique

melt-in-the-mouth moment.

Fishing in Lake Brunner

Rafting with Inland Adventures


Hiking and Walking:

Hiking in Haast Pass

The West Coast boasts multiple opportunities to undertake hike

and walks, ranging from a gentle meander along the edges of

the inland waterways - Lake Brunner, with its stunning rainforest

backdrop is a must-do location - to multi-day adventures for hardcore

experienced trampers. A short walk which provides stunning

scenery is at the Hokitika River gorge, where meandering still

waters run deep, intense turquoise in colour. The Paparoa Track

and Old Ghost Road trail are multi-day walks. Hut bookings are

required for both.

The walk into the Oparara Arches should not be missed either.

Tucked away in the Kahurangi National Park, Oparara has been

preserved through millions of years of isolation. Access is just

north of Karamea, with both guided and un-guided excursions

available. Leave a few hours and take a picnic lunch in order to

soak up the magnificence of this geological masterpiece.

Don’t just do a good walk......

do a GREAT one!

Fully organised & supported self-guided & guided walks

Bringing the New Zealand outdoors

......a step closer to you!



0800 496 369





The West Coast is blessed with some of

the most majestic, breathtaking scenery

on the planet, with the towering peaks

of the Southern Alps, long braided rivers

and mirror-image lakes - not forgetting the

massive ice walls at Fox and Franz Josef

glaciers - all visible from above. Fixed wing

aircraft or helicopter flights operate from

Karamea to Haast. Those based at the

twin glaciers provide access onto the ice

directly, with guided hikes providing high

adventure in these localities. Skydiving

from dizzy heights above the mountains

gives an inkling of how the eagles soared

in Glacier Country.

The spectacular aerial beauty of Haast


Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika

Across Country Quads

Grab yourself a West Coast

holiday this Summer

The West Coast is chock-full of worldclass

natural wonders, famous cycle

and walking tracks, untamed nature,

and one-of-a-kind spots.

And there’s never been a better

summer to visit! This summer there

are loads of great deals on adventure

activities, luxury getaways, unique food

and drink, boutique accommodation

and loads more.

Learn more & book:


Add to the mix a huge range of

accommodation and transport

operations, attractions based on

the region’s wealth of history and

heritage, the galleries where talented

artisans craft stunning works from

local resources - pounamu and native

timbers are favoured – and great food

utilising fresh local products and it can

be seen that adventure in all its forms

exists in this one compact region.

Several locations in New Zealand claim

the coveted title of Adventure Capital

of New Zealand. Queenstown stakes

its reputation on that, so does Rotorua.

And Taupo dips its toe in these waters

when the opportunity arises.

The West Coast does not need to seek

flashy contested titles. Adventure is

at the heart of its natural world and its

people. Arguably, the Coasters have

been doing it as part of their daily lives

longer than anyone else in the country.

The West Coast has always presented

challenges - adventures in another

guise - since the first indigenous

explorers crossed from the east and it

probably did for the moa, giant eagles

and other early-history species.

The biggest challenge this sliver of

untamed natural wilderness presents

today is not what to put in a travel plan,

but what to leave out.

The answer can be found in ‘doing’

The Coast in the manner intended, with

patience and at a pace that provides

sufficient time to delve deep below the

surface, literally and figuratively.

A visit of 10 or 14 days is

recommended for total immersion

in what promises to be one of the

greatest adventures of a lifetime. But

better still a series of mini-breaks is

recommended, picking off one group

of activities at a time and unpeeling the

multiple layers that exist in these parts.

In the absence of international

travellers, those who can provide

the local knowledge that comes from

having lived life here - the Coasters

possess it with abundance - there is no

better time for planning an adventurebased


Local operators across the visitor

sphere, those in activities and

attractions, accommodation and

transport, have always been happy to

share their space and talk turkey. It’s in

their DNA and for the rest of us there is

no better time to accept their heart-felt

invitation to visit.

The Coast is offering a host of Hot

Deals and Cool Holidays right now. The

time is certainly right for an adventure

outing on the West Coast.

For more information on this wonderful part of New Zealand visit www.westcoast.co.nz/deals

Buller Gorge Swingbridge

Fox Glacier Horse Riding




the old snow ghost road

Vista just past Ghost Lake Hut

By Emily Miazga, M.Sc. Clinical Nutrition, 3x Coast to Coast World

Multisport Champ and Creator of Em’s Power Cookies

Do you have a favourite ride, tramp, or route

that you have done several times and never

grow tired of it? I do. For me, I am fortunate

to have the Old Ghost Road in my backyard

and naturally, I have done it several times

either via running, tramping and mountain

biking (including before it was the “OGR”).

It is a pretty hard track to beat. It has a

diverse range of wilderness-porn on offer;

native beech forest, open alpine vistas,

rocky outcrops, virgin untouched bush, and

the fantastic Mokihinui Gorge. It is a natural

adventure bliss ball. Whenever I have

family or friends visiting, an obligatory jaunt

even just part way up the track, is a regular

feature and always a surefire wow-factor

outing that I never get bored of.

As we were heading into spring, it felt like

it was time to do another dash through the

Ghost. My riding partner Craig wanted to

ride all 3 of the West Coast tracks (Ghost,

Heaphy and Paparoa), so we started with

the Ghost. The original plan was to ride

it over 2 days. Day 1 was from the Lyell

through to Goat Creek hut, which is the

small, rustic DoC hut about 8km south of the

Mokihinui Forks. This section made up about

57 km of the 85km track. Day 2

was to be a shorter day, just 28km,

passing by the Forks and then out

the Gorge to the Seddonville end of

the track. From there, it is a further

road ride to finish at my house,

north of Westport.

The spring weather had been brisk,

and so we were expecting some

snow over the short alpine section

of the track, maybe 3-4km along

the highest part. The timing of the

ride coincided with school holidays,

so we were keen to get up and

through to Goat Creek Hut in

order to avoid the bigger crowded

huts. We knew we had to make

good time if we were to encounter

some snow which can be slow to cross,

however we were not too concerned about it

significantly affecting the ride.

"It has a diverse range

of wilderness-porn on

offer; native beech forest,

open alpine vistas,

rocky outcrops, virgin

untouched bush, and

the fantastic Mokihinui

Gorge. It is a natural

adventure bliss ball."

Heaven’s Door


Morning deep snow at Ghost Lake Hut








adventure basecamp

"Attempting riding through the snow

was impossible, at least for us. We

lowered our tyre pressure and gave it a

few tries, but it was completely futile."














the beaten

track has you

covered - Ask

about our

multi stay


accommodation, bike hire & sales, bike tours

info@otbta.co.nz | www.otbtamurchison.co.nz

+64 3 782 1337



Café open 10am - 5pm daily October - April

Accommodation available year round

We started riding from the Lyell end around midmorning

and were surprised to see snow quite early

on, about 7-8km in. This was both intriguing, and a little

worrisome because of how low the elevation was. I

began to wonder what was in store as we climbed. We

soon found out. At 18km when we arrived at the Lyell

Saddle Hut, the snow was thick, very well-established

and not showing any sign of getting lighter. It was a

fine day and ironically not cold at all, even when I got

the giggles and fell over into the cold white fluff.

Attempting riding through the snow was impossible, at

least for us. We lowered our tyre pressure and gave

it a few tries, but it was completely futile. So, it turned

into a hike-a-bike day, and a long one at that. The

distance from the Lyell Saddle Hut to the Ghost Lake

Hut is about 12km. We pushed our bikes the whole

way. The first 6-7km of climbing up to the tops was

actually pleasant but I was worried about getting cold,

especially my feet which were saturated the whole

time. Also, I was not that bike fit so I started to doubt

if I was getting into something over my head with

the challenging conditions. I had never experienced

anything like that on a bike which is ironic, being raised

in Canada. Where I come from if there was snow, you

donned skis, not mountain bikes!


