First tramp to NZ from Michigan USA - Resv at Huts
My wife and I (Retirees in our 60s) are 30 days away from beginning our first ever tramp in NZ. We have Abel Tasman, Milford, Keplar, Routeburn, Mt Cook/Mueller treks all scheduled and huts reserved (February/March). I did not plan to carry a tent, just a tarp for emergency, as we have reservations at the huts, but I have heard that huts may be over-booked or people stay in them without reservations. My wife and I love to take our time and enjoy the outdoors and take plenty of pictures, rather than race to the hut to claim a bed, versus the floor. We have backpacked many places around the world and have not ran into this issue, yet (luck i expect). Is it an issue in NZ? Last thing we want to do is cause a stir upon arrival to a hut, as we will be tramping with these same people for a few days, I expect.
Yes. Tarn water in fiordland (Irisburn, Deltaburn) was strongly smokey this week. 'Like a good whisky' I thought to myself at the time. Hadn't figured why till I read this. Rain/snow on Sun-Mon should have diluted it a bit though. Certainly diluted my desire to be in fiordland anyway.
This forum is AWESOME, thank you all for helping us that are visiting your location. As we near our longest adventure we are second thinking about alot of our gear, as we are no longer spring chickens. Feb 7- March 10 Nelson, then Keplar, Milford, Routeburn, Mt Cook and then on to TAS 1. We always pack gators, but rarely, ever use them, but it sounds like we may need in NZ? 2. We carry a sleeping bag and a fleece blanket, as some huts get too warm, is that the case in NZ and TAS? 3. All huts have mattresses, so we could forego our bed air pads 4. Huts all have hot water available, do I need to bring the large jet boil or just the small one for emergency purposes, backup! 5. It says we can get fresh water at every hut. we both have two liter bladders and a back up small nalgene. I carry a sterile pen and water filter system, for need when out on the trail. Do you use filters or tablets in NZ and TAS, when getting water from moving streams, again, we carry most of the stuff for "Just in Case" and would like to understand what avid trampers use in the area. Will always buy new stuff it it helps and keeps us safe
> We always pack gators, but rarely, ever use them, but it sounds like we may need in NZ? You are going to some pretty wet areas. Might be useful. You almost certainly won't *need* them. I use mine in the colder months, but find them too muggy when it is warmer. >We carry a sleeping bag and a fleece blanket, as some huts get too warm, is that the case in NZ and TAS? Huts can get warm. Especially in the summer. We take a summer sleeping bag and a liner. Some nights we just sleep in the liner. > All huts have mattresses, so we could forego our bed air pads You can. Many do (especially if they have booked). The comfort varies, but if you've walked all day then you should be fine. > Huts all have hot water available, do I need to bring the large jet boil or just the small one for emergency purposes, backup! Not all huts have hot water available. Indeed Abel Tasman doesn't have cookers. If you like you hot beverages or heated meals then do plan to take a cooker and fuel. > It says we can get fresh water at every hut. we both have two liter bladders and a back up small nalgene. I carry a sterile pen and water filter system, for need when out on the trail. Do you use filters or tablets in NZ and TAS, when getting water from moving streams, again, we carry most of the stuff for "Just in Case" and would like to understand what avid trampers use in the area. Will always buy new stuff it it helps and keeps us safe Some of the Great Walks have "Treated Water" available. All hut have warning about the water, but mostly that is just covering bases. Personally - if I am above farm land I just drink the water. I only consider filtering/treating if I am below farm land.
On any tramp that attracts large numbers of people from countries that have issues with established giardia in their water e.g. Nth America, it's a very good idea to collect water for drinking, uphill of the track beyond where people could go for a comfort stop. In that case it would be all the tramps you're planning to do. If you take this precaution, you won't need to treat the water so carry a steripen etc. would not be necessary. I wager one 2L water bladder and a Nalgene bottle would be sufficient for travelling with during the day or 2 bladders depending on what container will be more useful for you on the move and in the hut. I consider you wouldn't need to take all 3 containers as there would be sufficiently frequent sources of safe water en route. A rigid but heavier Nalgene container has its own advantages e.g. mixing stuff or using it as a hot water bottle for bedtime or even drying gear but the huts are pretty good facilities on these tramps you've got planned. I hope you have a really enjoyable time. What a great way to spend your retirement.
