Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please!
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Alex Heesch
(heescha) - F
Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 09/11/2008 17:29:39 MDT Print View

Ok, so this is a ways down the road but my fiance and i were talking about where we want to take our honeymoon. we both decided that a hike in new zealand but i have no idea how to even go about planning this, hwo much it would cost, or what to do! IDEALLY we would like to hike for a few days, come into town, stay at a cottage, then go hike for a few more days, come back to town...yadda yadda...any hlep?

Ivan Bertrand
(ibertrand) - F
new zealand hiker site on 09/11/2008 18:08:51 MDT Print View

I recommand the site of Julie and Fred http://www.cvbn.net/ , they are French, site is in French but you have plenty of pictures of hiking in new zealand linked with google map.

It can give you ideas, actually it seems rough hiking paradise ;-) Stewart Island is my favorite.

They speak good English since they stayed 1 year there. Post a question in their book (secret question is Meike). I'll make sure they got it (we are family)

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
hike New Zealand on 09/11/2008 18:22:12 MDT Print View

start here: http://tramper.co.nz/?view=forums
and then go here: http://www.backpackerboard.co.nz/forum/index.php

i used these 2 boards to plan a trek on the Milford Track and the Northern Circuit, and also the Tongariro crossing.
make sure to consider your honeymoon in either Lake Taupo or Queenstown. And bring a hammock to show our southern hemisphere friends what they've been missing!
(we miss you over there, Heescha)

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 09/11/2008 19:51:05 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: hike New Zealand on 09/11/2008 19:11:21 MDT Print View

>And bring a hammock to show our southern hemisphere friends what they've been missing!

No thanks. Almost all my tramps are with a partner, and at least half of them are camping above tree line. Hammocks look a lot less than ideal for both applications, especially given it's a honey-moon.....!

For less hassle and less money than the Milford I would strongly recommend you try the Routeburn track and either the Heapy or Abel Tasman tracks (or both is even better). All three of these have sites where you can camp whereas the Milford forces you to stay (and pay) in large huts. Doing the Routeburn plus either or both of the Heaphy/Abel Tasman will give a thorough sampling of the best of NZ mountains and forests, from alpine to subtropical rainforest.

Edited by retropump on 09/12/2008 13:19:06 MDT.

Peter Surna
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Five Passes on 09/11/2008 19:42:45 MDT Print View

A better walk than those tracks is a walk called the Five Passes.

There are no huts but in my opinion it is a far greater wilderness experience.

You do need maps and navigational experience for this walk.

http://tramper.co.nz/?2525

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Five Passes on 09/11/2008 19:54:07 MDT Print View

>You do need maps and navigational experience for this walk.

Exactly, though it is a wonderful walk, you may need ice axes etc...and a lot more bush savvy. Maybe do one of the more mainstream tracks to get a general feel for the terrain and climate and then tackle a tougher route if you feel up to it. There ar soooo many good routes in NZ that it's hard to recommend any one of them, except to say that a "route" may have very little or no discernible track. Having been lost in a white-out on Fohn saddle, stepping on a mushy dead deer going up Sugarloaf. and having the tent nearly float down from Cow sadldle in a midnight deluge are some of the more "memorable" Fiordland experiences I have had! Hitching a ride out from the Beansburn via the Dart river all the way to Glenorchy on a Jetboat at the end of the tramp was one of the highlights of my tramping career! One of us literally stuck their thumb out and was picked up by the (then) world jetboating champion who gave us the most exciting tour of the river AND bought us a beer at the end. There are good things and potentially bad things about going off track!

Edited by retropump on 09/12/2008 13:20:18 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 09/12/2008 13:28:49 MDT Print View

Having thought about this s little more, it is hard to give appropriate advice without knowing you experience level and how challenging or easy or how long you want to walk. "Easy" would be something like the Abel Tasman, Greenstone, Dusky Sound, St James, Mt Somer's or Bank's peninsula walkways. Moderate and well catered would be touristy stuff like the Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, Heaphy, Rees/Dart,etc...There are zillions of moderate and easy overnight trips too. Harder and less well catered would be most everything else, including the Anatokis, The five passes, the three passes, the Zampa tops and pretty much anything that dosn't have an official track through it. Then there's mountaineering...

Robert Matson
(rmatson) - F

Locale: Brooklyn, NY USA
Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 03/02/2009 17:21:11 MST Print View

My wife and I recently returned from a summer (their summer) trip to NZ. Coming from the USA, and being only advanced-beginner trampers (though with a good level of fitness), we stuck with the "Great Walks" and did 5 of them.