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Traversing along the alpine section with impressive icicles

To overcome any self-doubt, I simply put my mind over

matter practice into gear which is something that I am very

familiar with. Just like any challenge, we broke it down and

just put one foot in front of the other and carried on pushing

through with a good attitude. We were well-equipped with

our gear, and we are both strong athletes.

The open alpine section was exhilarating and exceptionally

beautiful. There were deep banks of snow and massive

icicles most of the way. The temperature was chilly but we

stayed warm by laughing and getting stuck into the physical

work of pushing and lifting our bikes through the snow. We

had a fair bit of weight to push, especially Craig, due to our

gourmet food and a few cans of IPA beer we had on board. It

was actually really fun!

We arrived at Ghost Lake Hut by late afternoon, much later

than planned, and clearly needed to bunk in for the night.

There was no way we could have made it to Goat Creek hut

because the low elevation of the snow meant we still had

several kms to push through. The hut was pretty full with

trampers so we camped out in one of the unheated sleepouts

which was fine once we got into our sleeping bags.

The next day we set out for more pushing through the

snow past the Skyline ridge, down the steps and another

couple kms down the descent towards the Stern Creek Hut.

Altogether, we covered about 17km of snowy hike-a-biking.

Once we hit dry ground, we had a little celebration, pumped

up our tyres and rode away like the wind. The snowscape

made this trip a memorable one, and certainly turned the

familiar ride into a very different and unique Old Ghost Road


Happy trails!

Powergirl Em

Adventure starts with Rad

23 Locations




- www.radcarhire.co.nz


| 0800 73 68 23 | adventure@radcarhire.co.nz

Ellie-Jean in Tahiti at the start of her surfing career

Image by Steve Dickinson

Shooting Ellie-Jean in action in Tahiti back in our Curl days when she was all

about surfing - mage by Steve Dickinson

Putting yourself out there

By Steve Dickinson

From a young age she was aware she was cute, the quintessential surfer

girl, long blond hair, dark tan, huge smile, and a feminine shape.

Kicking over a can of worms; as

a journalist sometimes you do it

on purpose but other times you

just stop and go ‘whoa, I didn’t

expect that.’

After I put down the phone

for the fifth time, listening to

someone from the surf industry

nervously want to know more

details about this story, I went

‘whoa, I didn’t expect that.’

About 12 years ago I met Ellie-

Jean Coffey when she was

about fourteen; she was fresh

faced and lived in a bus with

her sisters and parents. Her

mother had had a skateboarding

accident and needed care, so

her father gave up his job as a

builder, sold the house, bought

a bus and the family travelled

around Australia fishing and

surfing. A somewhat idyllic

lifestyle and the perfect breeding

ground for a young girl wanting

to become a good surfer, which

she did.

She started to compete at the

age of ten and was soon picked

by Billabong and sponsored

onto the world surfing stage.

She got to travel and surf some

of the best destinations in the

world and at one stage was

ranked in the top 23 in the world.

It was during this time that I

worked with Ellie-Jean, shooting

in Australia, Tahiti, and Hawaii.

From the very beginning she

was aware she was cute, the

quintessential surfer girl, long

blond hair, dark tan, huge smile,

and a feminine shape.

Everything seemed to be

going perfectly at first, the

surf industry seemed to be

strong and in 2005 to 2008, her

sponsors began to expand their

portfolio. They acquired several

expensive brands; Von Zipper

eyewear, Element Skateboards,

Honolua Surf Company,

Nixon watches, action sports

accessories label DaKine and

Canadian action sports retailer

West 49. Unfortunately, it was a

poorly timed move that left them

with rapidly depreciating assets

just as the global economic

crisis hit and sales and the

whole surf industry began to


As all the major surf industry

brands began to lose traction

so sponsored surfers began

to lose contracts. This period

was like Armageddon for the

surf industry, there were more

people than ever surfing, but the

masses turned more towards a

counterculture and away from

those foundation surf brands like

Billabong, Quiksilver, Rip Curl,

Volcom. These big brands were

still making money but not on

the same scale, the glory days

were gone.

The first area of financial

restructure to feel the bite were

the sponsored surfers, the

seemingly most expendable

were the female surfers and

they were the first to lose their

contracts, but not Ellie-Jean.

During this unsettled time Ellie-

Jean began to capitalise more

on her looks than her surfing

achievements. Her Instagram

images showed more cleavage,

A young Ellie-Jean on the

left with her family

Image supplied

her bikinis became smaller, her

images and small video clips

more engaging.

At the same time social media

started to get a real foothold

and Ellie-Jean was one of the

first to jump on the Instagram

bandwagon and her following

rocketed, (currently she has

over a million followers).

But it was not all plain sailing

for Ellie-Jean. Being young and

away from home a lot made

her very vulnerable. She has

recently been in the world press

voicing her experiences with the

abuse, mental and physically,

that she suffered, in her words,

“by those in power in the surf

industry”. She does not go so

far as to name names, but it

does not surprise me in the

slightest. At that time we ran

Curl Magazine, which was a

magazine created for female

surfers and it was via that

platform that we heard a lot of

ugly stories about the pressures

that some of these young

women were under in terms of

how they looked, their sexuality,

how they performed, plus all the

normal teenage pressures.

At one stage, while shooting

in Tahiti, we were asked if the

industry employed photographer

could join us. I was shooting

Paige Hareb (the now Kiwi

legend) and Ellie-Jean from a

small boat. We welcomed the

photographer along and straight

away there was a different

feel to the shoot, it just felt

uncomfortable. Our focus was to

show how amazing these girls

surfed. He thought his job was

to shoot how they looked. He

shot more of the girls paddling

in bikinis than he did them riding

waves. At one stage he asked

could the girls hold hands while

surfing, which we said no to

as it was demeaning; these

were young sports women not

performing seals.

Later he produced a branded

towel and ask Ellie-Jean to take

her top off and wrap herself in

the towel, again we stopped that

from happening but it brought

into focus the attitude of some

of the industry and the pressure

the girls were under. I discussed

this recently with some in the

industry and they were adamant

that was not the directive from

the sponsors and that was the

photographer’s own choice.

But just thumb through any surf

magazine of that era or any

website (some still even now) and

the objectives are very clear, if

not spoken.

As the surf industry continued to

shrink, so the scramble for the

sponsorship dollars increased.

Ellie-Jean had focused more

and more on her social media,

developing a real and engaged


One of Ellie-Jean's

latest Instagram posts

Image supplied


Ellie-Jean still surfing - Image supplied

The 16-second clip shows the

blonde beauty practicing her

surf training on a skateboard,

her enviable cleavage and super

fit body on display.”

From the infamous skating clip - Image supplied

of innocents that led her from one

promotional stage to another? My

guess looking at all the pieces of this

puzzle is that it was a mixture of all


Ellie-Jean Coffey has always put

herself ‘out there’. She has been

vilified in chatrooms and websites

across the internet. She has been on

TV and questioned about her social

media and sexuality, she has been

on the front pages of newspapers

around the world because of

accusations and career choices. She

may not be seen an advocate for

women’s rights, but it was her who

voiced the issues within the male

dominated surf industry. She had

the courage to stand-up and make

a personal and revealing statement

and the reaction has been both

positive and negative.

From professional surfer to adult

entertainer, Ellie-Jeans career path

has always been one of performance

– but at least now ‘she’ is in control.

Thumb through any mag surf magazine of that era or any website (some

still even now) and the objectives are very clear, if not spoken.

