Seven Days on the Te Araroa With Lee McKay

Last year My hiking mate (Lee McKay) started the TA, but unfortunately had to halt progress at Arthurs Pass. Lee restarted in January this year (2020) and I planned to meet him in Queenstown to accompany him to the Bluff.
We started at the Greenstone Carpark around midday. It took three hours to Greenstone hut and as we had two big days coming up we decided to hike on for a couple of hours and camp. Campsites were non-existance, but finally, we threw down our packs about three Ks short of Taipo Hut.
The next day we went through to Cary's Hut as the forecast storm began. The following day we beat a retreat to Kiwi Burn Hut.
The next day, after backtracking to the swingbridge (about an hour and a half) we got a ride to the main Te Anau road. It was two and a half Ks to Princhester Road junction and a further seven Ks to Princhester Hut.
Then the rain fell in earnest.
We became trapped at Princhester Hut - roads were blocked to QT and Te Anau so we had no option but spend three nights in the hut waiting for rivers to drop.
As we were running out of time for the next supply drop, we walked back to the main highway and hitched to Te Anau - the hike was over.
I felt sorry for Lee having to pull out for the second year with only 250Ks to go. There's always next year! I will join him for the conclusion.
Photos at -


A Weekend In Aspiring National Park

The weekend before Easter 2019, Eden (my daughter) and I headed up to Liverpool Hut. It's about a 6.5-hour tramp each way. From Rasberry Flat carpark it's 2 hours to Aspiring Hut, a further 2 hours to Pearl Flat, then the grunt starts, a 2.5-hour slog up to Liverpool Hut. Oh boy and was it worth it. Magnificent views of Mt Aspiring, across to Frenchs Hut and back down the Matukituki Valley. Enjoy a few pictures at

Hiking the Great Wall of China

A dream can true when I hiked the Great Wall with my daughter September 2018. We spent six days on the wall hiking different sections of the wall every day. In the evening we stayed at family guesthouses. I am not a fan of guided trips but this one was my second experience (other Grand Canyon) and it really was the way to go. All home cooked meals, beds, showers and I will not mention the toilets!
I have a new appreciation for China, a truly capitalist country that will kick Trump's arse!
You can check out some photos at

Overland Trail - Tasmania

Lee and I completed the OT late last year. Unfortunately it rained 5 of the 7 days! Hence only a small selection of photos. Very enjoyable. An easy hike. Make sure you do the side trails up Cradle and Ossa mountains. The latter is the highest Mt in Tasmania. This is a popular trail and I suggest you take a tent as the huts a quite crowded.
See some photos here

Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O)

Nine of us from the Auckland Tramping Club did the A2O for a week earler this year. 320Ks of glorious country. We did this trip with Cycle Journeys. They arranged it all, bikes, gear, accommodation and in most cases food. I can recommend CJ if you are contemplating doing this.
Some photos here

Bannockburn Diggings

I took a couple of family friend on a quick day walk around the historic Bannockburn Gold Diggings today. Really interesting, sort of like being in the middle of Arizona or Jordan? I can recommend you going to the Bannockburn Pub for lunch - surprisingly good! 
See photos here

Larapinta Trail - Central Australia

I did this 12 day hike with my tramping buddies Peter and Lee. I missed the first day as I spent a day under observation at Alice Springs Hospital. Had some chest pains when we landed and thought it best to get checked out - all clear! I joined Peter and Lee on the second day. This was total different country that what we were use to, and bloody hot!
See photos here

Siberia Valley - Aspiring National Park

Did a quick three day trip into Siberia introducing some family members to tramping. Because of limited time we took the jet boat up the Wilkin river and back. Great weekend and although I have been in here before via Gillespie Pass, the second trip to Lake Crucible saw it in much better condition.
See photos here

Mt Judah

Hi Guys - Been a while since last post, but summer is coming and tying to build fitness for the season. Did a nice day-trip with a 900 meter climb to  Heather Jock Hut with the UCTC. Great day. See photos here -

