where actions speak louder than words
camping & tramping
NZ $10.90 incl. GST
Make your miles wild.
Where the pavement ends, adventure begins.
Prepare for everything in the ultra-rugged
Merrell Agility Peak 4.
The value of a walk, a stroll, a tramp, a
hike has come into a clearer vision of
late. Covid/Delta has a massive raft of
negatives attached to it for everyone,
but one thing it did do is get people
walking. Sure, they may not have been
out on overnight hikes or climbing
mountains, but they were outside
walking, not stuck behind a desk or
in front of a screen, and felt the real
need and the value of simply walking
The old adage in Joni Mitchell’s song
‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it
gone’ is very true. Take away the option
of activities, add confinement, add
uncertainty and you soon see the value
in a simple walk.
The actual clinical value is extremely
well documented and the simple
benefits of an hours walk per day; will
burn calories, strengthen muscles,
maintain flexibility and strengthen your
cardiovascular. It can even lower your
blood sugar and one research said
that those who walked an hour per day
lived up to twenty years longer.
Another range of internal benefits to
simply walking is that it clears the mind
and connects us with nature, even in a
city setting. It encourages conversation
and gives creativity of thought.
A few years back I had a subtalar
fusion on my left foot (you can google
that), the recovery was hard. I had all
sorts of physical therapy, acupuncture,
salty water injections and it remained
painful and inflexible. I had resigned
myself to it and its lack of use. Then
my wife bought me a dog, a big dog,
a dog that needs a walk. Even though
uncomfortable, the simple process of
walking, regularly, had huge remedial
effects. To the point, I called the
surgeon who had done the operation
and suggested to him if his patients are
slow to recover, tell them to buy a dog
The truth is we could all do with
walking a little more, but often we allow
things to get in the way; family, work,
weather, but during the lockdown,
people took the time to walk and talk,
what else are you doing to do right?
Yet everyone who walked each day
for exercise during lockdown, saw the
value in it. The trick now is to maintain
Keep walking, strolling, hiking,
tramping - welcome to the tramping
and camping issue we know it will keep
Steve Dickinson - Editor
Editor, Steve Dickinson and his motivation to walk...
Lightweight, compact and comfortable.
What’s most important to you?
FIND A STOCKIST www.southernapproach.co.nz
Image by Greg Knell Image by Derek Cheng
Image compliments Barny
a beginners perspective
14//Sinbad, Terror Creek
and the 11 day weather window
24//Exploring the Beaten Tracks
and finding the hidden gems
in the sand
50//Four Days in the Pureora Forest
a lesson in having good gear
why camp in the cold?
top hikes in vanuatu
70. gear guides
96. active adventure
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02//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN
BEHIND THE COVER
It was day three of a stellar week-long trip
to Sinbad Wall in a remote part of western
Fiordland. We had found a perch in a
comfortable nook on the edge of one of the
three Llawrenny Peaks, and settled in for
lunch. We were roughly halfway to tomorrow’s
objective - Terror Peak. The morning was
spent lugging heavy packs up steepening
grassy, then granite, slopes.
For more on Sinbad and Terror Peak, see page 14
From the left, Ben Grindle is stoked to have
made it across Milford Sound without a life
jacket, Camille Berthoux tries to smile through
a cold she’s been fighting for days, Jimmy
Finlayson looks energetic though would soon
lie down for a siesta, Derek Cheng has clearly
rushed into the shot after setting up the timer
on the camera, and Sooji Clarkson shows off
her alpine nutrition - peanut butter and dried
mashed potato - while the middle Llawrenny
Peak glistens behind us.
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respect to any of the material contained herein.
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A NEW LOOK?
This is the 40th year anniversary for
Adventure Magazine and it has gone
through a lot of changes. A variety of
different content focus, a reflection of
what was acceptable and now what’s
not. It has had a range of banner heads
(the design of the title on the cover). You
will have seen this issue has a new
banner head. Well not really, we
thought it would be good to be
a little retro and bring back
one of the older banner
heads. This one is from
the 90’s a combination
of simplicity and
Looking back over the
last 40 years there are
some amazing changes,
some issues carried
adverts for cigarettes, fluffy
leg warmers and orange coloured
zinc. The first few issues in the 80’s
were widely focused on a range of sport
from swimming to sailing. As the years
progressed and the cigarette ads became
less, Adventure went through a series of
different vibes, it became very ‘multisport’
focused for a while, then a lot of biking,
before it went back to a more generic feel.
Pacific Media has produced Adventure for
the last twenty years (we actually took the
reins with issue 100) and we have loved
every moment. The adventure industry is
great to work with everyone from those
doing different activities to those
who import the products,
everyone is passionate and
enthusiastic and of late
Covid has put a
lot of strain on the
but the majority of
those involved do it for
the love, not the money
and it makes you proud
to be able to showcase
New Zealand, the places, and
the people. We have no idea what
the next 40 years looks like, you can only
guarantee it will change but Adventure
Magazine and the people within its pages
will still be there doing fun stuff.
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a beginners perspective
By Jody Direen
It's our first date in the outdoors. I'm doing my best
to hide the near-crippling anxiety as we tramp
our way up the side of a stunning yet seemingly
sinister Westland river. You see, I like him, and
the fact that he is brave enough to have paddled
some of the gnarliest rivers in the world (in his
kayak) and regarded as one of the safest 'bros'
to be on the river with are attributes that attracted
me to him in the first place. And now he wants to
give me a look inside his world, from the safety
of a packraft (of which I never knew existed until
yesterday). I need to come to the party. Send help.
From the edge of the river, the rapids sound far too
loud for someone like me to encounter. Someone
whose utmost fear has been strong-moving water
ever since I was dumped by a freak ocean wave
as a five-year-old, not knowing which way was up
or down (for too long), until my father came to the
rescue. That memory is the reason I've never been
atop a motorless floatation device on a river until
now. I'm minutes away from the put-in of a class II
river that I will paddle on my own. I'm not ready to
face my fear, but I never will be. It's time.
I feel nauseous and weak with nerves as I unroll
my raft onto the river stones and begin to inflate
this foreign piece of equipment I somehow need
to trust. How can something this light that rolls up
to the size of a sleeping bag not get torn up by
those rocks I'm inevitably going to crash into over
the next hour? Amidst the emotional turmoil, I'm
surprised at how the tiny electric pump inflates the
boat in merely sixty seconds. I gain some comfort
from seeing the inflated size of the boat in the
flesh. Barny (Young) assures me they're stronger
than they look. Maybe it won't be so bad as it
does look stable.
Barny kits me out in a dry-suit, lifejacket, helmet,
throws me a paddle and gives me the safety brief.
I pack my hiking bag into the boat (there is a T-Zip
so you can store gear inside the pontoon). I place
the boat onto the shallows of the river lip. My heart
is pounding my hands are shaking. I question if I
should even get in. Barny is already floating away
in his overly desensitised-to-whitewater fashion,
leaving me no choice but to commit.
I take my first-ever stroke and immediately feel
unqualified. It didn't position the boat where I
thought it would. Panic rushes over me. I pull my
mind together and take a second and third stroke
and start to get the hang of how this boat behaves.
At least on chill water, it seems un-flippable.
As we near the top of the first rapid, which
we checked on the walk-up, I have an inkling
that even with zero experience, I have enough
common sense and control that there's a good
chance I'll get to where I need to go to keep myself
safe and maybe even have some fun. If I don't line
it up perfectly, I have some confidence it's stable
enough to bounce me down anyway, without
flipping (which means imminent death, to me, at
"Remember to keep your raft pointed downstream,
and if in doubt, paddle hard out, follow me,"
Barny's words of wisdom shouted over the torrent
of crashing water as we approach the first rapid.
A sharp dog-leg to the left with another river
channel running into it pushing the current across
to where you 'don't want to be' with numerous
small-ish boulders to navigate. As a beginner, not
complicated at all!
"Remember to keep your raft pointed downstream,
and if in doubt, paddle hard out, follow me,"
I muster up all the mind-power and courage I
have and take on the challenge keeping my eyes
on Barny. I use all my strength and stroke power,
overcompensating, to ensure I keep on his tail.
The rush of adrenaline hits as I paddle hard
across-current, feeling the pull of the whitewash in
different directions underneath me and doing my
best to respond and correct the boat. I'm where I
need to be. In the nick of time, I narrowly avoided
the last boulder dropping down just to the left.
"Oh my god, I did it," I felt a little bit like a rubber
ducky in a washing machine, but I did it. I'm alive.
I was in pure positive shock as the gushing water
became an increasingly distant sound.
Rob Hervey exploring the upper Hokitika
08//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
At that moment, an intense feeling of achievement and
excitement washed over me with the realisation that during a
time I expected to be most-terrified, I felt free.
"At that moment, an intense feeling of
achievement and excitement washed over me
with the realisation that during a time I expected
to be most-terrified, I felt free."
My first-ever rapid forced me into the most surreal in-themoment
experience, so much so that momentarily, all
despair had been wiped from my mind and dare I say it, I
was now even a little bit excited for the next one. I realised
how forgiving the packraft was. It could handle more than
that without requiring any additional skill from me. It was
more stable than I imagined. I began to let go and have a bit
of fun with it as we continued down some easy I+ rapids.
Now I get it. I get why some people live and breathe
whitewater. It forces your senses alive because they have
to be to give you the best possible chance of survival in
situations that have the potential to result in death. White
water is dangerous. Your response times are at an all-time
high. Adrenaline takes you over, keeping you in flow with the
river. How can it be that in that extreme environment, you
can also be fearless? Is this one of the purest natural states
of being available to humankind? You choose to make the
river your friend because if you resist, it quickly becomes
your foe. This philosophy crosses over into life; kayakers
are some of the happiest, go-lucky, back-themselves people
I know. They are masters at flowing with life.
Two years since my first ever river trip, I've met many of
Barny's whitewater buddies and unofficially conclude they
all share these positive traits because they spend so much
time in that graceful state the river beats into them. I believe
it takes a unique type of human to paddle at the level Barny
and his friends do. Packrafts give people like me, who will
probably never jump into a white water kayak, an opportunity
to get a taste of their experience.
Packrafts are an innovative piece of adventure gear that has
opened up an entirely new world of going deeper, exploring
the stunning backcountry we have in New Zealand and
offering a new way of getting to know myself. For this, I'm
incredibly grateful. I could never have thrown myself into a
grade II river for the first time (or many of the New Zealand
adventures I've had since) if it wasn't for my trusty packraft.
I've scraped down rocks, sticks and shallow rapids and not
punctured my raft. They are incredibly durable, considering
their weight. I also love the option of a self-bailing packraft
as you are not trapped into the boat by a spray skirt. They
are user-friendly and convenient, compared to their sister
product, Kayaks. Kayaks are heavy, unstable and require
significant training on flat water.
Top left: Jody and Clarissa exploring Hooker lake ( one of NZ’s most popular tourist destinations from a new perspective )
Bottom left: Jody exploring a hidden gem in her backyard
Top right: Barny Young exploring the upper reaches of the Waiho river- flowing directly out of Franz Josef Glacier.
Right: From mild to wild the Westcoast has it all
10//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
The rest of my trip as a virgin-river-girl consisted of a
portage around a grade III rapid that flowed by a fallen tree
and a couple of other big rapids (well, my standard of 'big')
that scared me. I completed the river - amazed at what I
had achieved. Although I had convinced myself I was going
to flip at some point, I didn't.
It's no wonder packrafting is one of New Zealand's fastestgrowing
adventure sports. People are now running class IV
in them, pioneering first descents and using them to access
remote backcountry biking, skiing, fishing and climbing
zones. Carrying an animal out after a successful hunt just
got a whole lot easier. Fastpacking just got faster, with
floating out taking less time than walking.
My personal favourite use of my packraft is adding a new
dimension to hiking trips. Especially when the dreaded,
long walk out (on the same track you came in on) is now
replaced with a float out, giving you a new perspective.
I find myself opting for hikes where that dimension is
possible, noting how perfect New Zealand's backyard is for
embracing this sport. There are endless options; they don't
all have to be river-related. We take ours almost everywhere
and explore alpine lakes, cross rivers (that would be
otherwise dangerous on foot), cross lagoons to access
different parts of New Zealand's coastline and use them as
a base for fishing. We even took them to Fiji and explored
coral reefs. They double as a comfy sleeping mat too!
Barny loves being on the river and, I love hiking. As a
couple, packrafting has allowed us to find a happy medium
where we can go into the outdoors together and embrace
"As a couple, packrafting has allowed us to find a
happy medium where we can go into the outdoors
together and embrace a double faceted adventure
leaving us both recreationally satisfied."
a double faceted adventure leaving us both recreationally
satisfied. Even though what we do together on the river is
less extreme (by miles) than what he is used to, he still gets
his fix and enjoys showing me around his world, otherwise
less achievable in a kayak.
Life is too short to pass up the opportunity of having a
packraft in your adventure kit. This beautiful invention has
allowed me to have some of the most epic experiences ever
and access places I never thought possible. They are worth
their weight in gold.
Above: Kayaker turned Packrafter Ryan Lucas being Dazzled by some Gorge-ous Westcoast scenery.
12//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
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and the 11-day weather
window in Fiordland
By Derek Cheng
The deluge hit in a sudden moment.
I had been fairly calm—and reasonably
dry—hundreds of metres up an overhanging
rock face in a remote part of Fiordland. And
then, like opening the door to a tsunami, I
My fingertips clung ever-tighter to small,
moss-covered nubbins of rock, as the
sheer shock of what was happening left me
gasping and cussing in equal measure.
And I thought of the camera and two lenses
in my flimsy, lightweight pack. A fall might
unleash a force strong enough to snap
the thin pack straps, sending the camera
tumbling towards certain demolition, were
much smaller on top-rope.
