Hard choices: south island in 2 weeks
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Hi! My name is Luca and I'm from Italy! First of all I have to apologize for my terrible English, but I hope you can somehow get what I mean. I'll be in NZ from Nov 25 to Dec 5 and I have the entire South Island to visit in 2 weeks. There are things I cannot miss (whalewatching in Kaikoura, a two-day cruise in Milford Sound, albatros and gannet colonies), and this of course does not leave me a long time for walking. Having some trekking experience in Nepal, Alaska and Patagonia, I'm planning to avoid overcrowded tramps (Abel Tasman and Milford) but in the same time I'd like to experience (read: walk) as many environments and lanscapes as possible. For this reason my most recent battleplan is to walk Hump Ridge Trail plus some day walks. Suggestions welcome! Thanks a lot for your help. Luca from Monza, Italy
Hello Luca - Happy to repay my Dolomites hiking experience with a few comments, which I hope are helpful. Your English is excellent, and you clearly have most of the trip well organized. Not much spare time there. Can I suggest reconsidering the Hump Ridge? At the very south of the South Island, it takes time to get there and back. You might like to do the Routeburn Track instead. It takes you part way from Queenstown to Milford, and should not be too crowded in late Nov/early Dec. There are also excellent day trips and short multi-day hikes around Arthurs Pass, which is easily accessible from Christchurch. The Department of Conservation (DoC NZ)website will take you through details on both suggestions. Good luck - Ciao!
ciao and thanks a lot ancient tramper! may I ask how ancient you are? I'm just 46 ;) I'm thinking about hump ridge because it seems to combine mountain AND ocean views - exactly what I'm looking for in NZ - plus is loop trail and this makes life much easier. another tramp I took into consideration was kepler - another loop but listed as a four-day hike, a little too long for my schedule... I was afraid routeburn could be a mess: I will have to park my car at the end of the tramp and then get a bus to the trailhead on the other side of the mountains - a 350 km ride according to google! oh, well, these are of course things seen from the antipodes - I registered here in order to read local's advice instead of just another lonely planet's guide :)
Lake Angelus, in the Nelson lakes national park would make a good day walk. It is also a Loop :) Start at the mt Robert Carpark and climb my Robert then follow the ridge to lake Angelus. A steep decent down to the Travers River and the head of Lake Rotoiti. Then its a walk alongside the lake before ascending again to the Carpark. Might want to spend the night at either Coldwater or Lakehead hut but the trip is doable in a day. Lake Agelus hut is extremely busy and I would not recommend it unless you like crowds. A option when in Kaikoura is to climb Mt Fyffe (1602m 8hr return). Can get excellent views of the Kaikoura coast. It follows a 4wd road right to the summit so easy walking.
Actually, if you are keen on the Kepler Track it can easily be done in 3 days. We didnt stay the night at Moturau Hut, and instead caught a shuttle back to Te Anau from Rainbow Reach.
Really 'Ancient', Luca - 61! You can get public transport from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, and then from the track end over to Milford and finally back to Queenstown. The suggestions above from militaris and bushtrekker are also excellent. I haven't done the Hump Ridge, but it is well spoken of, just a sizeable drive down there.
Hello! Here I am again. Your help has been very... helpful! I decided to follow all your advice and go for Angelus Hut in Nelson (two days, hut reserved) then for Kepler Track (shortened to 3 days, two nights reserved). Hump Ridge is already full, other tramps require a much more complicated logistic effort. Plus I want to take some shorter hikes (sorry, tramps)in the Milford Sound area - suggestions welcome. Now I only have to cross my fingers hoping for some not-too-bad weather... Wish me good luck!
Key Summit walk from the Milford Road is a great short walk. You could venture further if you wish, as this is also one end of the Routeburn Track. Assuming you have a car to make the journey from Te Anau to Milford, Lake Marian walk ( about 3 hours ) is also very nice.
Now I'm downloading the DOC guide to day hikes in Fiordland - I will surely take a look at these walks, thanks a lot!
I think you've made some great choices there, given limited time. Nelson Lakes is a great area, and the Angelus Hut is beautifully situated. I was lucky enough to have the time for a 7-day trip up there, andgot out to Blue Lake hut -- magic! If you want any more info. about the Kepler Track (though I'm sure there's plenty on this site :-) , you might want to check out my "Kepler Track resources" page. It's at http://blog.wildvista.com/trekking-in-new-zealand-kepler-track-resources/ Also, I wrote another post about my experience of the Kepler, with some nice pics too. You can find that one here: http://blog.wildvista.com/an-awesome-day-on-the-kepler-track/ Have a great trip!
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