|Milford Sound from Mitre Peak.|
2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us
We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.
It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.
Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!
Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.
Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!
Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Monday, 27 May 2013
We will be returning to Hanmer in October. Thanks once again to all the people who have donated to our charity and to all of you Trail Angel's that helped us on the way.
|Mud glorious Mud!!!|
|More mud glorious Mud.|
|Every picture tells a story!|
|A fine figure of a man, good job he is in the distance.|
|Too tired to get into the Tent.|
|Definitely not Vegetarian !!|
Sunday, 21 April 2013
|We made it!!!|
|Sick of vegetarian food!!|
We walked from Colac Bay to Riverton, a beautiful harbour village full of character and charm, then on to Oreti beach, the famous beach where Burt Munro tested his fastest indian !! The forecast was for a rainy day but we had the most beautiful day out of nowhere. We had fantastic views of Stewart Island and Bluff in the distance.
The beach was full of amazing pebbles and strange seaweed (Steve was tempted to try it as he is getting over the dehydrated vegetarian pasta dish.
We felt as if we had come full circle (metaphorically, as it was really a straight line !!) back to a long sweeping beach just like Ninety Mile Beach and it felt very special to be there. The tides were just right for us and our last river crossing of the trip was just a splodge.
|Last river crossing. Stewart Island in the distance.|
Finally we reached the access road and civilisation - cars on the beach, dog walkers and surfers. Steve celebrated with a quick dip in the Southern Ocean with the emphasis on quick. We the headed inland towards Invercargill.
We had a great day in the city and met the Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, as we were probably the slowest couple to have walked the Te Araroa and he had met the fastest guy. The weather was not kind that day but it did not seem to matter.
|Spot the mayor.|
So off on the final sections down by the estuary to the long road walk to Ocean Beach. There are plans to create a walkway all the way to Bluff but the project needs funding.
There was a great boardwalk section and a wonderful bench that Steve made full use of.
|The welcoming party.|
We saved the last 7.2 Kms for our last day so that we would not look totally exhausted for the photos at the end , but more importantly so that Beth could join us and Dave and Kirsty could be there with us. It was overwhelming to be met by the gang at the signpost and so special, thanks guys!!
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of all the people that have helped us along the way. The Te Araroa has also been a personal challenge to us both as well and I am amazed at what it is possible to achieve when you put your mind to it. So our message to you all is to live life to the full, follow your dreams and come and stay with us!
Lynne and Steve
If you would like to add a donation to our cause click on this link Donate now.
PS there will be one more blog of the out takes, funny stories and a slide show so stay tuned !
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
|We have made it to the Southern Ocean.|
From Queenstown we joined the Greenstone Track which was absolute bliss and we had a great night in the Greenstone Hut which ended up being very busy with all but 1 bed spare. So many trampers. It was lovely to socialise and thank god for ear plugs!
We soon were on our own again when we headed south down the Upper Mavora valley passing through the Taipo and Boundary Huts before staying in Careys hut which is magnificently located on the shores of the North Mavora Lake. We thought Boundary Hut could be called that as it was possibly the border of Otago and Southland?
|My three tailer.|
|Bacon sizzling in the pan, luxury!!!|
Down the beautiful Movora Valley to be met by Dave, Kirsty, Crockett the dog and our Camper Van. We had 2 lovely frosty nights camped here with the gang. It was great being supported by these guys which allowed us to pack in some big days with light packs. On our first night with them Kirstys friend Rachel showed up and dished up a wonderful Spag Bol and gave me lots of meat as she thought I was turning into a vegetarian. Great nights, great company and many memories. Dave's cooking skills proved much better than his fishing skills - bacon butties yum yum.
After a quick dash to Te Anau for a weather update and resupply Dave and Kirsty dropped us at the start of the Lower Princhester Track which is the start of the traverse of the Takitimus. We did get chance to sample a pie in Te Anau. Yummy.