I had little option but to scrunch my face
between my shoulder blades and weather
“Welcome to Sinbad,” I thought.
14//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
I had somehow wrangled my way into this
Sinbad mission as the seventh wheel. Not
your ordinary climbing misfits, it included
many who were among the country’s
strongest, or who’d been there before:
Jimmy, Sam, Sooji, Ben, Camille and
I’d only read stories about the legendary
300m overhanging face at the head
of Sinbad Gully. It was early season,
but enthusiasm was high due to an
unprecedented weather window.
"His paddle was two singles held
together with masking tape, but too
much force simply spun the raft
rather than propelling it forward...
which made his estimated arrival
time somewhere around 400 years."
Our transport options to the river mouth
at the base of the gully still left the trip
in doubt until we were actually on our
way. There was one sturdy double raft,
one borrowed kayak, and a number of
$20 Warehouse rafts that may or may
not have floated all the way to the river
But one should never underestimate how
helpfully pathetic Ben can look. Seated in
a raft that suited someone half his size,
Ben pushed out into Deep Water Basin
trailing a second pitiful-looking raft loaded
with his pack. His paddle was two singles
held together with masking tape, but too
much force simply spun the raft rather
than propelling it forward. He proceeded
to employ a gentle flick on each side while
holding his body as steady as possible,
which made his estimated arrival time
somewhere around 400 years.
This all tugged the heart-strings of some
giggling guys aboard a fishing vessel,
who promptly offered us a lift. We
accepted. Fifty metres from where the
Sinbad River meets Milford Sound, we
dropped our questionable rafts—loaded
with our packs—off the back of their
fishing boat, professed our eternal thanks,
and dived into the pristine water. Soon we
had escaped the onslaught of sandflies
on the shore and were marching up the
DOC track, which led to a dry river bed,
a series of slabs, and then up a steep,
It was basically dark by the time we
arrived at the rock bivvy, a few hundred
metres from the base of the wall. After the
arduous approach, it wasn’t surprising
when everyone was dead to the world the
following morning—except for Jimmy, who
had already packed for a day of ropesoloing
when I stirred from my slumber.
We were soon at the base of Rainmaker
(grade 23). Jimmy had already climbed
these pitches and so left me to do
the leading, and I happily obliged,
linking pitches up a long corner and
climbing straight up a crack through an
The climbing was exhilarating enough, but
the setting turned the dial up to sublime.
There remained a considerable amount of
snow in the top plateau in early January,
which the sun melted into a curtain of
falling water. With an overhanging wall,
this leaves you with the impression of
questing up a rock face hidden behind
the veil of a waterfall. And with the sun
out, any glance behind you is met with
banners of rainbow colours.
We made it about halfway up the wall
before abseiling down. In the meantime,
the others had approached the wall but
the snowmelt had become too intense.
The lesson had been learned, and the
following morning we all started at an
Jimmy, Sam and I headed up Rainmaker
again with the intention of topping out. I
followed their leads on the lower pitches,
lugging up my camera and two lenses in
my flimsy, lightweight pack.
The water runoff from the snowmelt had
reached epic proportions by the time we
reached the upper pitches, but I hadn't
anticipated having to cling on mosscovered
edges while weathering a soulshuddering
Previous Page: Sooji Clarkson reaches high on the upper pitches of Rainmaker (23), Sinbad Wall, amid rainbow splashes and a veil of water
falling from the snowmelt above
Above: Josh Cornah runs aground at near the mouth of Sinbad River, having kayaked across Milford Sound from Deep Water Basin.
16//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
Top: From the top of Sinbad Wall, Jimmy Finlayson surveys the tops of Mitre Peak, Mt Tutoko and Mt Madeline behind it, and
Llawrenny North on the right.
Botttom: The crew awakes at our bivvy spot by Lake Terror.
18//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
“The contents of my backpack cost more than any
of the five vans I’ve owned,” I thought as I scratched
around in vain for a decent hold. With the pump about to
overwhelm, I squeezed all my insides together, grasped
some crappy sloper, squeezed tighter, and then hucked
high to what happened to be a reasonable hold.
"“The contents of my backpack cost
more than any of the five vans I’ve
owned,” I thought as I scratched
around in vain for a decent hold.
With the pump about to overwhelm,
I squeezed all my insides together,
grasped some crappy sloper,
squeezed tighter, and then hucked
high to what happened to be a
Pulling over the top was like stepping through the gates
of paradise. Soggy and damp, with weary fingers and
forearms, I emerged from a shaded face to a flat, grassy
ledge in the glorious, windless sunshine. Fears of my
falling camera were forgotten as I gazed out at the
Llawrenny Peaks, the spine of rock extending west of
Mitre Peak, and the shy heads of Pembroke, Tutoko and
A short scramble led us to a plateau complete with a
lake and perfect rock ledges, and some skinny-dipping
and sun-soaking was in order before heading back down
via a steep gully.
The following morning, we shouldered heavy packs and
headed up grassy slopes to the Llawrenny Peaks. The
views were immense: countless peaks all around us
and textured ridgelines leading southeast to Lake Ada
and the Arthur Valley. Terror Peak, tomorrow’s objective,
rose prominently on the southern ridgeline, gentle snow
slopes hugging the edges of her base.
Ben Grindle abseils down the top
part of Sinbad Wall, a 300m-high
overhanging face of granite in a
remote part of Fiordland.
The sky the following dawn, as we awoke
from our bivvy on the shores of Lake Terror,
was speckled with candy floss-coloured
wisps of cloud. The approach to Terror Peak
was a straight-forward scramble up slabs
and along a jagged ridge, followed by an
abseil to sunny, north-facing slopes.
Our two teams forged up neighbouring lines,
ours starting up a rib of rock to a quartztopped
pillar—Terrorfirma (21). The next
pitch had some of the most unique rock I’d
ever seen, a steep face of diagonal tiles
of different shades of rosy pink. It was so
unique that I paused mid-pitch to snap a
photo, but the climbing was also superb;
each reach was met with perfect finger
Meanwhile Sooji, more intrigued by a steep
face to her right, headed off into virgin
territory, eventually cutting across a face to
an exposed perch. Our paths converged at
the top. Another windless, perfect day. More
views of the immense grandeur of glaciated
Fiordland, and another reminder of our
comparatively minuscule existence.
20//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
Top: Jimmy Finlayson and Ben Grindle taking the easy way down towards Lake Terror, with Terror Peak beind it.
Left: Sooji Clarkson heads towards an unclimbed face on Terror Peak.
Bottom: A serene picnic spot for lunch, with Terror Peak on the left and two of the three Llawrenny Peaks on the right.
We headed back to Lake Terror at our
own paces. I reached the bivvy spot
as howls of delight rang out from the
direction of the lake. A rush towards them
revealed a beaming Jimmy, seated on a
solitary iceberg in the middle of the lake.
“Bring something to sit on and to put
your feet on,” he advised as I dived in.
The water was, not unexpectedly, rather
"The brain can fire new neural
networks when it experiences awe,
but does it ever become depleted if
there are so many such encounters in
It was evening by the time we started
back up towards Sinbad. The light
wrapped us in a soft embrace as we
climbed over the Llawrennys to a view of
rocky ridges and, beyond them, bands of
fluffy cloud shading the Tasman Sea. We
hurtled and glissaded down snow slopes
and, with tired legs, strolled up and down
slabs until we reached the plateau at the
top of Sinbad.
The next morning found us sitting at the
edge of the wall, wrapped in sleeping
bags and awaiting the sun’s first kisses.
Ben and Camille then abseiled down the
top half of Rainmaker, while Jimmy, Sooji
and I played on the top pitch of Dropzone
(24, A1) - a steep arête and face in an
exposed, magnificent position. It was with
some resignation when, that evening, we
abseiled to the valley for what we knew
was one final sleep before leaving this
wild, enchanted place.
The week had been a series of brain
explosions at the sheer momentousness
of everything: the endless peaks and
valleys as far as the eye can see to
the ocean; the intricate patterns in the
rock, including bands of quartz and
diagonal pink tiles; glorious movement
up an overhanging wall behind a water
curtain amid splashes of refracted light;
the laughs and howls of joy and iceberg
annexation. The brain can fire new neural
networks when it experiences awe, but
does it ever become depleted if there
are so many such encounters in quick
Disbelief at our weather fortunes
continued the following morning with yet
another clear sky. Jimmy took it upon
himself to dry out the week’s worth of
collective poo, and then wrapped it up—
twice—before shielding it in a plastic
At one point on the walk out, a distinctly
scatological odour seeped out from
Jimmy’s pack, prompting understandable
alarm. A quick check revealed that the
first seal had ruptured—hence the sound
of sloshing—but the plastic shield had not
yielded, which was good enough to keep
going without having to revisit the whole
There remained the small matter of
whether our rafts would deliver us all back
to Deep Water Basin. Ben’s masking
taped-paddle still meant he could barely
create any forward momentum. Jimmy
simply started backstroking his arms
while holding a single paddle in each
hand. This entailed lying on his back in
the raft and putting his pack on top of him
as he stroked, leaving him defenceless as
sandflies ravaged his bare legs.
Somehow, in a perfectly timed finale, we
all made it back as the last light of day
faded, capping a week of sunshine and
nine days of no rain in Fiordland.
The next day was also rainless, and,
adhering to the unspoken rule about
not resting when the sun is out, Sam
and I climbed the 10-pitch route Pipe
Dreams (21) on Moir’s Mate. But when
the following day was also cloudless, we
considered our appetites for adventure—
and our brains’ capacity for new neural
In an effort to find a non-climbing activity
worthy of the events of the previous
week, we drove to Te Anau and ate a
bucket of ice cream.
Above: Jimmy Finlayson finds peace on a solitary iceberg in the middle of Lake Terror
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we ARE climbing
John Palmer at Sunnyside, Wanaka
Photo: Tom Hoyle
For over thirty years Bivouac Outdoor has been proudly 100% New Zealand owned and committed to providing
you with the best outdoor clothing and equipment available in the world. It is the same gear we literally stake our
lives on, because we are committed to adventure and we ARE climbing.
Supporting Aotearoa's Backcountry Heritage
finding the hidden gems
Long time contributor and keen
outdoor enthusiast, Vicki Knell,
shares with us the secret to finding
the hidden gems on some of NZ's
well known tracks.
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Looking for an alternative to the
Instagram famous Roys Peak, you
can’t go past Isthmus Peak. Both are
within an easy drive from Wanaka,
and maybe the 30-minute extra drive
means the Isthmus Peak track is
slightly less travelled.
Location: Lake Hawea, South
Distance: 16km return via same
Average walking time: 5 – 7 hours.
Terrain: The track is a vertical climb to
the peak at 1385m high. The trail offers
stunning views of Lake Hawea for the
duration of the ascent. Upon reaching
the peak, you are rewarded with views
of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps
stretching as far as you can see. The trail
is an advanced walking track, however
we did come across people running it.
Vic's tips: Either side of winter expect
ice and snow. The appeal of this trail was
that there were very few people on it, and
we were rewarded with exceptional views
for pretty much the whole hike.
Track: Located off the western side
of Lake Hawea.
As with any altitude walking, make sure
you are prepared with plenty of food,
water and for sudden changes in weather.
Previous Page: Isthmus Peak offers stunning views of Lake Hawea. Top: Footsteps leading to Isthmus Peak in the distance
Insert: Greg on top of the world with Lake Wanaka in the background
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North West Circuit Rakiura
If you are looking for more
challenge and solitude to that
offered by the 3 day Great Walk,
located on Rakiura, the North-
West Circuit is next level tramping.
Rakiura is far enough from home
to leave all worries behind, rich in
history and cloaked in the flora and
fauna of NZ as it was pre-humans
– just waiting to be explored and
Location: Rakiura/Stewart Island
Distance: 125km loop track
Average walking time: Allow 9 –
Track: This advanced tramp can
be started from Oban.
Terrain: Although steep, varied
and muddy, muddy, muddy,
the reward of this tramp is in
its variety. Each day offered
different challenges, but we
were rewarded with sweeping
views of the Southern Ocean,
and surreal experiences seeing
kiwi on the tracks during the
day. On top of this, the huts are
positioned in unique locations and
were a welcome site after long
and challenging days. Rakiura’s
weather is unpredictable, with rain
falling on about 275 days of the
year. Strong westerly winds are
frequent and mud is widespread,
thick and often knee deep on the
Vic's tips: Water taxi access can
get you to the first couple of huts
to save you road walking. You can
cut a day off the end of the tramp
by catching the water taxi from
Fresh Water Arm.
Depending on the time of year, you
can find yourself completely alone
on the track. We saw no-one for
4 days, leaving us feeling like we
were the only people on earth.
Experience, good gear, and
well-planned food is essential to
complete this track, along with a
heavy dose of resilience and a
pocket full of jetplanes!
Top: Bungaree Hut, an example of the stunning hut locations on this track.
Inserts: Just before the long descent into East Ruggedy Hut / We made it, longest day to Big Hellfire Hut, mud, mud and more mud!
The Travers/Sabine is a circuit
trail, with a variety of side trips
along the way. Our initial intention
was to complete the circuit, taking
in a trip to Lake Angeles. However
upon meeting a local tramper we
followed his suggestion to take
an alternative route via Hopeless
Hut and Sunset Saddle. This less
travelled route appealed to us
because we got the opportunity to
spend time above the tree line and
enjoy stunning views.
Location: Nelson Lakes
Distance: Variable depending on
trails chosen, however the circuit
itself is 80km.
Average walking time:
To complete the circuit it is
recommended 4 days minimum,
but to fully enjoy the trail allow 6 –
Track: The start of this track is in
St Arnaud, 1 hour 30 minutes from
Nelson or Blenheim.
