5 weeks on the South Island

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5 weeks on the South Island

Postby J M » Fri 09 Jun, 2017 12:38 am

Hi all, I'm after a few tips and pointers for an upcoming trip to the Sth Island next January/February.

I jumped on some cheap flights and now have 5 weeks to play around with and I'm planning on fitting in lots of walks while I'm over there. I was wondering if anyone has some tips on the best combo of walks to do in this time (ie. some great walks, maybe some lesser known walks as well?). I'm keen to do a good range while I'm over there so am looking at everything from the coast to the mountains. I'm reasonably experienced and can handle myself if things turn to rubbish but would prefer walks without excessive navigational difficulty and I'm happy with rough terrain/big days of climbing etc.

Following on from this, any tips on transport and food options over there? While looking into everything I've realised I'm so used to being able to drive to a walk and eat home dehydrated meals that I forget there's another way to do it! Any reasonably priced store-bought dehy meals available easily over there?

And last but not least, I'd prefer to only take over trail runners rather than my heavy boots. This has worked for me in Aus with a decent pair of socks but I'm well aware that there is a copious amount of rain over there so I'm a little concerned about mud. Has anyone had any experience in this regard?

Thanks for any info you can pass on, or links to threads I haven't picked up on :)
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby oldmanwalking » Fri 09 Jun, 2017 8:16 am

I might suggest doing Mount Tapuaenuku, from the Hodder River and the Hodder huts.....but not sure of the weather conditions, so best you check first, and also you'd need permission from Alan Pitts at Gladstone Downs station to cross his land.......its a great trek as long as you don't mind getting your feet wet.

Or there's the Travers-Sabine circuit......another great multi day walk with great views. Start and finish at St Arnaud....!

Or another favourite of mine is the Caples and Greenstone tracks just outside of Queenstown.....if you want to venture that far south.

As with all NZ treks......its all about the weather.....but I guess you know that already.

Have fun

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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Fri 09 Jun, 2017 8:41 am

check with DOC about the Kaikouras, theres extensive slips from earthquake damage, blocking numerous routes.
dehy is available around the country
have to do your homework on the routes, some routes can have extensive amounts of mud, too many to mention.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby J M » Sat 10 Jun, 2017 12:57 am

Thanks for those suggestions, I'll definitely have a look into them
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Sat 10 Jun, 2017 4:25 am

at the top of the where to start in nz thread is the list of doc walks, they grade them according to difficulty, the harder the grading often theres a good chance there will be mud and tree roots to walk on
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 2:12 pm

oldmanwalking wrote:Or there's the Travers-Sabine circuit......another great multi day walk with great views. Start and finish at St Arnaud....!

^^^ Thoroughly recommend that one (make sure you divert to Lakes Angelus, Constance and Blue Lake if you do it).

Tons of options down south... as mentioned the Greenstone-Caples is good. I really like the Rees-Dart/Cascade Saddle area, and the Great Walks get a bad rap - they generally are nice reward for modest effort (I think the Routeburn is the pick of them but they're all pretty good). Wilkins-Young and Dusky are on my "to do" list so I can't say much about them, but might be worth looking into.

Can fit a lot into 5 weeks... a bit jealous.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby J M » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 10:27 pm

The Travers-Sabine circuit has most definitely made it onto my to do list, it looks amazing (along with the Routeburn and basically everything else). The Rees-Dart track area looks beautiful as well, has anyone walked over to Dart Glacier? I'm aware everything is very dependent on the conditions at the time of course but is the track itself reasonable to follow?

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote: Can fit a lot into 5 weeks... a bit jealous.


I'm pretty excited! Lots of logistics to work out (trying to do this trip on a poor uni student's budget is a little stressful) but it's shaping up to be a fantastic trip :D
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 4:18 am

yup and in january and february on those tracks the huts are overloaded with people. routeburn is booked out, nelson lakes is ALIVE with wasps in summer.
I've never heard of anyone walking the Dart glacier, it's extremely broken up.
theres thousands of kilometres of tracks in NZ and 900 huts, but people only talk about the same few overloaded tracks all the time.... you'll travel past more tracks than you can do getting to the ones you do do.... do some homework,
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby J M » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 10:04 am

Cheers Wayno, I definitely prefer walking with fewer people around so I'll be having a look into quieter walks. I wasn't thinking of actually walking on the glacier, rather I've heard you can do a day trip out from Dart hut just to have a look at it.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 10:30 am

J M wrote:Cheers Wayno, I definitely prefer walking with fewer people around so I'll be having a look into quieter walks. I wasn't thinking of actually walking on the glacier, rather I've heard you can do a day trip out from Dart hut just to have a look at it.


the dart hut is one of the most overloaded huts in NZ in summer, can have twice the no of people to bunks.... because of the day trip to the glacier and cascade saddle which get thrashed in the media.
the routeburn track summer dates get sold out in a few hours online
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 11:05 am

wayno wrote: nelson lakes is ALIVE with wasps in summer.

