Breaching a guardian’s defences

Waypoints

Mount Earnslaw East Peak, Mt Aspiring National Park After Mount Aspiring, Mount Earnslaw’s East Peak (2830m) is the second highest summit in Mt Aspiring National Park. The Maori name for...

A godley experience

Waypoints

Godley Valley, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park You’ve almost certainly heard about Lake Tekapo, but did you know that, at its northern end, a braided river valley bounded by snow-capped peaks...

Light Fantastic

Waypoints

Syme Hut, Egmont National Park Only Aoraki/Mt Cook has claimed more fatalities than Mt Taranaki. You might see the mountain as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but that is unfair....

Window to the top of the Tararuas

Wild Trips

Girdlestone via Mitre Peak, Tararua Forest Park The weather forecast indicated a fine weather gap if I was prepared to walk in with diminishing afternoon rain. I had the time...

Alpine quick fix

Waypoints

Mt Armstrong, Aspiring National Park / Moderate For North Island townies like me, one of the biggest challenges in any climb in the Southern Alps is just getting there in...

Between Windmills and Water

Wild Trips

Manawatu Gorge Track, Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve The Manawatu River existed long before the Tararua Ranges, now south of the river, or the Ruahine Ranges, now to the north. So,...

Small Gem, Bright Sparkle

Waypoints

In clear weather, the Tararuas offer lovely views and, arguably, some of the best can be enjoyed between Mt Hector and Elder Hut, which sits just above the bush line...

Kahurangi high

Waypoints

Mount Owen, Kahurangi National Park The peaks of Kahurangi National Park may not be the biggest in the South Island, but the distinctive limestone they’re composed of makes them among...

Queen of the south coast

Wild Trips

Mt Matthews, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington The Rimutaka Range is the most accessible high country on offer to Wellingtonians and, while it might not be the loftiest, the range has...

Above the madding crowd

Wild Trips

Paekakariki Escarpment Track, Wellington My primary backcountry interest is climbing, so I haven’t paid much attention to the 3000km Te Araroa Trail. That doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by what...

Beyond Edoras

Waypoints

Cloudy Peak Bivvy, Canterbury If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you’ll know that Edoras is the capital of Rohan, featuring prominently in The Two Towers. Back in the...

One of New Zealand’s finest day walks

Waypoints

Talbot’s Ladder, Fiordland National Park Yes, it’s true: a ladder (of sorts) does lead to one of New Zealand’s most dramatic alpine landscapes. But don’t be deceived; while ‘Ladder’ implies...

Rustic and remote

Waypoints

Dundas Hut, Tararua Forest Park  If you’re seeking a feeling of remoteness, without having to lug a heavy pack for days, then the route linking Dundas Ridge and Cattle Ridge...

A refreshing descent

Hotshot

Descending the Waingawa River from Mitre Flats Hut in Tararua Forest Park during the record-breaking heat of last summer, was a slower but more interesting and refreshing alternative to the...

Between pitches

Hotshot

Climber James Hobson cruises on a relatively easy section of the south west ridge of Cloudy Peak in Canterbury. I needed a fast shutter speed to compensate for any involuntary...

Dawn at Iron Peg

Hotshot

On the first night of a four day trip into the highest points of the Ruahines, we camped near some tarns close to Iron Peg (1703m).  After a chilly night...

The early bird catches the view

Hotshot

Enduring a subzero night in my bivvy bag on the southern rim of North Crater in Tongariro National Park, I was rewarded with this early morning view of two trampers...

Curves with teeth

Features, Off the Beaten Track

After a steep scramble, we reached a small platform, beyond which was our crux – a narrow, exposed and broken knife-edge (a cheval), leading to the summit of Te Hekenga....

Dawn at Taradise

Waypoints

Lake Mangamahoe, Taranaki Taranaki locals love their province, coining it ‘Taradise’. A favourite spot for me that exudes the essence of Taradise, especially at dawn, is Lake Mangamahoe. The lake...

Travers by wire

Waypoints

It suddenly appears right in front as you round one of the many bends on the trail beside the Travers River. At its northern end, some 22km from its source...

A bridge too far

Waypoints, Wild Trips

Deep in Whanganui National Park, spanning the Mangapurua Stream, sits a 40m-long arch bridge. Though built to last, the bridge has only ever supported one vehicle. Today, trampers’ boots tread...

Godley lodgings

Waypoints

Godley Hut is a gem. Built pile-less in 1934, directly onto a slightly elevated rocky shelf at 1100m, it looks out to the terminal lake of the Maud and Grey...

A snowball called anxiety

Off the Beaten Track

“Well, that didn’t work. This rock is no better than the sugary, treacherous snow I needed a break from,” I called to my climbing companions, Caro and Simon. We’d been...

A climb perfect for Somer

Waypoints

To Cantabrians, it’s part of their backyard. To trampers more generally, it’s a nice excursion in summer and a great training climb for novices in winter. The main routes on...

Overnighting at Syme Hut in winter

Waypoints

Whether you intend to climb to Mt Taranaki’s 2518m summit or just settle for Fanthams Peak (1966m), spending a night at Syme Hut is just reward for your efforts. I...

Free ride out

Near miss

“Where’s Helge?” Shaun asked. I looked up from the stove, concerned. We had all spent the morning on a quick there-and-back trip from Carrington Hut to Waimakariri Falls Hut. On...