About Us

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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Boat Sabbatical Part 1: Hiking the North and South Island of New Zealand

Hiking up the Poulter River, Aurthur's Pass NP

In an effort to rid ourselves of “Boat Body” we bought our first car!  That sounds like an oxymoron but it’s an easier way to get between trailheads and campsites than hitching.  The plan was to tour New Zealand doing as many hikes (tramps) as possible along the way.  NZ parks are amazingly well endowed with hiking trails and its hut system is fantastic.  The huts are dotted literally everywhere (there’s over 1000) – a legacy of post war deer culling efforts, grazers, tramping and other outdoor pursuit clubs.  Hunters still remain a large user of huts off the main trails, but everyone seems to coexist ok on the surface.  We certainly give kudos to DOC (Dept of Conservation) who maintain the majority of the huts and campsites throughout the country.  For the use of the huts we bought a $92, 6 month pass which paid for itself over 4 times, while in between hikes the DOC campsites are free or a few dollars each.  So if your happy to camp and freshen up in the rivers, then these facilities certainly make travel affordable.  The huts range from basic 2-bunk Biv’s in the alpine to 30+ bunks with wood/coal stoves and gas cookers.  All come with mattresses.  So our tent has been replaced by a tarp for emergency use and even the thermarest has been left behind on occasion.

Our favourite campsite: above Speargrass Tarns, Nelson Lakes NP

Heidi has nearly turned into a hobbit though Stephen is far from Gandalf, though he thinks a cane may be necessary soon!  We are impressed with the greater number of female trail users – maybe even out numbering the guys – way to go Kiwi girls!

Sketching the skyline at Travers Saddle, Nelson Lakes NP

One of the older and more character huts, Tararua Forest Park

A summary of the walks that we did, for those who want to look up the locations, etc.

  1. Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway          4 days  53km
  2. Whirinaki Forest Park                         3 days  36km
  3. Kaimanawa Forest Park (Umukarikari Ridge) 2 days 35km
  4. Mt Egmont NP (Taranaki)                  5 days 47km
  5. Tararua Forest Park                             6 days 70km
  6. Kahurangi NP (Mt Arthur                 3 days 31km
  7. Nelson Lakes NP Travers-Sabine Circuit  8 days  100km
  8. Paparoa NP  Croesus Track                3 days 34km
  9. Arthur’s Pass NP                                5 days 73m
  10. Stewart Island (Rakiura NP) NW Circuit  12 days 142km
Our total distance hiked was 650km after adding several day hikes as well as these longer tramps.
    Trails were well marked!

    A few NZ Icons we’ve become aquainted with:

    • Whittaker’s Chocolate – a 250g bar of 72% cocoa was consumed on average every 4 days of tramping
    • Tramping – this verb means hiking or bushwalking in Canada and Australia respectively
    • One-lane bridges – sure they exist in other countries, but here in NZ even the busy Hwy’s have some
    • Orange triangle trail markers – it is feasible that they may even out number sheep here!
    • Typical NZ tramping attire: shorts and gaiters (no matter what the weather!) – we think this has developed due to the local love of fording rivers
    • Sandflies – similar to Canadian Blackflies and Scottish Midges (in a contest the NZ Sandflies would win!)

    Minchin Saddle, Arthur's Pass NP

    Fording Townsend Creek, Arthur's Pass NP

      1 comment:

      Anonymous said...

      It's nice to see you guys having fun. Stay safe! Scott & Kim S/V Sweet Destiny