My wife and I are from Colorado in the USA and are experienced but older hikers. We are coming to the South Island in November. We like to hike (tramp) and would like to do the Milford Track. If we do that, we won't have time to see the Mt. Cook area or the Dunedin area. We're trying to decide whether it's better to do a real tramp somewhere than to see a little of several places. Any comments, thoughts, or suggestions? What are the best three places to see or things to do in the South Island?
Hi, What a dilemma! I rather think that one big trip would be more satisfying than several small ones. Mt. Cook area & the Dunedin area are fine, and in the first you quickly get into mountains, rather icy and rocky, no pine trees, while the second is closer to civilization. I do not know the 3 best things, does anyone? Bruce
I have done these tramps and I would suggest: Banks Peninsula Track (4 days), Travers-Sabine Circuit (6 days)and Northwest Circuit (Rakiura,10 days). Check out lonely planet, Tramping in NZ. Dzung
If you really want wild New Zealand, I would skip Dunedin altogether. Mount Cook though is very beautiful if the weather is fine (otherwise you won't see anything). Mount Cook can be just a day visit though -- there are some good walks but few tramping options. My top 3 (a list that is always changing): Welcome Flat valley and hot pools on West Coast. Fox Fiver on West Coast (limestone gorge). French Ridge Hut near Mount Aspiring. All these would be 2-3 day trips. Note you may not be able to book the Milford at this late stage. The Routeburn may be another option.
Just had a look at the images folder and found the photograph of Mt Cook taken about 7 years ago and from memory it had been the tramp/hike on which my water bottle had been left behind. Lucky it had been a day hike http://member.melbpc.org.au/~dzungn/shMtCook.jpg Welcome Flat Hot Pools and French Ridge Hut near Mt Aspiring tramps are in my 2009 wish list.
I'm visiting NZ in October...looks sketchy as to what tramps are feasible that time of year. I'm visiting both islands. Does anyone have some suggestions for a good walk (from 1 day to several days) that time of year. Thanks
There is good tramping to be done in the North Island. I suggest look at the Whirinaki and Pureora Forests and Urewera National Park. They are all bush country and have good huts. There may be snow in Tongariro or Kaimanawa Forest Parks but there may also not be. In the South Island there will be avalanche danger on many of the popular tracks but this may only be in certain areas. There will be plenty of other places with good tramping at that time of year there too.
In the South Island, the Heaphy Track (4 days, it's a Great Walk and rather a wide path-like track, great scenery including native bush, tussock downs, palm lined beaches) would be a safe bet in October. Even if there's snow there's no avalanche danger or need for crampons etc. The Abel Tasman National Park would be another safe bet any season. The Coast track is 3-4 days and also a Great Walk, lots of great sandy bays rivers and bush. By using water taxis you can walk just part of it, half-day/one day /overnight/two days all options. You can also link it to the Abel Tasman Inland track, more of a typical NZ bush tramping track and much less used, another 2-3 days. Follows a ridgeline although there are only views from a few lookouts as it's all bush covered. Have a great trip!
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