NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

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NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Fri 21 Aug, 2015 6:29 pm

Hi fellow bushwalkers,

I'm going to NZ in mid September for two months, planning to do the Great Walks. Will start in Christchurch -> Abel Tasman and then the others.
Planning to spend up to one or two more nights than what doc.govt.nz recommends, so I can enjoy the nature more and see as much as I can.
Hoping to do all 9 walks in the two months period.
I have experience in the mountains, multi day trekking and camping, and will be bringing my own tent instead of using the huts.
I never been to NZ but been to Tassie many times including Overland track (two weeks) and I've been told Tassie is like smal NZ. =)

At the moment, I'm not sure if I need to buy one of those hop on/off unlimited bus passes to get around. The prices seem to be very expensive around $AU1,300 - 1,800. I will only need to get around from main town/city to the beginning of the Walk and then from the end of the Walk to the next town.
Do I need to buy these passes or can I just get on one at any point and it will be cheaper this way?

If anyone can share their wisdom and knowledge it'd be very helpfull.

Also anything else I should know, take with me, do in advance, anything you think will be helpful.
Any maps, apps, etc
Any places I should definitely check out etc

Also if anyone is up there and doing the same thing, maybe a company too. =)

Thank you all.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby oldmanwalking » Fri 21 Aug, 2015 6:54 pm

Two really magnificent walks I would suggest are the climb of Mount Tapuaenuku via the Hodder river, and the Travers–Sabine Circuit in the Nelson Lakes National Park......both of which unfortunately are quite difficult to get to without transport....not sure about the hop-on-hop off option as I've never used them. Car rental is a good option in NZ.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Fri 21 Aug, 2015 7:00 pm

you're up against avalanche danger esp on the milford and routeburn from accumulated seasonal snow, theres been more snow than normal this year, two people have died in an avalanche on the kepler which has less avalanche danger than the other two walks and also on tapuaeonuko and possibly even on the travers saddle.. if you arent experienced walking in snow and dont know how to assess avalanche danger if theres snow around you're taking a risk. can't predict what the danger could be in advance at that time of year, once the routeburn booked season opens at the end of october doc often force people to take helicopters around the avalanche prone areas sometimes through till mid december...
theres other options for buses like intercity or the naked bus, research their prices for the various fees.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 4:50 pm

oldmanwalking wrote:the climb of Mount Tapuaenuku via the Hodder river


Is this a day climb?
Because of the altitude I wouldn't think that the crampons will be needed, or am I wrong?
If I hire a car in Christchurch can it be done in one day?

oldmanwalking wrote: and the Travers–Sabine Circuit in the Nelson Lakes National Park

If you had to choose between this one and The Heaphy Track, which one would you say is more spectacular?
Thanks
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 4:54 pm

Tapuaenuku takes three days of walking eight hours a day
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:05 pm

wayno wrote:you're up against avalanche danger esp on the milford and routeburn from accumulated seasonal snow,
once the routeburn booked season opens at the end of october doc often force people to take helicopters around the avalanche prone areas sometimes through till mid december...


Thanks for the info and advice.
I have experience in the snow and high altitude mountains, and obviously won't be taking unnecessary risks. Hopefully by the time when I'll be getting to Routeburn & Milford & Kepler, which is around end of September, after I did Abel Tasman and Heaphy, the conditions will be a bit better.


Would you recommend crampons for any of the hikes?
I'll be bringing my harness and few slings etc, just in case.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:05 pm

wayno wrote:Tapuaenuku takes three days of walking eight hours a day

Thank you
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:16 pm

if you have to ask if you need crampons, you're not experienced enough to go at that time of year....
its not a given it will be safe at that time.
i repeat ,
there has been more snowfall than usual this year and two people were killed on the kepler which usually has LESS avalanche risk than the milford and routeburn... its the first time i've known of avalanches killing people on the Kepler.
the milford has so much avalanche risk very few people attempt it in winter.. and the routeburn isnt that far behing, early winter is a better time between snow dumps before the winter snow really accumulates higher up, increasing avalanche risk.
i go down every year and decided not to go at that time of year due to the way the weather has played out..
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby oldmanwalking » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:22 pm

Yes Tappy is a long haul route with over 200 river crossings.....unsure of the weather conditions at present so cannot say about crampons......it's hard but certainly worth it in the end, and as Wayno has said previously it cannot be done in a day from CHC.