Takitimus are pretty special as well and we stayed at the Aparima and Lower Wairaki Huts. The night we were in the Lower Wairaki Hut it pelted it down with rain for most of the night however by morning it had eased off but this was the signal that things were about to change meteorologically!!
Just want to mention two very interesting near misses. I took a face plant in a river when a rock I stood on completely flipped and I went completely under head to toe. Miraculously no injuries!! Lynne took a tumble and face planted a bed of moss and lay motionless for what seemed an age as her hands were under her and her pack holding her down. Lynne not so lucky as me and twisted her ankle but managed to hobble on. I keep her going with a cattle prod. No seriously she has been a real trooper and soldiered on.
You eventually pop out of the Takitimus at Mt Linton Station followed by 12k walk on a magnificent 4wd track through this wonderful high country station and past the Rock Hut, and a memorial to a guy called Duggie who worked at the station for 40 years as a digger driver and musterer.
|Looking back at the Takitimus.|
At Ohai and for the first time on the whole trip we were staring down the barrel of a pretty miserable forecast so we made the big call to stay off the tops in the Longwood Forest section and walk the backroads to Colac Bay. We are very glad we did as the bad weather has set in and we are over the moon now to be by the sea. We have been dreaming about this and are really looking forward to next few days especially tomorrow with our 27k walk along Oreti Beach and hopefully as well as the roar of the ocean we might hear the roar of Burt Munroes Fastest Indian. Thanks once again to Dave and Kirsty for moving our van on to Colac.
|Too cold to surf !!|
Thanks to everyone that has helped and contributed to our journey and fundraiser. $5600 at the moment. Would love to get it up to $6000 if we can.
The next Blogupdate will be the biggie. Keep your fingers crossed.
To donate now to Cancer Research click on this link ..... Donate to Cancer Research.
Steve and Lynne
Monday, 1 April 2013
From Ohau Lodge the Te Araroa heads up and over the Ohau range via Freehold Creek and the East Ahuriri Valley. This part of the tramp did present us with probably the roughest part of the tramp so far... As the decent down the East Ahiriri Valley, although poled has no trail on the ground. It's basically find your own way through the tussocks, spaniards and matagouri and plodge down the river when in doubt.
|Home sweet home.|
|Stodys Hut...with a romantic fire!!|
From here, we continued our journey on an amazing 4 wheel drive track which climbed up and over Martha's saddle at 1710 metres and dropped us down all the way to the Top Timaru hut. These old musterers roads are an amazing feet of engineering and gritty determination. We stayed at the brand new top Timaru hut at this stage where we teamed up with Phil and Clare a young couple doing the Te Araroa as well. We had met them before on the trail when they had overtaken us the first time, however they had taken a break to watch the English cricket team in Dunedin for the first test match and had overtaken us for the second time!! The walk or should I say river adventure from the top Timaru hut to Stodys hut is not for the faint hearted once again we were thankful for the drought conditions as we had to cross the Timaru creek at least 14 times in pretty gnarly country. Unlike top Timaru hut Stodeys hut was a classic old musterers hut that had not changed in many many years, and as a result was overrun with little furry friends who visited us in the night. The huge positive of this hut was the beautiful open fire which we had roaring very atmospheric and a great place to stay.
Next day, on to another 4 wheel drive track and the Lake Hawea station famous for its Merino sheep and a quick blast around Breast hill to the new Pakituhi hut with fantastic views over Mt Aspiring and Lake Hawea. The hut is perched just below a ridge line which you climb up to and plunge down 980 vertical metres to the Lake Hawea shore line. A knee trembler if ever there was one. It was so lovely on this decent to be met by Bill Clarkson, it was great to see him out on the hill with his musterers stick! He also told us that 50 years previous he had been mustering the Timaru Creek area... What a boy!!
|Bill Clarkson on the Breast Hill Track.|
Although in previous blogs we have have mentioned that the water in the Pelorus river was the clearest and then the Blue Lake, Lake Hawea and it's crystal clear waters proved so tempting that Lynne and I went in for a swim on two successive days. It was also wonderful to dive into Lake Wakitipu with Beth and it must have been 10 degrees warmer than Lake Hawea but not as clear.
