Getting a grip on the Heaphy

Great Walks

The Heaphy Track may be the hardest Great Walk to organise, but we’re here to make it easy. Isolated and wild, Kahurangi National Park remains a fortress of nature where...

The edge of so much more

Wild People

Blink and you’ll miss Tuatapere, but author Greg Wilson’s eyes are wide open to this southern gem The name Tuatapere doesn’t yet get the blood pumping like Fiordland’s unofficial heart,...

The peak of pick-me-ups

Wild Cuisine

Coffee has long been a beloved companion of trampers – and we deserve so much better than lukewarm instant. It may be considered a luxury item, but for many, coffee...

How to seam seal your tent

Skills

While we all love the gentle pitter-patter of rain on a tent roof, it’s a hard sound to enjoy if the tent isn’t watertight. Tent seams exist where two cuts...

Near misses

Wild Survival

Gasping for air as my head broke the surface, I turned upriver to see if my partner had made it out of the canoe. Spying her bobbing head 10m away,...

Plunging into summer

Wild water

Is there anything so stirring to bravado as a high jump into water? The rush of acceleration, the stomach’s queasy lurch, the shock of the plunge, and finally the gasp...

Keeping afloat in a stranding

Conservation

New Zealand is world renowned for its mass whale strandings – its most recent being the Mason Bay tragedy on Stewart Island, which claimed 145 pilot whales. While our stranding...

Altitude for aid

Walkshorts

Following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, Hasely Lobb has thrown himself into fundraising for Nepal. When New Plymouth engineer Hasely Lobb visited Nepal on his OE, he felt...

Daily dips inspire book

Track Chat

In challenging herself to swim every day of the year, Annette Lees discovered the finest swims in her backyard and beyond – from the sea to backcountry lakes. She chronicled...

Banish the wet from inside your tent

Skills

A wet tent puts a real damper on your camping experience, and rain isn’t always the culprit. Condensation from humidity in the air or even your own respiration can be...

A fraction too much friction

Wild Health

Tramping is hard enough without the pain of blisters dogging every step, but with proper preparation you can overcome this friction affliction. If there’s one sound I’ve come to associate...

Fine tuning your fuel

Wild Nutrition

When it comes to planning your trip food, a basic understanding of nutrition goes a long way When it comes to pre-tramp food prep, I’m more of an aimless aisle...

Legends behind a legendary track

Great Walks

With more than one million people expected to visit Piopiotahi/Milford Sound this year, it’s incredible to fathom the iconic landscape was once considered nearly inaccessible. Today, it is easily reached...

A hut for all seasons

Waypoints, Wild Trips

Waihaha Hut is much more than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t offer sprawling mountain views or inspiring architecture, but it feels like home the moment you emerge from...

Tramping with flying colours

Wild People

Nick Neynens is just as comfortable flying over the Southern Alps as he is standing on their peaks. On a clear day above the Southern Alps, cross country paraglider Nick...

Plight of the pekapeka

Conservation, Features

Like millennials hunting for a phone signal, we wandered with bat detectors held high, ears pricked for interruptions in the hiss of static. Eyes squinting into the lavender dusk sky,...

What goes in, always comes out

Conservation, Features

DOC talks to Wilderness about the increasing pressures facing our backcountry toilets, and how trampers can help. Every tramper has a horror story of a backcountry loo so overwhelming it holds...

Beginning the backyard battle

Conservation

Tired of standing on the sidelines of pest control, Matthew Cattin finds out how to start the change at home I’ll admit I’ve been embarrassingly complacent to New Zealand’s predator...

A sea kayaking rite of passage

Wild People

Daniel O’Connor is preparing to kayak the 1600km Inside Passage in North America. Freedom camping in New Zealand might get you in trouble with the law, but in North America,...

Faces of thru-hiking

Wild People

Name: Owen Vaughan Age: 58 Nationality: New Zealand Base pack weight: 6.5kg (before food and water) Weight lost on trail: 18kg Longest day: 47km Trail breakfast: One Square Meal or...

The fury of Farewell Spit

Near miss

Quicksand, frozen rain and sandstorms took Paul Hoskin by surprise on a memorable trip to Farewell Spit. Paul Hoskin didn’t know there was quicksand at Farewell Spit until it squelched...

Age no barrier to Five Passes Tramp

Walkshorts

At 76-years-old, Aucklander Susanne Brighouse is proof that age is no barrier to experiencing the backcountry. The keen outdoorswoman – who started tramping at 52 – plans a multi-day tramp...

Put your best foot forward

Skills

Lacing techniques won’t fix a poorly fitted boot, but they can help alleviate pressure points, prevent blisters and relieve foot pain. Matthew Cattin demonstrates three alternative lacing techniques. Lock in...

