On a warm February weekend Sam Rowland and Kate Alderslade explored Te Ara Pātaka — they share with us 10 reasons to visit this magical spot.Continue Reading...
Archives For tramping
It’s always a great time to start planning your first true Kiwi hut experience. DOC staff share their hut picks for first time trampers.Continue Reading...
Palmerston North Boy’s High School Senior Helper Benjamin Pigott shares his experience walking the Ruahine Ranges.Continue Reading...
Based near Wanaka, Camilla Rutherford grabbed some mates and escaped its busyness during the festive season.Continue Reading...
By Andy Thompson, Technical Advisor Recreation, Christchurch
As a passionate hunter I love exploring our backcountry—so much country, so little time!
The backcountry—its huts and tracks—are our inheritance.
For me, the places where I first took my kids on an overnight tramp, and where they shot their first deer or chamois, are ingrained into my character and our family’s folklore. It’s a legacy I want my grandkids and their grandkids to have.
I’m also one of the lucky DOC staff working with the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium, who are keen to look after and maintain New Zealand’s backcountry facilities.
My heroes are the people that go on major missions, who use these places and then choose, in their spare time, to put something back.
This isn’t about DOC shedding its responsibilities to look after backcountry huts, this is about doing more and looking after the places where many of us spend our holidays and weekends and enrich our lives.
So, if you’re a tramper, hunter, mountain biker, 4WDer, horse rider, caver, kayaker, mountaineer or more, and want to find out what we’re up to come check out the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium website.
Ever wondered what DOC rangers do in a typical busy day? Well, Rangers Daryl and Keith help look after a wonderful piece of New Zealand’s bush very close to Wellington.
Rimutaka Forest Park is a 40 minute drive from Wellington city.
From the Catchpool Valley (the most popular entrance to Rimutaka Forest Park) you’re only a 2-3 hour easy tramp away from six awesome DOC huts, with full kitchens—including cookers, cutlery, crockery, and firewood. One hut even has a gas BBQ, inside flushing toilet and a hot shower.
As these huts are very busy someone has to make sure that they are always in good working order.
This is where Ranger Daryl and Keith come in.
Every month they load up their trusty DOC ute and spend 3-4 days at the huts, making sure everything is spick and span.
They have lots of different jobs to do. Some are fun (cleaning the toilets), and some are less so (having a nap on the bunks to make sure the mattress is comfy).
Their day starts early, loading up the ute with all they think they need, from soap and toilet paper, through to firewood, gas and chainsaws.
Once they are at the hut they have an extensive list to go through to make sure the hut is okay:
Clean the loos, the gutters, the floor, wash the decks, check the cookers, check the water in the tanks, check the water pipes, check windows, check all the walls of the hut, a visual inspection of the roof, check no bush is too close to the hut, check the animal traps, check the signs, remove all rubbish and of course sign the hut book!
This is done for all six huts. They also walk the main tracks and check for windfall and track damage. I’m tired just thinking about it all.
Last and not least some advice from Ranger Keith:
“Empty wine bottles do not make good candle holders as they can fall over and start a fire, so please take them home with you.”
And if you do take away empty wine bottles, Ranger Daryl guarantees that:
“You will get good tramping karma and it will never rain on your tramping trip ever again.”
So, the next time you spend a night in one of our wonderful backcountry huts think about these rangers who spend their day making it comfortable for you to use, and make sure you leave a nice comment in the hut book.
The six huts in the Rimutaka Forest Park can be booked on a per night basis and sleep 4-14. They’re perfect for families and people wanting to know for sure that they have a bed for the night. They are also sole occupancy huts (meaning you don’t need to share with anyone else!). These huts can get busy, so it’s best to book early.
Snow blanketing the Croesus Track is today’s photo of the week.
The Croesus Track crosses the Paparoa Range, between Blackball and Barrytown, on the West Coast of the South Island.
It is a beautiful and easy walk—ideal for people new to tramping.
Originally constructed in 1881, the track is an old mining trail and features many historic sites, as well as a variety of vegetation, wildlife and panoramic views.
The track is now the premier mountain biking track in the Greymouth area.