Looking for a tramping partner and/or advice
I'm coming to Christchurch for work and am able to stay about 5 days after the work session. I would be interested in finding someone to go tramping with or advice on best routes etc. I will be there in July 18th (Tuesday) and I would need to be back in Christchurch on July 23rd (Sunday). I will have a really exhausting work trip for 3 weeks so, something quite relaxed is what I have in mind. I don't have a car in use, so I would need to find something reachable on foot or public transport. I can basically bring my gear (mostly) but also if it would be easy to get that in NZ (e.g. rent/share) that would be great, less carrying for me. Also, I'm not sure if there are restrictions for this, I know they will clean hiking boots when you arrive to NZ at the airport check. I know that it's winter and maybe not the optimal time for this, but as long as it doesn't snow, I think I'm good (I'm originally from Finland anyway, not like we are famous for great weather). Any advice or help is appreciated!
Bringing boots (and other tramping gear) into NZ isn't an issue - just clean them of all dirt and plant material (stains etc aren't a problem). Biosecurity will want to look at the boots but won't sterilise them if they are already clean. If the boots are dirty, Biosecurity probably want to see all your gear (ie good idea to clean them). Can't really help with tracks - as you've noted, July isn't ideal. I'd think coastal - maybe something on the Banks Peninsular?
Rough time of year to go tramping.
Best of luck with your visit. Just to confirm Gaiter's comment above; don't underestimate how difficult conditions can be at this time of year. I've just come back from a winter working deep in Canadian Arctic and while temperatures of say -20 to -40 degC look very impressive on paper, in reality I've been a lot more miserable in the Southern Alps when the temperature was hovering around freezing. The dampness and humidity just creeps into everything.
July can have some surprising fine spells that are glorious. Your trip will be completely weather dependent. The St. James Walkway is a fantastic, easy walk with big payoff. If you want 30km days you could do it in 3 days; otherwise 4 days is comfortable to complete. East West Coaches, www.eastwestcoaches.co.nz, runs daily between Westport and ChCh. Only caveat is that the westbound run doesn't get you to Boyle Village until late in the afternoon. The eastbound run goes past both trailheads just past 10am to get you back to ChCh. In fact, the whole Lewis Pass area offers great tramping. The Nina, Doubtful, and Hope river valleys can be linked via saddles, offering trips within your time frame and in stunning country.
Send me a private message and I can put you in touch with a local Christchurch-based tramping group. All good people. :)
Thanks for all the advice, I will definitely check out those routes! I'm not super worried about the weather, it's not so often that optimal in Finland even in the summer :p If there's snow, then I will do something else. But because of my work, I'm only in NZ during the winter... I'm already so excited :)
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