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Can Am
(Canam)
Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/11/2013 11:42:11 MDT Print View

I just finished a 1,000 mile section of the AT and fell in love with the idea of hammocks. I really envied the site flexibility hammockers had while I often struggled to find suitable areas to tent outside of shelter spots and designated sites. However, I am moving to Melbourne, Australia soon and am wondering about the suitability of hammocks in that area.

Hammocks are ideally suited to the eastern US, but does anyone have thoughts on how well they're suited to Australia, especially Victoria, and perhaps New Zealand (there's obviously a lot of alpine areas in New Zealand - is it worth it to try to hammock)? Are the parks there ok with hammocks?

I'll try this question at Hammock Forums as well, but this site seems to have more of an international perspective than over there.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/11/2013 20:29:07 MDT Print View

Hammocks are very rare. Many sites are not suited.

Cheers

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/11/2013 20:44:35 MDT Print View

Tom Hennessey of Hennessy Hammocks has a place in New Zealand. Ask him.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
NZ on 06/11/2013 22:06:17 MDT Print View

There are a lot of differences in climate and terrain between Oz and NZ. They are not really comparable (except of course in localized areas). The flora and fauna are quite different, as they have evolved quite separately over geological time. For example, NZ has no snakes, kangaroos (except where introduced), marsupials (I think), and far fewer poisonous spiders (there are some). From what I recall of my schooling, there are no native mammals, other than bats, maybe a native rat or two. Naturally, the beer is superior, also.

In NZ, hammocks ought to work quite well in the bush, providing you are not damaging trees. You are definitely going to want mozzie protection, and a good tarp and parka.

Alpine areas will of course be alpine desert, with no trees. The weather can be quite changeable.

Tongariro National Park (TNP) in the center of the North Island, about 4+ hours drive south of Auckland, is great for alpine trekking and climbing, and skiing in the winter (Whakapapa, Turoa) (wet snow; ice). A volcanic area, it occasionally provides eruptions, and even deadly lahars.

If you fly into Auckland, there are good outdoor shops to guide you (Queen Street (City Center), Broadway, Takapuna; use the yellow pages). The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) is quite a useful network, and there are green buses that run between (some of the) hostels. Great quiet beach hostel: Opoutere. Surf at nearby Whangamata, or further south Mt. Maunganui. Useful mountain hostel: Ohakune (TNP/Turoa).

A D
(Wenty)
hammocking on 06/11/2013 23:15:51 MDT Print View

I've been hammocking since about 2004 or 2005 and have only failed to find a suitable hammock site once.
I live and walk in New South Wales, so I can't speak for other areas.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: hammocking on 06/12/2013 07:35:43 MDT Print View

"I've been hammocking since about 2004 or 2005 and have only failed to find a suitable hammock site once.
I live and walk in New South Wales, so I can't speak for other areas."

What I'm curious about is whether the straps cut into the trees, given that gums don't have the thick bark that pines etc do?

Also, given the propensity of gums to drop branches, aren't you worried about safety issues?

A D
(Wenty)
widow makers on 06/12/2013 15:46:48 MDT Print View

I pick trees that don't have easily damaged bark. I can't speak for damage to the tree itself, but the general consensus seems to be that the pressure spread over 1" webbing and numerous wraps around the tree doesn't damage it.

I pick trees that don't have obvious overhead branches.

Edited by Wenty on 06/12/2013 15:59:42 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: widow makers on 06/12/2013 16:03:25 MDT Print View

> I pick trees that don't have obvious overhead branches.

We have a lot of trees of different species on our farm. They ALL drop branches.

Cheers

A D
(Wenty)
? on 06/12/2013 17:04:05 MDT Print View

What can I say? I'm still alive so far

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/12/2013 17:38:52 MDT Print View

Ground dwellers... You can hammock anywhere, if you want to bad enough. Use wider tree straps for softer skinned trees.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: ? on 06/12/2013 17:43:13 MDT Print View

Trees do drop branches but you learn to spot the ones that you should be concerned about.
Hammocking gets a lot of resistance from people that don't do it ; you learn to spot them too ;)

ROB WHELAN
(THREEPOINT) - M
Re: Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/12/2013 18:07:20 MDT Print View

Far too dangerous here - it's not widely reported, but Drop Bears don't just drop. They like to snuggle inside cosy little cocoons made of Nylon..........

Can Am
(Canam)
Re: Re: Drop bears on 06/12/2013 18:19:45 MDT Print View

I thought I could minimize the drop bear risk by putting vegemite in my armpits?

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: ? on 06/14/2013 06:40:42 MDT Print View

"Trees do drop branches but you learn to spot the ones that you should be concerned about.
Hammocking gets a lot of resistance from people that don't do it ; you learn to spot them too ;)"

Yes, but eucalypts are particularly prone to dropping branches and they often drop what look to be healthy branches, and eucalypts are usually 90+ percent of the forests here - a camper seems to get killed by falling branches here in Australia every couple of years.

I've never seen anyone using a hammock in Victoria - my main concern would be damage to the tree since it doesn't take much to scar - or ringbark - a eucalyptus. If hammockers here are saying they don't damage the tree then fine ...

Edited by Arapiles on 06/14/2013 08:35:01 MDT.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
re: Hammocks in Australia/New Zealand? on 06/14/2013 07:22:56 MDT Print View

Just my quick 2c...

There are quite a few people on bushwalk.org that are into hammocks (I went one of 'their' walks and 3 people were using hammocks, 2 were not). I am sure it is like everywhere, in that if you really want to hammock it is easy in most places, but obviously much harder if you are walking with tent campers.

What I have seen of much of New Zealand is the same, especially if you avoid alpine areas (there is a well established hut system in most of these areas anyway). I remember one guy did much of the Te Araroa (3500km) with a hammock.

If you are worried about damage to trees, you could also fit some custom 3" webbing straps, but if you are careful and choosy you should be OK in most places, though again you might have to choose where you hike/ sleep.

As for Eucalypts +1 on what everyone has said, they are not like 'normal' trees, they are notorious for dropping branches and they make up the majority in Australia. After saying this though, in many places you are forced to take your chances camping underneath them (if you want a flat spot), so the risk would be fairly similar. Finally there are a couple of places I wished I still had a hammock, especially some of the steep woody slopes of the Barrington tops/ Chichester area. Unfortunately I just couldn't get used to hammocking (though I'm not particularly good at tent camping either!).

A D
(Wenty)
clarification on 06/14/2013 19:10:08 MDT Print View

I originally wrote that I don't pick trees with obvious overhead branches. I think there was some confusion with that. What I meant was that the trees don't have branches over my hammock. Not that I pick trees with branches that I think won't drop and kill me, forcing me in my last breaths to realise the folly of my decision to even buy a hammock for use in Australia.