We have spent the last few days walking from Lake Hawea to Queenstown wharf doing all the flat easy bits and are just about to go back and do the Motatapu's which we didn't want to do over the busy Easter period. It has also been fantastic to have Beth with us carrying our pack !! and enabling us to do some long easy days on the flat. Beth is on an Easter break from Otago University and she is hoping to join us again perhaps for the last to days into Bluff in search of glory.
|Beth and Steve on the Historic Shotover Bridge.|
|Dave, Crocket, Richie and Beth on the trail !!!|
Really getting close to the finish line now and hoping that this glorious weather will last but we really can't complain if it doesn't. Many of our friends that we have met on the trail and have overtaken us are all finishing in the next few days and will hopefully will come to find us on their journeys back north!!
We have raised over $5,200 now for Cancer Research. If you feel like donating please click on the link to the donation site.
Many thanks. Donate now to Cancer Research.
Saturday, 16 March 2013
It took us seven days to cross from the Lewis Pass to Arthurs Pass. An amazing route through the Hope Kiwi Valley over Harpers Pass and Goats Pass.
|John and Helen, kiwi tramping with wet feet!|
The next day was magic as we soaked in a natural hot pool on the side of the track, with no sandflies !!! Pictures not included. Then a short walk to the Hurunui 3 hut. This hut can be accessed by 4wd and a group of 3 hunters were there with enough food and booze for the week !! However they were back late and had a party whilst 7 trampers tried desperately to sleep. It is a difficult marriage of pursuits for hut use, trampers and hunters.
Here we met a new bunch of Te Araroa trail walkers. Hi to Claire and Phil, Cisco and Road Runner and Roger a Nobo. That means Northbound walker, so we must be Sobos - Southbound, but we are not sure that we like that label.
Over Harpers Pass which was a delightful track and then down to the Taramatau Valley and a night at the historic Locke Stream Hut. We stormed down the valley with dry feet till the final link track and ended up just wading up the river to the Morrison footbridge.
Here we met up with good friends from the UK who were just passing and gave us a lift to Bealey Spur for a day off. Hi Helen and John , hope you are having a great tour of NZ and great walks with dry feet. Thanks to Helen for her hospitality at the Bealey Eco Lodge.
We then traversed the Deception Minga Valleys on the coast to Coast Race route, we were not racing !! It is a scramble rather than a walk and great fun in a heat wave as we had 18 river crossings.
We left the track and caught the bus to Christchurch to resupply and say goodbye to our son Ben who has a 6 month job in Fiji. Thanks to Grant and Ann for all your help and donation and for getting us back on the track again.
It was a great 3 days of walking , the first day was easy on a 4wd track and we could look at the views not our feet. A night at Comys hut then 2 tough days . Walking up the river with over 40 river crossings, up steep hills and through giant tussocks, spaniards and matagouri (both vicious spiky plants). Manuka hut was awesome and a great place to rest.
|Megan times three.|
|Guess where I am? Clue LOR...|
The weather continued to be hot and sunny as we made our way up to the Royal Hut. So named as Prince Charles and Princess Anne are supposed to have stayed there as children.
Then over Stag saddle the highest point of the whole Te Araraoa - 1930m, we were blessed with blue skies and not a breath of wind. The ridge down from the saddle was just the best track with views of Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook.
We stayed at the Camp Stream hut, built in 1898 and then down to Tekapo via a great track - the Richmond track , would be great on a bike too.
