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September 2011 Issue
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Walkshorts, September 2011

Riders on the Pureora Timber Trail will need a head for heights when they cross the Mangatukutuku swingbridge.

Living Legends project plants natives and celebrates rugby greats

In August the Department of Conservation completed building a new 90m swingbridge on the 77km Pureora Timber Trail, west of Taupo.

The new Mangatukutuku Bridge spans the Mangatukutuku Stream some 30m above water and is one of seven bridges planned for the trail, the longest being 110m and the highest more than 40m above water.

DOC hopes to open the trail in March next year and there are plans to develop accommodation at the halfway point on the. At time of writing, DOC said 70 per cent of the trail is complete.

The new trail is being built through Pureora Forest Park, west of Lake Taupo, and is part of the National Cycleway Project.

It follows an old tramline, making use of old tunnels and cuttings, through the forest park where riders will pedal through four ecological areas that are remnants of great forests that once dominated the area.

The trail traverses the culturally significant Mt Pureora then runs along the western side of the Hauhungaroa Range before dropping down to Ongarue.

The full trail will be a two day ride, but there will be several options for shorter rides, with trackside shelters and toilets at regular intervals.


Ruamahanga in flood

Is there a better way to celebrate Mid-Winter than with a weekend tramp in the Tararuas? Off we set along the Ruamahanga River track on our way to Cow Creek Hut in the mighty Tararua range.

In the picture we have Jared Forde having a moment with an icy cold “small, low and slow” creek. Normally it is ankle deep so it is a timely reminder to check the maps and weather when you are heading out. It took us 8hrs each way on a tramp that I thought would take 4-5. Nothing like spending the last hour and a half in the dark and rain heading down from the saddle. Good times!


A room with a view

Perched at 1800m on a ridge of Mt Ollivier (1933m) in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Mueller Hut offers one of the best views in the country.

The Department of Conservation has an opening for 28 volunteer hut wardens to work for a week at the iconic red hut over summer from November until May.

The volunteer project has been running since 1998 and has seen many previous hut wardens return for another stint to take in the surroundings and make use of the park.

Volunteer wardens have their own quarters with lighting, bunks for two, a stove with grill and two rings, pots and pans and staple food provisions.

Wardens are expected to keep the hut clean and tidy, monitor and check in visitors each evening and to interact with the people who arrive each day.

About 2600 people go to the hut each year.

DOC’s volunteer coordinator Akiki Iijima said one of the reasons so many previous hut wardens return year-after-year is because they enjoy meeting visitors who, in some cases, they become friends with.

“Other than the brief duties that have to be done, the rest of the day is left for the wardens to gaze out over arguably one of the most spectacular alpine vistas in the world,” Iijima said.
There is no cost to warden at Mueller Hut and accommodation can be provided before and after the weeklong stay.


Wilderness joins Scouts New Zealand

Wilderness has become a sponsor of Scouts New Zealand and will actively promote the organisation and its activities.

Scouts New Zealand has recently undergone a resurgence in interest and there is now over NUMBER of young men and women involved with scouting activities. Worldwide there is over NUMBER scouts, in NUMBER of countries.

The organisation has attracted high-profile outdoors people to its ranks, with ex-SAS soldier and now TV star Bear Grylls being the most prominent. In New Zealand, well known climber and outdoorsman Mark Inglis is Scouts Adventure Plus patron.

Wilderness magazine’s publisher, David Hall, said that: “Showing young people there is more to life than Playstation and a virtual game is a big attraction to us. Scouting gets youngsters out into the backcountry, teaching them hard core actual skills that can help build confidence and a real ability to better handle life’s non-virtual challenges.”


New bridge for Pureora Timber Trail

In August the Department of Conservation completed building a new 90m swingbridge on the 77km Pureora Timber Trail, west of Taupo.
The new Mangatukutuku Bridge spans the Mangatukutuku Stream some 30m above water and is one of seven bridges planned for the trail, the longest being 110m and the highest more than 40m above water.

DOC hopes to open the trail in March next year and there are plans to develop accommodation at the halfway point on the. At time of writing, DOC said 70 per cent of the trail is complete.

The new trail is being built through Pureora Forest Park, west of Lake Taupo, and is part of the National Cycleway Project.

It follows an old tramline, making use of old tunnels and cuttings, through the forest park where riders will pedal through four ecological areas that are remnants of great forests that once dominated the area.

The trail traverses the culturally significant Mt Pureora then runs along the western side of the Hauhungaroa Range before dropping down to Ongarue.
The full trail will be a two day ride, but there will be several options for shorter rides, with trackside shelters and toilets at regular intervals.


Land of the long dark cave

Cavers in New Zealand are a small “eccentric bunch”, but they’re discovering some of the longest and deepest unexplored cave systems in the world.

Extreme Cave Team member Neil Silverwood said there are about 50 active cavers in New Zealand compared with Britain’s 16,000 or in France where it’s so popular it gets a column in some newspapers.

“In New Zealand it’s just a very small and strange group of people,” Silverwood said. “It really does feel like close-knit family.”

In England cavers are lucky to find a kilometre of new cave in an entire lifetime, but Silverwood and the rest of the Extreme Cave Team have possibly discovered the deepest cave system in the Southern Hemisphere.

This year the team, which won a Hillary grant from SPARC, discovered the Stormy Pot cave system which lies underneath Mt Arthur in Kahurangi National Park.

After a number of seven day expeditions, the team has travelled 9.5km into the system, to a depth of 760m and are going back in January to keep exploring.

Stormy Pot is only 30m away from the neighbouring 24km long Nettlebed cave system and Silverwood is fairly certain the two are connected.

If they are, it would create an incredible three-day through-journey from one side to the other and be the deepest cave in the Southern Hemisphere.

In January they’ll find out for sure.

They’re also exploring and extending the 65km Bulmer Cavern cave system, which lies under the southern end of Mt Owen, also in Kahurangi National Park, and is New Zealand’s longest cave.

They poured dye in water at the end of Bulmer Cavern and were surprised to find that it came out at Blue Creek which flows at the northern end of Mt Owen.

Silverwood said Bulmer cavern could extend to 100km in length.

“We literally don’t know how much is yet to be discovered,” Silverwood said. “We could have just scratched the surface.

“One of the most exciting things about being a caver in New Zealand is the amount of exploration left to do.”

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