Help me choose my next tramp
G'day All Hoping to do another tramp in Feb 2019, and it occurred to me that it would be silly not to tap into the collective knowledge of this site to get some suggestions before I start planning As some background, my NZ tramping experience so far is as follows (pretty much in the order I walked them) 1. Great Walks - Milford, Routeburn, Kepler 2. Beginners walks - Taranaki (AMC), Tongariro (AMC), Rees Dart 3. Tramps - 5 passes > Lake Nerine > Routeburn > Caples (11 days) - Gillespie Pass > Wilkin > Rabbit pass > Matukituki > Cascade Saddle > Dart (11 days) - Wander around Nelson Lakes (9 days) I find that I am happiest while off the beaten track away from the tourist hordes (not sure I'm allowed to say that since I am one of them). Ideally the tramp would be around 11 days. Hills are not a problem. One thing to note is that I've spent my life in the subtropics, so my experience with snow and ice is almost 0. All suggestions welcome. Let me know if you need more info. Cheers, Moh
Wow. Where to start?! The 11 day timeframe probably is the real limit. So starting from the top: Ureweras / Waioweka. There are plenty of 11 day trips you could string together here. Majestic verdant podocarp forest and river walking - glimpse views only. Ruahine - A good mixture of tops & valley walking with both good & not so good weather options. Routes on the tops, rough tracks in the bush. Difficulty up to level of the 5 passes if you want to go the tops trips. Kahurangi. I'm not so familiar with this range - but plenty of less-visited 11 day possibilities once you get away from the popular Heaphy. Rugged limestone tops and broad, forested valley walking in inland beech and coastal podocarp forest. Lake Sumner / Trent / etc. Plenty of options for 11 day alpine traverses or loops between Lake Sumner in inland Canterbury and Lake Brumner on the west coast just north of the Arthurs Pass road. Mainly tracked on rough tramping tracks or down riverbeds. Unmarked routes over open tops. Low country is beech forest with generally clearings along the valley floors. Arthurs Pass / Hokitika. Various expansions on the 3 passes route here that could be extended to your timeframe. Rugged alpine passes, open Canterbury valleys forested west coast valleys. Further south the ranges are deeply valleyed until you get to Wanaka - making 11 day trips harder to string together withiut tackling some serious alpine passes. There are options on the east side of the alps, but Te Araroa will be very busy at that time of year, and closer to the ranges you get into some serious passes that I'll be shouted down for recommending here. Good fun though. You've covered much of the Otago country I'd recommend - though there are many more options in the same areas you could try. Southland - the only other major loop I can think of would be along the South Coast track an back up Lake Poteriteri to Hauroko or The Hump (for a loop). Probably 7 days rather than 11. Some of the best remaining lowland podocarp forest in the country. Occasional spectacular views of the rugged South Coast. Some wonderful lakes and views up to high peaks, but no real alpine stuff. A tricky section of off-track bush navigation up the route from Waitutu to Lake Poteriteri though - so you'd need good bush (low visibility) map & compass skills for this one. And a lot of sandflies at that time of year. Narrow down what you're after and maybe we can be of more help.
You could also look at bits of the following: https://tramper.nz/10244/walking-the-length-of-nzs-main-divide/ https://tramper.nz/16418/nz-coast-to-coast-walks/ Though be warned some sections are at the 'hard' wend of the scale.
Wow.. thanks for the response @madpom. Champion!. Looks like I've got a bit of researching to do ahead of me to narrow things down. Out of curiosity, what would be your favourite out of those listed that you've walked? Cheers, Moh
What about St Arnaud to Lewis Pass (plus) ? https://tramper.nz/8459/st-arnaud-lewis-pass/ A few days short of 11 but I can think of quite a few worthwhile additions to the trip - eg from Ada Hut, instead of wandering down the St James Walkway, go up onto the Zampa Tops and continue south along the Libretto Range to Boyle Village. It starts off revisiting Nelson Lakes but that's not a negative imo. It is easy to organise transport to/from trailheads, too. I'd enjoy tramping it again (but too many other tramps on offer :)
... and, as madpom suggested, Kahurangi NP. Eg Douglas Range N to S then connect to the Leslie Karamea track and out via Wangapeka track. In the Douglas, the high route through the Dragon's Teeth is a serious undertaking (and only in good weather) or there are a couple of low route alternatives. If the Leslie Karamea Wangakepa is too tame, instead, from the Cobb Valley, head up to Mt Arthur and then along the tops, out via (eg) Baton River.
Hi bernieq Thanks for the suggestions. I was in Nelson Lakes earlier this year for a bit of a wander to check out the area. First night was at speargrass, then I wandered up the D'Urville with the thought of heading over Thompson Pass, but the weather was awful and I was pretty much in white-out when I got to the scree climb, so I back tracked and went over Moss pass to Blue lake the next day instead. Then I headed down the Travers valley and up to Angelus via Sunset Saddle and then back out via Robert Ridge. I really enjoyed the area will definitely be back to check out the rest of the park. Highlights were - the number of Kiwis I met along the way. Some of the friendliest I've met on the trails. - Upper D'Urville. Reminded me why I tramp - The trip over Sunset saddle. After a few days of mixing it up with TA in full swing, it was great to have some quiet time. While at Travers Hut, I met a great group of Kiwis who were planning to do Kahurangi NP, but had to divert to Nelson Lakes due to road closure/land slips after the cyclone. Now I wish I had asked more about their planned route, as they tended to do similar tramps to myself. They did suggest that I check out the Dusky and 3 Passes for a bit of adventure. So many options!! Cheers, Moh.
😃 Too many choices for one lifetime - I'm planning on coming back for a second go ! Sunset Saddle is pretty good - and on up to Angelus Peak is well worth the effort. We had a light snowfall the previous night just to add to the magic. Lake Thompson is very special too (and off the TA) and the high route around to D'Urville Pass is great fun - in good weather. Have you found madpom's website www.routeguides.co.nz ? You'll find lots of options there.
the milford track booked out for the season the day the bookings opened.
> Out of curiosity, what would be your favourite out of those listed that you've walked? Erm. All of it?! The bush-only sections you really need to appreciate trees, rivers, birds. If you're after views discount anything north of the Kawekas or south of Kepler (not inclusive). I love the Kawekas, Ruahines. If you've never been - make sure you go some day. Not as alpine as the South Island but far more varied and some good challenges. Personally I really enjoy the valley-hopping I've done. Trips with a pass a day, each night in a different catchment. Such as (from previous links): - Otira to Mt Cook - northern section moderately hard. Metsopotamua south - v hard. - Mt Cook to Makarora. Medium-hard with Jamieson Saddle the toughest. Wonderful Mackenzie / Otago landscapes. - Murchinson to Little Wanganui. Great - mainly quite easy with a moderate tops section south of Stone Hut. Goid variety. Ending at the coast seems all the more special. - Any bits of the Chrischurch-Hokitika trip except the road sections on 1st & last day. Go Minchin Saddle or Tarn Pass though, not Worsley Pass unless you want an extreme challenge. - My tourist bypass routes from Raspberry Flat (Aspiring NP) to the Milford Road via Glennorchy. None of those are for someone unfamiliar with nz's untracked backcountry. But from your list if trips done they'd rank a notch or two up or down from the 5 passes in terms of difficulty. Most have crux sections you need to treat with respect & back off / change plans if conditions don't suit. But long easier sections too.
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