Personally I think the Travers-Sabine is the better walk, however that's just my opinion and others might have a different idea...both are good walks all the same.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:39 pm

wayno wrote:if you have to ask if you need crampons, you're not experienced enough to go at that time of year....
.

I've never been to NZ, hence I'm asking the experts here.
Me asking is not the indication of the lack of experience, since most of the mountains I climbed have snow / ice from about 3,800m and higher, but that was in summer. And since NZ doesn't have high altitude mountains, and because I'm going at the end of winter, I thought I would ask the friendly folks of this community.
Thanks.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:44 pm

oldmanwalking wrote:Yes Tappy is a long haul route with over 200 river crossings.....unsure of the weather conditions at present so cannot say about crampons.

Thank you. I'll just be prepared for the worst and if it's not then it's a bonus!
Sounds like crampons will be coming along with me. =)

oldmanwalking wrote:Personally I think the Travers-Sabine is the better walk, however that's just my opinion and others might have a different idea...both are good walks all the same.

Thanks.
I will research Traverse further, from what I quickly found on googe it looks more picturesque.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:50 pm

wayno wrote:i repeat ,
there has been more snowfall than usual this year and two people were killed

And you are right, more snowfall than usual can/has change the conditions dramatically.
So I will assess the conditions closer to the dates of when I might be doing them.
Thanks again.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 6:05 pm

crampons highly likely needed around fiordland, absolutely essential on tapuaenuku.

make use of the links on the where to start for info on NZ. several of them will have relatively current informations on conditions, one trick is also to google the area you're going and do a search on pictures specifying photos taken only recently using the search tools, snow levels go up and down like a yo yo, whats easy one day can be a nightmare the next. i was there when it snowed at new years. wind plays havoc with the snow.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 22 Aug, 2015 6:16 pm

wayno wrote:crampons highly likely needed around fiordland, absolutely essential on tapuaenuku.

awesome thanks!

wayno wrote:make use of the links on the where to start for info on NZ.

haha
yeah been looking at them now. =)
lots of good links there

wayno wrote:search on pictures specifying photos taken only recently.

very good tip!
Cheers Wayno!
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 5:37 am

the weather often determines where and when you can and can't go, seasonal weather isn't that clearly defined. its very common for doc to advise people to not proceed and turn back from the open mountain tops on the great walks in fiordland.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 1:34 am

Another question,

Are there any facilities or what is your experience, if I want to leave some of my stuff for the duration of the hike and then collect it afterwards.
Obviously most of the Walks start and end at different points, which would make it a bit inconvenient leaving some of the things at the hostel/accom where I stayed before starting a Walk.
Just playing around with a thought of bringing more things with me than I should carry and being able to leave and collect them as I need, etc.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 3:11 am

no, dont confuse DOC with a tourism company, they are fundamentally a govt department for conservation , dabling in a bit of tourism, which often confuses people into thinking they are a tourism providor, their public services are highly limited.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 11:48 am

wayno wrote:no, dont confuse DOC with a tourism company


Yeah, I didn't mean DOC. It's pretty clear they are not a tourism company.
Rather I was asking about hostels/accom places or any other ways of doing that, if people had any experiences in that or what they did when didn't want to carry more than they had with them.
If not then I will only bring what I will carry. But if there any ways then it would be good to know in advance, hence me being here and asking the community.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby kitty » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 11:57 am

