After leaving New Zealand in the early hours of the morning, our party of six had arrived in Hobart just after lunchtime in early March. The trip was off to a great start. We collected the rental cars from the airport; a late model XR6 and X-Trail, affectionately known by the call signs “Silver Fox” and “Chunder Bus”. Then, we headed into the city to collect supplies and a parking fine, ready to get straight into some climbing the next day. The main mission was to be Frenchmans Cap, a remote quartzite cliff in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, with some routes approaching 400 metres in length. The weather forecast wasn’t looking great at that point, so instead, climbing the sea cliffs on the Freycinet Peninsula was next on the schedule. Continue reading
Ah, rock climbing – where you start at the bottom and work your way up. Just like doing a PhD, actually. There is a lot in common between the two – more than first meets the eye. They both test how you act under pressure, require a bit of creativity, and let’s face it, are typically only done by people who are a bit weird. Continue reading
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, hailed by many as the “greatest one-day tramp in New Zealand”, and even “one of the best in the world”, is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The 19.4 km trail sees 60,000 people each year; over 1000 per day at the more popular times. I’ve personally walked the trail twice, but done parts of the track on at least five different occasions, and can see why it is so popular – the scenery is amazing, not too strenuous, and simply a great place to spend a day or two.
Just over three years ago, a friend suggested hiking the crossing in the middle of winter, overnight, under a full moon. Ever since, we’ve been looking out for a suitable opportunity: great weather, full moon, lots of snow and low avalanche danger. Unfortunately, these opportunities don’t come around often. But a few weeks ago, everything fell into place. Continue reading
Just as I was sorting through some old files, I came across a blog post that I wrote in December 2011 on my phone. It is a review of a recently-acquired bivi bag made by Vaude. Here goes: Continue reading
To help plan hiking trips, I’ve been looking for a list of all DOC facilities in New Zealand, available as a Google Maps or Google Earth overlay. After not finding quite what I was after, I did find Zenbu – an impressive database of almost any place you can think of.