Terrain: A meandering trail starts
along the edge of Lake Rotoiti
and follows the Travers River up
the valley to Poukirikiri/Travers
Saddle. Every 45 minutes or so
the track is punctuated by bridges,
numerous stream crossing and
endless spots where the bush
opens into picture perfect glades.
The closer we got to the tree line
the more avalanche zone signs
we came across, which was great
motivation to keep up the pace.
The most challenging section was
from Hopeless Hut, over Sunset
Saddle to Angeles Hut. This should
only be undertaken if the weather
is right and you are a confident
Vic’s Tips: An absolute must for
this trip is a visit to Angelus Hut for
the stunning vista.
This is such a beautiful area, if
you have limited time there are
possibilities for single overnight
trips from St Arnaud, either walking
or by water taxi.
"Whether it's a challenging
multi-day tramp or day
trip, you can find solitude
and the magesty of our
beautiful outdoors. "
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Above: Campsite on the edge of Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus
Right: Ascending from Hopeless Hut to Sunset Saddle
in the sand
By Cath Wallis
Images by Leo Francis, Race International
Cath Wallis is an Australian ultra-endurance athlete
who has completed some of the world’s most
iconic foot races – from the back of the field. Her
passion is encouraging those who do not consider
themselves “athletes” to follow their wildest
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My feet slip with every step. Moving with the soft sand beneath.
Struggling to gain traction and push forward. And yet I must. Force each
step; push with the poles to achieve forward motion. This is the desert,
and as much as it forces me back, I must resist.
My first foray into desert foot events was in this same spot. The
Australian Simpson Desert in 2017. A late comer to this sport at age 41,
I had only recently discovered the joy of trail events, having completed
a 100km single stage event in my hometown. I was looking for the next
challenge and a one-week desert ultramarathon seemed perfect. It was
as far away from my ‘normal’ life, working in an office, as you could get.
Here, in a place 2000km from the nearest city, requiring two days travel
just to get here, was a desert gateway town with only 100 residents,
leading into one of the harshest deserts in the world.
Lining up on that start line was the most
terrifying experience of my life. Would I
be able to cross this desert? Would I be
worthy of this challenge? The event began
with nearly all 100 residents there to see
us off. A loop of the town to the cheers
of the crowd and then into the desert.
Crossing dune after dune, punctuated only
by flat sections with ankle-breaking rocks
known as gibber plain. The heat radiating
from the sand as the sun rose higher,
reaching over 40 degrees in the exposed
terrain. Completing a marathon distance
before crossing the stage finish and
sleeping our first night under the stars,
sharing a tent with two strangers who
would later become friends.
Desert running has this mystique
around it. People imagine lithe young
athletes moving gracefully across the
sand at great speed. Men like Moroccan
champion and seven-time Marathon des
Sables winner Rachid El Morabity. And
women like Canadian Isabelle Sauve or
Swede Elisabet Barnes. And there are
definitely those people out there. But
the vast majority out here in the desert
are ordinary people, doing something
special. Walking is not shunned here, but
welcomed. According to the 4 Deserts
Series organisers, Racing the Planet,
only around a third of entrants in 250km
desert ultramarathons run the entire event.
Another third alternate between running
and walking, and a full third walk the
For me, I came to this sport almost by
accident. Middle aged and totally nonathletic,
I was looking for a sport that could
bring great personal reward despite more
commitment than skill, and in the trail
running community I found my place. A sport
where, other than a tiny elite, everyone is
competing against themselves and who
genuinely desire to see others succeed.
Where in that moment when you feel
you cannot take one more step, another
competitor will walk with you and urge you
forward. And on another day, in another
moment, you will do the same for them.
So we continued on - with hues of red
and orange in the sand like fire at sunset.
Gradually my mind settled from fear
to awe. The vastness of the space. An
ancient landscape, the country of the
Wangkangurru Yarluyandi people, exuding
an aura of calm. A timeless place in which
petty human concerns are reduced to
While each person comes here for a
different reason, crossing this desert
generates deep and long-lasting bonds.
We each take on our own race, against
our own time and meeting our own
demons in the process. And yet, there is
a shared experience here. Of hardship,
of the harsh beauty of this place. Shared
pain, shared jokes, shared joy. I knew
no one as I crossed the start line. By
the end of a week we are friends for
life. Sixty competitors, now firm friends,
making their way across the last section
of desert towards the finish line. At a pub.
A cold beer passed to each as we finish
our desert adventure. The quintessential
outback Australian experience.
After my first foray into desert trail events,
I was hooked. I discovered there are
desert ultramarathon options across the
world and my list of dream events grew
longer and longer. I headed to the Oman
Desert Marathon and Race to the Wreck
in Namibia, before COVID sent me back
home to the Australian desert.
Deserts have this reputation of being
empty places. Of vast nothingness.
But they are far from empty. In Oman,
I shared the desert with camels and
lizards. In Namibia with ostrich and zebra
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and leopard, and tiny beetles that followed my foot
placement at every step. The sand moves endlessly,
shifting the ripples on the surface, erasing any record of
I think only 40% of desert running is physical. The rest
is mental. The heat (or the cold at night), the sand, the
distance – it can drain you quickly and if your mind is
not in the right place, it can beat you. When you prepare
for one of these events, you need to get ready for the
moment that your mind tells you that you cannot go on.
And you need to practice telling your mind to shut up.
For me, in those moments when it all seems too much,
too hot, too far - I stop. I stop and take a long look
around me. Focusing on the landscape. The shape
of the dunes, the movement of lizards or insects. The
vast sky above me. And how grateful I am to have
the opportunity to be in such a special place. And that
gratitude resets my mind. And I gulp some water, grab
my poles, and head off again across the sand.
What kind of people come here to run or walk in the
desert? People seeking that epiphany moment, that
opportunity to find what is important to them. To put
themselves to a physical and mental test. That breaks
down their fears and their ego, and that leaves them at
peace with themselves.
Desert events often have very special endings. At the
end of my crossing of the Namib desert, on Rat Race
International’s “Race to the Wreck”, you reach a point
where the sea used to be. Shells and whale bones jut
out of the former seabed. And then, as you move further
west, the wreck comes into sight. The Eduard Bohlen,
twisted metal rusting in place, a full kilometre now from
the sea. You run down past the wreck to cross the finish
line, to receive your medal, and feast on fresh Walvis
Bay oysters and pink champagne.
I would love everyone to have a desert foot event
experience. And so, when I found myself headed once
more to the Simpson, as the event Ambassador for
the Simpson Desert Ultra, I wanted to bring a team.
Eighteen women from around Australia answered a call
to step out of their comfort zone and come with me to
the desert for the first time. They are scientists, and art
therapists and teachers. Small business owners and
nurses, and mums. Some literally starting from “couch
to ultra”. Others thinking Parkrun was their limit, but now
testing themselves across as many as 100km of sand in
a single stage.
And now we make our way across the desert. Through
sand, and gibber and clay pan. In heat and cold. It
is brutal and it is beautiful. There is no certainty in
finishing, but there is the knowledge that our lives will be
forever changed by this place.
For more about Cath’s adventures in the desert, head to
Tauranga Taupo Falls
Words by George Snook images by Mike Dawson
After two hours hiking with our kayaks on our backs, the crew and I heard the first
sounds of the 80 foot, 24 meter high Tauranga Taupo Falls beckoning us down into its
gorge. We arrive at the bottom of the falls and spend the next 30 minutes admiring the
falls and surroundings, we eat our not so fresh delicacies that we had purchased at
the bakery that morning and attempt to solve the puzzle of this waterfall. Checking the
landing and take off, deciding which stroke will be our last, where our boat will be placed
and at which angle. We spent an hour scouting the beast, looking for the safest passage
down. Once we have planned out our optimal descent and put safety precautions in
place for all the possible outcomes, it's time to make the call.
I can visualize my line, I am confident in my ability and my team. I made the call to go
first. With the help from my team we managed to hoist my kayak up a 100 foot vectical
bank and then lower me back down 20 feet onto the top of the waterfall. Before I get into
my kayak I visualize my line one last time and try to calm myself and my mind to make
sure that my focus is solely on the task at hand. While entering my kayak and the water
I find myself stranded with one leg in my kayak and one leg on the rocks, the only thing
holding me from floating away and off the waterfall. Before my mind had enough time to
tell my body to move, I was up to my arms in water. Holding on to the rocks with one arm
and my boat with the other. I pull myself up the bank and climb into my kayak safely. I
spend the next minute refocusing and calming my mind from the disturbance moments
It's time. I sound my whistle to let the team know that within the next 30 seconds I will
appear at the top of the waterfall, slip through the tight squeeze of the gorge walls and
begin the fall. I enter the main flow of the river, line up the top of the waterfall, place my
last stroke and fall.
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a survivors story
This article was written for the Federated Mountain Clubs
of NZ (FMC) and published in the Accidents Column for the
November 2010 issue of their Backcountry magazine.
FMC is a non-profit organisation formed in 1931, which
advocates for the wise management of outdoor recreation and
the environments it takes place in. You can support FMC by
joining up online: www.fmc.org.nz/join
The Backcountry Accidents Column, in one form or another,
has been a feature of FMC publications since 1938. To
subscribe to the print version of their magazine, please visit
Area: Mt Whitcombe, central Southern Alps
Activity: Trans-alpine mountaineering
Survivors: Four experienced New Zealanders
Date of Incident: February 2002
Summary: A fit, experienced, well-equipped
party of four began a trans-alpine trip of the
Lord Range commencing with a summit climb
of Mt Whitcombe from the Evans Valley.
They followed an intricate rock and glacial
route to a high alpine camp on Mt Whitcombe’s
northwestern slopes, in preparation for a
summit attempt. However, over the next four
days a weather bomb hit. Extreme conditions
dumped over one metre of snow and caused
significant, near irretrievable damage to the
At sea level on the West Coast, the same
conditions also caused significant havoc
including reports of a dog that was picked up
by a twister in Hokitika and deposited several
hundred metres away.
On day four, with no let-up in the conditions,
the party retreated in white out conditions back
down their ascent route to the Evans Valley.
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Review by Jonathan Kennet
Weather: The mountains of New
Zealand are subject to weather
extremes which are not always
accurately predicted. Significant
amounts of precipitation can fall in short
periods causing snow at any time of
year, rapidly rising rivers, avalanches
and accelerated snow melt. Near winter
conditions can prevail in any season as
Mount Whitcome was named after John Henry Whitcombe who was a surveyor for the
Canterbury Provincial Council in 1862. Whitcombe, along with Jacob Lauper a Swiss
Guide, were tasked with investigating a pass at the Rakaia headwaters 4.6 kilometres
(2.9 mi) east of the mountain. During this expedition, in which the pair were ill-prepared,
Whitcombe was swept into the Taramakau River and drowned. This tragic event resulted
in Julius von Haast naming the pass along with the mountain, Mount Whitcombe
Jonathan Kennett recalls his narrow getaway off Mt Whitcombe with
Johnny Mulheron, Geoff Spearpoint and Eric Duggan.
“Are we ready?” Geoff shouted. “Yes.” “Right. Let’s go!” And in unison the four of
us sprang into the worst storm of my life.
It was either: jump into the bergschrund next to our precarious campsite ledge,
and freeze; or escape to more sheltered ground, lower down. The second
option involved retracing our steps through shitty rock bluffs and around deep
crevasses – difficult enough in fine weather. I’d spent hours lying in the pit
anxiously tossing the two options back and forth, trying to ascertain which gave
the better chance of survival. The team consensus was for escape. Definitely
Packing the tents took about one minute. Thick rods of ice coated the guy
ropes. We snapped the ropes, hastily pushed out the poles and stuffed the tents
into our packs. Leaving the guy ropes sticking out of the ground our campsite
looked like the scene of an alien abduction.
At the edge of the ledge, we furiously dug through fresh snow to find good
abseil anchors. “Just like old times,” yelled Johnny. And I smiled, because it
reminded me, just when I needed reminding, that we knew the drill, and that
gave me enough confidence to relax and enjoy the buzz of climbing – despite
the awesome maelstrom around us.
Geoff went first: to go down and set up a fixed rope around a narrow ledge.
Beyond that we negotiated a crevasse maze, in whiteout. Bowed heads and
swirling snow. That’s when the GPs helped, but only once we set the right
function! Then came the bluffs, where my main worry was laid to rest – the
sequence of northerly rain closely followed by a southerly blast had frozen all
the loose rocks solidly together. solid rock in the southern Alps – what a rare
The final abseil was huge. We tied two ropes together, tossed them down into
the mist, and wondered if they would reach the bottom. At the top, the main
anchor was hardly bomb- proof. I tried to guess who was the heaviest – the
‘load tester’ in the group. Hard to say: could be Eric; could be Johnny. Then
down we went, one carefully after the other. And it held.
The joy and relief upon regrouping at the bottom was like a drug. We’d dropped
into a sheltered valley that afforded safe(ish) travel all the way down to smyth
Hut four or five hours away. Later that afternoon, as we passed one of our
earlier campsites, I wondered what would have happened had we taken a
mountain radio, rather than just an EPIRB to save weight. Perhaps, with daily
weather forecasts we would not have climbed up into that storm on the third day
of our eight-day trip. Travelling light poses a risk. The longer the trip, the bigger
the risk. sure, it was a buzz, but I hope to never push it that far again.
Heuristic Traps: can contribute to
experienced parties pushing the limits
more than they would normally do as
• The parties perceive their experience
is greater than the sum of each of the
• Experienced groups can be more
lackadaisical in the trip planning,
resulting in gear being left behind or
duplication of equipment.
• Consensual leadership can result in
casual decisions with no single person
taking ultimate responsibility.
