Also looking for advice and/or a partner in May
Posted on the "around the campfire forum": https://tramper.nz/?view=topic&messageid=65317#message65317
As wayno said, the Milford is prone to flooding while the Routeburn isn't. You'll likely have problems getting transport to and from the Milford at that time of the year, the boats will probably have stoped running then. My suggestion would be the Caples-Greenstone, as McKellar Saddle is the easiest pass in the area to get over, and even if you can't, the Caples and Greenstone valley floors are fine for tramping year round, although side streams in the Greenstone can flood. You could even pop up the Routeburn to Lake Mackenzie and back, or head down the Mavora Walkway.
Thanks Gaiters, am trying to learn. Waynowski, thanks to you as well and I was worried about the passes and avalanches on the Routeburn. Might be good news about them closing in June though. Besides flooding, I read here that Milford might be littered with trash (people pooing outside of toilets?). Bottom line guys: I'm very open to suggestions, so I'd appreciate if you could help me plan my vacation in terms of duration and tramps in NZ! Heck my AUS collegiate from work even suggested the Great Barrier reef over hiking b/c it is dying/bleaching, but I never snorkeled nor scuba dived before: by contrast I am an avid hiker (Over the last 8 years I've been going into: Carpathians 8 times at 2.5k, twice in the Alps close to 4k, once in the Andes at 6k, 5 times per year in the Adirondacks Lake Placid, US at 1.5k etc). It might be easier for me just to learn about someone's plans to tramp in May in NZ and see if I can join that person/group :D
Thanks Yarmoss! And would it be easier for me to plan/find descriptions for the hikes you mention? That is, besides this one: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/greenstone-and-caples-conservation-areas/things-to-do/greenstone-and-caples-tracks/ "My suggestion would be the Caples-Greenstone, as McKellar Saddle is the easiest pass in the area to get over, and even if you can't, the Caples and Greenstone valley floors are fine for tramping year round, although side streams in the Greenstone can flood. You could even pop up the Routeburn to Lake Mackenzie and back, or head down the Mavora Walkway" Would I need a GPS with NZ topo maps, emergency coms, or are they clearly marked so that my GPS and paper maps would do? Are they traveled in May and how about logistics? Finally how long should I plan for? 2 weeks? A month?
A couple of things, marian; don't equate altitudes in NZ with elsewhere. For the same reason (southern hemisphere weather is quite different to northern), weather is highly changeable. It can be clear sky & light wind but 2hrs later a 2-day storm has moved in. Any reason for Fiordland? In May, you'll most likely find better weather at the north end of the South Island. Wangapeka, Travers-Sabine, Leslie-Karamea and many other tramps. 2 weeks or a month? !! a couple of years and you'd only scratch the surface. ... and the sandflies? Yep, there are plenty, everywhere - but they diminish with altitude, usually. NB. Sandfly Point is in Fiordland 😉
Thanks BernieQ! I'll look up Wangapeka, Travers-Sabine, Leslie-Karamea and I just thought Fiordland might be the most beautiful? As for the question between 2 weeks or a month, was related to winter not being ideal for hiking. E.g. I could come back some other time and in general save my vacation for hiking in the summer, be it in a different country. But if I'm coming to NZ for work, I might was well take advantage (it's a three days flight each way, first going to AUS) of the occasion and hike- I'm just not sure for how long to plan and where. Ideally I'd also like a partner/or partners. As for altitudes they don't really matter as I'm not really a climber so even a height of 5 meters might be too much lol On the other hand I wasn't oxygen deprived at 6300m, nor do I lack endurance.
plenty of experienced hikers come to NZ and still get out of their depth on some of our hiking tracks like Te Araroa. people want the most scenic tracks without understanding how difficult or dangerous some of them are. the great walks are being marketed on general tourism sites to non hikers and they can be extremely dangerous, people have died on half of the great walks, and there are rescues every year on some of them. we don't have long periods of stable weather in summer, the weather is more likely to cause issues than in a lot of places overseas, you name the month, and it has snowed then in the southern half of the south island...
Hi Waynowski, I understand, hence my difficulties in plannings as I'm trying to avoid the more dangerous places considering the month of May... Oh I do have crampons, mountaineering boots, harness, tent and the likes, but I'd rather not have to use them, nor do I plan to bring them in. I will bring though enough of winter equipment starting with Icebreaker base layers and so forth. My minor desire is to plan as cautiously as possible, while still doing some of the more beautiful hikes possibly in May, but the former (the caution) takes precedence. So please help me plan! Based on your last paragraph ("the weather is more likely to cause issues than in a lot of places overseas, you name the month, and it has snowed then in the southern half of the south island...") you (and the rest of gentle posters here) please help me plan starting with the duration of my stay (as again, I am not sure if I should aim for 2 weeks or 1 month, that being the maximum I can afford probably, nor am I sure about the tramps)...
see what the conditions are like when you get here, we cant predict the conditions. or just plan to do low level trips that have been suggested.
Daylight Saving Time finishes April 1st 2018. By May you'ld be looking at needing car headlights on by 5.30pm ?. For hikers, you've got shorter hours of daylight. Less daytime heat. As I've said, ski-fields can start making snow by mid-May. You could easily spend 3 weeks in the South Island on different tracks without getting into trouble, but it's well past Summer tourist season. As you can see, there's good contacts on-line for updates closer the time.
DOC should always be everyone's first place to check or information on tracks. Looks like you can already navigate your way around it, which is great. Pay attention to the weather warnings and track grades: "Advanced:Tramping Tracks" and "Expert: Route" mean exactly that. Only you can judge your own experience, so if you are unfamiliar with NZ tramping tracks it is best to start off on something easy first to see how they compare to what you've experienced elsewhere. NZ topo maps are excellent. You shouldn't need a GPS at all if you are sticking to the track. Map (and compass for emergencies) will suffice. www.topomap.co.nz to view them online. Are what traveled in May? Tracks? Yes, I would assume so. May is late Autumn/Fall here. Daylight Savings has kicked in so, so down south, its dark 6pm-8am. Is it snowing yet? Maybe? Hence why I suggested something low altitude such as Caples/Greenstone. Is the Caples/Greenstone a must see? Absolutely not, however it is trampable nearly year round, and quite easy for someone with no tramping in NZ experience, and it has excellent transport connection options... although they might be limited in May. Te Anau's Tracknet's winter timetable: http://tracknet.net/winter-bus-timetable/ From Queenstown, they stop running regular services 3rd May... you'll have to make a "On Demand" booking after that: http://www.infotrack.co.nz/transport/track-transport/ https://www.buckleytracktransport.nz/track-transport-times If those don't suit then you'll need to hire a car. People who fly halfway around the world for 1 or 2 week's holiday make me weep. Its 2-3 days travelling just to get here. Plan for a month, although that will take you into June and winter.
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