Adventure Magazine

Issue 228. camping/tramping issue

Issue 228. camping/tramping issue


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where actions speak louder than words

camping & tramping



OCT/NOV 2021

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.

Paved paradise...

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

and walk!

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

the momentum.

Keep walking, strolling, hiking,

tramping - welcome to the tramping

and camping issue we know it will keep

you motivated.

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

page 08



Image by Greg Knell Image by Derek Cheng

Image compliments Barny

page 14

page 24


a beginners perspective

14//Sinbad, Terror Creek

and the 11 day weather window

24//Exploring the Beaten Tracks

and finding the hidden gems

30//Self Discovery

in the sand

40//Mackenzie Country

guided walks

50//Four Days in the Pureora Forest

a lesson in having good gear

60//Greenstone River

by packraft


why camp in the cold?

freedom camping


top hikes in vanuatu


70. gear guides

96. active adventure








yoUr AdventUre staRts Here

23 Locations Nationwide - www.radcarhire.co.nz | 0800 73 68 23 | adventure@radcarhire.co.nz





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.


Steve Dickinson

Mob: 027 577 5014



Lynne Dickinson





Ovato, Ph (09) 979 3000








NZ Adventure Magazine is published six times a year by:

Pacific Media Ltd, P.O.Box 562

Whangaparaoa, New Zealand

Ph: 0275775014

Email: steve@pacificmedia.co.nz

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adventurejobs.co.nz | adventuretraveller.co.nz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

respect to any of the material contained herein.

Adventure Magazine

Whereever we go,

our preferred car

hire is...


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

incredibly supportive.

Covid has put a

lot of strain on the

adventure community

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.

World Class Indoor Climbing

First visit $25* then free for a week!

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welcome, boulder classes for all ages

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@ adventuremagazine

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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

this moment).

"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


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



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.








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Adventure Magazine.




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

was drenched.

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

the storm.

“Welcome to Sinbad,” I thought.



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,

densely-shrubbed spur.

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

overhanging bulge.

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

earlier hour.

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.


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.



“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

reasonable hold."

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.


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

quick succession?"

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

sparks—sufficiently satiated.

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


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.



Isthmus Peak

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


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 –

11 days

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 –

7 days.

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. "


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

adventure dreams…


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


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

human endeavour.

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.





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

alpine tents.

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.


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

a result.

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

party faces.

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.



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Adventure Magazine

supporting local





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.


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

Conservation Park.

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.


Duration: 2 or 3 Days

Operates: November - April

Abilities: see Alpine Recreation

website for fitness and experience


Info: www.alpinerecreation.com


(2 DAYS)

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.


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.

Info: www.alpinerecreation.com


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.



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



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.



Duration: 2 Nights / 3 Days

Starts: Lake Tekapo

Operates: December- May annually.

Special notes: March & April /

incredible fall light & colours

Abilities: moderate fitness levels &

experienced hikers.

Info: www.tekapoadventures.com




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.



Duration: 1 Night, 2 Days

Starts: Lake Tekapo

Operates: November - May

Abilities: Suited for moderate fitness

levels & experienced hikers

Info: www.tekapoadventures.com

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.





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

(74), France



East from the summit of Mt Prongia




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

mostly self-inflicted.

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


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















Waihaha Hut

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

1,195 m

300 m

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!








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

emergency contact.

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

Daisley said.

“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!


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

your cool.


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

Greenstone Valley.

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


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

crew downstream.

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

epic mission.

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

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iconic Otago Central Rail Trail in 2000. Since

then, a number of new bike trails have popped

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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.



This trail is one of Central Otago’s most

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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

Shingle Creek.

Distance: 21km + 12km jet boat transfer


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.

Distance: 73km



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.

Distance: 55km


(Millennium Trail)

Popular with locals, this sheltered trail follows the true right of the

river, joining Clyde and Alexandra. Mainly single-track with some

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Distance: 12km


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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

recycled materials.



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



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




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



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



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.





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+

Loyalty Points

shop online or instore


62 Killarney Road,

Frankton, Hamilton,

New Zealand

P: 0800 22 67 68

E: sales@equipoutdoors.co.nz

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,

modern silhouette.


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.



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

takes you.


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

adventures beyond.

• 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.



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.



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)


with tomato in a savoury sauce, served with noodles.

Available small serve (90g) or regular (175g)


back country cuisine


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.





Deep Creek Brewing - Basalt 440ml $8.99


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


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.





Find out



Deep Creek Brewing -sentinel 440ml $8.99


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


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.



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:



Specialising in

small group guided

packrafting trips and

courses from our base

in Queenstown New



Whether you enjoy

cycle trails, road

cycling, mountain

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 &

avalanche packs.


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

may be.


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.



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

Paddle store.


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.

Ahnu. Superfeet.




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.




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!



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.




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

government resources.


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



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

from waterways.

• 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

treat it.

• 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

refuse centres.

• 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


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

black-sand planes.

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.



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

10m, easy!

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

coconut milk.

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.



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.



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

used to.

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

heritage site.









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