What a journey, great company , great country and we have now raised $5,000 for Cancer Research.
|Two gnarly trampers on the Stag Saddle Ridge.|
Friday, 22 February 2013
St Arnaud was a welcome break for us after the Richmond Hills and we started again with the walk beside Lake Rotoiti - it was just stunning. We have been so lucky with the weather, the forecast was for showers and strong winds but they just never arrived. The trail up to the John Tait Hut is a very gradual ascent and all the time you are surrounded with majestic mountains, then up past the Travers Waterfall to the Upper Travers Hut. This had to be on of the top ten tracks so far!!
We climbed the next morning up past Lake Constance to the foot of the Waiau Pass. Not a cloud in the sky, how privileged were we. A hard climb to the top revealed the valleys below and the most wonderful views for 360 degrees. That was the easy bit !! The descent is steep but not too technical, just a good head for heights needed and bionic knees !!!
|Looking up the Lake Constance Valley. Waiau Pass up on the left above the steep shingle.|
We made it down to the Waiau Forks and made slow progress down the valley over boulder fields and slips to the Caroline Bivi. Not my idea of a great place to stay on Valentine's Day - so we slept in our tent, which was very cosy and tried not to share it with the clouds of sandflies outside.
The penultimate day was a walk to the Boyle Flats Hut over the Ann Saddle , a mere pimple compared to the Waiau Pass. A great fianl night with John and Melanie before the final walk out to the Boyle Village.
We have now walked over 2000 kilometers and raised over $4,800 for Cancer Research. If you would like to donate to our charity please click on this link. Donate Now to Cancer Research.
Off through Arthurs Pass next and on to Lake Coleridge and then Tekapo. Planning the walk is as big a challenge as the walk itself, we need to send food parcels and maps onto the next resupply point and predict roughly how long it will take us. Although it is hard to give definite dates if you are keen to walk with us or help us along the way, please contact us. We hope to be in Tekapo around the 15th March.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
|Looking out over the Sounds.|
The Queen Charlotte Track is a 3-4 day walk in the Marlborough Sounds and a great introduction to multi-day tramping. A variety of accommodation options are available, you do not have to camp! Even better you can send your packs ahead on the water taxi - Luxury!!!!
We are now basking in the sun in Havelock having done the link tracks and are poised to set off on the 9-10 day crossing of the Richmond Hills tomorrow. Our heaviest packs yet and hopefully enough food , just part of the Te Araroa weight loss programme!!
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
|Island Bay, end of North Island.|
Palmerston North to Wellington.
|On top of the Tararua Ridge|
|Pukerua Bay, Kapiti Coast.|
We took 3 days to get to Windy Wellington down the Kapiti coast. We owe a very big thanks to Garth from Outdoors NZ and his family for all their help and support on this section. They live in Pukearua Bay where we stayed for a couple of nights plus the office floor of Outdoors NZ in the capital. There was a strange irony eating our backcountry porridge in the ONZ office!!
Sunday, 6 January 2013
|Guess what we got for Christmas!!|
|Wind blasted in South Crater.|
We also could not resist adding the new Timber Trail cycling route through the Pureora Forest with its new suspension bridges and the use of the old railway trail down into Ongarue. A magnificent track and a must for all you cyclists out there.
So onto Wanganui or Whangunui......who knows?? To start again where we had left off. The next section to to Palmerston North is 105k mostly on the roads!! This has been hard yakka in the hot weather. We really enjoyed visiting Turakina beach and its two lovely art galleries then onto the unbelievabull Bulls to Fielding, Bunneythorpe and beyond. We arrived early one morning in Bunneythorpe to find the local Dairy closed but the sign on the door said open at 8am. It was 8.15 ish!! We sat under a shady tree for a break and at 9am the shop opened. When I went across the guy said that yes although the sign says 8 he always opens at 9!! Rural NZ eh??
|A very welcome cold beer.|
We are now in Palmerston North with Craig and Christine, thanks for your hospitality guys and for the drop offs looking forward to seeing you in Hanmer one day.