Jaz about to descend into the Ellis Basin

My first proper venture into Kahurangi National Park with Jaz (June 2021).

4.2 km | 1:06 | 365 m | MT ARTHUR HUT

The trip kicks off with a glorious stroll in drizzle and clag from Flora carpark. Neinei (Dracophyllum traversii), tawhai (Lophozonia menziesii) and tawhai rauriki (Fuscospora cliffortioides) dominate the low forest almost exclusively and the leaf litter is a thick carpet of golden neinei leaves. AS we gain height, pāhautea (Libocedrus bidwillii) enters the mix, with trees of all ages and seedlings and saplings. Then we enter karst country. There are sinkholes dropping down from the very edge…

The South Coast

A solo traverse of the Kaherekoau Mountains, followed by the Dusky Track… (Dec 2020)

  1. Saturation

In classic tramping fashion I leave Dunedin hours later than intended and it is 17:30 by the time I arrive at Lake Hauroko. It is pouring rain. I briefly consider staying in my car and sleeping there rather than venturing out in my hand me down raincoat that is really just a coat at this point. But then I consider the boredom I would experience in the remaining five hours of daylight, park my car and prop my pack onto the boot before slipping the…

Lake Bright

…walking the Dusky Track after a solo traverse of the Kaherekoau Mountains (Dec 2020-Jan 2021).

8. Shaky recovery

Lying alone and having just woken up in Hauroko Burn Hut the 67 km deep 4.8 magnitude earthquake about 40 km south-west of me hits me like a brick.

Has the alpine fault ruptured?

The slow rocking lasts long enough for me to consider whether perhaps this is the alpine fault going, question whether I can unzip my tent, escape my sleeping bag and liner and stop, drop and hold in a timely manner if the hut starts to deteriorate in structural…

Mansion Hut route

Probably how you should not structure a weekend around a 10 km race a week before a 19 km mountain adventure race (Feb 2021).

Mansion Hut

The sign to the Irthing Picnic Area points down what appears at first glance to just be a farm track into a paddock. The ruts, the clearance and the destination all look questionable. I turn the Elantra down it and half expect to almost immediately become stranded on the middle strip, but instead subject the undercarriage to a very thorough brushing from the long grass. Fifty metres down the line I am faced with…

Our fine crew in front of Maitland Hut

A wholesome adventure with a group of great people (August 2020).

It is 7:45 and we are still finalising our plans for the trip. Last night we decided we would walk to Maitland Hut and then out via the skifield or tops to get back to the car, but just as I closed my eyes to sleep I remembered seeing something about requesting access, and indeed, we need permission to cross farmland at the start of the track to Maitland Hut (the number can be found here).

We decide to stick to our plans and ring the number provided by…

Kaherekoau Mountains from Green Lake Hut

A short 2-day trip in the middle of winter (July 2020).

Danilo and I depart Dunedin while it is still light, and arrive at our destination for that day at a rather reasonable hour. Lower Princhester Hut is the perfect spot to break up the long drive from Dunedin to a southern tramping destination, and is only a few minutes off the main road. Just be mindful that it is on the Te Araroa and can be very busy during peak season. We drive right up to the hut, and get settled in for the night. While out brushing my…

Park Pass Glacier & Sarpedon

Expanding my perception of what is possible in two days (March 2020).

Monday was a bad day for me but also the perfect time for Maddy to ask me to come on a fastpacking trip with her and Tom that Thursday-Friday. I said yes before I even knew what fastpacking really meant.

Fastpacking: Essentially, fastpacking is a combination of ultralight tramping/mountaineering and trail running. You can expand on trail running with off track travel into even more remote places and depending on what you take, you can cover every type of ground there is, from trails to glaciers. …

Lake Man

It really can snow at any time of the year (December 2019).

Day 1. Dunedin — Mingha Bivvy.

I have an incredible run of luck hitching to Arthurs Pass from Dunedin. It takes a mere six hours to get to the track start, and that includes some sight seeing at the Moeraki Boulders and a banana smoothie in Timaru. There looks to be more snow and more water around than would be ideal, and rather than risk a snowy pass or flooded river I decide to change my plans and start at the Mingha river. …

Mt Maitland (left) and Pakeke Peak (far right) from Gunsight Pass

Finally, a trip that goes to plan. It’s been a while (May 2019).

“There are a few cracker descriptions floating around on the internet”

“The stuff you walk on [to get up the narrow gut to the top of the pass] is like porridge…” — si-dog on an NZ Tramper thread.

“We’ll leave the dregs of uni at 6pm sharp on Friday evening, then drive 3.5hrs up to the Temple Conservation Campsite.”

This is probably the only part that does not go to plan. We leave somewhat later than 6pm due to the addition of a new team member. We decide to stop in Oamaru for Subway. I order a vege sub and am informed it includes avocado for no extra cost. Kerry orders some sort of sub specifically without tomatoes as…

Shaler Range from Park Morpeth Hut

A spontaneous change of plans and the accidental choice of a classic tramping route near Arthurs Pass (December 2018).

A long day of hitching and I have made it to the Wanganui River on the West Coast by dusk. I’ve endured loud singing, silence, repeatedly being asked if someone knows where I am going, unending complaints about the Department of Conservation (DOC), tourists and other drivers, and finally some decent german chat to get here. Luckily, the worst part of the drive was over Haast Pass which is currently festooned with Peraxilla spp. (Red Mistletoe) in full flower.

Now, Tobias…

Cara-Lisa Schloots

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