• These factors have no bearing
whatsoever on the objective danger a
Alpine Camps: should be set up with
due care, taking into consideration
objective dangers such as exposure to
rock or ice fall, flood routes, lightning
strikes and escape routes. Tents need
to be secured for the worst conditions
even if pitched during calm weather.
This includes building rock walls (take
these down when you depart to leave
no trace). Securing a camp in calm
conditions is much easier than doing
so in a storm and a poorly secured tent
faces greater risk of damage. Always
consider a back-up shelter, whether this
is a nearby rock biv or schrund. Have
a snow cave started and shovels at the
ready in preparation for the worst.
Storms can destroy tents so be
prepared for escape. All in this party
were fully clothed and packed, ready
for imminent evacuation.
Escape Routes need to form part of
your trip planning, enabling at least one
option in the event of an incident. In this
case, because of the intricate route, the
party escaped by retracing their steps.
Strong navigation skills and use of
the ‘track-back’ function of a GPS unit
facilitated their retreat.
Teamwork: is vital in extreme
conditions where delay results in
increased risk of hypothermia. Each
party member worked to their strength
in the different areas such as navigation
and rigging ropes. Teamwork resulted
in minimal delays.
38//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
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40//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
Known for its diverse rugged landscapes, challenging alpine
terrain, contrasting golden grasslands and vivid turquoise blue
lakes, the Mackenzie is often overlooked by its neighbouring
regions Westland and Central Otago when it comes to
accessible tramping. The region is a hot spot for alpine club
members and experienced climbers, but there’s so much
more to this stunning part of the country than just technical
We sat down with local Mackenzie guides Cristina Simpkins
(Tekapo Adventures) and Elke Braun-Elwert (Alpine Recreation)
to chat about their favourite guided walks in the region, and
what makes living in this part of world so remarkable.
ELKE BRAUN-ELWERT, ALPINE RECREATION
Born in Christchurch, Elke spent more of her childhood in Lake
Tekapo where her father was a mountain guide. She learnt to ski
at two and a half on the back lawn under the watchful eye of her
eager dad. She’s climbed and skied throughout the New Zealand
alps for most of her life, and has spent numerous seasons ski
instructing in Switzerland, and has ski guided in Japan and
climbed in Peru.
Her parents founded Alpine Recreation together in 1981. They
were the first outdoor adventure company in New Zealand to
offer ski touring using cross-country and telemark skis. Over the
years they have won numerous tourism awards for eco-tourism,
quality and natural heritage.
With that type of upbringing, naturally Elke's whole life has
revolved around the outdoors. She now lives in the region with
her family where she is lucky to be able to introduce people to
the mountains she loves and grew up in.
(2 OR 3 DAYS)
Enjoy a sense of isolation and freedom
as you get "above it all" in the Two
Thumb Range, Te Kahui Kaupeka
The 2 or 3-day Tekapo Trek takes
place in the foothills of the Southern
Alps, to the east of the Main Divide,
where both weather and landscape are
gentler. A private hut is used, reached
after 3 hours hike up from the carpark,
at the head of Lake Tekapo. We climb
Beuzenberg Peak, 2073m, on Day 2
and enjoy grand views all along “Snake
Ridge” out over the Mackenzie Basin
and Lake Tekapo, and at the same time
get an impressive view of the main
peaks of the Southern Alps, including
the East Face of Aoraki/Mount Cook
and Mount Tasman.
The evening light of the Mackenzie High
Country as it bathes golden tussock,
snow-capped peaks and the turquoise
of Lake Tekapo is pure magic. The
climb of a 2070m peak is a rewarding
adventure, especially when topped
off by the return to a cosy mountain
hut, where you can savour the sun
set, while sipping a pre-dinner drink.
Evening entertainment is provided by
a star-studded sky - one of the clearest
and darkest skies in the southern
This trek is suitable for families,or those
relatively new to tramping, or older
trampers, wanting to take advantage
of lighter packs, a bookable bunk and
the benefits of a knowledgeable guide,
who can take care of everything from
equipment, safety back-up, logistics
to cooking. It takes 6 hours to hike the
12km return from the hut at 1300m,
along the curving Snake Ridge up to
Beuzenberg Peak, the highest point
of the Te Araroa Trail. For younger
children this day can be shortened,
because you still get great views all the
way along Snake Ridge, without having
to go all the way to the top.
Those who only have two days to
spare, and have the energy, can opt to
come back out to Tekapo after the peak
climb on Day 2. Those who can afford
the time can relax and enjoy a second
night at 1300m, before returning to
civilisation about 1pm on Day 3.
THE TEKAPO TREK:
Duration: 2 or 3 Days
Operates: November - April
Abilities: see Alpine Recreation
website for fitness and experience
AORAKI MT COOK TREK
Ever wanted to follow in Sir Edmund
Hillary’s footsteps and climb up high,
close to Aoraki? If you’re sure-footed
and fit now’s your chance to have an
awe-inspiring mountain experience.
The Aoraki Mount Cook Trek is a
challenging 2 day trek up to the
private Caroline Hut on the Ball Ridge,
straight opposite the awesome 2000m
high Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount
Day 1 you climb 850m through rugged
terrain above the Tasman Glacier
up to Caroline Hut. Day 2 you will
descend back into the Tasman Valley.
Trekking time will be about 6-7 hours
each day. You need to be OK with
negotiating some steep, rugged and
partially untracked mountain terrain.
This trek will give you a rewarding
high mountain experience of this
beautiful area. Caroline Hut is in a
stunning location, straight opposite
the awesome Caroline Face of
Aoraki, New Zealand's highest ice
face (2000m high). It is the only
concessionaire-owned hut in Aoraki/Mt
Cook National Park and provides one
of the few opportunities for foot access
to a high-alpine, bookable hut in this
mecca of the Southern Alps.
THE AORAKI MT COOK TREK:
Duration: 1 Night, 2 Days
Operates: Mid-November – end April. In winter it becomes a very
challenging snowshoeing trip.
Abilities: Suited for those with previous tramping experience.
Special notes: The guide will look after route-finding, ensure you are
properly equipped and cook dinner for you. Non-perishable food is
already at the hut, as are sleeping bags and firewood. Your packs will
contain just your own clothes and some fresh items to take to the hut.
CRISTINA SIMPKINS, TEKAPO ADVENTURES
Cristina and her partner Ben run Tekapo Adventures, a
small family-owned guiding business specialising in remote
backcountry hiking, mountain biking and 4WD experiences. They
live in the region – Cristina is Canadian and Ben is Kiwi. They’ve
spent over 15 years together living and breathing wilderness
adventures in the Southern Alps and British Columbia.
When it comes to the Mackenzie, they were attracted to the vast,
wide-open spaces, and BIG backcountry, often wondering what
lies within those snowy peaks and hidden alpine valleys that
always look so mystical from the shores of Lake Tekapo. “I am
in awe every day of our surrounds – the Mackenzie is one of the
few places in the world where photos don’t do the region justice.”
Many of the valleys around where they live are hard to
access, or you need to go through private land which can
make it challenging for visitors to really experience the true
‘legendary Mackenzie’. Over the years they’ve established great
relationships with high country station landowners, allowing
them to offer guided walking experiences to some of the region’s
remote, private backcountry.
MACKENZIE ALPINE HIKING
TOUR (2 NIGHTS, 3 DAYS)
A new hut to hut hiking experience on Glenmore Station's
private high country spans over 50,000 acres and neighbours
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. This hike is everything you
think of when you think of the unique Mackenzie landscapes:
mountainous backcountry, rock steep scree slipes, U-shaped
valleys carved by glaciation, waterfalls, glaciers, moraines,
tussock-clad terraces and braided river systems. The
environment is also home to some of New Zealand’s most
endangered nesting birds.
The tour starts with a remote 4WD journey up one of the braided
river valleys to the western shores of Tekapo, known as The
Cass. It feels almost Himalayan-like as you venture deep into the
headwaters of the Cass River. Giant moraine walls with multicoloured
scree and large alluvial fans span across the walls of the
valley. From here you can see the impressive Leibig Range which
sits just east to the Southern Alps. The glaciers, unique geology
and ecology that formed in this part of New Zealand are simply
It’s not unusual to come across a herd of merino meandering
through the tranquil blue river waters – their graceful movements
seem at odds with the harsh landscapes.
The tour stops to explore old Boundary Keepers Huts and you
learn about the rich history of the early pioneers that farmed
in this unforgiving part of the country. There’s no better way to
describe it than iconic ‘New Zealand’.
The 4WD journey ends approximately an hour away from the
historical Memorial Hut where the tramp begins along the valley
floor. Crossing icy waters of the Cass, you ascent to the first hut
for the night: Lady Emily. With a steep but inspiring hike through
tussock backcountry and rolling streams you arrive at the cute
and cosy new 8 bunk hut.
After a home-cooked venison stew and a wine (or two) enjoy
the night skies and the milky way in the world’s largest dark sky
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The next day you travel up and over a saddle to find New Zealand’s
highest whiskey bar. Whiskey Hut is perched at 2200m and the 2 bunk
red hut is filled with some of the world’s finest whisky – but how can this
be true? #nowhereelseinNZ.
From here you head along a broad ridge overlooking the remote Jollie
Valley where you can see the peaks of The Main Divide. The rocky
ridge and scree run down to Tin Hut stream where you can take your
boots off to cool in the fresh waters that cascade down off nearby
glaciers and peaks. You are surrounded by grandiose mountains
and herds of Himalayan Tahr. The night is spent at the incredibly
comfortable Falcons Nest Hut, with a cosy log burner and authentic
high country feel.
After a solid breakfast and coffee, you’ll journey down the Tin Hut
Stream to the final leg of the hike with a stop in for lunch in a nearby
Oasis by the stream. The final descent into the Cass Valley has that
home stretch vibe as we see the familiar sights of the braided river
before a well-earned cold beer awaits.
THE MACKENZIE ALPINE
Duration: 2 Nights / 3 Days
Starts: Lake Tekapo
Operates: December- May annually.
Special notes: March & April /
incredible fall light & colours
Abilities: moderate fitness levels &
MACKENZIE ALPINE OVERNIGHT
(1 NIGHT, 2 DAYS)
If you're short on time but would still like a taste of the
Mackenzie Alpine Hiking Tour, you will love this shorter
tramping trip to O’Leary’s Hut at Glenmore Station. Situated
at 1700m this 8 bunk idyllic red hut is the newest addition to
the station’s collection of private alpine huts.
Start your journey on the shores of Tekapo, and set off
up the Cass Valley for a breath-taking scenic 4wd tour to
Waterfall Hut, dating back to 1916. The trek starts by climbing
up a short and steep section of the side of a cascading
waterfall gorge, before easing off to the start of a glacial
carved hanging valley. From here it’s a pleasant day in the
Mackenzie alpine backcountry, as the trek meanders through
a rippling stream. Spaniards and tussocks line the route,
gradually working its way up through an old glacial moraine
where O’Leary Hut is perched amongst impressive peaks.
Located just below the rugged Hells Gate mountain range,
the words ‘awe-inspiring’ are top of mind.
THE MACKENZIE ALPINE
Duration: 1 Night, 2 Days
Starts: Lake Tekapo
Operates: November - May
Abilities: Suited for moderate fitness
levels & experienced hikers
The location of the hut makes a great base to explore the
outstanding scenery and you can do several walks in one
day. A trip up to the Joseph Ridge offers stunning views of
Aoraki/Mount Cook and surrounding countryside, and those
after a gentler hike will enjoy the walk from the valley floor to
the hut. At night you’ll enjoy the best naked eye stargazing in
the region, in the world’s largest dark sky reserve.
We really do live (and work) in paradise.
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Adrien Petit, is 34 years old, from a
small village near Annecy, France.
He had the chance to grow up
between lakes and mountains and
this exceptional environment which
naturally immersed him in mountain
and extreme sports from the youngest
age. He is now a finalist in the Best of
Instagram by Lenovo.
His image will now go through to the
prestigious global photo contest, Red
Bull Illume Image Quest.
Adrien's winning photo features Antoine
Force rolling down an empty green
Photographer: Adrien Petit, @petio.74
Athlete: Antoine Force
Location: Le Chéran, Haute-Savoie
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East from the summit of Mt Prongia
FOUR DAYS IN
A lesson in having good gear
By Eric Skilling
This trip promised much and delivered
plenty more, mostly good, but I would
also be given a few sobering lessons.
As a first-time visitor to Pureora Forest
west of Lake Taupo, I was hoping to
see one of those giant podocarps that
were mere seedlings back in the 13th
century, now said to be over 50 metres
high. As always, I was also looking
forward to the company of fellow
trampers and a good workout. What
better way could there be to achieve all
of this than four days walking and living
in one the largest remaining podocarp
Visiting the forest is a privilege
everyone should enjoy. Within an
hour of starting out we were straining
our necks as we peered up into the
canopy, debating whether we were
looking up at a magnificent matai, miro,
rimu or totara. The truth is the canopy
was so high above us we couldn’t
see the leaves which made it very
difficult for us amateurs to confidently
call any species. At night we had the
pleasure of pitching tents in some of
the most spectacular bush campsites
anywhere. A perfect setting for some
unique shared experiences and great
However, ‘always be careful what you
wish for’, as the adage goes, and I
would discover the challenge of a good
workout got a lot more daunting for
me when I had near trip-ending gear
failure, made worse by carrying more
than I needed and then losing a serious
amount of energy stores to a daring
"Lesson Two: Dehydrated food has improved out of
sight and is a lot more practical than frozen meals."
Just after midday we set off for the one-hour walk up the
wide gravelled path and boardwalks to the top of Mt Pureora
(1,165m). Within the first 100 metres one of the braces holding
the straps to my quarter-century old pack snapped. I was
fortunate enough to be at the back of the group, saving me
becoming the brunt of some serious banter for years to come.
