Teens aim to become the first to traverse NZ… in a straight line

Ollie and Finn plan to traverse New Zealand in a straight line

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

These 16-year-olds are attempting something no-one’s done before. Finn McKenzie and Ollie Taylor, from Wellington, are going to walk from one side of New Zealand to the other without turning a corner.

They’ve chosen a 100km route from Himatangi Beach, near Palmerston North, to Castlepoint on the east coast, calling every person who’s land they’ll cross en-route to ask for permission.

They’ll have to cross the Manawatū River three times on the journey – a task they’ll undertake in an inflatable kayak.

Read more about this challenge on Stuff 

First solo ascent in Alps

French mountaineer Charles Dubouloz has just made history by becoming the first person to complete a solo ascent of the famous Rolling Stones on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses.

This extraordinarily tricky route in the Mont Blanc massif was devised in 1979, and although climbers have achieved it before, no-one’s managed to do so on their own until now. Dubouloz overcame temperatures of 30°C on his way to completing the climb. Read more here.

Lake Dive Hut to get rebuilt?

DOC certainly hopes so, but is struggling for funding, so is trying to find a way to make it happen with the FMC, local iwi and Back Country Trust.

The popular hut in Egmont National Park had incredible views of Taranaki Maunga, but burnt down in a suspicious fire in 2020. The cost of rebuilding will be upward of $450,000. The New Zealand Herald has more on this.

Weather station for unpredictable section of Great Walk

New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track on the West Coast, has a section called Moonlight Tops that can get just about any weather at any time of year.

But the forecast data isn’t specific enough for Paparoa National Park, says DOC. That’s why a new weather station is planned, which should give trampers a far more reliable prediction. Stuff has more on this.

Keep an ear out for South Island Kōkako

If you’re doing the Heaphy Track, listen out for the mournful cry of a kōkako. The last confirmed sighting of the South Island variety was back in 1967, but there have been many who believe they’ve seen or heard the species since then. The latest is a recording by three trampers on 29th December. Read more at RNZ.