The difference between the opening "News" page and the opening page for

their "Girls" section is all too clear to see in this online surf publication.

There was a lot of criticism that

what she was doing was just

soft porn. At age 21 she was

ranked 23rd in the world and was

thrown into the limelight when

a 16 second video clip of her

skateboarding went viral. It was

a little raunchy but harmless,

however it cemented her online


On the other side of the world the

Daily Mail in the UK described the


“The 16-second clip shows the

blonde beauty practicing her surf

training on a skateboard, her

enviable cleavage and super fit

body on display.”

The surf industry continued to

spiral into its own recession and

only a few sponsored female

surfers, one of which was Ellie-

Jean, remained. Not because

she was the best surfer but

because she had the greatest

following. When discussing with

her previous sponsors they were

adamant that keeping Ellie-Jean

had nothing to do with her sexy

profile but because of her huge

social media following. But her

following was only marginally due

to her surfing and mostly due to

her ever declining bikinis and

ample cleavage.

Now that might be an indictment

on the surf industry, but since

marketing began, we have always

known sex sells. The sponsor

may not have been using sex

to sell products; however they

knew it is what fed the following.

But let me note here that Ellie-

Jean was still surfing great, she

still competed and was often

successful, she knew better

than anyone that her brand was

herself and she marketed herself


As the tide of time came in

and out a few times, Ellie-Jean

started pushing the boundaries

of Instagram and the beach babe

surf shots became more lingerie

and mirrors and then slowly the

introduction and promotion of

other products and other brands

and she eventually distanced

herself completely from her


Ellie-Jean capitalised on her

nurtured Instagram exposure

and developed it. It gave her the

foundation of a huge following,

over a million. A following that

was marketed and fed by the surf

industry but eventually she simply

outgrew them. She led the way

into a new era of digital promotion

and left the surf industry in her


Ellie-Jean has never been

shy about her sexuality,

and alongside the ‘Me Too’

movement she has been vocal

about her negative experiences

as a young woman within that

industry. A lot of this came to

light in the media when she

launched her own website www.

ellieunlocked.com which is an

adult site, tagged ‘uncensored

content, private chat and more’.

She again was criticised that

her comments on the toxic

surf culture was just a stunt

to get promotion for the site.

Firstly, it does not matter if it

was, it happened and not only

to Ellie-Jean but to lots of the

other girls. We now live in an

era where there are a lot of

organisations and sports being

called to account for the way

things were done. We were

contacted by a few in the surf

industry and asked about this

editorial, and we were told that

any issues had been dealt at the

time ‘amicably’, ‘accusations were

made and people were fired’. But

just because you pull up one weed

you are naive to think that was the

only one.

The reveal from Ellie-Jean about

her experiences in the surf

industry were not leverage to

get attention; Ellie-Jean didn’t

need any sort of gimmick, just

the fact that a sports woman, a

professional surfer had moved

into the adult industry would

be exposure enough (no pun


Talking to her about this new

stage, about her adult site she

says that it is empowering, that

she has control over what she

says, shows and does and there is

no other ‘sponsor’ directing. Even

if you do not agree morally that

her path has been a positive one,

you must accept that her ability to

capitalise on her exposure both

literally and figurative has been

hugely successful.

Was it planned or was it just

luck? Was it just the right time,

right place? Or was it a string of

coincidences, linked to a loss

At one stage Ellie-Jean was ranked #23 in the world

Image supplied


8 Tips for Visiting the Outer

Islands of Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s outer islands are rich in culture,

landscape and adventure, but before you

book your flights and hop over to this

tropical paradise, it’s important to get some

tips to help you understand the nuance of

this family of islands. Here are some things

you need to know before booking your

Vanuatu escape.

Get used to island time

Make sure you don’t bring your traditional

approach to time and tourism to Vanuatu.

Sure, you may be told your charter flight

will leave the outer island airport at 2pm,

or that your driver will pick you up at 11am,

but don’t be mad if nobody arrives on

time. It’s not done out of spite, or laziness,

there’s just no reason to rush. If you

always keep a good book tucked away in

your backpack, or a deck of cards, you’ll

be just fine. Have a couple of buffer days

at the end of your trip as well, just in case!


Tell your friends and family you’ll be

back soon, you’re going off-grid

It’s so easy to romanticise going off grid –

lying back under coconut palms, floating in

crystal clear waters. Being disconnected

from the cyber world can be both anxiety

inducing and incredible freeing. However,

going ‘off-grid’ in the outer islands of

Vanuatu means more than just no internet.

It often means no electricity either. While

the capital city of Port Vila and main

tourism towns have power and modern

amenities, this is not the case everywhere.

Unplugging is part of the charm of the

remote islands of Vanuatu, but it does

mean you need to be prepared. Pack

some spare batteries for your camera and

let your friends and family know you may

be out of contact for a few days. You can

get a local sim card, but they don’t work

everywhere. Understand that a lack of

electricity will affect your ability to have

a hot shower, run a fan in the heat of

the day and flush a toilet. This is a great

opportunity to let it all go, soak up the sun

and the culture, and sink into Vanuatu life.

Get ready to dance

Often, when you have the privilege of

witnessing a traditional cultural dance in

an outer island village, a smiling local will

drag you into the circle, teach you how

to move, and encourage you to dance

and sing. Embrace this! Move your hips

and stomp your feet and laugh with the

children. Once you allow yourself to let

go, you’ll be dancing your way across the


Pack your hiking boots

Vanuatu’s outer islands aren't just isolated

beaches and fresh coconuts. There

are hundreds of hikes and volcanoes

and waterfalls that will take your breath

away. Good (waterproof) hiking boots are

essential if you’re the adventurous type.

Wet weather gear wouldn’t be a bad idea

either– you never know when the tropical

rains might hit.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, stock up

on the main islands. There are few

stores dotted around the outer islands,

but they don’t always have the variety of

snacks you may be craving – although

the fruit will be unbelievably good. If you

fly into Santo or Port Vila, stock up there.

We recommend Aelan chocolate – it’s

a social enterprise that makes the most

delicious chocolate, with cocoa grown

from the volcanic soil across the outer


Pack your own snorkel gear

If you’re a keen diver, you’ll be

overwhelmed by just how many reefs

there are to explore. You won’t always be

able to source gear to rent, so if you love

to explore the underwater world, it’s best

you bring your own snorkel and goggles.

You never know who you might meet

under there: a sleepy dugong, a friendly

turtle or an excitable pod of dolphins.

Be Prepared

While adventure is why we are here,

drama is not. Realising that you are going

into remote areas where there is very little

infrastructure, adjust how you prepare

your gear to suit this reality. Ensure you

have a good medical first aid kit, take

plenty of cash (there are no ATMs in

the remote islands), insect repellents,

bag liners for wet days, pack spares of

necessary items (batteries), medication

and so on. Grab what you need before

you go.

For more information on Vanuatu’s

Outer Islands www.vanuatu.travel


Book most of your activities when you

get there

I know it’s tempting to book everything

before you go – to get on that plane with

a clear plan and a strict itinerary. But

you can’t do that for the outer islands of

Vanuatu. And that’s part of the magic.

It’s part of the essence of this network of

islands. It’s not about how much you can

jam pack into a small amount of time. It’s

not about aligning things this way and

that. It’s about immersing yourself into

the way of life of the Vanuatu people.

Your loose plans will change. You’ll learn

about an activity that wasn’t listed online.

If you come with a vague idea but nothing

set in stone, you’ll leave yourself open to

the unexpected adventures that await in

Vanuatu. You’ll also see the most beautiful

side of the people who love to care and

share – so let them!



