Archives For Family

Nine year old Emma Keeler writes about the adventures her family had during their overnight stay at Beebys Hut.

Continue Reading...

By Caroline Carter, Ranger – Community Relations, Te Anau.

It is a rainy weekend – but it can’t be raining underground – so we grab some friends which include two geologists, two cave guiders, three five year olds and a couple of nervous mums and head to Clifden Caves!

At the entrance to Clifden Caves.

At the entrance to Clifden Caves

This experience blows your mind! It’s amazing in there.

Glow worms.

The Clifden Caves provide a natural habitat for the glow worm

We are fully equipped and made sure we have given our intentions to our families before heading off.

A young boy with headlight and helmet in the cave.

We were fully equipped for cave exploring.

The Clifden Caves are one of only a few cave systems in Southland. The DOC reflector triangles help guide our way. There are places to crawl, pools of water to walk around, and luckily two ladders to assist with an assent and descent.

Geologists looking at some of the rock formation in the cave.

Exploring the cave

It’s amazing – a challenge – but the kids loved it and we will definitely be going back again.

The caving group outside the Clifden Caves.

After the great exploration

Why not go explore Clifden Caves for yourself? You can find out more on the DOC website.

By Chrissy Wickes, Biodiversity Ranger, Te Anau

My partner, our child and I recently biked the Queen Charlotte Track.

Chrissy and her family by the DOC Queen Charlotte Track sign.

Setting out on the Queen Charlotte Track

It was a challenging but fun adventure with our two and a half year old son Shannon. It was obvious that Shannon enjoyed the camping experience and being in the bush.

Chrissy's son Shannon in his chariot.

Shannon in his chariot

The Queen Charlotte track was good enough for Shannon’s chariot to be attached to our bikes and we only had to push the chariot for around one tenth of the track. The rest of the track is ridable if you are fit, which luckily my partner is and he was even able to pull the chariot up some small sharp steep hills that I had to walk.

Chrissy's partner and son biking along the track.

Along the track

We took it pretty slow along the track to make it more comfy over the more rough terrain. Some sections were gorgeous and smooth, others were rocky and a bit rooty.

Chrissy and her son on the Queen Charlotte Track.

A spot of dancing?

We chose to take the road from Cowshed Bay to Mistletoe turnoff just to avoid a big hill that we would have most likely just pushed up rather than ride. This was a great decision!

Shannon being pushed along the track on the bike.

Give me a push

We got all our gear water taxied to our next camp spot which was so great. We met some lovely people on the way. The tops were gorgeous with some stunning views of the sounds.

Stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds.

Stunning views

I would recommend this adventure only in really good weather which we were lucky to have. The clay surface of this track would mean that a bit of rain could make it quite yucky!

A view along the Queen Charlotte Track.

How about that view?


Experience the Queen Charlotte Track

In the heart of the Marlborough Sounds, the Queen Charlotte Track stretches 71 km.The track is suitable for both walkers and mountain bike riders, taking 3-5 days to complete walking, or 2-3 days for mountain bikers. You can find more information on the DOC website.

Abby Hamilton in Aoraki National Park.

Abby Hamilton

Abby Hamilton

Position and office:
Ranger, Community Relations, Visitor Centre, Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Are you a Family camper, a Glamper, or a Wilderness wanderer?
A Wilderness wanderer (in a tent or the back of the car), and my goal is to holiday in my caravan in secluded spots, like in the picture below (friends’ and family’s properties in the wilderness, and DOC sites etc..), more often!

Abby's caravan she used to live in.

The caravan that Abby used to live in while studying at Lincoln University

Arna Litchfield

Position and office:
Permissions Advisor, Hamilton Shared Service Centre

Are you a Family camper, a Glamper, or a Wilderness wanderer?
I don’t often get out camping, but did have an awesome long weekend at Matai Bay a few years back with friends. While I could handle the cold showers while I was there, I was a very happy lady when I got home and got back to hot water…. So I would say that I’d have a tendancy to glamp where the opportunity is there 🙂

Arna on Cooks Beach.

Arna and a couple of friends at Cooks Beach last summer

Simon Mazzotti

Position and office:
Ranger, Visitor Information, Mt Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre (Wanaka).

Are you a Family camper, a Glamper, or a Wilderness wanderer?
A mix of Wilderness wanderer (when I’m away on my own) and car-camper (when I have to make a few comfort concessions to convince friends to join in).

Cricket on the Wanaka lakefront.

Simon and his mates play cricket at Lake Wanaka

By Herb Christophers

Since I was a nipper in the backyard with an old woven mat pegged to the fence line, I have enjoyed camping outdoors! My first real pup tent was demolished in short order. It was like a light bed sheet held up by toothpicks’ – looked good but didn’t work properly!’

Herb's family campsite.

Herb’s family camp site

So, by the time I had been tramping over many years in many places – mostly with just a fly or a small tent, I was a dyed-in-the-wool camper! I did not find it difficult to adapt to a larger canvas tent when a family came along. I just applied the same principles as my lightweight days and accepted that I did not have to carry the load on my back!

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

My wife would have liked a spiral staircase but they don’t do those in canvas. Even so, I wondered how we used to fill the three rooms of a canvas mansion that spilled out to resemble a small village after the kids had decided that they wanted their own little tents! In spite of this, we have always kept it simple and resisted the temptation to get too high tech which is why we prefer the less well appointed campsites. We enjoy places where making do gives you a real sense of achievement and a healthy respect for the environment and what it can provide.

The kids hang out

The kids hang out

Over the years we have had some great camping holidays and my wife and I still take a small tent away with us to pitch at a convenient DOC campsite.

Coastal areas have always been favourites. The sounds and smells of the sea are so relaxing and even the sound of the wind tugging in the trees is something that keeps me in touch with the forces of nature. I tend to be a bit of a geek too. Out come the binocs – kaka here, dotterel there, heron over yonder by the banded rail… Summer in the sun!

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach.

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach

So, as summer holidays approach I bust out the tent and all the other paraphernalia, pitch it in the backyard to check it out and think back a few decades to when the adventure began!

Camping near the coast, looking out to Slipper Island.

Camping on the Coromandel coast