Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

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Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Fri 27 Nov, 2015 2:52 pm

Hey,
I'm looking to head to NZ in mid-january to do a couple of multi-day walks. I've had a look on DOC and noticed that the three big walks (Kepler, Milford and Routeburn) have already been pretty much booked out, or at least the huts have. I'd be happy to camp but not sure how this works.

If there are other, less well known walks around the South Island please recommend. I've got all the cold-weather gear and have experience in tough climates (Overland Track in Winter, Patagonia).

Cheers
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby Chris-a » Fri 27 Nov, 2015 5:00 pm

Check out Heaphy Track, Queen Charlotte Track or Abel Tasman National Park at the northern end of the South Island. You are planning your visit to coincide with the peak holiday period and DOC do try and control numbers on the walks.


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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby RonK » Fri 27 Nov, 2015 5:22 pm

Travers-Sabine Circuit perhaps?
Or the newly completed Old Ghost Road, if you don't mind sharing with the MTBer's.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby kitty » Sat 28 Nov, 2015 5:13 am

Greenstone Caples Track
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby tomh » Sat 28 Nov, 2015 11:01 am

Wilkins-Young also known as Gillespie Pass Circuit
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recrea ... s-circuit/
and that is not a maybe guess - I have walked the Wilkins-Young, admittedly a few years ago when the Young hut was small and nobody else on the track.
Last edited by tomh on Sat 28 Nov, 2015 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Sat 28 Nov, 2015 11:15 am

I've had a look at Routeburn hut and there is potential for me to be able to do it, but there would be a big second day.
Day 1 - shelter to Routburn Flats (6.5k)
Day 2 - Routeburn Fltats to Lake Howden (22k)
Day 3 - Walk out (3.4km) and potentially back track to do a side trip?

All thoughts welcome - is this achievable? Or am i better off doing a different hike? CHEERS
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby wayno » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 3:14 am

if you dont know if you can walk 22k over a mountain pass. I don't either.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby wayno » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 3:26 am

if you dont know if you can walk 22k over a mountain pass. I don't either.
what sort of trips have you been doing and what exercise are you doing? what age group are you in? have you done elevation gains of several hundred metres?
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby stry » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 7:44 am

canthardlywait wrote:I've had a look at Routeburn hut and there is potential for me to be able to do it, but there would be a big second day.
Day 1 - shelter to Routburn Flats (6.5k)
Day 2 - Routeburn Fltats to Lake Howden (22k)
Day 3 - Walk out (3.4km) and potentially back track to do a side trip?

All thoughts welcome - is this achievable? Or am i better off doing a different hike? CHEERS


My recollection is that it is a pretty relaxed two and a bit days. You are trying to squash it into one and two very little days.

Day two is, in my opinion, doable, particularly in the long days of summer, BUT Wayno's question is on the money. I have been surprised to see Australians who live in flat parts of the country train hard for an NZ trip but still struggle with not difficult climbs. Some of us just don't have the opportunity to get any hill conditioning. Only you can assess how relevant that may be to you.

Have you got any flexibility in your timetable, or have you jammed yourself up with flights. etc ? Tight schedules can cause problems.

Suggestion - If you have a bit of flexibility,why not suck it and see ? If day two stretches out, simply prop somewhere and extend day three a bit.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 7:46 am

wayno wrote:if you dont know if you can walk 22k over a mountain pass. I don't either.
what sort of trips have you been doing and what exercise are you doing? what age group are you in? have you done elevation gains of several hundred metres?


I'm personally not worried about the distance, I've done plenty of multi-day walks with +20k days thrown in, I'm in my mid 20's. I also have done a number of walks with plenty of elevation gain. The advice I was more after (which I probably didn't state clearly enough) was what are peoples thoughts on that plan?
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 7:50 am

stry wrote:
canthardlywait wrote:I've had a look at Routeburn hut and there is potential for me to be able to do it, but there would be a big second day.
Day 1 - shelter to Routburn Flats (6.5k)
Day 2 - Routeburn Fltats to Lake Howden (22k)
Day 3 - Walk out (3.4km) and potentially back track to do a side trip?