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

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A leading importer and

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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

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The ultimate sandals

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Full-service outfitter selling hiking

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Specialising in ski & snowboard

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skis, boards, bindings, skins,

probs, shovels,transceivers &

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Whether you’re climbing mountains, hiking in the hills

or travelling the globe, Macpac gear is made to last

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Fast nourishing freeze dried food for adventurers.


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Specialists in the sale of Outdoor Camping Equipment, RV,

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Jetboil builds super-dependable

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Supplying tents and

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for over 30 years, Kiwi

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Outdoor equipment store specialising in ski retail, ski

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Making great gear for the outdoors,

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Xmas gift GUIDE

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Outdoor Research

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The jacket to pack when you

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times more tear resistant than the

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completely waterproof yet breathable

and able to be stowed in its chest

pocket with a carabiner loop to

enable you to hang it off your pack

or harness for easy access..

RRP $299.99


Rab Momentum Shorts

The Momentum Shorts are light

and robust with a quick dry time

and full freedom of movement.

From steep climbs up jagged

peaks to traversing ridges,

designed for covering greater

distances at pace. Made from

lightweight but durable Matrix

double weave fabric they offer

full freedom of movement when

hiking, running or scrambling

in the mountains. Treated with

a DWR these shorts will repel

water during light showers and

dry quickly.

RRP $99.95


Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap

This versatile cap can be worn with

or without the removable, adjustable

skirt. Attach to give you shelter from

the harsh sun or remove when you just

want a cap. It's made from lightweight

fabric with UPF 30+ sun protection.

Mesh side panels allows air flow over

the sides of your head.

RRP $44.90


Outdoor Research Performance Trucker Cap

Go with the Flow! Breathable, lightweight,

quick-drying cap with a comfortable FlexFit®

110 construction and a floating, water-resistant

performance. Just what you need to keep sun and

water off your face or adventuring on water.

RRP $49.95


Marmot PreCip ECO Rain Jacket

Meet the lightweight PreCip Eco Rain Jacket.

The waterproof/breathable, PFC-free Marmot

NanoPro recycled nylon face fabric lasts longer

than ever, thanks to the advanced technology of

our microporous coating. Sturdier, more durable

than ever, and with a patented dry-touch finish, this

packable water-repelling jacket that stuffs into its

own pocket will become an everyday piece that you

can feel good in and about. It's topped off with an

updated fit and the same fully functional features

you love, like a stowable hood, adjustable hem, and

heat-releasing PitZips. The DriClime-lined chin

guard wicks away moisture to help prevent chafing.

RRP $199.95 (Wm’s Plus $249.95)


Rab Arc Jacket

Mans and womens Pertex Shield® 3

layer rain jacket offers rain and weather

proofing as well as stretch. Easily

packable, helmet-compatible hood and

easily accessible A-line chest pockets,

perfect for year-round use in uncertain

weather conditions.

RRP $399.95


Outdoor Research

ActiveIce Sun Sleeves

Built from an innovative fabric

that cools you as it wicks away

perspiration and provides UPF 50+

protection from New Zealand’s harsh

sun. A must-have for paddlers, trail

runners, trampers and anyone else

who spends serious time in the sun.

RRP $39.90


Rab Momentum Pull-on

The Momentum Pull-On is

designed for those looking for

that extra layer of protection in

varied conditions.Made from

durable, wind-resistant Matrix

softshell with a UPF50+, this

versatile layer protects from

both the wind and sun while

highly breathable Motiv side

panels ensure full freedom of

movement. Ideal for breezy

MTB days.

RRP $139.95


Patagonia Men's Baggies Shorts - 5 In

These rugged, multifunctional shorts are designed for use in

and out of the water. Made with quick-drying 100% recycled

nylon, they are Fair Trade Certified sewn.

RRP $79.99



Back Country Cuisine


chicken and pasta dish, served in a creamy

italian style sauce. Available in small serve

90g or regular serve 175g sizes.


Mushrooms with tomato in a savory sauce,

served with noodles. Available in small

serve 90g or regular serve 175g sizes.

RRP $9.29 and $13.89


take on chocolate self-saucing pudding,

with chocolate brownie, boysenberries and

chocolate sauce. Gluten Free. Available in

regular serve.

RRP 150g $12.89


Jetboil Flash 2.0


Blistering boil times come standard on

our industry-leading Flash. By modelling

the combustion and selecting materials

to optimize efficiency, we were able to

create the fastest Jetboil ever — cutting

a full minute off our best boil time.

RRP $249.95


Jetboil MiniMo

It's about cooking. MiniMo

delivers UNMATCHED simmer

control, metal handles, and a

low spoon angle for easy eating!

Starting with the innovative new

valve design, MiniMo delivers

the finest simmer control of any

upright canister system on the


RRP $329.95




SINCE 1998

Wherever your next

adventure is about to

lead you, we’ve got

the goods to keep you


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 $4.09


Deep creek undercurrent


ABV: 5.0%

330ml Cans I 6 Packs

50L Kegs I 30L Key Kegs

Trophy for Best International

Lager at the Australian

International Beer Awards 2019!

This New Zealand pilsner is

derived from the traditional

Czech style. Brewed with pilsner

malt and cold-fermented with

lager yeast; but that's where the

tradition ends. We use all New

Zealand hops and put most of

them late in the brew to promote

more hop flavour and aroma

than you would expect from a

traditional pilsner.

Crisp and clean with a distinctive

New Zealand hop character.

Available in local liquor stores or



Deep creek Señorita

Chilli Hazy IPA

ABV: 6.5%

This is one beautiful

Senorita. Pouring a vibrant

thick golden hue, like mango

nectar, this sweet thing has

a fiery edge, from our own

chilli oil. The base of malted

barley, wheat and oats are

painted with a mixture of NZ

and American hops giving

sensual tropical flavours of

mango, balanced with citrus

and a hint of passionfruit.

Sink into the soulful eyes

of this Senorita and spice

up your life. Available

in local liquor stores or



Gasmate 3L Watertech Portable Hot Water


Heats up to 3 litres per minute and features

adjustable temperature and water flow settings.

Handheld showerhead, gas fitting, automatic

ignition, and LED temperature display screen.

RRP $499.00


sea to summit X Kettle 1.3L

The X-Kettle is a tiny addition to your kit, collapsing to 35mm. A

1.0L safe boiling capacity is perfect for a cup of tea or cocoa on

the trail. With the increasing popularity of freeze dried food the

X-Kettle is all you need for two warm meals in one boil.

RRP $69.99


KIWI CAMping Aura LED Lantern

with Bluetooth Speaker

3 gadgets in 1 device. Bluetooth music

from up to 10 metres away. 5 lighting

modes including strobe and flashing.

And a quick charge USB output that

charges most devices.

RRP $99.99


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 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


Sunsaver Super-Flex 14-Watt

Solar Charger

Putting out over 2.5-Amps of output

on a sunny day you’ll charge your

phone and devices in no time at all,

straight from the sun.

RRP: $199.00


Jetboil fuel

Jetpower fuel contains a blend of propane and iso-butane.

Propane provides higher vapour pressure to the fuel which

means better performance in cold weather. Fuel efficiency

translates to weight, space, and money savings.

RRP $7.99 - $16.99


gasmate High Output Cooker & Pot Set

Feed the masses on the go. Monitor and control the temperature

easily. All parts pack away into the 20L aluminium stock pot, then

into the carry bag.

RRP $249.00


sea to summit Aeros Premium Pillow

A luxurious high-performance pillow without the weight

and bulk. Perfect for travel and camping where you can

risk a couple more grams for a great night's sleep. The

pillowcase construction allows the outer shell to retain

maximum softness while still being supported by a high

strength TPU bladder.