Nature's antidote

Features, Wild Health

‘Go and get some fresh air.’ We’ve all heard this at least once in our lives – perhaps from our mothers when we dropped the ball on our behaviour, or...

Who is Moir?

Wild People

Moir’s Guide Book is an iconic piece of backcountry literature that has facilitated adventures for nearly a century. But who is the book named after? When it comes to backcountry...

The island of Eden

Wild People

Wanaka eco guide Chris Riley knows Mou Waho Island like the back of his hand, and he’s doing all he can to help it flourish.  Chris Riley pauses the group...

Microfibres, macro problems

Wild Gear

The outdoor clothing industry is working hard to tackle synthetic microfibre pollution, and consumers can do their bit too.  An invisible dilemma is plaguing the outdoor apparel industry. A growing...

Paw patrol

Features, Wild Dogs

Nothing compares to the feeling of bringing a missing loved one home. The closest buzz LandSAR dog handler Dave Krehic can relate it to is the first rugby try of...

Tramp of the trolls

Waypoints

Boggy, barren and battered by landslides, the Valley of the Trolls couldn’t be better named. Dotted with icy blue pools, giant boulders and an array of alien alpine plants, it’s...

Scaling the alpine

Conservation, Features

In March 1970, tramper Paul Harrow awoke to find he wasn’t alone. A granite-grey gecko with coal black eyes had decided to join him on the slopes of Mt Tarahaka...

Rocks for a hard place

Near miss

After a close call in the Tararua Ranges, Wellingtonian Peter Crosland made sure nobody would make his same mistakes. With a foreboding southerly stalking towards the Tararua Range, Peter Crosland...

Australian coot

Bird Spotting, Skills

Conservation status Native and ‘naturally uncommon’. Features The Australian coot is best described as a duck-like water bird. They are dark grey to black over their entire body, but instantly...

How to fit crampons

Skills

Crampons open up a new world of terrain for trampers, and, as with your boots, you need the perfect fit – Living Simply’s Ben Sinclair explains 1. Size them up...

How to camp above the snowline

Skills

Select your site Avoid avalanche zones: Learn to recognise the risks and check the avalanche forecast for your area. Work with the weather: “If it’s possible, pitch your tent on...

Same ship, different day

Features, Wild Jobs

After 15 years of skippering, Abel Tasman AquaTaxi operator Spencer Bailey has seen it all – the good, the bad, and the smelly. From the North American visitor who spent...

Trounson Kauri Park

Waypoints

Half an hour from Dargaville, the well-presented park is a humbling stroll back in time which keeps your eyes fixed ever upwards. Almost entirely boardwalked, and with a comprehensive kauri...

Secrets of the serpent

Conservation

In the dark cold of Lake Rotoiti, the serpentine longfin eel prepares for her final journey. For 80 years, she’s prowled the lake’s depths, stalking fish, koura and ducklings. At...

Life through a lens

Features, Wild Photography

Facedown in the mud, absorbed in his work, Jonathan Harrod realised he was no longer alone on the estuary flats. The Christchurch photographer had been there for several days capturing...

Shake, rattle and roll

Features, Wild Safety

Many Kiwis have memories of primary school earthquake drills – of diving under the desk and bracing their heads while the teacher counted backwards from 10. Living in a geologically...

Facing fear on Everest

Features, Wild People

Look closely at Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and you’ll notice the marks of adventure. A gash in his dress shoe relieves pressure on an old frostbite wound – the skin graft,...

Sanctuary in the hills

Wild People

Everything happened within a blink – a surprise bluff, launch, impact, and then darkness. The next thing Annabel Anderson remembers is the voice of a ski patroller, asking her name...

Refresh your tramping pantry

Skills

It’s easy to become complacent with meals when every ingredient adds grams to your pack. Plan your meals early and use fresh ingredients and you’ll be the envy of the...

Not so Great Walks

Features, Great Walks

Years ago I visited the stunning Lake Matheson, with its mirror reflection of the Southern Alps.  It was a crisp blue morning, with barely a hint of wind, and the...

Postcards from Paparoa

Features, Great Walks

I’m five minutes’ from SH6 when a smile finds my lips. It’s shortly after seven on a cool August morning, and I’m alone on the track, following the Pororari River...

The woman on the wall

Wild People

Rock climbing legend Lynn Hill took time out from the NZ Mountain Film Festival to talk on the magic of climbing, conquering fear and beating the boys. When Lynn Hill...

GSI MiniEspresso Set

Broken in

Used by: Coffee-craving deputy editor Matthew Cattin Used for: 100+ coffee brewsCost: $92 My reputation for decent backcountry brews sometimes precedes me on the track. I’ll meet trampers who’ve heard word...