All thoughts welcome - is this achievable? Or am i better off doing a different hike? CHEERS


My recollection is that it is a pretty relaxed two and a bit days. You are trying to squash it into one and two very little days.

Day two is, in my opinion, doable, particularly in the long days of summer, BUT Wayno's question is on the money. I have been surprised to see Australians who live in flat parts of the country train hard for an NZ trip but still struggle with not difficult climbs. Some of us just don't have the opportunity to get any hill conditioning. Only you can assess how relevant that may be to you.

Have you got any flexibility in your timetable, or have you jammed yourself up with flights. etc ? Tight schedules can cause problems.

Suggestion - If you have a bit of flexibility,why not suck it and see ? If day two stretches out, simply prop somewhere and extend day three a bit.


Thanks stry - unfortunately the week I want to do it a couple of huts are booked out - hence the big middle day. I did the OT track in July and walked around Lake St Clair, I think our biggest day on that was about 24k and that was in winter with much shorter days.

Thanks for the advice, what is the policy on camping on the great walks? From my understanding camping isn't allowed at all, except at the designated sites and in bad weather?

Cheers
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby kitty » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 8:50 am

The DOC website has excellent info on accomodation on each of the great walks. You need to book both the huts and the campsites. Unlike the OLT you cannot double-hut and stay at a different campsite/hut.

Based on your experience and fitness, youd be ok doing the 22km day over Harris Saddle, weather permitting, especially if you pack light. But Harris Saddle area is very exposed and strong winds can make it difficult to cross. The huts have mattresses and gas cooker which will lighten the pack a little. Its a two way track, very popular, so youd be overtaking and passing people along the way.
But it depends if you want to walk it fast...or whether to choose a less popular great walk and take it more leisurely.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 10:10 am

Thanks Kitty - yes, I was thinking that I could keep the pack weight pretty low which will definitely help out.
I'm pretty keen on doing Routeburn, and then will head to Wanaka and do a few day trips around there.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby paul_gee » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 8:10 am

Definitely spend some time in Nelson Lakes. Also, consider the Rees Dart, Wilkins-Young, and Caples Greenstone.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby wayno » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 8:38 am

the northern south island beech forests such as richmond ranges and nelson lakes have the highest concentration of german wasps in the world in summer, they are thick in the air and the forests hum with them..
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 8:48 am

wayno wrote:the northern south island beech forests such as richmond ranges and nelson lakes have the highest concentration of german wasps in the world in summer, they are thick in the air and the forests hum with them..

Whats the risk to trampers? Any? Thought only the southern parts have those nasty flying pests.


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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby wayno » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 9:08 am

if you stumble apon a nest you could be in for trouble, its problematic where you stop and if they take a liking to food you eat in the open. you need to be wary of your movements, esp where you sit. and of course if you're allergic to them then you're running a significant risk, the risk of getting stung is reasonable... nests inside toilets can be a problem too..
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 9:39 am

Getting flashes of the scene from Hunger Games! Sounds like those sand flies to the south are much kinder... LOL
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 1:34 pm

paul_gee wrote:Definitely spend some time in Nelson Lakes. Also, consider the Rees Dart, Wilkins-Young, and Caples Greenstone.


Unfortunately won't be heading as far north as Nelson Lakes. Was thinking of doing an overnight hike in and out of Cascade Saddle and staying at Aspring Hut. This will all be weather dependant of course. Would have loved to do Rees Dart, but I think I'd be pushing it for time.
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby wayno » Fri 04 Dec, 2015 2:03 pm

thats the second person who's wanted to do the rees dart this week on this forum.
for the second time, the dart river track is blocked below daley hut and cant be completed without a packraft at least, i wouldnt recommend tubing, hypothermia would be a big problem, theres a lake several k's long now, an nner tube wouldnt get across it very fast at all.
cascade saddle is strictly a fine weather trip only, in cloud or any sort of rain its treacherously slippery and in high winds its dangerous...
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Re: Recommendations for NZ South Island Walks

Postby canthardlywait » Fri 11 Dec, 2015 9:29 am

wayno wrote:cascade saddle is strictly a fine weather trip only, in cloud or any sort of rain its treacherously slippery and in high winds its dangerous...


Thanks Wayno - yep will definitely be waiting for a clear weather window for this one.
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