RRP $64.99


Hydro Flask 12oz & 20oz Food Jars

Our NEW 12oz (354mL) and 20oz

(591mL) Insulated Food Jars keep food at

the perfect temperature, no matter where

your travels take you.

RRP $69.99-$79.99



Deuter Drybags

40D Ripstop PA, 10,000mm waterproof

1, 5, 8, 15, 20, 30Litre options

These Deuter - German designed lightweight drybags offer

maximum protection for your gear from the elements. A simple

roll top closure & D loop for additional security, welded seams

on a strong but lightweight fabric keeps your gear dry & secure

on any adventure.

RRP $19.95 – $49.95


Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

The Nemo Helio is a compact & portable

shower option. With 5 – 7 minutes of

water, you can enjoy a wash anywhere.

A quick foot pump for pressure means it

doesn’t need gravity to work. Clean dog,

clean gear, clean you!

RRP $219.95


KIWI CAMping Rover Lite Self-Inflating Mat

Compressible foam core inflates/deflates with the

twist of a valve. Tapered mummy design fits in

most sleeping bags. Durable soft stretch fabric for

extra comfort. Weight: 900gm

RRP $99.99


Hydro Flask 64oz (1.9L) Wide Mouth

Summer calls for BIG adventures, so we

created a flask that holds enough fluid to

keep the whole crew hydrated for the day!

RRP $129.99




goodbye ouch sun balm

Finally, a certified natural sunscreen

that is high performance AND that was

a joy to use. Six years in development,

outdoor guides and product makers

John and Becky created a world first

suncreen formulation. This is one

you can rely on. With high water

resistance, it will protect you in water

environments and not run into eyes

when you sweat. It is fully tested to

the New Zealand sunscreen standard,

certified natural by NATRUE and

with its cocoa butter and coconut oils

it smells amazing and glides over

skin to give smooth, clear protective

coverage. It is a water-free formula

giving antioxidant support in efficient

applications and small carry sizes for

life outdoors.Available in supermarkets

and health stores in New Zealand, or

online at www.goodbye.co.nz

Nalgene Water Bottles - on the fly 650ml / Tritan Wide

Mouth / Tritan Narrow Mouth 500ml

BPA Free, Impact Resistant,

Withstands -135degrees - +135degrees, 500ml – 1 Litre

The Original Water Bottle for every adventure. Brilliantly

practical and virtually indestructible these bottles are designed

for the outdoors and will fit any lifestyle!

RRP $24.95 - $29.95


Less weight.

More Trailblazing.

Introducing Trail Series - 25% Lighter.

With TempShield insulation.

KIWI CAMping Fave Chair

Compact and lightweight

camping and events chair.

Padded double-layer

400/600D polyester, sturdy

steel frame, adjustable

arms, and cup holder.

Supplied with carry bag.

Weight limit: 100kg.

helinox chair zero

CHAIR ZERO will never make

you choose between comfort and

weight. Smaller and lighter than

a water bottle, it's what your body

craves at the end of a long day of


• The lightest Helinox chair at


• Compact size & featherweight

design makes for an easy


• Easy to assemble with single

shock corded pole structure

• Frame constructed from DAC

aluminum poles

• Seat made from Ripstop


• Backed by a 5 year warranty

RRP $199.99

RRP $79.99



Macpac Epic HyperDRY Down

600 Sleeping Bag

A lightweight alpine sleeping bag,

the mummy-shaped Epic 600

features water-resistant 800 loft

HyperDRY RDS goose down

and ultralight Pertex® Quantum

fabric. It has horizontal baffles, a

laminated draft tube and a down

collar with a recessed drawcord. It

comes with a waterproof vacuum

seal sack and large mesh storage

sack. Temperature Rating: comfort

-5°C, limit -12°C, extreme -32°C.

Weight: 1091 g (ISO 23537-1

tested and weighed STD size)

RRP $899.99


Marmot Never Winter down Sleeping Bag

The Never Winter Sleeping Bag is ideal for warmweather

camping and river trips—with added upgrades

that’ll keep you comfortable even when you’re far

from home. Its lofty 650-fill-power-down insulation and

water-resistant Down Defender treatment will keep you

warm and dry in mild conditions. After an epic day of

adventuring, give your feet a rest in the roomy wraparound

footbox with a heater pocket. Stretch tricot baffles

help keep the fill in place, while the nautilus multi-baffle

hood with a drawcord and full-length two-way zipper with

a draft tube limit heat loss. If the interior gets too warm,

use the fold-down secondary zipper to get some air. Tuck

small items into the internal stash pocket.

EN Temperature Rating: Comfort 3.6°C / Lower Limit

-1.7°C / Extreme -17.8°

RRP $499.00 (LONG $549.00)



The pinnacle of innovation, the Mythic 200 Sleeping bag is

an ultra lightweight down sleeping bag with the best warmth

to weight ratio in the Rab range. Designed for mountain

activists looking to reduce weight while moving through

the mountains, for use in warmer conditions where weight

and packsize are crucial to success, such as long multi day

routes or summer trekking.

Pertex® Quantum 10 Denier Inner and Outer, 900FP R.D.S

Certified European Goose Down, Rab® Fluorocarbon free

Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax®

Trapezoidal baffle chamber design, Mummy taper shape

Limit 1°C(34°F

Weight 475g

RRP $1099.95


Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag

Don’t cancel your next overnight adventure just because the

forecast is calling for a little rain—bring the all-purpose Trestles 30

Sleeping Bag, built to perform in cool and damp conditions as you’re

backpacking, trekking, mountaineering, and more. SpiraFil highloft

insulation will keep you warm even when things get wet. After a

long day of exploring, zip up the full-length two-way zipper and give

your feet a rest in the roomy 3D footbox. Its wave-construction top

and blanket-construction bottom provide an unbeatable combo of

maximum loft, warmth, and comfort. If the interior gets too toasty,

use the fold-down secondary zipper to get some air. Tuck small

items into the stash pocket for easy access.

EN Temperature Rating: Comfort 2.3°C / Lower Limit -3.2°C /

Extreme -19.8°C

RRP $189.95


Marmot Catalyst 2P Tent

Designed as a roomy, livable tent that is still light

in weight, the freestanding Catalyst 2P has all

the ideal features for a casual camping trip, like

a seam-taped catenary cut floor, color-coded

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

along with enough room and pockets to stash and

organize all your necessary gear.

Minimum Weight: 4lbs 11oz (2130g)

Maximum Weight: 5lbs 3oz (2360g)

Floor Area: 32.5 sq ft, 3.0 sq m

Vestibule Area: 9.5 sq ft, 0.88 sq m | 6.7 sq ft, 0.62

sq m

RRP $399.95


KIWI camping weka 2 Hiker Tent

Spacious two-person tent with vestibule and double entrances.

Fits in a backpack, ideal for all year-round hiking. 4000mm

aqua rated fly with SPF50 UV coating. 3-year warranty.

RRP $299.00




The MTN Trainer Mid GTX is a lightweight trekking boot with

a robust suede leather upper and a waterproof breathable

GORE-TEX® lining. The dual-density Bilight TPU midsole is

ergonomically shaped to provide extra flexibility and increased

comfort on both ascents and descents during alpine trekking

in mixed and technical terrain.

Fit: Standard / Weight (M) 700 g (W) 570 g

RRP $499.90


Chaco Z/CLOUD 2 Sandal

Want your Classic Sandals with pillow-top comfort, plus a toe

loop? Introducing our travel-ready Z/Cloud series, featuring our

same custom adjustable strap system, performance ChacoGrip?

rubber outsole, and a top layer of ultra-soft PU for instant-cushion

underfoot. Every pair comes standard with our podiatrist-certified

LUVSEAT PU footbed for all-day comfort and support. Step in and

feel the difference.