How to pack a day pack

Wild Gear

When planning a day walk, it’s tempting to pack just the bare minimum to make the most of a weightless walk, but it’s well worth sacrificing weight for safety. Here...

Lost

Features, Near miss

Moments. That’s all it can take to descend into danger.  A missed marker, upside down map, or a wrong turn – it’s unfair how benign a catalyst of catastrophe can...

Nature’s super bowl

Waypoints

If you’re road-tripping to Raglan, you should consider an hour’s detour to the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls, which is a strong contender for the North Island’s best waterfall. From the...

Sea of solitude

Wild People

For two months, solo sea kayaker Scott Donaldson’s colour palette consisted almost entirely of blues and greys. During his record-setting crossing of the Tasman Sea, his most consistent company were...

Fractured Earth

Features, Wild Trips

On a winter’s night in 1886, the earth ripped in two. The sleeping menace of Mt Tarawera had finally awoken, and it meant business. The sound of its almighty bellow...

Hammamas towel

Broken in

Hammamas towel $45Used by: Matthew CattinUsed for: Three years I’ve never much liked microfibre towels. The texture gives me the willies, and if you’ve ever used one at the beach...

Sunset, starlight and sinister spirits

Wild Trips

With headlamps off, a new world appeared. Cradled above the sleepy stream, my tramping group gazed up at uninterrupted skies as stars emerged behind our improving night vision. Each end...

2019 Outdoor Hero of the Year

Outdoor Awards

Lisa and Geoff Whittle moved to Wellington from Tasmania more than 25 years ago, and have made a solid impact in conservation. Over the last seven years, the couple has...

Racing the rising waters

Near miss

An ‘easy’ weekend overnighter in Te Urewera turned into a battle of wits against a seemingly endless stream and a miserable night of camping. After seven hours of splashing through a cold...

The search for a national icon

Waypoints

Few New Zealanders have seen kiwi in the wild, but the experience should be on everyone’s bucket list. Given that kiwi are our national bird, it’s no wonder many tourists...

Peak to pub

Waypoints

Nothing beats a cold beverage and a hearty meal after a day in the hills. Luckily, New Zealand’s mountains and pubs go together like mince and cheese. Te Aroha to...

The courage in turning back

Near miss

As her tramping club one by one navigated a large boulder blocking the track, doubt crept into Sharon Boulton’s mind. She watched the way their backs twisted as each group...

Revealing the great unknown

Track Chat

Author and outdoorsman Geoff Spearpoint has shared his love of the Southern Alps in a new book The Great Unknown.  What is The Great Unknown?It has multiple meanings, really.  It...

Macpac Traverse

Broken in

Macpac Traverse $529.99Used by: Deputy editor Matthew ‘pretty colours’ CattinUsed for: One year Rain jackets are frustrating. You wouldn’t tramp without one, but on most trips, they’re dead weight in...

Tastes of the trail

Features, Te Araroa Trail

On her first night on the Te Araroa Trail, Anouk Bommer earned the nickname she’s carried for 1500km. Arriving at Twilight Beach campsite with her 25kg pack, the Dutch tramper...

My favourite tramp

Features, Wild Trips

It’s not easy to choose favourites. In fact, I was nervous to even ask the question: ‘What’s your favourite tramp?’ When you’ve walked hundreds of tracks – as some of...

The science of solar

Wild Gear

On paper, solar technology seems a practical solution for your tramping energy needs. Matthew Cattin investigates whether it’s worth its weight or if it’s just hot air. While many hit...

Colour the trail

Wild People

When she completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019, Kiwi tramper Elina Osborne dealt with her post-trail blues by documenting her journey in a film.  After 137 days of hiking...

Coasting around New Zealand

Track Chat

Dunc Wilson completed the first circumnavigation of New Zealand on a bike, a 10,940km journey that took him 240 days. He’s written about his epic solo ride in his new...

Review: MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

Broken in

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe $169.99Used by: Distracted chef and deputy editor Matthew CattinUsed for: One year My first tramping stove was bought by my parents in the early 2000s for...

How to care for your gear

Features, Skills

Tramping gear is not cheap, but it can last a lifetime if given the proper care and maintenance. Matthew Cattin learns how to make your favourite bits of kit last...

Heads prove a winner

Waypoints

Whangarei Heads has stirred my imagination as long as I can remember. Its jagged spine first entered my consciousness in early childhood, on long drives north to our family camping...

How to help our huts

Wild Huts

Sweeping the floors is a good start, but there are plenty more ways trampers can help maintain backcountry huts. If you’re seeking accommodation with million-dollar views for the price of...