These people do logistics...you could as them. Ive never tried them.
http://www.justnewzealandwalks.co.nz/
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Thu 10 Sep, 2015 1:00 pm

byaltair wrote:
wayno wrote:no, dont confuse DOC with a tourism company


Yeah, I didn't mean DOC. It's pretty clear they are not a tourism company.
Rather I was asking about hostels/accom places or any other ways of doing that, if people had any experiences in that or what they did when didn't want to carry more than they had with them.
If not then I will only bring what I will carry. But if there any ways then it would be good to know in advance, hence me being here and asking the community.


a lot of accommodation places will hold gear for you.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 6:52 pm

thanks guys!

another question, which mobile carrier has best coverage outside of the major cities. from my research it would be Vodafone and 2degrees, is that your opinion as well? ta
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby whitefang » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 7:04 pm

I used Spark and always had reception when I needed it.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 7:18 pm

from the land of the long white clouds...
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NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby RonK » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 7:32 pm

Definitelty Voda. And you can have a travel SIM fitted to your phone within minutes of arrival at the airport kiosk.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Sat 12 Sep, 2015 8:23 pm

Thank you!
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby bernieq » Sun 13 Sep, 2015 11:55 pm

Hi fellow tramper,

I've made the trip across the ditch a few times for some fabulous tramping – it’s hard to beat.

The altitudes may not be particularly high but don’t dismiss the snow/ice and general bad weather through Sep – Nov. The bottom of Tassie is further north than Christchurch. As Wayno has already warned, it’s a heavy snow year. I would advise you to prepare a few alternative (lower level) tramps. The other concern (that isn't often an issue in Oz) is river crossings. With rain and Spring melt, even small streams will frequently be impassable – be prepared to wait for levels to fall.

Make sure your tent (boots, pack etc) are totally cleaned of all dirt – they will be inspected by NZ Biosecurity. I wear my boots on the plane so, on arrival, I can show them easily (dry and clean – shows I've gone to the effort).

re food; most dehy packet stuff is made in NZ so it’s cheaper there (eg Back Country). I dehydrate my own food but bringing it in requires a thorough knowledge of what’s allowed and what is not.

Take a PLB – it’s just dumb these days to tramp without one (imo).


Travers-Sabine (include Angelus basin if at all possible) is a good tramp and (again, imo) more scenic than the Heaphy. However, Heaphy is lower and more likely achievable in Sep-Oct. Descending Travers saddle on snow doesn't appeal to me – it’s exposed and very steep. There is a lot of even steeper mountain high above - all good for avalanche conditions.
DSCN6383.JPG
Descending from Travers saddle

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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Mon 14 Sep, 2015 6:47 am

we have "sort of seasons" in NZ
its sort of summer but is sort of still winter. depends on the day. snows in the middle of summer. its often drier in winter than summer, forget everything you knew about seasonal weather when you come to nz.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby byaltair » Wed 16 Sep, 2015 12:35 am

bernieq wrote:Hi fellow tramper,




Thank you!
A lot of useful information there!
I'm starting with easy Abel Tasman walk and then will go with the flow depending on the weather.
Travers-Sabine sounds like a possible option.

re weather, I'm actually looking forward to some snow subzero temperatures! =) haha
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby wayno » Wed 16 Sep, 2015 3:31 am

dont underestimate cold combined with damp, those conditions combined can be more effective at killing people from hypothermia than severe sub zero conditions, a number of people have been lucky to have survived so far this year. our news is full of people having to get rescued in the mountains.
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Re: NZ Great Walks Sep-Nov 2015 - need advice

Postby Kainas » Wed 16 Sep, 2015 2:08 pm

One thing that I have heard mentioned is booking these walks. From the OP it sounds like you are talking about just turning up and doing the walks. It is worth checking availability as you may find with many of them that you cannot do them at short notice.

Not all of these walks start and end in a town either. E.g. The Routeburn starts 'near' Queenstown (1-2hrs drive away I think) and finishes 'near' Te Anau.

If you are wanting to take them slower you may be keen to try some of the less major walks. Others have more experience then me, but we did do the Hollyford track after the Routeburn and found the beauty and seclusion a great complement to each other... Not to mention the non-major tracks you can indeed go at your own pace.
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