RRP $159.95



Out of the box comfort for your outside the box adventures.

Our iconic hiking boot for men brings an updated look to

all-terrain adventures. We carried over the fit, durability, and

performance of our award-winning Targhee waterproof boot

and took its rugged looks to a new dimension. Key features:

• KEEN.DRY - A proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane

that lets vapor out without letting water in.

• METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN - This internal support

mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent

arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.

Available: Key outdoor retailers across New Zealand.

RRP $319.99


Chaco Z/CLOUD Sandal

Want your Classic Sandals with pillow-top comfort? Introducing

our travel-ready Z/Cloud series, featuring our same custom

adjustable strap system, performance ChacoGripTM rubber

outsole, and a top layer of ultra-soft PU for instant-cushion

underfoot. Every pair comes standard with our podiatrist-certified

LUVSEATTM PU footbed for all-day comfort and support. Step in

and feel the difference.

RRP $159.95



The Crow GTX is a versatile boot designed for mixed use on

general alpine terrain, featuring an abrasion-resistant fabric

upper with a GORE-TEX ® Performance Comfort lining, a

semi-automatic crampon-compatible Vibram ® New Mulaz

outsole, and a full rubber rand for protection against rock and


Fit: Standard / Weight: (M) 675 g (W) 570 g

RRP $499.90



Our MTN Trainer 2 Leather is a robust low-cut alpine approach

shoe with a suede upper and a Vibram outsole made for heavy

use. Its hard-wearing upper has a full protective rubber rand

and a high-quality, supple and breathable full-grain leather

lining. The climbing lacing system can be fine-tuned at the toe,

while the expanded PU midsole provides long-lasting shock

absorbency and rebound. Fit: Standard / Weight: 499 g

RRP $399.90


Chaco Odyssey Sandal

Overcome rivers, trails, and expectations. The allterrain,

closed-toe Odyssey sport sandal delivers the

durability of a hiker, the freedom of a barefoot trainer,

and the performance you need from land to water.

RRP $179.95



The Targhee Boot is ready for any hike, anytime. Our

iconic hiking boot for women brings an updated look to allterrain

adventures. We carried over the fit, durability, and

performance of our award-winning Targhee waterproof boot

and took its rugged looks to a new dimension. Key features:

• KEEN.DRY - A proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane

that lets vapor out without letting water in.

• METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN - This internal support

mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent

arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.

Available: Key outdoor retailers across New Zealand.

RRP $319.99



The Wildfire Edge GTX is an approach shoe that can be adapted

from hiking mode to climbing mode - Simply tighten the switch-fit

lacing system at the rear eyelet and then do them up. This way,

you pull your foot forward into the toebox, compressing your toes

like a climbing shoe. The Pomoca Speed MTN outsole offers

enhanced grip and friction in both dry and wet conditions.

Fit: Precise / Weight: (M) 437 g (W) 369 g

RRP $399.90



The Wildfire has a precise-fitting upper made from robust mesh

and our EXA Shell injected 3D cage for enhanced torsional

stability; this works together with our 3F system to wrap your foot

for flexibility, fit and firm ankle and heel support. The versatile

POMOCA Speed Mountain outsole offers grip, traction and surefooted

climbing precision on technical mountain approaches,

scrambles, traverses and climbs. Fit: STANDARD / Weight: (W)

330 g

RRP $299.90




You’ve got your mates

sorted with this set-up,

including the coffee.

• X-Brew Coffee Dripper

• DeltaLight Camp Set 2.2

2 Mugs / 2 Bowls / 2 Cutlery Sets

• Alpha / Sigma Pot 2.7L + 3.7L

• 10” Alpha Pan

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 40L

Patagonia's smallest Black Hole® Duffel is perfect

for small loads and long weekends. It is made

with tough 100% recycled body fabric, lining and


RRP $209.99


RAB Expedition Kitbag 80

The Kitbag 80 is a hardwearing, heavy duty kitbag,

designed to keep your gear safe and withstand the rigors

of an expedition. Made using a tough and durable 600D

fabric and is coated with a water-resistant film. Triplestitched

seams and a double thickness base add further

to the ruggedness of the Kitbag. Contents are easily

accessible through a large, lockable main opening, and

there are even 2 internal pockets underneath the lid. For

transportation, there are two detachable shoulder straps,

4 handles and daisy-chain lash points. Ideal for high

altitude and polar expeditions, or for prolonged periods of

travel and trekking.

RRP $179.95


osprey Daylite Pack


uncomplicated, durable

and with a comfortable

carry, Osprey’s Daylite

pack has proven to

be wildly popular. It

continues to serve well as an add-on pack for traveling as well as

standing on their own with their incredible versatility.

• Large panel-loading main compartment

• Attaches to a variety of compatible Osprey packs

• Side mesh pockets

• Front pocket with mesh organizer and key clip

• Spacermesh shoulder straps with integrated handle

• Multi-function interior sleeve for hydration or tablet

• Mesh-covered backpanel with slotted foam

• Available in Black, Real Red and Stone Grey

RRP $99.99





This set-up works because

it’s so space efficient. It’s all

about packing and leaving as

quickly as we can when the

forecast is good.

• X-Pot 2.8l

• X-Pan + X-Kettle

• Delta Plates x 2

• Delta Cutlery x 2

• Insulmugs x 2




Find a stockist: southernapproach.co.nz

osprey Hikelite 26 Pack

If you're looking for a simple pack that provides excellent comfort,

incredible ventilation, and added features like an integrated

raincover, the Hikelite 26 is the right pack for you.

• Integrated raincover

• Trekking pole attachment with upper compression strap


• Internal hydration sleeve accommodates up to a 3L


• Scratch resistant organization pocket for sunglasses and


• Stretch mesh side pockets for storing smaller items

• Upper side compression straps

• Sternum strap with whistle

• Removable webbing hipbelt

• Front shove it pocket

RRP $189.99


Our Mission.

We make thoughtful, beautifully

designed gear that moves people.

Towards nature. Towards happy.

And towards each other.

Because life is an adventure

and we’re glad to be with you for

every step, sip, & smile along the way.

Come on. Let’s go!


RRP: $45.00-$80.00


An unlucky

beginning to a

350,000km long


By Bridget Thackwray

and Topher Richwhite

After meeting each other only two months earlier,

through a mix of reckless lust and spontaneous

adventure, we came up with an idea. Together,

we would drive the planet. Inspired by Gunther

Holtorff’s 24-year world tour, we put pen to paper

and drew up a 350,000km-long route through

all 7 continents and 90 countries. This would

become our life for the next 3 consecutive years.

Neither Topher nor I had any 4x4 experience,

mechanical background or overlanding history.

And with our departure date set for only one

month away, we knew we would have to learn on

the fly.

This quick departure turnaround also allowed us

to keep the entire expedition on the down-low,

with our friends and family back home in New

Zealand having near to no knowledge of our

3-year world tour. Our aim was to announce the

expedition on day one, from the most northern

point in the Americas.

We flew from Auckland to Vancouver, and finally

met our third companion on the expedition,

Gunther, a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. After

one week he was packed, kitted out with little

more than a roof rack, and ready to go! We

turned ourselves north and began the drive to

Deadhorse, Alaska, our expedition starting point.

After 10 days, we reached the end of the road,

the distant mining town of Deadhorse. 700

miles earlier we had crossed over the arctic

circle, now deep within the northern slope. Here

temperatures were sitting between -15 and -30C.