Not sure if that's still the case? I know it was a real problem, particularly around Sabine Hut, but DOC have done a lot of work in eradicating them. I was there last summer and don't remember seeing a single wasp?

wayno wrote:theres thousands of kilometres of tracks in NZ and 900 huts, but people only talk about the same few overloaded tracks all the time.... you'll travel past more tracks than you can do getting to the ones you do do.... do some homework,

Yeah... but... they're popular for a reason, and coming from O/S you want to see what the fuss is about. Eg as an ex-pat Tasmanian I'm well aware some of the best areas are off the beaten track, but would never begrudge someone new to the state doing the OLT or Frenchmans first to get a feel for the area. Seems to be a lot of trying to talk people out of doing the popular routes? (In any case I've done T-S and R-D in summer and it wasn't *that* busy, although I'm sure it varies... Great Walks a different story but still have their charms, as long as you can get on them).

J M wrote: I wasn't thinking of actually walking on the glacier, rather I've heard you can do a day trip out from Dart hut just to have a look at it.

Can definitely walk up to the terminus of the glacier for a look, maybe 3-4 hours return from Dart Hut (double that if doing return trip to Cascade Saddle). In fact (subject to conditions and river level) I think it's nicer to walk along the river bed than the Cascade Saddle track, as long as you know where to rejoin the track.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby newhue » Sun 09 Jul, 2017 6:12 am

Lewis pass to St Arnard. A nice little 5 to 7 day walk where you most likely won't find another. If you can navigate, and don't even have to be great at that you will make it. River crossings, cable crossing, a pass with perhaps some easy snow, and a good scree climb. Gorges, deep blue water, moss forrest, tree routes, grass plains, some beautiful huts, great tent sites, long open ridges, some good climbs, and decent, ice cold baths and you don't have to haul water. Best of all few people, isolated serenity, and the freedom of big beautiful mother nature. Probably should not be posting this actually.

Doc have awesome resources. Their online topo maps are excellent. Walk info is great, and the net then usually fills the gaps. Navigation is pretty easy as NZ on the whole as they only has river beds and passes to follow. Its hard to get lost but certainly not to be taken lightly either, as there is plenty of stuff to kill you in NZ. Don't underestimate elevation and steepness. But to design a walk to your own difficulty desire, isolation, and length is not that hard. There is so much of NZ which is the real great walk, and its all their ready and waiting.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Sun 09 Jul, 2017 7:08 am

the te araroa trail goes from te anau to lewis pass and it does get busy in summer, now, hundreds did it last year could well top a thousand this summer, most go through overa few weeks, the huts get packed.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby newhue » Sun 09 Jul, 2017 8:47 am

wayno wrote:the te araroa trail goes from te anau to lewis pass and it does get busy in summer, now, hundreds did it last year could well top a thousand this summer, most go through overa few weeks, the huts get packed.


Oh dear, it has been a while and things have obviously changed. Can't see Bob's hut coping or having the same charm ever agin. I guess the Te Araroa trail is in the cluster of being another cash cow trail for NZ.

I once did a great walk, though the scenery was nice the experience was rubbish. Hordes of people all day, along the ridges, in the huts, choppers fling in the wealthy, lazy, or time rushed. I wondered if fresh water may become a thing of the past in places. But 70 people in a hut with what seemed like endless plastic bags rustling all night long, then well up before light to catch the sunrise..rustle rustle rustle, was less than great. I have to accept I was green and making the numbers up, but it seemed pretty ordinary for the money paid, and that was over a decade ago. I guess for me its no wonder I see a good quality tent, map, and compass as heaven on earth. Still the cash cows have their purpose for the user, government, and ultimately people on NZ.
I'm just grateful NZ has lots more to offer in the way of back country experiences, and the freedom to let me find it and avoid the cash cows.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby wayno » Sun 09 Jul, 2017 9:25 am

newhue wrote:
wayno wrote:the te araroa trail goes from te anau to lewis pass and it does get busy in summer, now, hundreds did it last year could well top a thousand this summer, most go through overa few weeks, the huts get packed.


correction, "st Arnaud to Lewis pass".. not Te anau.
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Re: 5 weeks on the South Island

Postby madpom » Mon 10 Jul, 2017 1:24 pm

Bob's Hut is safe for now. Te Araroa goes down the Waiau not the Matakitaki.
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