First NZ Tramps
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Longtime lurker from Qld. Just finished my first NZ tramps last week. Initial track was the Routeburn but unable to continue past Harris Saddle owing to the excess snow on the track and avalanche warnings. Warden advised that possibility of getting through day 2 was only 50/50 and that was my cue to at least get up to see Lake Harris while visibility was good. Sensational short walk through a not often for me seen winter vista. Disappointed couldn't go onwards but that view made-up for it. We stayed at Flats Hut night two (only 4 people!) and did a nice short walk up the North Routeburn, immensely enjoyable. Second walk was Kepler. Great weather , day one an unrelenting uphill with probs more in my pack than I needed... Day two amazing ridge line walking with some dodgy narrow snow bits. Iris burn area quite beautiful. Lovely part of the world. Will I great walk again?, not sure, hut camaraderie was good but I was a bit over all the people by the end. Less travelled tracks feel more appealing. Will be back - but not sure where i'll be tramping yet.
Nice. Bit unusual for NZ to still be wintry late-Nov, but alpine can take a hit any time of year. Just makes it more interesting this time around ?.
If you think that Huts are crowded you can always carry a tent with you and camp in the apposite areas that even routeburn track has.
ha, you should have tried the great walks on school holidays when foreign kids were free... huts full of noisy kids. i'm guessing the fees will reduce the no of foreign families and youth groups going on them now, its not so bad when the weathers good and people can spread themselves around outside.... but when the weather is rougher and everyones crammed into the huts at the end of the day, its an aquired taste...
mind you the overall increase in fees of the great walks will still put off NZ families. since you're paying by the bunk and not at a room rate, you could get a motel for the same price as a couple of adults on the more popular great walks.. its really niche tramping now. with a lot more $$$$ involved its eco tourism.... reality is a lot of NZers won't be able to afford getting their kids into tramping that way...
the southern south island can catch snow at any time of the year. its common in summer.
I'd be interested in any recommendations for my next NZ tramp - prefer huts to having to carry a tent at this stage - have no map skills so off track not good - area doesn't matter too much to me but would be looking at a period Nov - March or so - maybe max of 2/3 nights for now. That's probably a pretty loose enough brief!
All things considered it's pretty difficult to look past the Heaphy Track. It's relatively easy (I would describe it as very easy) and since being a Great Walk you can book the huts and won't have to worry about relying on a tent. I've done the trip twice and highly recommend it, the only issue being how to get from one end to the other, but that's workable. I've done the Heaphy in 2 days and 4 days but most people take 4-5 I would imagine. I would also recommend the Kepler, which I also found easy for the terrain (alpine section), a couple long climbs but well graded and long stretches of flat. Would recommend 3 nights for that. Rakiura Track on Stewart Island is great, you don't get a ton of traffic on this hike and amazing scenery, the sandflies are no joke! Cool little loop hike. Whangapeka Track is beautiful, however the 10kms between Taipo and Belltown Manunui Hut is a challenging section, but the rest is nice walking. I'll say this without hesitation though - after 5000 kms of hiking in four countries the finest terrain I've ever seen is the Routeburn Track, just incredible.
Have done the Kepler - was reading about the Wangapeka last night - sounds great. Welcome Flat reads ok too but seems to be lots of people on it? I like the idea of something around the start of the Routeburn area [shelter]. Was considering Old Ghost Road but not sure what its like with all the mountain bikes there too. Problem I do have with the Heaphy is now guided walkers are using the DOC huts - I find the idea of this [and them sitting around while their food is prepared] very annoying.
You can do the Heaphy without using the huts, or use the less common ones. The last time I did the track I started on the Karamea end, hiked to Lewis Hut first night, then Gouland Downs the next - I guarantee you most guided walkers would use Heaphy, Mackay, Saxon, Perry Saddle huts. I'm surprised guided walkers are allowed to use DOC huts.
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