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Camper burnt toilet paper where 20,000-acre wildfire began

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

When 57-year-old camper Matthew Riser set his toilet paper on fire and put it under a rock, he thought that’d be the end of it.

So imagine his alarm the following day when he discovered a huge fire was burning everything, including pine trees.

The blaze, in Arizona, US, has become known as the Pipeline Fire, and has since spread to 20,000 acres.

Rise was arrested when seen driving rapidly from the scene. He admitted burning his toilet paper, and said he tried to put the fire out with his sleeping bag when he first saw it. Read more here

Unsupported 600km journey along the 45th parallel

A huge congratulations to Tanya Bottomley, who has completed an incredible journey from Fiordland to Oamaru.

Tanya completed 300km on foot, 270km cycling and 22km paddling in an epic 26-day trip along the 45th Parallel (45 degrees below the equator). It involved crossing mountain ranges, lakes and negotiating pathless terrain.

She told RNZ that she first got into endurance sports when recovering from an abusive relationship. “When I left that relationship I was pretty broken, I was really just a shell of myself.

“But being in the outdoors and running specifically at that time gave me a sense of freedom and happiness, and kind of a limitlessness that I hadn’t even known, and a whole bunch of confidence.”

Tanya is due to speak at this year’s NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Plan for 91km coastal walkway in Sydney

Your next trip to Sydney might be a little wilder than you were expecting, thanks to an ambitious plan to build a walking trail from the Opera House to Parramatta.

The design stages have been given AUD$60 million by the state government, with the cost of construction expected to be between $200 and $300 million.

The 91km trail will pass 18 suburbs and will take in some of the best sights en-route.

Research group The McKell Institute said: “This project could help shape Sydney’s economic resurgence, creating immediate opportunities for local workers, help deliver productivity enhancing infrastructure that improves the long-term health of Sydneysiders, and provide a new attraction and experience for tourists.” Read more here

The feral cats roaming the Southern Alps

For some time there’s been anecdotal evidence of feral cats being spotted at remote spots across the South Island.

But now, researchers can confirm that these creatures, that live and breed in the wild, have even crossed the Main Divide.

Ten cats have been caught in valleys in Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass, then released with tracking devices, so more could be learned about their behaviour.

The research began after it was confirmed that feral cats had been killing kea, and some of the felines monitored are regarded as ‘alpine specialists’. Read more about this on Stuff

The man who traversed the Southern Alps to play for the All Blacks

When Hokitika’s Henry Butland was selected for an All Blacks tour to Australia in 1893, he’d normally have been able to take a stagecoach across to Lyttelton to catch the ship across the Tasman Sea.

But for some reason that option wasn’t available, so he instead walked 250km over the Southern Alps to join his team mates.

It’s not known which way over the mountains he went, but he made the trip, became the West Coast’s first All Black, and – best of all – helped the team annihilate the Aussies.

Now his great grandson Toby Butland has turned this extraordinary tale into a children’s story book called What It Takes To Wear Black. Read more at Stuff