Above all else, my advice would be to start out with what Kiwis call an "easy" tramp and see how that feels. Other Americans I met generally agreed that the Dept. of Conservation's idea of "easy" was often our idea of moderate and "moderate" was rather exhausting. Also, when the rain, cold, wind, or mist is on -- and it will be -- you may find those "easy" and "moderate" hikes go up a notch on the scale, since it can be exhausting to walk all day through heavy weather.

Speaking of rain...we spent a fair amount of time in Fiordland. There, we did something like what you describe yourselves contemplating, Alex. We stayed in Te Anau, went out for a few days, came back, did laundry, bought food, rested, and then went back out; rinse, repeat. Fiordland is beautiful -- and, by the way, you can drink almost all the water w/o treatment -- but if you do any tramps down there, don't merely go with "good" rain gear; take the best rain gear you can buy, since the amount of rain can defy believability. (On the Milford Track we got about 40 cm of rain over 4 days with two days/nights solid of fat drops.)

Also, it is not unusual to get temps near and below freezing along with high winds and rain or snow, generating extreme wind chill conditions with wet clothes. (We started the "moderate" Routeburn Track on a day with 10 cm of rain, 70 km/hr winds in the valleys (the gusts were still higher), and temps. of about 4 deg. centigrade. The next morning, the rain continued and we hit snow a few hundred meters up with continued high winds.)

We did the Routeburn in a tent and the rest in huts. Advantages to both (tent: solitude; huts: warmth), but due to the weather, I'd suggest huts when available.

Lastly, consider buying merino wool layers (e.g. Ice Breaker). We ended up replacing ALL our synthetic/poly- clothes, which simply couldn't handle the huge range of Fiordland weather conditions combined with "sweating when heading up and freezing once you get to the top." Our summation was that the Kiwis figured out something with this merino wool, and life certainly got easier once we switched.

Lastly, forget about this backpacking light stuff when it comes to meals. The Kiwis eat well on the trail. I thought we were clever with our little titanium cups and pots and freeze-dried cuisine until we were forced to watch Kiwis in the huts eat fresh salads, soup in soup bowls, burritos with fresh avocados, cutting up veggies for cous cous, with wine, etc. Unbelievable. Actually, they seem to be a bit competitive about cooking; kind of like the aluminum version of the iron-chef. Our last three trips we packed fresh food, since, really, the Great Walks are relatively short.

My hats off to all of them for their apparently endless enthusiasm and energy for tramping, tough weather and heavy packs, and my thanks for learning how to really eat on the trail.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 03/02/2009 17:55:38 MST Print View

> Actually, they seem to be a bit competitive about cooking; kind of like the aluminum version of the iron-chef.

On BPL, we would call it the titanium version, and yes, you Americans seem to eat rather pathetic meals when you leave home.

Here is a graphic of rainfall across the Southern Alps from east (on the right) to west (on the left). Note that 40mm of rain over 4 days is not really much at all compared to what it CAN do on a bad day! There was a really bad year where one part of the west coast (we call it the wet coast) got 18.3 metres of rain. That's around 700 inches. It's not uncommon to get up to a metre (40 inches) in a 24 hour period. Good raingear is essential, and this is where MacPac clothing and gear really comes into it's own. (no affiliation)

Rainfall, main divide

Edited by retropump on 03/02/2009 18:02:51 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 03/05/2009 18:22:01 MST Print View

“Above all else, my advice would be to start out with what Kiwis call an "easy" tramp and see how that feels. Other Americans I met generally agreed that the Dept. of Conservation's idea of "easy" was often our idea of moderate and "moderate" was rather exhausting.”

For those thinking about doing any of the great walks, track ‘grading’ is always a subjective thing, but keep in mind that the Routeburn (and other great walks) is graded for the average tourist, or family who only gets out once a year. The track is well maintained and well graded, the huts are fully maintained, and on day one you climb only 650 metres over 9 miles, day two only 300 metres over 9 miles, and day 3 is downhill all the way for 7 miles (so neither steep nor long days). By regular NZ tramping standards this puts the Routeburn well in the category of ‘easy’, and so-called ‘easy’ tracks like the Abel Tasman in the category of a stroll rather than a hike.

