Prepping for Your First Outdoor Adventure

Article submitted and written by Anne Foy

The rush of scaling a mountain and witnessing the breathtaking landscape beneath your feet as you reach your victory, of gazing at roaring campfires beneath a sky of stars, of plunging into the refreshing waters of a tranquil river after a long day of hiking and cycling – the joys and challenges of the great outdoors are simply unparalleled. Getting out into the open and escaping the pressures of modern life is something which everyone aspires to do, enjoying the rare chance of reconnecting with nature and experiencing the elements firsthand. For some of us, these moments are just a few steps away, while for others, finding that coveted outdoor time can be difficult, especially for starters. But preparing for your first outdoor excursion is easier than you think. Continue reading


Cattle Creek Hut Hike

This tramp offers a real challenge, great views, great variety of scenery and two huts. It also involves some river tramping, which means wet feet are guaranteed. A good level of fitness is required to maximise your enjoyment.
I’d been scheming at ways to visit this hut for some time, but just could not find the time to do so. The farm’s taken up a lot of time and effort this year (2013), which meant nowhere near as much tramping as what I’m used to. The only decent one this year was taking my bro-in-law, Ronald, on the Milford track in February – amazing, and a must-do rite of passage for every Kiwi (and visiting) tramper. So worthwhile, but that’s another story! Continue reading


Echo Valley Hiking Trail above Kalk Bay

Before coming to New Zealand my stamping grounds, in tramping/hiking terms, were the mountains behind Cape Town – that’s where I cut my hiking teeth, and spent many happy hours trudging the myriad of tracks which criss-cross most of them in the company of family and friends.

Hiking Echo Valley Cape Town False Bay

The first hike I ever did was as a teenager with the YMCA Adventure Club, up Echo Valley to the Amphitheatre, where we camped a night, and spent the next morning exploring some of the many caves which dot the Silvermine Mountains between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek. To be honest, I hated it, and didn’t do any more hikes until I reached my 20’s, but once the bug bit, it bit hard! I’ve done this hike many times since, and it’s almost a must-do every time I return to Cape Town for a family visit. Continue reading


Ellis Hut Hike

The hike to Ellis hut is an easy but reasonably long one at about 5 hours return, but does offer a few variations and possibilities to make it more interesting. It is also the oldest hut in the Ruahine ranges, with a notorious history, and that alone makes a visit worthwhile!

En route to Ellis Hut, New Zealand. Old mill.To get to the start, turn west off SH50 into Wakarara Road, towards the mountains. It is a good, sealed road, which eventually becomes a good, but narrow, gravel road where it enters Parks Peak Station. Keep going (about 20km from SH50) until you get to a farm gate. Go through, and leave the gate as you found it. From here it might be rutted and pot-holed, so take care. About 500m further you’ll get to another gate – do as for the first gate, and follow the road-now-turned-into-farm-track through a third gate until you get to the car park at an information panel on the bank of the Makaroro River. This area used to be the site of Yeoman’s Mill, and there are some remnants and relics remaining, including an old, rusty boiler and a few chimney remains dotted over the paddocks. Continue reading


Trio of Tramping Tracks

If you’re passing through Central Hawke’s Bay on your way north or south, or visiting friends or family, there are three lovely short walks/tramps in the area that are well worth doing. They are all fairly close together, and will occupy no more than a morning or afternoon, including a stop for coffee along the way. An average or moderately fit person should have no trouble doing all of them in one go.

The best place to start your journey is from Waipukurau, as the first reserve, Lindsay Bush Scenic Reserve (also known as the Tukutuki Reserve), is only 5 minutes out of town. To get there, take the Hastingsroad (SH2) north, and immediately after crossing the bridge over the Tukituki River, turn left into Lindsay Road. Keep going until you arrive at a t-junction, turn left into Scenic Road, and follow this until you arrive at an entrance way by a stop-bank. Turn right on the stop-bank and the car park is just 200m further on, on the left. Continue reading


Hiking Safety in New Zealand

Most of the time the hike you’ve planned works out fine, with few issues or problems. However, sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s the time you need to rely on what you’ve learned in all the years before. This happened to me and four friends on our last hike into the Ruahine Ranges.

My co-organiser and I had been talking about it for a while, and both of us felt like visiting a hut we had not been to before. We’d discussed another hut (Parks Peak), which required some distance to travel to. Personally I did not want to travel far, so pored over maps of the Ruahine Ranges to look for huts closer to home which might fit the bill, and could be done as an overnight hike. My eye fell on Leon Kinvig hut, and immediately I thought, hmmm, looks do-able! Got the magnifying glass, and studied it in detail. The distance looked about 9km one way, which I reckoned we could do in 5.5 to 6 hours comfortably. Ran it past my friend, and we agreed to give it a go. I sent the usual email around the mailing list, asking for interested persons to let me know. Continue reading


Poutaki Hut – a lesser known hiking trail

Most people haven’t heard of Poutaki Hut – as a result it’s not often visited, and is mostly used by hunters. The fact that the track to the hut is not marked on the map may have something to do with that.  It’s the only hut on the Wakarara Range, and is not difficult to get to. It is a hidden gem, however, and well worth visiting. The added bonus is that when the main Ruahine Range is covered in cloud, or inaccessible due to weather, often the Wakarara Range is not! And don’t forget the camera… Continue reading


Bell Rock – a shorter hike

Bell Rock is one of those iconic shorter hikes that stand out in one’s memory long after you’ve done it. It’s an easy 3 hours return, and takes a bit of travelling to get to, but ultimately is supremely worth the effort in getting to. Don’t do this hike without a camera! It’s also best to do it on a clear day, as views and scenery form a huge part of the enjoyment of this walk. Take a packed lunch and thermos – there’s nothing like sitting on top of the world, enjoying a sandwich and a cup of tea or coffee!

Continue reading


Daphne Hut Hike

This is a tramp for the slightly more adventurous – it has streams, bush, tops and river walking. It presents more of a challenge when compared to Sunrise Hut, and requires a higher level of fitness and skill. It is best done as an overnight hike, but the very fit can do it there and back in a day. The rewards are great views, a cosy hut, and beautiful bush. For those into trout fishing, this is a good one, as there are trout in the Tukituki river – they’re of good size, but not easily lured, which is how they got to be of good size! Remember to take your fishing licence. Also remember that a 4wd vehicle will be required to get to the start.

To get to the start, turn into Makaretu road, off SH50 in Central Hawke’s Bay. Continue down Makaretu road towards the mountains until you reach Sherwood School – directly opposite, turn left into Mill road. Mill road eventually changes from tar-seal to gravel, and a while further on, as the road climbs up a steep rise, turn left into Kashmir road. At the time of writing, the name sign had disappeared, but there is a green and yellow DOC direction sign on the left as well. Continue reading


Top Maropea Hut hike

For the first part of this tramp/hike, refer to the article on Sunrise Hut.

Top Maropea Hut is completely different to Sunrise Hut – it’s a lot smaller (6 bunks, compared to 24 for Sunrise Hut), and is a restored old Forest Service type hut. However, for tramping satisfaction, this is the real deal – it is miles away from anywhere, and gives one that real sense of isolation, as there is no sign or view of civilisation or environmental modification in any direction.

Continue reading