Mt Aspiring – Rob Roy Track

Date: 1 January 2015
Distance: 10km (+6)

On the morning of the last day of 2014, Gerry and I left Te Anau for the Wanaka area in the hope that we would find a deserted spot in the mountains to see out 2014 and celebrate 2015 somewhere tranquil. We just weren’t in the mood for loud music, heaps of drunk, puking people and the usual hustle and bustle of new years parties.

Wanaka was buzzing with people, as were all the other towns we passed through on our way there. We stopped to return Gerry’s hydration vest, went for a quick browse through Mt Outdoors to see if they might have larger size packs, and ended up having a nice long chat to Steve Hart who told us about all the nice camping spots and walks in the area. Afterwards we went for a quick beer before following the road next to Lake Wanaka and into the Matukituki valley.

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Round the Mountain Track (25-29 December 2013)

Even seasoned hikers of 24 years make “mistakes”. Any tramper, even a complete novice, will tell you it’s a big no-no to wear new – yes, you read right, brand new! – boots on a tramp. Especially a five day one at that. Continue reading

Tongariro Northern Circuit – 30 December 2010 to 2 January 2011

Having done many hikes in South Africa, I always tended to measure the difficulty rating (extremity) according to, first of all, the distance you walk per day and secondly the altitude, eg 3000+ metres above sea level (often with corresponding low temperatures). But with a pair of shorts and tekkies you can do almost any hike with the exception of the Drakensberg in winter and at night. The temperature drops below freezing so you have to be prepared. While there’s the odd rare bit of rain sometimes and some hail now and then, you hardly ever get to experience rain-storms, blizzards, wind, snow or any other alpine weather conditions in SA. Neither would you ever need crampons or ice picks. However, in New Zealand, alpine conditions seem to kick in at much lower altitudes, making elevation and weather more important difficulty-factors than distance.

Not sure what to expect of NZ hikes, we decided on the Tongariro Northern Circuit as our introduction. We were keen to get out of the city and into nature over the new year and the Tongariro National Park seems to be a biggie (at least as far as the North Island is concerned) – popping up in conversations and magazines quite often. Continue reading