According to this more comprehensive (and realistic) website, the Routeburn rates as an ‘easy –moderate’. Of course, bad weather can make the easiest of hikes into difficult ones ;)

http://tramper.co.nz/?view=trackSearch

gavin wenyon
(gavin123)
new zealand on 01/21/2010 20:08:06 MST Print View

I'm planning on heading to New Zealand in the end of march for around 10-12 days. So far i have been looking at the Routeburn and kepler tracks. Is there any good fishing spots in these areas?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 01/21/2010 21:16:12 MST Print View

Not answering your question... but just saying I'm having a hard time picturing "honeymoon" and "ultralight" side by side. :)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: new zealand on 01/24/2010 13:15:45 MST Print View

"Is there any good fishing spots in these areas?

There is little fishing on the actual tracks, but plenty to be had in the major rivers and lakes around the start of the track (such as Lake Wakatipu, Rees and Dart rivers).

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: new zealand on 01/25/2010 12:00:55 MST Print View

There is probably some good fishing along the Iris Burn, which makes up half of the Kepler track. Plenty of nice deep, green pools.

The Routeburn perhaps not so much, since much of the track is away from water.

Paul Filby
(filbyp) - F

Locale: East Anglia, UK
Re: New Zealand on 01/26/2010 14:57:41 MST Print View

Not sure about fishing on/near the Kepler, but I posted a bunch of links to help folk find info. about the track recently. It's at http://blog.wildvista.com/trekking-in-new-zealand-kepler-track-resources/ -- hope you find it useful.

Edited by filbyp on 01/26/2010 14:59:47 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: New Zealand on 01/26/2010 16:24:46 MST Print View

Here's a page that gives some details for fishing along the Kepler:
http://www.activenewzealand.com/kepler_track.php

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Help me plan a hike in New Zealand please! on 01/27/2010 04:17:28 MST Print View

"Not answering your question... but just saying I'm having a hard time picturing "honeymoon" and "ultralight" side by side. :)"

Ben, some of my most memorable trips with my wife were when she took a minimum of luggage ....

Edited by Arapiles on 01/27/2010 04:18:42 MST.

gavin wenyon
(gavin123)
gear advice on 03/04/2010 23:54:21 MST Print View

Does anyone know what temperature sleeping bag ill need for the Routeburn and Kepler tracks? Ill be using a Go lite Shangrl La 1 and have a few thermal layers i can wear if it really gets cold.

Should i go with boots or trail runners?

Do i need any river crossing sandals?

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
to Gavin on 03/05/2010 14:29:34 MST Print View

Some of the Kiwis could probably answer your question better, but when I did the Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks about 7 years ago (probably in June or July), I used a 20 degree down bag. I was comfortable most nights and only needed more warmth on one night when we got hit by a pretty cold and fierce storm; down jacket in the bag did the trick.

One thing to consider, a lot of the tracks, including the Routeburn have huts you can stay in along the tracks. During the NZ winters, many of these huts are empty or lightly used. It's my understanding they're better stocked/equipped in the summer months, but we could always find running water (cistern, nearby creek, etc.) and an axe to cut wood for the pot belly stoves. We carried a light tent as a back-up/emergency shelter on a couple of hikes but never used it and utlimately stopped carrying it when we were planning on using the huts.

As far as creek crossings, we spent a lot of time on the first day or two of our first NZ trek trying to avoid wet feet. What we found is that between all the rain, mud, snow, creek crossings, soggy paddocks, etc. we were better off basically hiking with just two sets of clothes- one for the trail (usually synthetic shorts, gaiters, trail-runners, sythetic shirt, maybe a light insulation layer (not down) and a rain jacket) that we expected to get wet, soggy and mudddy every day and then another change of clothes for camp (long johns or down pants, down sweater, beanie, thick socks or down booties) that we kept clean and dry in our packs. If you stop to change footwear everytime you come upon a creek or meadow full of standing water, you'll eat up A LOT of time.

Hope this helps.

Michael Cockrell
(CAL-EE-FOR-NIA) - F

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Re: New Zealand guide on 03/05/2010 15:22:02 MST Print View

Try my friend who spends a lot of time in NZ hiking, cycling, paddling. He charges "pennys" for the wonderful time he gives. He leds trips all over Europe, US, and NZ.

I spent a month on the North Island with him.

I have an employee who is South Island NZ'r. We enjoy discussing current events. Whenever he goes home to visit, I have him pick up some "awesome possum" (inside koke between us), clothing for me.

Wayne's sight:
http://www.nomints.com/