Travel & Outdoor

Wilderness April 2020

Each issue of Wilderness takes its readers to the most beautiful areas in New Zealand, whether by foot, mountain bike, sea kayak, raft, pony or dream.

New Zealand
Lifestyle Publishing Ltd
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
taonga peaks

GAINING THE SUMMIT of a mountain is one of the great joys and achievements of tramping. I remember during my school camp – a 10-day trip to Tongariro National Park – climbing Mt Ngāuruhoe with my classmates and then running back down the scree slopes to South Crater. I was 14 and it was a buzz. That same trip, we also climbed Mt Ruapehu. In the years since, I’ve gone back to Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu several times, and climbed Mt Tongariro, too. But I now know many mountain summits are off-limits because they are tapu (sacred) to Māori and to stand on their high points is culturally insensitive. DOC and local iwi actively discourage trampers from climbing them – especially Ngāuruhoe and Tongariro which can both be accessed while walking the Tongariro Alpine…

4 min.
pigeon post

THRU-HIKERS REQUIRE MORE SELF-REFLECTION For many years I have had the privilege of living adjacent to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, while also returning regularly to the bush and mountains of my native New Zealand. The article profiling Elina Osborne and ‘her people’ of the Pacific Crest Trail (‘Colour the trail’, February 2020) brought me serious pause. The PCT and the John Muir Trail trace through my US backyard. I have witnessed the explosion in numbers of people, generally younger, on both trails (as well as on the Te Araroa). It seems long-distance hikes have devolved into moving party trains with less regard for the wild. Osborne quotes a Māori proverb saying ‘the most important thing in the world is people’. Surely thinking we are the most important thing in the…

1 min.
letter of the month

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE Despite a brief flirtation with tramping in my twenties, I sadly did not really discover its delights until my mid-fifties when I was invited by a friend on a trip to Te Puia Hut in Kaweka Forest Park. Lovely bush, hot pools, refreshing stream, great company – I was hooked! Four years on, I have walked the Abel Tasman, Milford, Kepler and Rakiura Great Walks, the Old Ghost Road, and tramped to huts in the Tararua, Ruahine and Kaweka ranges. I have found new friendships with those I tramp with and am constantly being refreshed by the amazing beauty to be found in and above the bush. I’ve discovered a whole range of equipment and clothing that makes tramping easier, safer, and more enjoyable. I’ve discovered the joys of…

1 min.
your trips, your pix

Get your photo published here to receive a SOL survival blanket worth $19.80. It weighs only 100g, but will reflect 90% of radiated body heat. Learn more about SOL at e.ampro.co.nz. Last Weekend submission criteria can be found at wildernessmag.co.nz…

6 min.

RUSTY RUAHINE BIVVY REPLACED A BELOVED ‘dog-box’ bivvy in Ruahine Forest Park has been replaced by the Backcountry Trust. Toka Bivouac, which sits on a high shelf on the Ngamoko Range, was installed by the New Zealand Forest Service between 1958 and 1960. The humble two-man bivvy had rusty cladding, leaks, and its structural tie-downs no longer met the building standard. It was classified by DOC as ‘minimal maintenance’, meaning it would be removed – not replaced – if it degraded beyond use. Backcountry Trust manager Rob Brown said the trust was contacted by Feilding man Josh Murray who had recently visited the bivvy and done a baseline inspection. “[He] approached us keen to get some maintenance work done on this biv around the same time the Backcountry Trust was looking to get a few more…

3 min.
keeping up with down prices

EVERY TRAMPER knows how easy it is to spend a fortune on down. For the price of a modest four-season sleeping bag and a down jacket, one could enjoy a holiday in the Pacific or a five year supply of scroggin. “Gram for gram, it’s the most expensive element in any tramper’s kit,” Macpac design manager Gavin Davidson says. But it’s a bullet we all bite, because it’s hard to beat. Literally light as a feather, and incredibly warm, it’s the ultimate insulator – proven by nature to keep warm-blooded bodies cosy in the cold. “Once you’ve tried down, it’s hard to go back – it’s so lovely to wear, it’s comfortable and it conforms to your body,” Davidson says. But why is it so darned expensive? Around two-thirds of the world’s down is sourced from China,…