Hi fellow trampers,
We are planning a family vacation to New Zealand over the 2017 Christmas holidays. We have 3 boys (will be 10 years old) and would like to 2 or more multi-day tramping trips with them. Our first picks are Abel Tasman and Routeburn. I think Abel Tasman should be doable for the kids, but what are your thoughts about Routeburn? We would take it slow - camp the first night at Routeburn Flats, stay the second night at the Routeburn Falls hut, 3rd night at Lake Mackenzie and then a 4th night at Lake Howden. We have read the advice that the entire Routeburn walk is not suitable for children under 10, so perhaps this would be too much? If so, do any of you have an alternative suggestion? Is it possible to do part of the Routeburn walk and still see most of the spectacular scenery? Or, would another walk be more suitable?
Also, regarding gear: any recommendations on an ultralight tent that can accommodate 5? Our boys are not very big, so a 4 person would likely be OK.
Thank-you for any advice.
I've seen kids a lot younger then 10 on the Routeburn before (youngest would have been about 5 and he walked the whole way with dad!), 10yo's should be fine.
I noticed you're staying at each hut/campsite. While that's fine if that's what you want to do, most people just stay at Flats OR Falls hut, then Mackenzie OR Howden hut, walking the track in 3 days. Flats and Falls hut are only 1 hour apart (maybe 2 hours with kids), while Mackenzie and Howden are just 2-4 hours apart. If you want to stay at all 4 huts you will have a LOT of free time to get to the next one 🙂
We (me and three kids, 6, 10, 11) did the Greenstone Caples last week:
We always carry an ultralight tent fly with insect screen, we can camp pretty comfortably in a valley, which gives us lots of options if we need to stop earlier or a hut is full. First night we camped at Slip Flat as it was the middle of Easter, I knew Greenstone Hut would be full. After that we stayed in huts.
You need good cold / wet weather gear. NO COTTON is the rule. My kids carry / wear a short and a long sleeved merino, plus two fleeces, raincoat, thermal leggings and rain pants, beanie. I carried a ski jacket for the youngest in case she got cold and because we planned on camping. I'd take the same even in mid summer.
I carry a PLB as I'm alone with the kids and sometimes in less frequented places.
The Routeburn should be do-able with 10 year olds. Staying both Routeburn Flats and Routeburn Falls would be nice if you have time - kids enjoy having some time to explore / run around play without the pressure to get going early and getting to the next hut. Be prepared to turn back at or before Harris Saddle if the weather is bad - even mid summer it can be howling a gale and wet / snowing or nearly so. Keep a continuous eye on conditions and whether they are deteriorating, how they are in relation to how far you have to go. Remember there is a shelter at Harris Saddle.
A couple of other family friendly trips other than the Routeburn down this way:
Greenstone-Caples as above.
Wairaurahiri - Port Craig:
For these holidays, we were planning to Jetboat down the Wairaurahiri to the coast and walk back around the coast via Port Craig. We switched to the Greenstone-Caples at the last moment as the river was too low for the jet boat. Will try for that trip again in the October School holidays.
This post has been edited by the author on 27 April 2017 at 15:48.