Review: Macpac Deluxe Double Mat

Broken in

Macpac Deluxe Double Mat $349.99Used by: Sleep investing deputy editor Matthew CattinUsed for: Four months There is little to love about air beds. Yes, they’re convenient and comfortable, but that’s...

Fix a punctured sleeping mat

Skills

Inflatable mattresses bring sleeping comfort to the outdoors, but unlike old school foam mats, they’re susceptible to sleep-ruining punctures. Knowing how to fix a leak could be a trip-saver.  Locate...

The injuries you can't see

Features, Wild People

Matt Stewart couldn’t believe he’d fallen five storeys. It’s not that he couldn’t remember the fall – the plunging realisation he’d clipped onto the wrong line and the unbearable pain...

A cure for the itch

Waypoints

Accessible from Cape Reinga or Tapotupotu Bay, Sandy Bay is a small, deeply set cove nestled in a valley of bristly native bush. It’s known for its itchy whale visitors,...

Keeping up with down prices

Wild Gear

Down weighs more in the wallet than it does in the pack, but it’s hard to beat in terms of performance. Matthew Cattin looks into the pricey commodity Every tramper knows how...

Our Middle Earth

Covid-19, Web exclusive, Features

Tolkien geek Matthew Cattin shares how The Lord of the Rings shaped his first real adventure in the South Island. We were two 20-something lads, with a penchant for walking...

Covid-19 a mixed bag for business

Covid-19

The month of lockdown has been a trying time for all sectors of the outdoor industry.  Bivouac marketing manager Andrew Powell said the level 4 lockdown halted all operations for...

History buff’s home hobby

Track Chat

Invercargill conservationist Thomas Rillstone brings Aotearoa’s colourful past to life in his podcast, the History of Aotearoa New Zealand.   What inspired you to enter the podcast world? I was...

Home is where the tarp is

Camping, Features

“Do you boys know you’re breaking the law?” In the cold light of morning, I guess it was obvious. Bleary-eyed and cloudy-headed, we three tired musicians fronted up to the...

California dreaming

Waypoints

Like many introduced species, the Californian redwoods of Whakarewarewa Forest have found stronger roots in New Zealand than in their habitat of origin. First planted here in 1901, the sky-scraping...

Meeting Aotearoa on foot

Track Chat

Māori tramper Michelle Campbell shared the highs and lows of her time on the Te Araroa Trail in her first book Meeting Papa: A Journey on Te Araroa.  Could you...

Going guided: Rabbit Pass traverse

Going guided

A trip over the white knuckle Rabbit Pass isn’t for the faint of heart. Described as New Zealand’s hardest guided trek, it’s the calibre of trip where experience really counts....

Going guided: The Heaphy Track

Going guided

Before he started guiding the Heaphy Track, Bush and Beyond’s Richard Walker didn’t think much of it. “But once you start looking, you realise how special the place is,” he...

Going guided: The Old Ghost Road

Going guided

History, sleepouts, open tops and gourmet food – there’s a lot to love about a guided trip on New Zealand’s newest classic walk, the Old Ghost Road. Though he’s now...

Going guided: Sleeping God Canyon

Going guided

Deep in the Kauaeranga Valley lies a hidden playground, unbeknownst to thousands of trampers who tackle the nearby Pinnacles Track every year. Three hundred metres of vertical descent, dropping over...

Going guided: Exploring Aotea

Going guided

Great Barrier Island is one of those ‘one day’ destinations, says Walking Legends guide Karllie Clifton. “I find when I mention Aotea to people, they often talk about how they...

Canvassing the landscape

Wild People

Landscape painter Julia Sternkopf lugs paint, brushes and canvas into the hills to capture the colours of the backcountry.  When the clouds lift and the lighting is right, Julia Sternkopf has...

Kit out your first aid

Skills

A well-stocked first-aid kit will get you through most tramping incidents – and it’s also a great way to make friends, writes Matthew Cattin Time spent working in a pharmacy...

War of the wildings

Conservation, Features

There’s an army advancing across New Zealand’s landscape that crosses rivers, lakes and mountain ranges with ease. Left unchallenged, the steady march will cover the country in unwanted exotic wilding...

Turning up the volume

Waypoints

Free attractions are hard to come by in Rotorua, so it was nice to find this refuge of natural beauty that doesn’t cost a cent. Okere Falls is a dramatic...

The Kaimango Road angels

Features, Te Araroa Trail

Mt Pirongia is a bittersweet milestone for Te Araroa Trail walkers. Pahautea Hut, near the mountain’s summit, is the first hut southbound thru-hikers encounter on their journey to Bluff, though...