"... and then on to TAS" Tasmania? Whereabouts? For anywhere in Aus, I'd strongly recommend (long) gaiters - no snakes in NZ but plenty in Tassie. Dont worry, it's not a problem at all but gaiters greatly reduce the risk of invenomation.
Can't speak for things in Tasmania. Gaiters help keep stones out of your boots & grass seed from getting into your socks. Not essential on what you're planning. Seems odd to me that you carry them but seldom use them ?. To me, it's just another protective layer. Tho, I wear ankle gaiters, not high-leg. Depends on what rating your sleeping bags ?. Easy to sleep with it unzipped or adjust how much clothing you sleep in. Not so much the Great Walk huts, but smaller huts, if it's cold, a stove might be lit. Those sleeping on lower beds appreciate the warmth to get to sleep. Heat rises, so those on the upper bed platforms might, at the same time, open a window a bit. GW huts are bigger than that. More like seperate dormitory rooms. Shouldn't have that as an issue. A fleece blanket seems excessive (to me). Wear more clothing. Use your coat as a blanket. Shouldn't be a problem Feb/March. I'm assuming you carry a change of clothing for end of day ?. Light-weight long sleeve/long leg merino or such ?. A compressible light weight down/synthetic jacket ?. Can be cool once the Sun sets, particularly at altitude & first thing in the morning. All your beds will have matresses. You could forgo the air pad. An air pad might make the bed more comfortable. Even as an uninflated under-blanket, your air pad would help with warmth (if needed). There's no hot water tap. You boil your own cold water. Usually a big pot load will get shared. A JB if you want to avoid the crowd ?. Days 1&2 of the Kepler, 3&4 on the Milford, & going up to Meuller hut might be handy to carry water. If you're going uphill & breathing heavy, or sweating, carried water would be good. D4 on the Milford seemed a long way with few opportunities, unless it's raining !. A litre with refills as available ?. Fiordland & hut water should be okay untreated. Boiling or Steripen would be a better guarantee. Not sure about Abel Tasman streams. Have a sun hat, sun glasses. Buy some sandfly repellant when here. Bring cushy socks. There's a lot of rocky/crushed gravel walking.
The tracks you’re doing are all very well benched and maintained, but as the last person suggested bring strong sun protection, we have he highest skin cancer rates in the world and you burn in 8-9 mins. If you use trekking poles your hands will get scorched, watch the back of your legs if hiking in shorts. The sun is very strong here, a good sun hat and shirt are critical. Best defender for sandflies is clothing, no repellant works in my experience. Usually not an issue as the temp drops in the evenings, and sandflies tend to fade at night. Personally I think it’s bad form to head into the mountains without a shelter and sleeping pad, regardless of hut bookings. I always carry Aqua Mira to purify water, hut water can be cotaminated, but many people don’t worry about it and don’t get sick - it’s a risk obviously.
Last questions regarding bringing stuff into NZ 1. Manufactured and prepackage dehydrated food, granola bars, crackers & cheese, as OK to bring, but do I need to declare at airport? 2. Commercal, over the counter medicine, do I need to declare 3. Prescription medicine, in the DR prescribed bottle (pills) do I need to declare, all non-narcotic
If in doubt, declare. Used tramping/hiking gear is on the card you'll be given as needing declaring so you'll be going through the 'something to declare' line at biosecurity anyway. No harm in declaring and not needing to. Big fine for not declaring when you should have.
You may consider not taking your camp stove. There's a big hullaballoo about super cleaning the damn things when you check in, including a sniff test. Maybe $50NZD for a new stove bought in NZ would save some hassle at Departure. Ensure your boots, poles, tent pegs, and anything else that may have contact with or inserted into the ground are thoroughly cleaned. They'll ask if you've been on farmland with your tramping gear. Just make sure your stuff is clean and you're honest. Hiking a trail is not the same as walking across a paddock full of cow droppings. In my experience packaged food should be ok, but declare anyway as @madpom advises. Just throw out any uneaten fresh food or opened bags of food before you depart the plane; I've seen people get fined for banana peels. There are very good reasons we take such precautions as we are a small country where a contagion of any kind could be devastating to our nation. You can also contact your air carrier for any other relevant information.
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