New Zealand Tramping Resources

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Introduction

This is a collection of resources related to tramping in New Zealand. Most of these will be on the Internet but I will also include some things outside of the web (e.g.. books).

General
Access New Zealand (neat search engine).
Binary Brothers Ltd.'s NZExplorer (a database of NZ Web pages).
Earthwise Living Foundation - the home site for an outdoor adventure company based in the Coromandel Peninsula, offering 4-week Adventure Courses.
Lonely Planet's Destination New Zealand.
New Zealand Country - a collection of South Island pages with a very good section on the Department of Conservation Southland Conservancy (includes Fiordland National Park).
New Zealand Tramper - the best site about tramping in New Zealand.
UltraLite Weight Tramping - This site is devoted to New Zealand trampers who wish to carry light loads and still enjoy the New Zealand hills in comfort and safety.
@home in the hills - the home page of a guided mountaineering company based in Arthur's Pass. There is a good section on tramping tips and tricks.

Trip Reports
Te Araroa - The Long Pathway

The Te Araroa Trust is an organisation dedicated to the formation of a walkway down the entire length of New Zealand. Currently (January 1998), Geoff Chapple has walked the North Island along their proposed route. As he went, he updated a very good Web site on his travels - good pictures, great maps and wonderful tales of the peoples he has met and the country he has traversed.

The Milford Track

This very popular track takes you from Te Anau Lake over a high alpine pass to the usually placid waters of Milford Sound. It is part of DOC's "Great Walk" system, so you have to book well in advance (months or even a year for the most popular times). Each day up to 40 independent trampers and an equivalent number of guided walkers start the walk. The track is not as crowded as it might appear since the independent and guided tramper huts are staggered, people soon spread out along the track at their own pace and the traffic is all one-way. Most of the walking is done in a rainforest that receives 5-8 metres of rain per year. This gives luxuriant vegetation, wonderful waterfalls and unique surroundings at a cost of a usually wet walk (waterproof boots and good coats are needed). Luckily all the huts have drying rooms (along with gas stoves, running water and a resident warden).

For independent walkers the trip schedule is:

  • The first day starts with a boat ride from Te Anau Downs (a half hour bus ride from Te Anau town) down to the start of the track. Clinton Hut is reached after 3.5 kilometres of easy walking beside the Clinton River.
  • A slightly steeper days walking takes you up the Clinton Canyon with the high Mackinnon Pass visible at its head. The Mintaro Hut is situated next to the crystal-clear Mintaro Lake. If you arrive mid-afternoon and the weather is clear then rush up to the pass (about an hour climb without a pack) for glorious views.
  • An early start will allow plenty of time at the top of the pass. The numerous zigzags on the climb ease the effort needed and there is a shelter at the pass handy for a brew. The steep descent on the other side is the hardest part of the trip. On reaching the private Quinlan Hut, drop your packs for the side-trip to Sutherland Falls - a massive 850 metre drop forming the highlight of the track. The day ends a gentle hour away at Dumpling Hut.
  • Walking to a timetable to catch either the 2pm or 3pm boat from Sandfly Point (yes, there are lots of sandflies) to the Milford Sound village.
The Routeburn Track
Abel Tasman Coastal Track
Tongariro Crossing/Northern Circuit
Travers-Sabine Track
Tararua Ranges (North Island)

Tramping Clubs and Outdoor Organisations.
Avon Tramping Club Rotorua Tramping and Skiing Club
Levin Waiopehu Tramping Club Tararua Tramping Club (very cool!)
New Zealand Alpine Club Tramping Grans
New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Waikato Tramping Club
North Shore Tramping Club Wellington Tramping & Mountaineering Club
Peninsula Tramping Club Home Page West Auckland District Tramping Club

Sites about Tramping in New Zealand
These are personal (as opposed to commercial) pages that have information about tramping in New Zealand.
Burkhard's Tramping in New Zealand Page The Casual Tramper
New Zealand Hikes by Dave Bliss Back Country New Zealand by Jan Robertson
Kiwi Tramping by Erwan. A developing set of information about walks with altitude profiles. JB's Web Site by John Black. Plenty of good tramping trip reports with photos.

Weather
Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited provides weather forecasts for the entire country on a commercial basis. However they have a good set of free basic forecasts. Enter by their main page. I usually use them for the mountain forecasts.

Books
Tararua Footprints: A Tramper's Guide to the Tararua Ranges by Merv Rodgers
As the cover says, this is a guide to the Tararua Ranges and covers all of the main tracks and most of the routes in the ranges. The author is very experienced (40 years tramping in the Tararuas) and has walked all of the tracks and routes in the book. It includes a section on river gorge rafting. The book's construction is quite sturdy to encourage carrying it on trips.
101 Great Tramps in New Zealand by Mark Pickering & Rodney Smith
Yes, there are 101 tramps in this book ranging from local trips (the Tararuas!) to tracks known around the world (e.g. the Milford Track). There are also lots of black & white photos (about 1 per trip). The trips vary from easy family walks to true, tough wilderness experiences. Access to the beginning and ending of the tracks is well described.
Tararua, the story of a mountain range by Chris Maclean (Whitcombe Press, 1994)
This coffee table style book is probably of local interest only. However it is full of wonderful photos. It covers the history, geology, ecology and culture of the Tararuas in good detail during its 271 pages. I found the author's descriptions of the old-time characters fascinating, especially Bert Barra (the most successful deer culler in NZ) and Joe Gibbs (the last of the real bushmen).
New Boots in New Zealand: Nine Great Walks, Three Islands and One Tramping Virgin by Gillian Orrell
A uniquely English look at NZ tramping, life and nine Great Walks. You may recognize the cover photograph which was taken by yours truly.

Accommodation
It is always handy to have some place to stay that is close to the tramping areas. Many of the Budget Backpacker Hostels fit the bill.

Others
Have a look at the home site of the Department of Conservation - the agency responsible for much of our beautiful country.
The New Zealand Government Online for official information about our government.
KiwiLink Coaches a comprehensive coach network for the top of the South Island.
The New Zealand Yellow Pages a good place to look for businesses such as outdoor stores and transport.
TerraLink Map Shop the TerraLink Map Shop offers convenient access to a comprehensive range of New Zealand maps, including the topographical map series, the Department of Conservation's park and track maps, Wises urban maps and a range of other map products. Over 400 maps of New Zealand and the Pacific are for sale from this secure e-commerce site.
NZ Deer Cullers. A site about the legacy of deer culling in New Zealand. Many of the tracks and huts were first established to facilitate deer hunting.

General Trip Reports Clubs NZ Tramping Sites {short description of image}
Books Accommodation Weather Others