My Life in New Zealand

Category: Camping

Greenstone to Mavora Lakes

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This weekend Bessie and I hiked the Greenstone – Mavora Walk. On Saturday morning at 8AM we took the Info + Track bus from Queenstown, pass Glenorchy and into the Greenstone Carpark where we started the big 50km weekend! The first day we walked through the Greenstone and once reaching the Greenstone Hut made our way into the Passburn Valley. Up and down, over and under through hard ground and soft we eventually made it to the Taipo Hut where we spent Saturday night boiling creek water to drink and playing games.

Sunday morning we headed over a swing bridge and 12 km later reached the Boundary Hut. From here we kept on walking and eventually made it to Mavora Lake which we followed all the way until the end! Our ride had a bit of car troubles back in Queenstown so we hitched our way to Mossburn with two kiwi blokes from Gore – riding in the back of their dairy farm truck!

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Mt. Aspring National Park

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The other weekend Bessie and I headed into Mt. Aspiring National Park and spend Saturday and Sunday exploring the West Matukituki Valley. On Saturday morning we hiked from Rasberry Creek Carpark, past Aspiring Hut, and onto Liverpool Hut. For the last two hours we practiced our rock climbing skills with a steep incline where we clutched onto rocks and roots hurling ourselves one step at a time. The Liverpool Hut was perfection – bright red with six bunks – perfect for a cozy evening with our new friend Georges playing games and drinking bagged wine!

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Snow Farm NZ

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It was one of those perfect early Spring days on the mountain – blue skies, warm breeze, and longer day, perfect conditions for my first weekend of cross country skiing with a few good friends! We decided to make a full weekend of it by cross country skiing into the Bob Lee Hut and staying for a night. We arranged for a snowmobile to deliver our bags of clothes and food for the night and we took our time getting to the hut- about 10km away from the main lodge. The next day I woke up bright and early and caught the perfect sunrise, complete with a pink sky!

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El Capitan Canyon, California Accommodation

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We stayed in some pretty unique places on our California Road Trip, but I would have to say El Capital Canyon was a pretty special place! This campground resort offers all types of accommodation options – from tents to cabins to luxury yurts – you are sure to find something that suits your style. Located just outside of Santa Barbra, we found this site a great place to break up the drive from San Francisco back to Santa Monica.

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Big Sur, California

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What can I even say … Big Sur was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! As many of the guide books say, Big Sur is not a destination, but rather an experience spread over a large amount of space along the West Coast of America. We took over a day and a half to explore the area and take in all of the sights to see. A – must – do.

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Hurunui Jacks Glamping

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Hurunui Jacks really can’t be explained, it must be experienced… out of this world. After spending the day road tripping to Hokitika we ended our journey at Maureen and John’s little slice of heaven off the beaten path. The notion of ‘glamping’ has really taken off over the course of the last year or so, and after spending so many nights in back country huts with nothing but a sleeping bag and your head torch, I was ready to upgrade for an evening and give glamping a try! After taking off our shoes and putting on some gum boots, we headed down the remote path to the tent down by the creek and spend the evening reading by lantern light, relaxing and listening to the sound of the rushing water.

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Hokitika

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The final destination for our West Coast Road Trip was Hokitika and we arrived there around 2PM on Saturday, after a lovely coastal drive. Hokitika is known by locals as ‘the little cool town’ and it definitely lived up to it’s expectations…one main street, cute cafes and wine bars and the best of all – the tiny town is located right on the end of the Tasman Sea with beachfront access. The town has a very laid back feeling – gum boots and casual clothes are the norm- loved it! One of the typical ‘Hoki’ traditions is to have a beach fire with driftwood found on the beach, we made one and shared some Pip’s Pizza, yum!

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The Kepler Track Day #1: Kepler Car Park to Luxmore Hut

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With Easter this past weekend we had an extra long weekend so I decided to take advantage of the extra day and head off to Fiordland to do the Kepler Track. You may remember the last time I did the hike, check out my posts here: Post 1Post 2 Post 3. Last time we did the hike we were unable to complete the full Kepler Track due to extreme weather and snowfall so I was determined to get back there and hike the full 61km circuit track.

Having Friday off work I left Queenstown around 11am and arrived into Te Anau for enough time to check in with DOC, grab my hut passes, and have a bite to eat by the shores of Lake Te Anau. I parked my car in the Kepler Car park and was on my way to the Luxmore Hut. The first day of tramping was a 13.8km walk. While the beginning starts of mellow and flat – after a few kilometers of tramping the uphill begins and the pain sets in. The track takes you through the beech forest along the shore of Lake Te Anau onto Broad Bay. From Broad Bay there is a challenging climb that eventually takes you under limestone bluffs before emerging to the bush line. Once you hit the bush line the hut is only 45 min away and the views are stunning!

Being Easter weekend the hut was completely PACKED…I mean every single mattress was counted for, which made for a busy night in the Luxmore Hut. When you tramp alone you usually make friends with the people who sit at your table or the table where you decided to sit. I met a lovely couple from Wellington who left behind 3 teenage boys back North and 2 fellow Americans who were on a road trip through NZ. We had a great time telling stories and exchanging NZ travel tips and advice.

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Muller Hut Route: Day 2

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When we woke up on Sunday morning the skies were still grey and the clouds were blocking the views. As we made our breakfast and hot tea the sun slowly began peaking out of the fog so we decided to stay around a while longer in hopes of seeing the views from the Muller Hut. Thankfully our patience was rewarded! Although we didn’t get a clear view we saw just enough to get an idea of the area.¬†Around noon we made our decent down the Muller Route and headed back into town.

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The Muller Hut Route: Day 1

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On Saturday afternoon we embarked on our journey to the Muller Hut in the Mount Cook National Park. Our tramping packs were loaded with cold weather gear, sleeping bags, food, and other necessities for the 24 hour trip. The route to the Muller Hut offers a mountain experience with loads of variation in landscape: from alpine scrub, herb fields, sand scree slopes. The Muller Hut sits at 1800 meters (nearly half as high as Mt Cook summit!) in the Sealy Range . We did the walk just in time as the normal climbing season is mid November to late March as there are considerable avalanche danger on the route during the winter and spring.

Every evening at 7pm there is a radio call to all of the huts in the Mt. Cook National Park. The hut warden made sure all were accounted for and reported back to base camp at the DOC center. The current Muller Hut was opened in July 2003 by Sit Edmund Hilary himself. The hut can sleep 28 people on platform bunks split in between 2 bedrooms. There is a separate area for the kitchen and living space. The toilet is sited a short distance away from the hut and was quite a cute little building despite the terrible smell.

The route to Muller Hut was one of the hardest tramps I have done so far in New Zealand and it opened my eyes up to a whole new level of tramping!

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