Even more fortunately the pack was a vintage canvas Macpac.
I dropped the pack fearing the worst, but quickly worked out the
support straps at the top of the pack were holding, so while the
pack would begin to slide down my back, the straps looked very
capable of holding up for several days.
A hundred metres further on, the second brace snapped. This
was getting serious. I tightened the top straps and decided I
would carry on and see how the packed coped during the walk
up to the summit and reassess once we reached the top. I was
resigned to the fact that there was the real possibility that my
trip was going to end soon.
An hour or so later we emerged from the still coolness of the
forest into the sub-alpine scrub on the summit, with views of
the central plateau and Lake Taupo stretching out to the east
and south but the promised view of Mt Taranaki was lost in the
summer haze. I indulged myself with the vista for a minute or
so and then turned my mind to other things. I dropped my pack.
The straps were holding well with no signs of any stress. The
base of the two straps were solidly attached so no worries there.
I was confident that it would hold together for more than 4 days,
and if not, my repair kit had enough to carry me through. Lesson
one: Buy good gear. Tick.
There was one very relieved tramper in the group as we headed
south off the summit on the way to Bog Inn hut, a couple of
hours away. The short track off the summit is one of several in
the forest that are no longer maintained by DOC. Waist-high
scrub had overgrown most of the eroded, rutted track, so it was
a pleasure to pop out onto the valley floor and the relatively
expansive Timber Trail. Gravity had already begun its tireless
work on my pack, as it began to sag down my back. I consoled
myself that I had two full meals to empty out before the start of
the next day’s journey.
Bog Inn hut is picturesquely surrounded by ‘younger’ forest –
closer to a century old, with few of the 800-year-old statesmen
we had seen on the other side of Mt Pureora. Nevertheless, the
site is so uniquely peaceful. The silence was quickly broken with
the sound of tent poles clicking into place and sleeping mats
inflating. We then converged on the table outside the hut for
dinner and a serious bout of banter. I gratefully pulled out the
steak and mustard casserole I had prepared and frozen the day
before, grateful twice over -this was a great meal to have on the
first night and secondly, I knew my pack would be about 1kg
lighter tomorrow. Lesson two: Dehydrated food has improved
out of sight and is a lot more practical than frozen meals. It was
a real pleasure to have spent a night at this place.
Day two was the challenge I was looking forward to taking on.
Made a little more difficult for me as my pack slowly slid further
and further down my back until I could feel the heat of a rash
building up on my behind. No sympathy necessary, this was
We averaged about 2 kilometres an hour on the track to
Waihaha hut. Our progress limited by the track itself. The path
was overgrown in many places so even with the help of wellplaced
tree-markers we still found ourselves back-tracking
several times. There are also a couple of steep gullies with
loose footing underneath that could pose a serious challenge
in winter. But this was summer, with lots of daylight hours, and
we were led by experienced and very capable leaders, so we
were never under any time pressures. Conditions were perfect
for walking – the thick forest with its dense canopy kept us cool,
and with little serious rain in the last few weeks the ground
was firm underfoot except for the few gullies towards the end
of the track. There was plenty of variety in plant life to enjoy as
the bush changed from tall ancient podocarps to the younger
regenerating forest and ferns. The streams were mostly dry or
almost stagnant as we had expected, but we had stocked up
with water at Bog Inn.
Personally, day two was the day I gradually came to realise
I seemed to have one of the heaviest packs in the group.
With gravity now turning my pack into a bag dangling off my
shoulders, I was forced to lean further forward to act as a
counterweight. It must have looked odd, and I was using up
some serious calories. Luckily, just as I said to myself “I am
over this” I found yourself staring at the Waihaha hut, peacefully
settled in a clearing ringed by thick bush. Lesson three: If you
take dehy food you don’t need to take those heavy stainlesssteel
pots and cooker. Stick to a light, efficient Jetboil.
Tent site for the next two nights would be alongside the river.
About that rodent encounter? My go-too food is cheese. I carry
enough cheese for daily lunches plus enough for 2 emergency
meals and some to add to any dinners that need spicing up.
Clockwise from top left: The team about to set off / Map of our tramp / Campsite Bog Inn / Story telling at the end of day one
/ Erosion Waihaha River Day 4 / Towering podocarps lined the track / Our leader taking a break on day 3 / Waihaha Track
disappearing on day 2 / Encountrers with bush lawyer on the Wihaha track
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175.5 175.6 175.7 175.8 175.9 176.0 176.1
175.5 175.6 175.7 175.8 175.9 176.0 176.1
Pureora Trip Waitangi 6 - 9 Feb 2020
Bog Inn Hut
First night - Kakaho Campsite
-38.40 -38.45 -38.50 -38.55 -38.60 -38.65 -38.70 -38.75 -38.80 -38.85 -38.90 -38.95 -39.00 -39.05
10 0 10 KM
5 0 5 10 MILES 15
Scale 1:225383 Datum WGS84
20.0 km40.0 km60.0 km80.0 km
"Lesson four. If you see rat traps near your tent site,
leave your food on a hook in the hut."
Long story shortened, I arrived back at my tent after a
refreshing swim in the Waihaha river to witness my food
bag moving. I got to with a few feet of it before a large rat
emerged from the bag, carrying said block of cheese over
the riverbank and disappeared into a hole under a tree root.
Gone! Several hundred calories lost. Lesson four. If you see
rat traps near your tent site, leave your food on a hook in the
Regardless, it was an early night for me that evening, glad
to settle back in my tent and doze off to the sound of the
river. Another priceless experience. Mercifully day three was
a relaxing day trip up Hauhungaroa track following the river
with more towering matai… or was it miro… perhaps rimu?
and including a relaxing lunch alongside the river, and then
back to Waihaha hut, another swim, and a long, sociable
The trip back to the pickup at Highway 32 on the last day
was a gently rolling walk alongside the river on a track
designed to be ridden by MTB. My day was made all that
much easier for me with a pack lighter after the loss of 4
days food and no cheese reserves. This is another one
of those trips that will stay in my memory for a long time.
Despite making it a lot more difficult for myself than I needed
too, the unique campsites and towering forests will have me
back here again soon. After doing some shopping.
I choose to use the following products: Macpac, Back
Country Cuisine, Keen and Jetboil.
Main image: Waihaha hut, day four.
Insert: Locals / dinner!
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WITH KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX
BUILT TO FLEX
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to assist safe adventures
Created from the motivation to inspire quality
trip planning before heading out to explore
Aotearoa’s hills, forests and mountains is the
world-first trip planning app, Plan My Walk.
The brand-new free app, developed by the
NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC), boasts
convenience by bringing together the key
information a walker needs when planning a
trip outdoors, including track information, gear
lists, alerts and weather forecasts. All of this
can be shared with group members and an
Aotearoa’s tramping culture is unique to this
part of the world, from chatting to strangers in
a hut, exchanging notes on track conditions
to sharing experiences online or in stories.
Our great outdoors is so much more than just
a place to explore, it’s part of the fabric and
culture of Aotearoa. This culture sits at the
heart of Plan My Walk and is the driver for
many of its unique features.
Trampers on Robert Ridge, Nelson Lakes National Park - Image by Shaun Barnett
Image by Caleb Smith
"The brand-new free app, developed by the NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC), boasts
convenience by bringing together the key information a walker needs when planning a trip
outdoors, including track information, gear lists, alerts and weather forecasts. "
The concept of the app was triggered
by the results of on-going in-depth
incident analysis conducted by MSC
over the last five years. It clearly
indicated that a concerning number of
trampers who either sustain an injury,
require search and rescue assistance,
or tragically never make it home, are
mostly avoidable prevented or their
seriousness reduced. The solution was
thorough trip planning and preparation,
and sound decision-making while out
in the hills, MSC Chief Executive Mike
“It’s really easy to underestimate the
importance of quality planning and
preparation, there are lots of little
things that can be easily overlooked, or
if you’re new to tramping how do you
know where to start and how do you
effectively make a trip plan.
“When combined these small gaps in
planning can have a big impact on your
safety, conversely, it’s often the little
details that go a long way to improving
your safety,” Daisley said.
The research found that being
‘unprepared for the weather conditions
caused 12% of tramping related
search and rescues (SAR), a ‘lack
of warm layered clothing and/or a
waterproof jacket’ caused 13%, and
an ‘overambitious choice of route, lack
of sufficient fitness and taking longer
than expected to reach the destination’
caused 30% of tramping related SAR,
over a seven-year period from 2012 to
Through these insights, combined
with several other bespoke research
projects which explored the subject of
‘trip planning and preparation’, MSC
considered a range of prevention
solutions that could effectively reduce
safety incidents that were caused by
ineffective planning which ignited the
Plan My Walk spark. Now that Plan My
Walk is live, Daisley and the MSC team
are excited by its potential.
With over 1000 tracks all with
MetService weather warnings and
watches, weather forecasts, track
information, tramper reviews and
suggested gear lists, it’s easy.
Combined with the ability to create a
trip plan, including a daily schedule,
add trip notes, documents and group
members, you can easily save your
plan and share with others, like your
trusted emergency contact.
“PMW is a world-first product that
we believe has very real potential to
improve the safety of thousands of
people, which perfectly aligns with our
vision and overall purpose,” Daisley
Download the app, Plan My Walk, from
your preferred app store, or check it out
online at www.planmywalk.nz. Select
a track, enter your trip dates and find
alerts, an interactive gear list, weather
forecast and much more. Create a trip
plan, assign an emergency contact,
share it and you’re ready to go!
A new app version will be released
mid-October, as at the time of
publication MSC are deep into another
round of development to add a range
of new features and functions, all of
which have come from user feedback.
If you have questions or comments,
feel free to get in touch with the team
at MSC. Your input is hugely valued,
and we encourage users to tell us
about their experience using the app.
Plan My Walk has been built for
trampers, by trampers, and we're 100%
committed to adding new features that
make planning better!
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Featuring all-new, patented FormKnit technology, the AirZone
Trek’s iconic carry system offers world-class comfort and
ventilation. Whether you’re feeling the heat on dusty tracks or
picking up the pace hut-to-hut, the AirZone Trek helps you keep
Available now from Lowe Alpine specialist stores throughout NZ.
Hunting and Fishing New Zealand stores nationwide. Auckland: Living Simply, Waikato: Trek & Travel, Equip Outdoors,
BOP: Whakatane Great Outdoors, Taupo: Outdoor Attitude, Wellington: Dwights Outdoors, Motueka: Coppins Outdoors,
Nelson: PackGearGo Kaikoura: Coastal Sports Christchurch: Complete Outdoors, Greymouth: Colls Sportsworld,
Hokitika: Wild Outdoorsman, Wanaka: MT Outdoors, Queenstown: Small Planet, Invercargill: Southern Adventure
Online: dwights.co.nz, gearshop.co.nz, equipoutdoors.co.nz, outdooraction.co.nz, mtoutdoors.co.nz, completeoutdoors.co.nz,
huntingandfishing.co.nz, smallplanetsports.com,trekntravel.co.nz, outfittersstore.nz
Distributed by: Outfitters 0800 021732
RIVER by Packraft
By Mike Dawson
With the continual rise of Pack Rafting
taking over New Zealand’s remote and
inaccessible waterways we decided to
throw some rafts on our backs and head
out into the wild for some backcountry
fun. Nestled amongst some of New
Zealand’s most beautiful landscapes
flows the magical Greenstone River. A
river surrounded by snow-capped peaks,
beech forest and just the most epic of
scenery. Teaming up with Queenstown
Packrafting and a few of the lads to
head out on a trip that we hoped will
have it all. The perfect intermediate pack
rafters dream, multi day. Something
close to Queenstown with the feeling
of remoteness. The Greenstone is that
Jumping into the van at the Queenstown
Airport, the team was diverse. A mixture
of those that had paddled for years and
those that hadn’t. The atmosphere was
alight, fired up for some freedom and a
good time in the hills. A few pies deep
for a late breakfast and the discussions
slowly encroached into the seriousness
of the ‘Polar Blast’ currently barrelling
across the lower South Island covering
the mountain tops with snow. As the
Greenstone River is located between
the Thomson, Alisa and Livingston
Mountains, it was bearing the brunt of
the heavy rains. Access is via a long
walk across the Greenstone Caples
Great Walk or from the West with a short,
steep slog from the Milford Road. We
opted for the jaunt over Key Summit from
the Divide, into Lake McKellar and the
Every pack rafting mission begins with a bit of a hike. The crew loaded up walking
in from the Main Divide on the Milford Road to the source of the Greenstone River.
The heavy rain and a top up overnight kept the Greenstone River at the perfect level for endless wave chains and some must make ferries.
The Main Divide Carpark quickly became
a scattering of equipment synonymous
with any pack-rafting trip. To any
onlooker we must have looked overly
optimistic to be able to fit this garage
sale of equipment somewhere in our
packs. Moments later we were locked
and loaded, leaving in a cloud of yarns
and laughs ready for the good times.
The route was along the Western side of
the well-established, frequently walked
Greenstone and Caples tracks meaning it
was light work and fairly quick travel over
the edge of the summit and down to the
water. Once we reached the Lake and the
headwaters of the Greenstone, we got
kitted up and headed towards the river.
More famous for the incredible fly fishing,
the upper stretches of the Greenstone
River rarely get paddled. Fortunately
for us the continual downpour meant
a higher lake level and enough water
flowing out of Lake McKellar minimising
our walking and maximising our paddling.
The river sets off with a relaxed tone.