Gunther was parked outside, and we were

happily perched within a cafeteria servicing the

oil drillers in the area. With no cellular signal, this

became our Wifi hub to announce the expedition

to all of our friends and family back home.

Our trusty Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Gunther


Shipping our Jeep - Visiting Eagle

Right: Torres Del Paine in Chile

With nervous excitement, and completely out

of our comfort zones, we launched Expedition

Earth at 8pm on April the 8th 2018. Our website

was uploaded, Instagram launched, Facebook

status posted, timer began and Garmin GPS

live tracker turned on. Our message was

clear, 'Follow the expedition as we head south,

starting NOW', accompanied by our live tracker

GPS link.

Once Expedition Earth was live, adrenaline

started to pump. The expedition had begun and

we felt as though we were all of a sudden on

center stage. The comments were flooding in,

and the live tracker views began to climb.

It was time to begin leg 1 of 3, our drive south

from Alaska to Argentina.

We rushed to Gunther, gave each other a hug

and kiss, turned the ignition and... nothing. A

little laugh, “imagine that”, and tried once more.

Nothing. We knew that if the car was sitting idle

in these temperatures, it would be necessary

to plug into a block heater. We hadn’t expected

the entire battery to drain within an hour. We

checked the systems and quickly realized that

Topher had left the light bar on.

We were suddenly excited by the challenge

we were facing. We had bought a few recovery

products in Vancouver and were eager to put

them to the test.

After only a few minutes, just enough time for

the cafeteria staff to have fully cleared out, we

noticed our portable jump starter kit we had

bought in Vancouver had drained its battery

from the cold. Sitting in -30C temperatures with

frozen hands, we were not going anywhere in a


With the freezing temperatures and sudden

influx of calls and messages from friends and

family, our phone batteries quickly died too.

Unfortunately, the live tracker was still going


Trying to find someone to help jumpstart a

car at 10pm in the arctic circle can be quite a

challenge, especially if you expect your rescue

party to be sober! Our knight in shining armor

turned up in a brand new red Tundra. As his

window came down, we were face to face with

someone who looked and smelt like a modernday

pirate. The man rolled out of the driver’s

seat and was so inebriated he had forgotten

how to pop his own hood.

After an irritable length of time, Topher finally

managed to locate the hood latch. Gunther had

been resuscitated and we were back in action!

With our energy now a little low, and the

realization of mechanical experience being

reasonably critical, we tried not to mention

the collective feeling of being a little out of our


Looking at the clock, we had now gone from

8pm to 10.45pm. We wouldn’t make our target

destination for the night, and this was only

the first day of the 1,195 more days to come.

Hungry, cold and tired, we decided to make

camp just outside Deadhorse.





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The iconic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is true to its heritage

combining capable features with updated design and

materials to deliver luxury and refinement while proudly

maintaining the iconic Jeep Wrangler look. Embracing

the ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ attitude, this vehicle is

positioned as an outstanding off roader, who’s capabilities

mean it can tackle the toughest of terrains when required.

‘Heaphy’ has been fitted with over ten of the most capable

genuine Mopar accessories available for this model. This

ensures ‘Heaphy’ has what it needs to take on the tough

New Zealand terrains during the winter months with ease.

With over 70 safety features available on the vehicle

and fitted with the legendary 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 Petrol

Engine, ZF 8-Speed Automatic Transmission and Selec-

Trac® 4x4 system, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon continues

the legacy of the original Willys MB and marking the next

stage in the history of the world’s first 4x4.


Entering Antarctica

After finding a spot 30 minutes

out of town, we began to set

ourselves up for the cold night

ahead. For the arctic regions

of our expedition, our plan was

to sleep inside the Jeep, and

then use a tent for the warmer

climates. Topher began to set up

our beds inside Gunther, while I

prepared dinner.

What we didn’t realize was that in

-30C our food sitting on the back

seat of the car had frozen solid.

Not only this, but our drinking and

cooking water was now a solid

block of ice, and the propane gas

from our gas cooker had turned

to liquid.

1am, we were lying in bed, our

live tracker proudly pinging

our location to everyone back

home as just 27kms beyond

Deadhorse. Cold, hungry and

nervous for our 7-continent

journey ahead, we began asking

questions. Have we made the

biggest mistake of our lives? Will

we ever get our savings back if

we sold everything tomorrow?

How are we going to survive this?

…. One Year Later ….

Topher is outside setting up

camp while the 40C heat of

Namibia is working its way inside

Gunther. In 2018, we covered

the Americas in 8 months, with

only one tire puncture, no more

flat batteries, never running out

of fuel, not having lost anything

and not a single bump or scratch

on Gunther. Leg 2 had begun

only a few weeks earlier, leading

up Eastern Africa, through the

Middle East to the most northern

drivable point of Europe.

Expedition Earth has been

the most brilliant and exciting

decision of our lives.



Fernanda Maciel could have been forgiven for

never gracing the Matterhorn. She has known

personal tragedy on the mountain and feared she

had gone blind when her eyes were frozen shut

climbing it. But the Brazilian ultra-runner returned to

tackle it with Gran Paradiso in just one day earlier

this year.

"I froze my eyes and spent three days in

hospital. I couldn’t open my eyes and I

was alone for three days in this bed."

After achieving the feat, she talked about the

most emotional of challenges, her battles for the

environment and why the former gymnast Nadia

Comaneci is her ultimate sporting hero.

You recently tackled the Matterhorn in one day

after summiting Gran Paradiso. How much of

a challenge was that? For me, the Matterhorn

was a more emotional challenge. You need to

be very fit and it’s technical but that was ok. The

emotional challenge was the worst. I lost friends

on the mountain and I had to start to do therapy

and psychological work concerning the Matterhorn.

I lost Gonzalo [her flatmate] – we had dinner one

day before and I was leaving for a race in Austria.

I arrived there and a colleague said a big rock had

fallen and killed Gonzalo and his English client.

That had a big impact on me and I couldn’t race


And you’ve had your own personal traumas on

the Matterhorn too? Yes, I had an accident when

I froze my eyes and spent three days in hospital.

I couldn’t open my eyes and I was alone for three

days in this bed. I was in this hospital where no

one spoke English. But the second day an Italian

nurse and I could speak and she got my mobile

to call a friend and explain that I was there. That

time I thought I was becoming blind – the scariest

moment of my life.

So, what made you go back to conquer it? It’s

a super dangerous mountain but I had to go back.

Three days before this project I tried to climb it to

see if was able to do it but I had to stop at 4,500

metres because of fears and I started to cry. I still

had fears in my mind and I needed to go down. But

I decided to go on with the project as I had to face

this story even though I was 90% sure I could not

climb the Matterhorn. It was important to try – very

personal. At the top, the liberation was amazing –

the best feeling ever, that freedom, that wonderful


I take it you’ll stay away from there now! I will

not come back, no not at all! I had been choosing

between the Thursday and the Friday and chose

Thursday. On the Friday, a helicopter had to rescue

20 alpinists because of a landslide. I had so much

luck on what’s a dangerous mountain. There’s so

many rock falls there with climate change.

Fernanda Maciel tackling the Matterhorn

Image compliments of Red Bull Photo Pool


By Jessica Middleton

Christmas is upon us, you know how

the saying goes, good things come in

small packages. A van home may be

considered little, this doesn’t mean that

the ideas that come with it can’t be big.

Vanlife is having the freedom and

knowing that all your NEEDS are in

one space. However, this also means

you are sometimes unable to bring all

the little extras that you WANT. Why

not aim for the best of both? Being the

time of giving, what better way than to

provide you with an Advan calendar?

