Sorting out tramp out transportation
Hi, I am used mainly with trekking of circular trekks or those that start or finish at place with public transport. I've read that for many of the "linear" tracks in NZ there are transport operators. Sorry if that may sound silly, but how does that work in general? Do you agree on a specific time? Do they wait in case you get late? Or those are usually arranged for the morning, when the track finishes at a hut or campsite. Finally, is it possible to arrange so that they have an infant car seat on the transfer?
Every track will have different options (or none) so you will need to research well beforehand. There is often no phone coverage at track ends so generally arrange everything in advance. If the track end is near a bus route, you can book a seat on it for the day you intend to be at a pick-up point on time to intercept the bus. You will need to ask the operator what time the bus will pass by and be ready to wave down the driver and jump on. Maybe one of the larger intercity coach lines would carry infant seats. Some popular destinations have a trampers shuttle or a car ferrying service. It is usually easier to leave your car at the end of the track and get shuttled to the start of the track. Generally I rely on hitchhiking back to my car. I don't know if that's a good idea with infants though.
Yeah, it probably varies depending on the location of where the transport operators work out of, and the size of the operator. In Queenstown and Te Anau there are several operators who run daily buses at fixed times. You book in advance for the ride out, and while it is smart to also book a ride back for when you are finished, you can get away with just being at the bus stop and asking for a ride with no booking. They're usually happy t carry people with no booking if they have room. In my experience they do not stop for people with no booking who are just standing on the side of the road, e.g. hitchhikers, even if you have money.... you need to be at a stop such as the Divide or Routeburn Shelter. Although you can pre-arrange (via a booking) to be picked up at random places... such as lesser known trail heads, I've been dropped off at the turnoff to Paradise before and arranged to be picked up at the mouth of the Earnslaw Burn. If the buses are on a schedule then they don't really wait, no. if you have made an On Demand booking with a smaller operator (e.g. Buckleys Transport) then they may wait. You'd have to ask about an infant seat. I've never seen one, so I have my doubts, but you never know.
I understand you may want, for your own conscience, to have a child seat for your child. But be aware that they are not legally mandatory in public service vehicles: "Exceptions to the law. A child doesn't have to be seated in an approved child restraint if they're travelling in a: vintage vehicle (first registered before 1955) that is not fitted with safetybelts. passenger service vehicle (eg taxi, shuttle, bus) when no appropriatechild restraint is available." https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/factsheets/07/exceptions-to-the-law/
I think that we will be ok with having our child in our lap in case there are car seats and it is legally fine. We are still shortlisting which walks to consider and will probably decide on each tramp just a few days in advance. So, ill try to contact the transport companies at least a bit beforehand. The linear hikes we have shortlisted so far were: - Tongariro: either alpine crossing or the circuit - Possibly some part of the Able Tasman , it will depend on huts availability - Lake Angelus - Routeburn if the huts are available (which is very unlikely) Any tips regarding transportation on those are welcome =)
Linear ?. The Routeburn starts & finishes in 2 different places, but Lake Angelus ?. You go in & then come out. Can simply backtrack or loop around, on a number of variations, to your starting point or other. Depends on your chosen route, but it's well serviced by shuttle mini-buses & water taxis (boats) if you want to use them. Water Taxi can be summoned, if pre-arranged, by hut radio. All options have info web-sites. Abel Tasman has a few water ferry services, hut to hut, to choose from. The park is named after a Dutch explorer, the first European to discover NZ. Getting hut bookings in advance, particularly at short notice, could be the hardest part ?. Also, the gateway huts into Lake Angelus are un-bookable and pretty busy over Summer. Speargrass hut is regularly over-full. People sleep on the floor, out on the porch, or in the tall grass. I've heard Bushline hut can be too. There is a trend nowadays, for tourists to do many overnight trips ie access a hut from a road, stay a night, and then exit & drive on. This contributes to congestion in gateway huts.
Routeburn Queenstown end: Main bus company: http://www.infotrack.co.nz/ Smaller bus company: https://www.buckleytracktransport.nz/ Routeburn Te Anau end: Main bus company: http://tracknet.net/ Smaller bus company: https://tripsandtramps.com/ Info & Track and Tracknet share customers between them, so if you make a booking with I&T to Routeburn Shelter you actually catch a Tracknet bus from the Divide, and vice versa. There's free camping at north Routeburn Flats and Lake Howden camp site on Greenstone Saddle so if the huts are full, carrying a tent is an option.
Thanks for the info!! For Lake Angelus, we thought of going via Robert Ridge and coming back via Coldwater hut and water taxi. Would ideally take the water taxi on the second day as Coldwater is not bookable. Carrying a tent is not a very good option for us as we will be 2 with an infant: one carrying the infant + small load and the other carrying all the rest of the gears. 3 sleeping bags are fine, but 3 sleeping bags + 3 mattress + tent becomes quite some load =S
You might be able to zip 2 sleeping bags together. This would make extra room that accommodates an infant. Another way of lightening your load is to use a tarp which can be pitched low. This makes it less exposed to wind. Some people use their walking poles to elevate it. If you use a tarp, you need to be able to select a sheltered site to erect it generally compared with some models of tents.
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