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Super Tramp

Flying Foxes

sunny 21 °C

Four days ago my Mum and I went on the Routeburn Track, a tramp that traverses 32 km in Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national park. The first day we hiked to the Routeburn Falls Hut. We started our track by crossing a swing bridge the first suspension bridge of 8 that day.
Ayden on Swing Bridge {Routeburn}

Ayden on Swing Bridge {Routeburn}

The first part of the 5.5hour hike we did was in a beach forest that was doted with rivers and streams. Slowly as the day progress the hike began to head upward until we got to a place where a slip (rock fall) had happened in 1994 and we got an amazing view of the valley below.


Beautiful Sight; Also Beautiful; Ayden, where the glaciers met.

Then we went on a bit further and stopped for lunch in a little clearing. In New Zealand when you do back country tramping you have an option to camp or to stay in huts that are maintained by the Department of Conservation. On this tramp we were going to stay in 2 different huts along the route. When we got to the first hut, The Routeburn Falls hut, we were surprised at how big the hut was (2 bunkrooms with a total of 50 bunks, a kitchen area with gas stoves, fire place and sinks with cold running water, flush toilet bathrooms!!) and the amazing view from the porch of the hut.

First Hut; Ayden in the Nice Hut with his Boots Off; Gwen and Ayden; Hut . . . some hut . . . I guess the whole tramping trek doesn't have to be wild

That night we had Cheesy Bacon Spuds for supper. This meal we made ahead of time at our campsite so that we would only have to add boiling water to the mixture to get a tasty dinner. The next day we got up, ate breakfast, then packed up and headed to the second hut on the journey, Lake Mackenzie Hut. To get to this hut we went throw a sub-alpine section.


Ayden by Glaciel Lake; Blanket of Clouds

The climb to the half way hut was steep and challenging. When we got to the Harris Saddle half way hut (1255m) we had a small snack then continued on our way.
Emergency Shelter

Emergency Shelter

After the half way hut the journey was a series of ups and downs across the exposed saddle of the mountain. As we hiked we watched to fog lifting so that we could get glimpses of the mountain ranges around us as well as the Hollyford Valley. It was very windy on the top and ridge of the mountain we were very glad that we had started our hike early so that we did not have to contend with the strong winds and rain that came through later that afternoon. Towards the end of the second days hike the track went steeply down entering the protected treed area of the mountain again. It was very welcoming to walk out of a section of forest and see our next hut, Mackenzie hut waiting for us.

Bunks in the Hut; You Knew We'd Show Some Snow Capped Mountains; Good Bye Hut; Kitchen in Hut

After we set ourselves up in this hut, I was able to go and explore a glacier moraine with another boy, James that was also doing the hike. The rocks of this moraine are covered with deep, deep, moss and trees. It was a great place to explore.
On the final day we woke up to rain and the weather forecast for the day was for rain which would be heavy at times. As we ate our breakfast we noticed that the rain was starting to ease up a bit. So we decided to hit the track by about 9:00am. It was still raining and had been raining all night long so as we tramped we had to cross flooded streams and many waterfall so are feet got wet. Although the wet track made tramping a bit tougher it also made the waterfalls all that much more powerful. In order to get out of the rain while we ate our lunch we decided that we would stop at another hut (Routeburn Flats Hut) for lunch. It was really nice to get inside and out of our wet gear and eat some warm soup for lunch. We were really glad that the DOC officer had the fire going in the hut. From this final hut we were lucky that the rain stopped and actually the sun came out! We meet Dad and Claire at the parking lot at the end of the track (called The Divide).

End of Routeburn - The Hike Through TWO National Parks

End of Routeburn - The Hike Through TWO National Parks

Now a few words from Mum about the tramp.

The Routeburn Track is amazing! Yes, you are hiking in the mountains so do experience tough climbs and tricky descents, but at the same time you get to see simply fabulous views and be ‘in’ some of New Zealand’s most beautiful land. Above all I am trilled to have had the chance to share this amazing experience with Ayden. Our trip together is something that I know both of us will remember and cherish for our lives. Thanks for a wonderful three days Ayden. You are an ideal tramping companion.

While Ayden and Gwen were tramping across mountains and sleeping in huts, Claire and Paul decided to “Zip” around Queenstown. They accomplished this by taking the Skyline Gondola up a local mountain where you can do such things as luge on asphalt, race mountain bikes down the steep declines or do the Flying Fox Ziptrek, which Claire and Paul did.


Claire and Paul in Gondola; View From Gondola; View From Luge Observation Spot

This consists of harnessing yourself in and attaching a pulley to a large cable that is strung amongst the trees. Don’t worry, this is no where near as crazy as canyon swinging.

Claire in Zip Gear; Paul in Harness

Claire was quite the zipper as she bravely headed out before Paul every time. This included one time when the guides got her to flip upside down as she was zipping.
Claire Leaps for Her Life ... Well for fun at least.

Claire Leaps for Her Life ... Well for fun at least.

We had a fun filled 2 hours of zipping followed by a short hike. The two of us packed up camp the next morning, drove to Te Anau and set up camp. Claire was very good at packing and unpacking as Paul carried the stuff to and from the car and she organized it.

Posted by gcapfour 20:13 Archived in New Zealand

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As always, I thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures!!! What great pictures. Hard to believe it is the middle of December already. Enjoy the several weeks that you have left. All the best and Merry Christmas!!!

by Jo-Ann Seidel

Congratulations! Another amazing adventure checked off your list. Kudos to Gwen and Ayden for accomplishing the 3-day hike....what a memory. Claire's and Paul's smiles prove they enjoyed zip-lining....they look like pros. Wonderful photos.

by Joy and Bruce

I so enjoy all your stories and traveling through you. Don' know if I'd have the nerve to do all the things you've done, especially the ravine jump, but it sure was fun to see. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.See you when you get back to Weldon Paul.


by Cork Newhouse

I love reading your blog over breakfast! Since Dec 10 (our time) I've been tracking the days of the super tramp. I'm so glad you had a good trek, a cool experience, and that it rained instead of snowed :) I must say the Kiwi version of rustic is astounding, but I'm glad you had that option. I've been rolling the idea of zip-lining around in my mind (during spare minutes) this morning, and guess the feeling of flying would be cool. I'm impressed with Claire & Ayden's stamina and gutsiness. I hope you never forget you've conquered these things, and that this knowledge gives you strength as you face whatever new challenges life brings. Come to think of it, this applies to 'the parents' (and the rest of us) too. Our excitement has been a counterpoint to yours - we shovelled our new driveway for the first time, and have done it again & again since. It's just great. I leave it to you to decide what's great about it! xoxoG

by glynisb

So have you found jobs there for sem 2 yet?

by The MacCallums

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