Dense Beech Forest blankets the edge
of the river, almost falling into the water
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Inserts: Arriving at the lake and getting sorted for the 50km ahead. / Gabe making sure the raft is fully pumped before heading on downstream
Alex Hillary taking in the most epic of sunrises early on Day 2 as we make our way down to the lower gorges. / Gabe enjoying getting amongst it.
creating a border of stunning greenery.
The flow was moving quite rapidly,
constantly descending without to many
rapids. Almost like a canal, making the
biggest danger at this stage of the trip the
constant fear of rounding a blind corner
into a cesspit of trees as we made our
way through the upper reaches of the
We were moving quickly, helped along by
the rising river. Before we knew it, we had
arrived at the first gorge, right on dusk.
The flow growing now into quite a raging
torrent, the gorge boxed in a bit before
we arrived above a blind horizon line and
the sky was getting dimmer and darker
as we approached a mid-winter dusk. A
quick yarn leads to the decision not to
blindly descend further into the gorge in
darkness, but instead opt for some river
rock climbing and a quick portage around.
An overnighter at the majestic Greenstone
Hut meant we awoke at the top of an
epic section of class 4 white-water. In the
morning after a quick scouting mission,
we broke the team in half, with 3 electing
With snow settling on the mountains, then brisk temperature of this magic winters day meant fire was essential once the pack down began.
Below: Harry heads down to the river as dawn light slowly reveals the extent of the overnight snow high in the mountain ranges surrounding us.
to portage while 3 returned upstream and dropped into the
Greenstone Hut Gorge. Overnight the rain had been insistent
and unrelenting leading to huge flows in the morning. Dropping
into the gorge we were greeted with 3km of stonking big water
class 4. The scene was set with a burley swim as a boil threw
one of our pack-rafts upside-down. A quick rescue and gear
recovery as we continued downstream slowly working our way
through some epic rapids. Huge waves, long fun rapids and
tonnes of fist pumps had the 3 of us stoked as we re-joined the
From here the boogie water between the gorges was getting
fluffy and fun. Huge waves with the river flowing at a rough
guess close to 80-100 cumecs. We were moving fast now, as
the river descended further to Slips Flat and the Third Gorge.
Again, we were met with continuous white-water, boils, huge
wave chains and tonnes of laughs as we all fell into the river.
Fortunately, all the swims were quick and easy.
Regrouping with the entire team for a quick lunch before we all
jumped on and paddled together for the final kilometres through
the epic last gorge. From here it was a couple of kilometres to
the confluence with the Caples River, but the whitewater was
unrelenting. Huge waves, some brutal and challenging ferries
made for an eventful last couple of kilometres. The Caples
River added more juice to an already juicy river and after a few
more swims we found ourselves at the takeout all stoked on an
If you’re into pack rafting this is a must do, but before heading
out check out the DOC webpage for alerts about the track and
huts and be sure to check the flows before heading into the
Greenstone. For more information touch base with Huw @
Queenstown Pack Rafting.
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RIVER 172km by bike
with Trail Journeys
Central Otago rapidly became a bucket list
destination for cyclists after the opening of the
iconic Otago Central Rail Trail in 2000. Since
then, a number of new bike trails have popped
up in the region, meaning there’s now even
more reason to visit.
The following four trails can be combined for
172km of stunning riding along the winding
banks and mighty gorges of Central Otago’s
Clutha Mata-au River.
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ROXBURGH GORGE TRAIL
This trail is one of Central Otago’s most
visually spectacular rides. Scattered with
remnants of the gold rush, you’ll head
deep into the remote Roxburgh Gorge from
Alexandra to the Lake Roxburgh Hydro
Dam. To ride the full trail, you’ll enjoy a jet
boat transfer between Doctors Point and
Distance: 21km + 12km jet boat transfer
CLUTHA GOLD TRAIL
The Clutha Gold Trail continues along the
emerald waters of the Clutha Mata-au river and
along an old branch railway line to Lawrence.
Brimming with gold mining history, this easy trail
is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the
stunning rural and riverside scenes of Central
Otago’s Teviot Valley.
LAKE DUNSTAN TRAIL
The new trail on the block, the Lake Dunstan Trail weaves
it’s way along the shores of Lake Dunstan from Smith’s
Way to Cromwell’s Heritage Precinct. It then heads through
Bannockburn’s wine country and into the remote Cromwell
Gorge before finishing in the quaint township of Clyde.
ALEXANDRA TO CLYDE RIVER TRACK
Popular with locals, this sheltered trail follows the true right of the
river, joining Clyde and Alexandra. Mainly single-track with some
small undulations and boardwalks, it’s a great alternative to the first
section of the Otago Central Rail Trail.
READY TO RIDE?
The Trail Journeys team have you covered with self-guided cycling services across Central Otago:
- Bike hire - Transport - Luggage transfers - Accommodation - Full self-guided packages
email@example.com | trailjourneys.co.nz | 0800 724 587
DISCOVER NZ’S CYCLE TRAILS WITH ADVENTURE SOUTH NZ
Fully supported Cycle Trail tours: *West Coast Wilderness Trail *Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail *Otago Central Rail Trail
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TONGARIRO CROSSING SHUTTLES
-come and hike through our magic landscape-
5.45am - 7.15am - 8.30am - 9.45am departures
$45per person for return trip
Tongariro National Park a Dual World Heritage Site
Located 15 minutes just outside of
Queenstown in the scenic Bob’s Cove lays
our purpose built house and property
designed to host the most romantic,
unique and truly memorable weddings
for you and your group of up to 60 with
competitively priced all-inclusive
packages, taking care of everything
Wikki Wikki offers a complete wedding
location from start to finish – enjoy the
ceremony, photographs, reception,
dancing and 18-bed accommodation
all within our beautiful property.
With unique features such as the vintage
Ford Fairlane GT, a funky caravan and
a massive spread-winged Eagle this
unique location is the perfect spot for
your special day. With a rustic design and
country feel, this property captures that
special Queenstown flavour in a way that
no other property does.
We also cater to a wide range of other
functions and hire options.
Tui Drive, Bobs Cove, Mount Creighton,
Tel: +64 3 442 8337 | Mob: +64 21 657 262
Weddings & Accommodation:
Merrell Moab Speed Men’s - Brindle $249.00
For over a decade, the Merrell® Moab has been
the choice of hikers all around in the world that has
enabled 20 million people to step further outdoors.
Fa-mous for its out-of-the-box comfort, durability
and all-purpose versatility. The Moab Speed is
a lightweight, cushioned and protective hybrid
designed to give you confidence to tackle any trail.
Merrell Hut Moc Men's/Women's - Triple Black
Super-light, ultra-comfy, Hut Moc features an ultralightweight
EVA outsole and a quilted upper, so
you can enjoy adventures well beyond the warm
hut. Available for men now, women’s coming in
Merrell Trail Glove 6 Men’s - Black $219.00
The 6th version of our famous minimalist shoe
is designed to mimic the shape of the human
foot, keeping it in the position it would be in
without shoes. Ver-sion 6 features an improved
fit, increased abrasion-resistance and made with
SALEWA MOUNTAIN TRAINER 2 $349.90
The men’s MTN Trainer 2 is a comfortable alpine
shoe for technical hikes, via ferratas and treks.
The leather upper has a full protective rubber rand
for 360° abrasion resistance in rocky terrain and a
breathable mesh lining. Our signature 3F system
connects the instep area with the sole and heel for
flexibility, correct fit and support; and the Vibram®
outsole is engineered for prolonged heavy use.
Fit: Standard / Weight: 438 g
SALEWA WILDFIRE leather $299.90
The Wildfire Leather is ideal for everyday use, yet
provides the support and stability required for hiking
to light climbing. The high-quality, 1.4mm suede upper
is supported by a protective rubber rand. Underfoot,
the POMOCA® Speed MTN Path outsole has been
developed to ensure versatile grip and sure-footed
FIT: Standard / Weight: (M) 360 g (W) 275 g
SALEWA DROPLINE $319.90
Designed with a lightweight air mesh construction
and a performance EVA midsole that provides
cushioning for a softer landing and minimized
impact on your muscles and joints. The 3F system,
EXA Shell and anti-rock heel cup lock your foot in
place and ensure directional stability and support for
long trail runs and speed-hiking over rugged terrain.
Fit: STANDARD / Weight: (M) 304 g (W) 289 g
Merrell Siren 3 Gore-Tex Women’s - Rock / Erica
Designed specifically for women, this lightweight
and supportive hiker is built with Q FORM® 2
stability technology and a Vibram® Megagrip®
for confidence no matter the terrain. It’s Gore-Tex
waterproof membrane with keep you dry in wet
SALEWA MOUNTAIN TRAINER LITE MID GORE-TEX® $399.90
Made for alpine hiking and long backpacking routes,
our lightweight, comfortable and supportive mid-cut
boot performs well on rock and technical terrain. The
waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® lining makes it
ideal for 3-season use, from higher activity levels in
summer, to rain, mud or lingering snow.
Fit: WIDE / Weight: (M) 565 g (W) 465 g
SALEWA MOUNTAIN TRAINER MID GORE-TEX® $499.90
Our MTN Trainer Mid GTX is a lightweight alpine
trekking boot with a suede leather upper and a
waterproof breathable GORE-TEX® Performance
Comfort lining. At the ankle, the Flex Collar allows
natural movement and the 3F System provides
flexibility, support and a blister-free fit. Underfoot we
feature a dual-density Bilight TPU midsole and a
Vibram® WTC outsole.
Fit: WIDE / Weight: (M) 700 g (pictured) (W) 570 g
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Keen Ridge Flex Waterproof Boot (Men’s) $349.99
What if every step could feel easier? Meet the e-bike of hiking
boots, built with KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology to flex
where you do. We took the trusted fit of our iconic Targhee
hiker and paired it with our new KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX
technology to flex easier and reduce the energy.
FOR YOUR FEET
Keen Ridge Flex Waterproof Boot (Women’s) $349.99
What if every step could feel easier? Meet the e-bike of hiking
boots, built with KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology to flex
where you do. We took the trusted fit of our iconic Targhee hiker
and paired it with our new KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology to
flex easier and reduce the energy.
Targhee Waterproof Mid Boot (Men’s) $289.99
The Targhee collections fit, durability and performance
have earned it a loyal following over the past 15 years.
With a bold new design, this update is tough, lean and
ready or the next chapter of epic adventure.
Low Prices Everyday
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Unisex - Funfetti
The 40th Anniversary Merrell Moab, the world’s
most popular hiking boot in this limited release
design to commemorate 40 years of breaking new
ground on and off the trail. Unisex style that is
available in both men’s and women’s sizing.
Free NZ Shipping on
orders over $150 for
Members Earn Equip+
shop online or instore
62 Killarney Road,
P: 0800 22 67 68
Patagonia R1 TechFace Jacket $279.99
Warm, stretchy and breathable, but
with the added benefits of abrasion
and weather resistance. This coolweather
cross-layer was designed
for extended versatility in shifting
mountain conditions and is Fair
Trade Certified sewn.
Weight: M's: 326g. W's: 278g
macpac Eva Short Sleeve Tee $59.99
Eva Tee’s are made from a soft
fabric blend that features drirelease
technology to keep you cool. Silky
soft and crease resistant, these
lightweight tees have a loose,
outdoor research Echo Hoodie $89.99
Made from the same moisture-wicking, breathable,
quick-drying AirVent fabric as the rest of the bestselling
Echo series but adds long sleeves and hood for
extra protection. Features odour control technology,
anti-chafe flat seam construction and a UPF 15 sun
protection rating. Designed to tackle adventures in hot
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie $179.99
Technical wind shell made from durable, lightweight Diamond Fuse
technology to take on any windy adventure. Other features include
laser-perforated underarm vents to minimise heat build-up and a refined
hood design that stays in place when you're moving at pace. Available in
men’s and women’s specific versions.
Rab Arc Eco Jacket $399.95
The Arc Eco uses 3-layer Pertex® Shield Revolve. This
waterproof and breathable fabric is constructed from 100%
post-consumer recycled polyester. This means the jacket’s
face fabric, membrane and backer are made up of a single
polymer which makes it much easier to recycle at the end of
its life. This revolutionary construction reduces the impact of
production and improves the chances of closing the loop on
polyester’s life cycle.
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Merrell Whisper Rain Shell Men’s - Lichen $299.00
Whisper through the rain in a jacket that’s 100%
waterproof, has 4-way stretch and revolutionary
knit next-to-skin comfort. This version is updated to
include recycled polyester and PFC free DWR finish
for a more conscious choice. Available in colours for
both Men and Women.
Rab Xenon Jacket $349.95
The Xenon 2.0 is insulated with quick-drying
PrimaLoft® Silver, a lightweight, packable, and
water-resistant insulation made from 100%
recycled plastic bottle chips. it’s a high lofting,
eco-friendly insulation.Ideal for tackling rugged
terrain, the jacket uses a weather resistant,
recycled Pertex® Quantum ripstop outer,
finished with a fluorocarbon-free DWR.
Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket $399.99
Water- and wind-resistant jacket that helps retain heat while
working and sweating hard using the adaptable VerticalX
Air insulation that keeps you warm when you need it and
rapidly moves moisture the moment you start to perspire.
Features ActiveTemp, a thermo-regulating technology
that keeps you cool, dry and comfortable on high-activity
adventures. Available in men’s and women’s versions.
Rab Kangri Jacket $699.95
With a recycled outer fabric, the Kangri GTX is a robust
and reliable hard shell built with 70D 3-Layer GORE-TEX.
Designed with the avid all-weather adventurer in mind,
the Kangri GTX is ideal for hillwalking, hiking, trekking
and mountain scrambles.
Rab Cirrus Flex 2.0 Hoody $299.95
With its hybrid construction, comprising
micro-baffles, synthetic insulation and
stretch fleece side panels, it can be used
as a soft, breathable midlayer for cold
winter days or it can be thrown over a
t-shirt for a lightweight warmth boost
on chilly summer evenings at the crag.
