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!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

North Island accomplished - big tick yee ha!!

82 walking days, 1620kms and $4529 raised for Cancer Research. 

Island Bay, end of North Island.

Palmerston North to Wellington.

Since our last post we did 3 great day walks to get to the start of the awesome 6 day Tararua Crossing. From Palmy it really is lovely walking on some great tracks including the Burtton Track and the Mangahoa to Mangahiki Tracks. You start the Tararua journey above Levin at Poads Road and your first day takes you up to the Waiophu Hut then to the Te Matawai, Nichols and YTYY huts. Going over ridge lines all the way with the main summit climbed being Mt Crawford. 

On top of the Tararua Ridge

You eventually pop out at Otaki Forks. The last day takes you the up and over the Puketua range. After a 6 hr grunt you pop out on a road and have an 11k walk down to Waikanae and the Kapiti Coast. During the Tararua trip we had hail storms, frozen mud, icy tracks, pouring rain, swirling mists, strong winds and lovely hot sunshine!!! We had it all.

Nichols Hut

It was also great to meet Phil from UK, John from Riverton and Ron from Aberdeen. They were all doing Te Araroa and on their own. It was nice to share stories and experiences. John at 59 was an inspiration. Phil was a walking machine. It was like unleashing a greyhound. Ron had done all the best bits of N.Island and was finishing after Queen Charlotte. Good on them all. The Tararuas are not for the faint hearted. We were challenged and it has set us up well for the South Island.

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!!
We literally bumped into the radio mast on Colonial Knob as it was so misty and encountered our heaviest winds on Mt Kaukau. On to Botanical Gardens. There was then 11kms of the hilliest terrain to Island Bay on the South Coast we we put our feet in sea where we could see South Island beckoning. Only  1420kms to go. 

Looking forward to meeting up with Dee and Pippa our long lost friends from UK. For those who don’t know Dee and Pippa sailed away from Pembrokeshire in Wales 4 years ago and have eventually made it to NZ. Their journey is immense. Will fill you in on the next blog. They are going to do Queen Charlotte with us but only one problem. They have no leg muscles after so long on a boat!!!

We are looking forward to 2 days off in Havelock before launching ourselves at the 10 day crossing of Richmond Hills. Anyone out there keen to either join us or re-supply us at the Hackett Hut or be a Sherpa!!  Approx 2nd/3rd Feb at Hackett. Approach from Anniseed Valley??  Hope to be dropping in to Hanmer around 18th/19th Feb. Cheery bye
Steve and Lynne


  1. Brilliant work you two! Think of you often and cheer others on their way with stories of you, and other trail walkers we've met. Tararuas sound wonderful and doesn't that Strait look great?
    Gill & Roger

  2. WELL DONE the pair of you. Isn't all downhill on the south island? Looking forward to seeing it in person in a few weeks time. We will contact you when we are there to see where you are.

    Keep on plodding

    John and Helen, Pembs

  3. Hey guys, what an inspirational journey you two have undertaken. Are you planning on doing the St James section? My wife's family owns a bach at the Boyle. Would be keen to house you for a night, cook your a feed and have a catch up! If this fits your plan, give us an approximate date and we'll go from there :) Andrew Sinton-Whitey.