Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New book tells the story - End to End New Zealand

End to End New Zealand - tells the story of my 3,000 km journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff along the Te Araroa trail. Follow my journey as it unfolds chapter by chapter, covering 152 days, as I walk, scamble and climb my way through some of the most amazing countryside available in New Zealand.

This book is printed in SRA5 format, featuring colour photos throughout, 200 pages.
It is available on-line at


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bluff and the end of my 3,000 km journey

The final chapter in this long saga was completed on day 152. When at 2.45 pm, on Friday the 3rd Feb 2012, I walked to the end of State Highway 1, at Stirling Point and touched the AA signboard. A great feeling of joy and relief - a job well done Paul. Now you can have a day off or maybe more.

Greenstone to Invercargill - 16 days of solid walking (days 136 to 151)

After another day off in Queenstown (I think I can get used of this day off stuff), I head for the Greenstone Hut and what will be my last big push towards the end of this journey. This section of Te Araroa starts on the popular Greenstone Track, but soon heads south towards Mavora Lakes and the Takitimu Mountains. I found it a mixed bag of good tramping tracks, to rough overgrown river beds and long forest walks. For the most part it was enjoyable, the weather settled (apart from another dumping of snow at Telford campsite) and the huts good. As the days ticked by however, I became more and more focused on just going as fast as I could and chipping off those K's towards my goal. I did enjoy the Longwood's and the beach walk from Riverton to Invercargill.

Wanaka to Queenstown (days 131 to 135)

After having one of my longest day walks, a 12 hour plus day walking in very hot weather, from Pakituhi Hut, down to Lake Hawea, across to Albert Town and through to Wanaka, I was grateful to meet up with Lynda and have a well earned rest day. Somewhat refreshed from this, I set out on the Motatapu Alpine Track with great expectations. I had heard good things about this new track through Mt Soho Station and I wasn't disappointed. It's a great experience, a little steep in parts, but now that I am much fitter, this is not such a problem. The weather took another twist and gave us a good dumping of snow at Highland Hut, on the 15th Jan, so just as well I carry good wet weather tramping gear.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Southern Lakes and the MacKenzie Basin (days 124 to 130)

There is a bit of road walking through this section (about 100 km of it), but the journey passed Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau is worth the effort, as they represent some of the most spectacular glacial lakes you'll see anywhere. For me, this 7 or 8 day tramping section was more about completing the challenge and clocking up the K's as I continue to head south.

The Two Thumb Range and wonderful tussock country (days 119 to 123)

After a short break for Christmas with my family, the journey started again on the south side of the Rangitata River, beginning at the well known Mesopotamia Station.. It was New Years day as I scrambled my way up Bush Stream to the Crooked Spur Hut (wonderful names) but in very thick fog. With the use of my GPS I found the hut alright, but finding my way up and over the 1500 m saddle beyond the hut proved to be a bit more difficult, even with the aid of modern high-tech gear. However, the early morning sun on the second day burnt off the low cloud clogging the valleys and progress continued.

This is beautiful country, breathtakingly beautiful. High mountains and tussock valleys, stretching as far as the eye can see. You can't help but admire those who tried to farm it, but at the same time it is now an open trampers paradise, available to all. The sheep and cattle have now gone but the old musters huts stay on as a reminder of those early farmers.

Rakaia River to the Rangitata River (days 114 to 118)

I resumed my journey on the south side of the Rakaia River, having travelled around the safety zone by car. It was raining and I made slow progress up and over the Turton Saddle. So, as it was my 66th birthday, I decided to spend the night in a cute little "A" frame hut at the back end of Glent Hills Station. A large slab of birthday cake and an early night finished the day off nicely.
The next day was always going to be a big one, as I made up some distance and time. Comyns Hut was passed early in the morning but it was slow going up through the south branch of the Ashburton River, because even though it had stopped raining, I had to cross and re-cross the river maybe 30 times. It's hard work and very cold. After 11 hours and late in the day, I made it to Double Hut. This is an old musters hut, built in the 1940's and was a great little hide-away as the rain set in again. I spent two nights here, before completing another long trek on the 4th day through to Potts River and the mighty Rangitata.