The stretchy Thermic fleece side
panels are fluffy on the inside with a flat
exterior, helping wick away moisture,
while improving mobility for agile days
in the hills. The Primaloft® Silver Luxe
insulation, meanwhile, retains an even,
down-like loft for reliable warmth, even
in the wet.
Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap $44.90
Wear 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. The addition of
mesh side panels allows a welcome air flow
over the sides of your head.
sunsaver classic 16,000 mah
solar power bank $119.00
Built tough for the outdoors
and with a massive battery
capacity you can keep all
your devices charged no
matter where your adventure
sea to summit Overland Gaiter $69.99
Incredible value, hard-wearing, easy to
put on and easily adjusted, these gaiters
are perfect for their namesake track and
• Great value bushwalking gaiter
• Adjustable 50mm front opening
• 450D ripstop Nylon
• 316 stainless steel lace hook
Charmate 12 Quart Round Cast Iron Camp Oven $125.00
The Charmate 12 Quart Camp oven is perfect for
camping. With thicker walls and base for consistent heat
transfer, it’s pre-seasoned and ready to use.
lowe alpine Manaslu ND50:65 $599.95
The Manaslu ND50:65 is made with durable
yet lightweight mini ripstop fabric, with a
hard-wearing Nylon base. Side and internal
compression straps, and forward pull hip
belt adjustment ensure a stable carry and a
comfortable fit, however heavy your load. An
extendable lid increases the volume by an extra
15 litres, while external daisy chain lash points
allow external storage.
lowe alpine AirZone Trail 35 $299.95
The AirZone Trail 35 features a Fixed AirZone
carry system with a breathable back to
maximise airflow and keep you cool and
comfortable. With a single buckle entry to the
main compartment and a 35 litre capacity,
there’s room for everything for a day’s hike
or trek. Upper and lower side compression
straps add stability, and a forward pull hip belt
adjustment ensures the perfect fit.
macpac Vamoose Child Carrier $499.99
The Vamoose is harnessed with a wide,
padded hip belt for effective weight
distribution. The adjustable child seat,
‘grows' with your child and helps to keep
them secure. Made from durable fabrics
with plenty of pockets for extra gear — it
has a 19 litre storage capacity and a
detachable day pack.
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kiwi camping Boost LED Light with Power Bank $84.99
Bright LED light with power bank to illuminate your
tent and charge devices on the go. Features 11 light
modes, built-in magnets and hanging hook.
macpac Moon Quad Folding Chair $169.99
Designed for camping in comfort, the Macpac
Moon Quad Folding Chair is circular in shape
and heavily padded with a durable polyester
fabric for all day relaxation. .
macpac Hiking Travel Chair $119.99
Comfortable and light, our hiking travel chair is
ideal for camping trips with family or friends.
sea to summit Jungle tarp $199.99
Add our Jungle Hammock Tarp to your
Jungle Hammock Set for a sheltered,
bug-free suspended sleep.
Made from water and abrasion
resistant, lightweight 30 denier Ultra-
Sil CORDURA® Nylon fabric with
waterproof seams – double stitched and
tape sealed, non-wicking anchor points
with adjustable guy lines and siliconised
outer surface with 2000mm waterhead.
kiwi camping HS Tent Top Cargo Tray $839.00
The Tuatara Tent Top Cargo Tray is designed to fit our
Hard Shell Rooftop Tent to allow you to stow camping and
adventure gear for your touring adventures.
kiwi camping Tuatara 2.5 x 2.5 Awning $419.00
Offers 6.25m² of covered area for sun or rain protection. 200g polycotton
canvas awning, twist-lock design, adjustable height and mounts directly to
existing roof rack.
kiwi camping Tuatara SSC Rooftop Tent $2,599.00
New Zealand’s first Blackout Rooftop Tent, the Tuatara Soft Shell
Compact pops up and folds away in just 2 minutes. Includes
telescopic ladder and heavy-duty 1000D PVC travel cover.
kiwi camping Tuatara HS Rooftop Tent $5,699.00
Hard-wearing and spacious, the Tuatara Hardshell is one of the
lowest profile rooftop tents on the market. Includes heavy-duty
frame, 7cm mat and 316 marine-grade stainless steel.
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Rab Ascent 500 $599.95
The Ascent 500 is a hard-wearing
high performing sleeping bag you can
depend on for comfort and protection
in mild to moderate conditions. Ideal
for general purpose outdoor use,
from bothy to bivvy, the Ascent range
equips you for regular mountain
adventures. Durable, tough, and
reliably warm, the Ascent is especially
suitable for those wanting to invest in
their first down sleeping bag. Offering
excellent value for the feature set,
which is similar to that of the more
technical Rab bags, this hard working
piece provides protection and comfort
on the hill or trail.
Rab Mythic 200 $999.95
Weighing in at just 475g the Mythic contains 200g of
the highest fill power ethically sourced European Goose
Down. Achieving an exceptional warmth to weight ratio,
this bag retains all the features you need to stay warm
and protected in a mountain environment. The tapered
mummy shape with angled foot box gives a generous
fit for the weight. Weight saving baffle construction
prevents down shift, while the chambers are angled
downwards in chevrons keeping the down over the
centre of the body to ensure core warmth throughout
the night. Each bag is hand filled in Derbyshire using
Hydrophobic down developed in conjunction with
Outdoor Research Bug Bivy
Provides complete insect protection through the
night. A single pole holds the mesh away from your
face, keeping bugs at a distance, while the zipper
opening seals out mosquitoes and other small
insects. A waterproof floor keeps the moist ground
from soaking through your bag. Features include
sleeping mat straps, three stake loops, two guy-line
loops and an internal mesh pocket. 454gm
Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag $749.99
The streamlined bag has a minimalistminded
design and a feature set that’s ideal
for climbers, kayakers and backpackers
who need an essentials-only kit. Fair Trade
Certified sewn, it features Advanced
Global Traceable Down, and nylon ripstop
Pertex® Quantum. Weight: 734g
sea to summit Jungle Hammock Set $299.99
Perfect for humid environments, the Jungle Hammock
Set comes with straps and can be used anywhere from
the backpacking trail to the wilderness. In wet conditions,
combine it with our Jungle Hammock Tarp for a sheltered,
bug-free suspended sleep.
Made using breathable, lightweight 70 denier ripstop
Nylon, high-tenacity monofilament netting, Dyneema®
webbing and corrosion-resistant anodised 6061 Aluminium
ack country cuisine $9.49 - $13.99
CHICKEN CARBONARA: A freeze dried chicken
and pasta dish, served in a creamy italian style
sauce. Available small serve (90g) or regular (175g)
MUSHROOM BOLOGNAISE (Vegan) Mushrooms
with tomato in a savoury sauce, served with noodles.
Available small serve (90g) or regular (175g)
back country cuisine
CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PUDDING $13.19: Our take
on chocolate self-saucing pudding, with chocolate
brownie, boysenberries and chocolate sauce. Gluten
Free. Available in regular serve (150g)
ICED MOCHA $4.09: Our mocha is made with
chocolate and coffee combined with soft serve to give
you a tasty drink on the run. Gluten Free. 85g.
SOFT - PLASTIC
Deep Creek Brewing - Basalt 440ml $8.99
STYLE: HAZY IPA 6.5% ABV
Inspired by one of the four guardians of
Chinese Mythology, Basalt is packed with
El Dorado, Mosaic and Idaho 7 Hops, with
vibrant fruity hop flavours fighting against
the dark of winter.
Deep Creek Brewing - Antivirus 440ml $8.99
STYLE: IPA 7.0% ABV
A nod to our frontline health workers. They are our
true everyday heroes. We will be donating 50c
from every can sold and $25 from every keg sold
to the Auckland Health Foundation. Made with
Mosaic, Idaho 7 and Citra hops. Disclaimer: This
beer will not cure any kind of disease.
NZ’S NO.1 MEALS
Deep Creek Brewing -sentinel 440ml $8.99
STYLE: HAZY IPA AVB: 6.5%
This White Tiger Sentinel is inspired by one of
the four guardians of Chinese mythology, which
represents the autumn season. Enjoy the beautiful
passionfruit and a sprinkling of guava taste!
Deep Creek Brewing - Ukulele 440ml $8.99
STYLE: PEACH GINGER SOUR 4.5%
Time to relax. Break out the ukulele, find a
hammock, and transport yourself to the tropics.
The peach flavours play a sweet melody with
ginger harmoniously elevating the flavour profile
over the zesty lime finish.
FEED YOUR ADDICTION
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.
Never have a dead phone
again! Because now you can
charge straight from the Sun
with SunSaver. Perfect for
that week-long hike, day at
the beach, or back-up for any
emergency. Check us out at:
small group guided
packrafting trips and
courses from our base
in Queenstown New
Whether you enjoy
cycle trails, road
biking or walking,
Adventure South NZ
can help you to explore
New Zealand at
your own pace.
Full-service outfitter selling hiking
and mountaineering gear and
apparel, plus equipment rentals.
Specialising in ski & snowboard
touring equipment new & used;
skis, boards, bindings, skins,
probs, shovels,transceivers &
Our motto is “Going the
distance” and we pride
ourselves on providing top
quality outdoor and travel
equipment and service
that will go the distance
with you, wherever that
Gear up in a wide selection of durable, multifunctional
outdoor clothing & gear. Free Returns. Free Shipping.
Stocking an extensive range
of global outdoor adventure
brands for your next big
adventure. See them for travel,
tramping, trekking, alpine and
lifestyle clothing and gear.
Specialists in the sale of Outdoor Camping Equipment, RV,
Tramping & Travel Gear. Camping Tents, Adventure Tents,
Packs, Sleeping Bags and more.
Reusable, BPA free water bottles containing a unique 3-in-
1 filtration technology providing clean safe drinking water
from any non-salt water source anywhere in the world.
Our very own online store where
you will find hard goods to keep you
equipped for any adventure.
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Ultra lightweight running shoes, made by runners. No
matter where the trail takes you, Hoka One One will
have you covered.
New Zealands largest independent Outdoor and
Bivouac Outdoor stock the latest in quality outdoor
clothing, footwear and equipment from the best
brands across New Zealand & the globe.
Shop for the widest range of Merrell footwear, apparel
& accessories across hiking, trail running, sandals &
casual styles. Free shipping for a limited time.
Whether you’re climbing mountains, hiking in the hills
or travelling the globe, Macpac gear is made to last
and engineered to perform — proudly designed and
tested in New Zealand since 1973.
Living Simply is an outdoor clothing and equipment
specialty store in Newmarket, Auckland. Your go-to place
for quality footwear, packs, sleeping bags, tents, outdoor
clothing and more.
Offering the widest variety,
best tasting, and most
nutrient rich hydration,
energy, and recovery
products on the market.
Fast nourishing freeze dried food for adventurers.
Jetboil builds super-dependable
backpacking stoves and camping
systems that pack light,
set up quick, and achieve
rapid boils in minutes.
Supplying tents and
camping gear to Kiwis
for over 30 years, Kiwi
Camping are proud to
be recognised as one of
the most trusted outdoor
brands in New Zealand.
Radix provides freeze dried
meals and smoothies made
with all natural ingredients.
These are perfect for
athletes and adventures
who care about their health
and performance. Gluten
free, Plant-based and Keto
options are available.
Get 10% off your first order online.
Excellent quality Outdoor
Gear at prices that can't
be beaten. End of lines.
Ex Demos. Samples. Last
season. Bearpaw. Garneau.
Why camp in the cold?
Story compliments of www.kiwicamping.co.nz
First the question must be asked – why camp when it’s
Well, there are a few reasons, the first being – the
stars! Shorter days and clearer skies mean amazing
opportunities to see the stars so clearly you could touch
them... or at least instagram them!
The next reason – space – you won't be cramming into a
campsite with a hundred other people on your doorstep!
The next, and perhaps best reason, is the view. Very few
people actually appreciate the true beauty of winter. Cold
weather can make a place ethereal, like transporting
yourself to a different world, a world that’s just for you,
thus giving you epic bragging rights.
That said preparation is key. Never be caught out by
being under-prepared! It’s always best to know the area
you're travelling too, make sure you're comfortable you're
prepared for the environment and its climate (and a little
bit more besides). Always check the Metservice to make
sure you're not heading into anything risky and let people
know where you're going.
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THE RIGHT GEAR
It seems obvious, but if you're sleeping out in 0°
temperatures, and you want to be comfortable,
make sure your sleeping bag is a -10° bag. It’s
recommended to have a bag that’s rated at least
5.5°C lower than the coldest temperature you expect.
There is some confusion over 'comfort' vs 'limit' so
here is a guide:
• Comfort: The temperature an adult could expect a
comfortable night’s sleep.
• Limit: The temperature at which a standard person
can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without
• Extreme: The minimum temperature at which a
standard person can remain for six hours without risk
of death from hypothermia (though frostbite is still
Fight the urge to snuggle deep into your bag, your
breath will eventually create moisture, and therefore
you'll get cold. Instead, tighten the draft collar (yes,
that’s what it’s for!) and hood so your body keeps
in the warmth and you can breathe easy! Lastly, a
sleeping bag liner can add extra warmth too.
A mattress is also incredibly important, if you're on an
air mattress, you'll probably want to put something
on top of it as a barrier to keep the warmth near you,
rather than heating the cold air you're on. Failing that,
you can put a foam mat between the tent floor and
the mattress you're on keeping a barrier.
Some tents are made for the side of a mountain in
a blizzard, but most aren't. Carefully choose your
tent to suit the location and conditions of where
you are planning your adventure. If you are hiking
or tramping, you’ll be wanting to carry a small,
lightweight tent, like Hiker Tents. Smaller tents are
also easier to put up quickly and heat.