Heres 25 Vanlife Hacks that you may

want to consider for your upcoming


1. Store clothes in your cushions - You

will reap more rewards out of stuffing

cushions this year than Christmas

stockings. This is for all those who

cannot bear to part with all your fashion

pieces. Different locations result in

alternate climates across your journey.

Multiple clothing choices are a must,

am I right? When your partner tells

you not to pack that item, tell em to get


"Vanlife is having the freedom and

knowing that all your NEEDS are in one

space. However, this also means you are

sometimes unable to bring all the little

extras that you WANT."

5. GasBuddy APP. Fuel is the

highest expense of vanlife living, so

it pays to download a fuel app that

shows nearby petrol prices where

you can obtain the best price.

Being active on the app provides

an idea of average fuel costs along

your route so you can budget


6. Latches. Without them, you are

going to experience an around

of applause every time you hit a

bump or dip in the road. Sarcastic

and annoying. Ensure all your

cupboards and drawers are

secured shut with quality latches

and soft closing drawers.

you're travelling outback Australia,

flynet hats are a must. They will

drive you insane otherwise. Flys will

attach to your eyeballs, explore up

your nose, and even dive-bomb the

back of your throat. Not kidding.

10. Use clear storage bins and

labels. Being able to capture

snippets of colour or texture

through a storage bin is going

to save you time and frustration.

Labelling ensures each item has

an allocated home, which in turn

makes for a satisfyingly organised

and tidy van. Remember you're

only cheating yourself if you put

items back in the wrong box.

2. Store togs, underwear, and socks

in mesh bags. You want to keep these

little gems separated before they get

engulfed by your other clothes. Skinny

dipping is not for all.

3. Velcro down or use gel pads on

ornaments and use Rubber Mats to

help items from sliding. Shake rattle

and roll, your van may like to get down

and boogie but the contents inside get

way too excited and end up crashing

the party.

4. Reversible Throws. My favourites

are from Salty Aura and Wanderingfolk.

Throws can act as bedspread, picnic

rug, table-cloth, skirt, towel, or wall

hanging. The choices are unlimited and

having the dual colour schemes adds

a little sugar and spice to your mobile


7. Adjustable Bench Space. Have

the ability to add extra space when

needed. We have two easy to

assemble benchtops that fold out

and connect to latches that we

utilise for food preparation.

8. 12 Volt Chargers For Electronics.

Weather changes and sometimes

you may not always have access to

solar power. Install 12Volt chargers

that don't require your generator

or solar to be on. That way you

can still use your phone on those

rainy days when you want your

electronics the most.

9. Mosquito & Fly Nets. How are

you meant to enjoy anything when

you're being eaten alive? Bunnings

stocks some very decent mosquito

nets that are perfect for vans. If

11. Travellers Mug And Compact

Cookware. Find cups that can

be used for both hot cuppas and

cold bevies. Pots and pans can

take up a load of space, you will

benefit from an all in one stackable


12. Portable Stereo. Radio isn't

always an option out on the open

road. It's epic to be able to take

down to bonfires on the beach at


13. Hooks to hang wet clothing. If

you have some long-term travel

coming up ahead, chances are

you're going to have wet clothing

that can't always be dried outside.

You can install hooks and even

have a detachable clothesline when




14. Build using appropriate materials. We are talking sticker

tiles, laminate flooring, and VJ board. The aim is to keep

your vehicle as light as possible. Having ceramic tiles over

a large area can weigh up and with a van moving they have

the potential to crack. Laminate flooring is easy to assemble,

durable, lightweight, well priced and ours still has no wear

and tear. VJ board is flexible and lightweight perfect for van


15. Hanging fruit and veggie hammock. Storing fruit and veg

in cupboards or in drawers means they are going to bruise

easily. Hang in a market bag from a hook, goes together like

two peas in a pod.

16. Collapsible storage containers - Saving space is the

game to play with vanlife. We have dog bowls, measuring

cups, containers, and even a pop-up basin. Don't forget

about the utensils that fold into one another or how useful a

spork can be.


• 2 x nights accommodation in a lodge budget room

($220 each) or self contained apartment ($275 each

person) – min two persons!

• 2 x cooked breakfasts

• 2 x breakfasts on the run (bacon, egg and cheese in

an English muffin) orange juice and breakfast biscuits

– perfect to take to the crossing – sit on a rock and

look at the views!! /2 x cut gourmet cut lunches and

all the water you can carry! / 2 x complimentary shuttle

rides to the crossing – return trip! / 2 x hot spa’s

after the Crossing!

• Free unlimited wifi!

Facilities include: Bar fully licienced on premises, room

service of a meat, cheese and bread platter after the

crossing (extra cost of $45 per platter or $75 platter with

a bottle of wine included) to be paid upon ordering.

Bed and Breakfast

Budget Lodge Accommodation

Self-Contained Motel Units

Packages available for skiing and Tongariro Crossing

www.adventurelodge.co.nz | 0800 621 061

17. Interchangeable Day & Night area. Chances are if you

enjoy vanlife, you love exploring different areas, which leads

me to assume you appreciate variety in life too. Having the

ability to change between a lounge, dining room, and bed

for me is life-changing when spending a lot of time in a small


18. Pull Out Storage. Have the ability to pull your storage out

from the back of your van. You will use your belongings far

more. We made the mistake of doing lift-top storage. Which

means to get to our storage you have to either take the

cushions completely off, no thank you, or hold it up with one

hand while hoping for the best with the other.

19. Eco Friendly biodegradable wipes. Okay, you are all

thinking about it, but it seems to be a taboo topic. Sometimes

you can go days between sites without a shower or access

to water. If you're involved with vanlife chances are your trips

are surrounded by rivers, creeks, and oceans but on the odd

chance, you aren't. Biodegradable wipes are your go-to option

and can clean your van too. Which leads me to the next hack.

20. Join a gym with multiple clubs

across the country. Surprisingly some

memberships are relatively cheap. Time

to burn off the Christmas tucker we all

overindulge in and take advantage of the

shower facilities. Winning

21. CamperMate / NZMCA or

WikiCamps Aus is the Australian

equivalent. This is seriously your van

bible, providing you with all the works

such as freedom camping locations,

reviews, trails, internet hotspots. Just get

it, trust me.

22. Solar Panels. Why would you not take

advantage of these sun-loving creatures?

Since when does someone work for free

and not complain about it? You may not

always use electronics but your fridge is

a little more demanding.

23. Heatshields. Windows are moody

little things and can take it out on your

vehicle. One minute they have it piping

hot, next stone cold. Insulating can only

help so much and having heat shields will

aid in balancing out the mood swings.

24. Google Maps. Yes, you may know

that google maps provides directions, but

are you taking advantage of the 'save

location' feature? My vanlife experience

went up a whole new level when I started

saving all the places I wanted to visit

straight into this app. Why? No more

making lists and checking them twice, I

have everything I need in this one app -

the destination with the directions! There

are often times you will be keen on hitting

the road but unsure where to go, now

all you have to do is open your saved

locations and let the pins lead the way.

PS- If you are using Instagram and see a

tagged location you like, just click it and it

will open it up straight into google maps

where you can instantly save it. How


25. Fairy Lights - We live for the magic

moments in life, having battery operated

fairy lights creates an entire vibe in your

van. It saves power by not using your

generator and replaces harsh lights with

a soft glow. A perfect way to enjoy a

vanlife Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas!



a d v e n t u r e

The best handmade crocheted hacky sacks

you can buy!


P.O. Box 104, Whangamata, 3643

p: 027 451 8255 e: dave@seapa.co.nz


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: unwind_cafe@hotmail.com


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

E: stay@acapulcotaupo.co.nz W: www.acapulcotaupo.co.nz



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