Both kinds; the wood and the food kind are really
important. Hot food is essential to keeping up your
energy and keeping your internal temperature steady.
To heat water or food quickly, you can use a Gasmate
turbo stove, it heats 500ml of water in 2.5 minutes.
Boil in the bag meals are a good option and always
take an extra fuel canister! If you're going down the
more traditional route of a natural fire, then you'll
need dry kindling or some fire-lighters. Remember,
dry wood isn't always easy to come by, so always
have a back-up plan!
Polyprop is your friend. It keeps you warm, even if
you're wet, and it’s easy to dry out. Wool will also
keep you warm, even if wet, but it’s heavy if it gets
wet, and almost impossible to dry out. Stay away from
cotton. Synthetics or merino are also great thermal
insulators. Layer up, from the base layer out!
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BACK COUNTRY CUISINE REVIEW - by Eric Skilling
I have been a bit reluctant to try out freeze dried meals after a bad
experience some years ago but I have always envied the high caloriesper-gram
meals, much lighter than what I usually carry in my pack.
While making your hot cuppa before bed,
put some hot (not boiling) water into a
sealed plastic bottle and heat up your
sleeping bag before getting in.
Keep your drinking water from freezing by
using insulated bottle pockets. It’s best if it
has a non-spill straw or top, spills will mean
wet clothes and that’s hard to fix!
Choose lithium batteries instead of alkaline.
Lithium is the only sensible choice in
0° weather, so if you really need that
headlamp to work, don't take alkaline!
Snuggle – You're warmer if there’s two
of you, so get up close! The less cold air
coming up through the floor means you'll
both be warmer.
Keep your mobile phone in your sleeping
bag with you, if it gets too cold, it may run
out of power, and there aren't too many
power sockets in the bush.
Put tomorrow’s clothes in the bottom of
your bag too. If you wear a base layer to
bed, you can simply get dressed in the
warm kit from the bottom of the bag.
Tarp – so versatile! Put it under the tent
as a barrier, put it in the vestibule to stop
traipsing in mud and water, use it as an
extra wind break or water barrier, sit on it
around the fire.
Keep your feet and head warm – now we
sound like your mother! Your head and
upper chest are five times more sensitive
to temperature changes than other areas of
our bodies, so keep them covered. When
you get really cold, your body sacrifices
the blood flow from the extremities first, so
keep your feet dry and warm.
So, after watching fellow adventurers tucking in on a recent multiday
tramp, I put my prejudices away and packed some Back Country
Cuisine for a mid-winter overnighter on the Tarawera Trail.
My bad experience goes way back to a four-day trip taken almost two
decades ago when apart from finding the taste quite average, I always
finished the meal and then found myself looking around for the main
course. As everyone knows good food and a good tramping experience
go together. Spending several minutes trying to fork out microscopic
particles from the bottom of a packet that you did not really enjoy, does
nothing for morale.
Well, I can truthfully say a lot has changed.
Hats off to the Back Country Cuisine Chefs – later that day I still found
myself scratching around with the fork into the corners of a packet of
Roast Lamb and Vegetables, only this time it wasn’t because I was
hungry but because it tasted so good! Not only does the food taste
great, but I was full to the point of making a bit of an oinker of myself.
To confess I did cheat a bit. I always pack a fresh vegetable, usually
a carrot, which I cut into small pieces and boil with the water before
pouring it into the bag. This time however the meal made the carrot
taste better, instead of the other way round. I also enjoyed the meal
looking over one of those priceless NZ scenes, a glassy-calm Lake
Tarawera in the last of the twilight, with temperatures heading down
to minus 2deg C. The meal was tasty, warming and most importantly,
Although I wasn’t hungry, I was tempted to try the Strawberry Ambrosia
dessert, as it sounded so appealing. I boiled more water and filled the
packet. By this stage it was too dark to see what I was eating but the
chefs should be proud. A little later having done the dishes (a knife, fork
and spoon) and feeling quite contented I lay back and did some star
gazing. I was hoping to enjoy Matariki, but it was well hidden by the
mighty Mt Tarawera. I didn’t really care. I was feeling so good I enjoyed
the milky way instead before sliding back into the tent and the warmth
of my sleeping bag.
The following evening back in civilisation, instead of wasting time
shopping, I enjoyed a three-course meal of the Malaysian Chicken
soup followed by the Teriyaki Beef and Noodles which I had packed as
emergency food. I finished the meal with the Banana Smoothie that I
had intended to use while MTB the Redwoods. I did add another carrot
to the Teriyaki, but I am an unashamed fan of Back Country Cuisine.
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Story compliments of www.kiwicamping.co.nz
Freedom camping or free camping is the practice
of putting up tents or parking up campervans in
public areas not designated for camping. Free
camping typically means that freedom campers
cannot access facilities such as clean drinking
water, toilets (either flushing or long drop) and
waste disposal facilities. Free camping appeals
to campers, especially those on a tight budget
because it offers the ultimate in 'cheap camping'.
In New Zealand, freedom campers tend to use
laybys, picnic areas and very remote spots.
There are now around 420 ‘free’ campsites
scattered around New Zealand that are
designated by local councils and the Department
of Conservation. Up until 2011 in New Zealand,
it was much easier to find a free campsite as
many of the councils didn’t see freedom camping
as a problem and there weren’t as many rules.
Then, around the time of the Rugby World Cup
in 2011, the entire campervan rental fleet was
booked out months in advance. Also around this
time, there were some highly publicised cases
of irresponsible freedom camping (going to the
toilet in a public place, leaving rubbish in popular
free camping spots etc).
Unfortunately, free camping is
having an increasingly negative
effect on New Zealand’s clean,
green environment due to the
increasing volume of freedom
campers – some of whom create
litter problems, dispose of human
waste inadequately and discharge
grey water outside of dump stations.
Free campers tend not to be popular
with local residents but it doesn't
have to be that way. To help keep
New Zealand beautiful, avoid fines,
and stay in the good books with
the locals we've put together some
helpful 'need-to-knows', best practice
tips, and links to local council and
WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
From February 1st 2018, the national
standards covering self-contained
vehicles have been tightened. All
motor caravans and caravans must
be self-contained when staying
overnight at locations where selfcontainment
is required, this includes
some DOC campsites (note some
locations do not require campers to
be self-contained, as a responsible
camper you must check all signs
at the location you are staying at).
This means you need to be able
to live in your vehicle for 3 days
without requiring more water or
dumping waste. The vehicle must
have freshwater storage, wastewater
storage, a rubbish bin with a lid,
and a toilet that can be used inside,
even when the bed is in place. If you
do not have a vehicle with a selfcontained
toilet, you will need to park
near toilet facilities. Your vehicle hire
company should have information to
pass on about the type of vehicle you
The confusing part for travellers is
that different regions and Department
of Conservation areas have different
rules. To make sure you're aware of
these differing rules, be sure to check
in with local Isite Visitor Information
Centres and DoC Visitor Centres or
if you're still in doubt check out your
local council information.
To access an up-to-date list of
Freedom Camping sites check out
FREE CAMPING BEST PRACTICE
Freedom camping is not illegal in New
Zealand, but local by-laws can specifically
restrict it in certain areas and free campers
not complying with notices can be fined. If
you are free camping in New Zealand, do
try to follow the guidelines below:
• Make sure you park your campervan
or pitch your tent in a safe area, well
away from traffic. If possible, try to
camp near to a public toilet block,
where you can use the toilets and
sinks (sometimes showers).
• Keep your car or campervan doors
locked at night.
• Portable fuel stoves are less harmful
to the environment and are more
efficient than fires. In dry times of
year, open fires may be prohibited in
certain areas – be sure to check for
fire restrictions. If you really have to
make a fire, keep it small, use only
dead wood and make sure it is out by
dousing it with water and checking the
ashes before you leave.
• Improper disposal of toilet waste
can contaminate water, damage
the environment and is culturally
offensive. Use disposal facilities
where provided or bury waste in a
shallow hole at least 50 metres away
• When cleaning and washing in open
waterways, take the water and wash
well away from the water source. As
soaps and detergents are harmful to
water life, drain used water into the
soil to allow it to be filtered.
• If you suspect water to be
contaminated, either boil it for at least
three minutes, or filter it, or chemically
• Litter is unattractive, harmful to
wildlife and pollutes water. Take all
your litter with you, recycle what you
can, and dispose of non-recyclables
in the appropriate rubbish bins or
• Camp carefully and respect the
environment and other visitors – leave
no trace of your visit, nothing but
footprints as the old adage goes.
• Check out NZ Tourism Guide for more
Campermate.co.nz has a great free app
available on IOS and Android which lets
you know where the free campsites are
while travelling around NZ. Check it out!
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Top hikes in the Outer Islands
MOUNT YASUR - TANNA
Vanuatu’s outer islands offer more than
just world-renowned snorkelling, remote
beaches and palm trees, they’re home to
some of the most spectacular, adrenalinepumping
treks in the Pacific Islands. So
grab your hiking boots and get ready for
an adventure you’ll never forget.
From an active volcano to the world’s largest banyan tree, this
is an unmissable three-day trek on Tanna island in the Tafea
province. Tanna island people are bare-foot walkers, and will
guide you from natural hot springs surrounded by overgrown
rainforest to white-sand beaches with pounding surf and volcanic
From the base to the summit of Mt Yasur is an easy to moderate
3.5-hour round trip on foot across expansive ash plains. While
there is an option to drive, we really encourage the hike! This is
best done at night as you’ll have the opportunity to witness the red
glow of lava under a dark night sky.
Mt Yasur is one of Vanuatu’s most dramatic booming visitor
attractions – the volcano is a female deity and she is revered by
the people of Tanna Island with many cultural stories revolving
around her power. As such visitors walking up the volcano pay
an entrance fee that is shared with the community. For more
information visit or chat with the good folks at Entani who manage
the volcano visits.
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MANBUSH TRAIL - MALEKULA
This four-day hike will take you from the east
of Malekula to the west, hiking over lush and
mountainous terrain, into remote island villages,
and through farmland and rivers. Make sure
you pack suitable wet weather gear for this hike
and sturdy waterproof hiking boots or hiking
sandles. The last thing you want is wet socks
for four days! There will be guides to carry your
On day one, you’ll hike 1.5-2 hours from Unua to
the dense bushland in Melken, ascending only
On day two, you’ll hike for 7 hours from
Melken to Mt Laimbele, ascending 650m and
descending 170m. From this breathtaking
rainforest you’ll get a glimpse of the volcanoes
on Ambrym, a neighbouring island. You’ll likely
spend the evening eating bush-tucker around a
fire, before retiring to your mat on the floor of a
handmade bush hut.
On day three, expect another 8-hours of walking
from Mt Laimbele to Lebongbong, with similar
terrain to the day before. Keep your eyes peeled
for wild cattle and birdlife. You’ll be treated to
seasonal bush food, likely nesowong, which is
a meal made from bush banana, water taro and
On the final day, day four, you’ll hike 9-10 hours.
It’s a day of descent (1140m!), so get those
hiking poles and knees ready. You’ll pass by
several banyan trees - giants of the forests,
with roots that envelop their trunks. You’ll also
see a giant waterfall, explore a spring in a cave
and visit a nakamal (a traditional meeting place)
before bunkering down in the village of Yawa for
a shower and a comfortable bed.
NGUNA FULL DAY ADVENTURE - NGUNA
If you’ve got a few days in Port Vila, the hike up Nguna
island’s highest extinct volcano (Mt Taputaora, 593m) is a
must-do. You’ll need to catch a ride from your accommodation
on Port Vila to Emua Wharf before catching a boat over to
Nguna in order to start this hike.
It begins slowly, with a gradual incline, passing through small
villages with children who will run out to greet you. The final
leg is hard, and steep. You’ll be exposed to the sun and it’ll be
hot. Make sure to wear a hat!
As you summit the volcano, you’ll be treated to expansive
views across the Shepherd Islands to the north, and south to
Efate. Afterwards you’ll be offered a buffet lunch by the beach
and a snorkel along the Nguna coastline to cool off.
LAKE LETAS & MT GARET - GAUA
DOGS HEAD TRAIL - MALEKULA
This three-day coast-to-coast traverse through wild
bushland extends from the north east to the north
west of Malekula Island. It’s a strenuous hike, but a
rewarding one. You’ll have the unique opportunity to
be introduced to the Big Nambas territories and be
totally removed from the modern world that you’re
Don’t expect electricity and flushing toilets, expect
huge smiles and generous spirits. Revel in the
villages built almost entirely from bamboo and palm
thatch. At the end of the three-day trek, jump into the
Pacific Ocean to cool off on Malekula’s west.
On the island of Gaua lies one of Vanuatu’s most remote and
active volcanoes. This three-day adventure involves crossing
Lake Letas in a rigger canoe before a steep, exposed climb up
to the rim of Mt Garet. It’s only an hour up to the top, but it’s a
difficult one, so get your walking sticks ready and keep your
feet firmly on the path despite moments of terror.
You’ll have the opportunity to camp in small bungalows at
Victor’s Camp, right on the lake. Victor’s a vivacious and jovial
character who’ll tell you stories under dim lamplight, share
shells and shells of kava (watch out!) and, together with his
wife, feed you until you’re as full as can be.
On the hike back down, you’ll visit Vanuatu’s highest waterfall,
Siri Waterfall, which boasts a 120m drop. This is a wet walk,
so make sure you’ve got sturdy hiking sandals or boots.
Vanuatu hopes that Lake Letas becomes a Unesco world
94//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#228
WALKS IN 20
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Each region has a week-long package (for
6-10 people), including transport and
We welcome your enquiry:
or phone 021 172 3244
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