Larapinta Trail

On August 6th Lee, Pieter and I hiked the 220Km Larapinta Trail out of Alice Springs in Central Australia. I missed the first 4 days due to hospitalization with suspected heart issue when we arrived at Alice Springs. All checked out OK and I joins the boys at Serpentine Chalet Dam for the final 9 days of the hike. A great trip in totally unique country. You can see trip photos at my Google Photos Page -     

Mt Roy, Wanaka

On Sunday I took a quick day trip to the top of Mt Roy. What a day, what a view. Took me 3.5 hours up and 2 down. Highly recommended. Here's a 360 video

Cameron Creek Hut

Anzac w/e 2016 - I took my daughter, Eden on an overnight first hike with her Dad to Cameron Creek hut. Track starts just North of Makaroa, A 4.5 hour trip to the hut traversing slippery and rooty ground. Not an easy hike. Eden handled it well and the hut was a welcome sight. We had it to ourselves. What a great traditional hut build in 1962 and DOC have kept it in great shape - THANKS DOC! Checkout the trip photos here:

Greenstone - Caples Circuit

A cruzzy Easter w/e 2016. The softest tramp I have ever done! 4 days on the Caples/Geenstone with my tramping friend Kathy Engelbretch. We camped first night at the Kay's Creek swing bridge. I camped there  in January with Hideo when we did the Scotts Creek route (see previous trip). The second night we camped at a lovely spot on the edge of Lake McKellar. The third night at the private NZDA hut in Mid Greenstone (I am a member), Thanks to Sharon (club secretary) and 'hunting hubby' Mark who were in residence doing maintenance work, Great hospitality.

It was a wise choice, on an Easter W/E, to camp and stay away from the jam-packed 'resort like' huts! See pictures at: 

Scotts Creek, Death Valley, Kay Creek Hut to Caples River - January 2016

Hideo Yoshihama and I did this challenging route over 3 days. Really lucking out with weather! We loved out camp site beside the lake at the head of Death Valley. Check out photos at:

Motatapu Track - Xmas 2015

Hideo Yoshihama, Kathy Engelbrecht, Ming Lo and myself completed this section of the TA Trail in great weather. A lot of up and down! Checkout photos at:

Mount Brewster - November 2015

Last weekend my good tramping buddy, Lee McKay came down from Auckland for a breath of fresh South Island air and to give my new 'bionic' back and general fitness a workout in the hills.

Weather was not looking good as we drove towards Makarora heading for Fantail Falls and the start of the Mt Brewster track.

We arrive to started the 1010 meter climb to Mt Brewster Hut at 10,20 am. Two hours, fifteen minutes later we arrived. This was an exceptional time as we usually budget 300 meters per hour when climbing.

We only stopped once at the bush line and due to cold, drizzly condition pressed on to the hut. What a welcomed sight it was. There were three climbers in there. One (Kim) had some great climbing stories and recounted turning back on the West Ridge of Everest, 100 meters from the top! Those that decided to bivy out the storm died!!

It was extremely cold in the hut and it was a delight to have lunch and dive into the pit for the avo. Lee chastising me for have my usual 'nana nap'.

Sunday morning we were woken at 5am as the climbers departed for training on the Brewster Glacier. We arose at a more civilized time with the intention of climbing Mt Armstrong. With light snow falling and intermittent white-out conditions, we called that off and headed for home.

Once home in Wanaka, Lee insisted we climb our local hill which is right next door to our house - Mt Barker. I am here to tell your the body stood up well until Tuesday morning. The gluts and hammies had taken a battering and both of us struggled to walk. Yours truly hobbled down to see Kevin - Mr magic hands! That proved more painful than the condition!   

See photos and videos at

Canterbury Section of Te Araroa Trail - Xmas 2014

This was another one of my infamous lead ATC Xmas Club trips! I started out with a bad back - should not have gone but didn't want to 'let the side down'. I completed the first two sections from Bealey through to Potts bridge where I pulled out in agony! A couple of months later I had back surgery. The team went on the complete in Tekapo.

See photos at

The Kaimanawas

The long w/e I lead the medium party on a 3 day hike through the Kaimanawa tops. We had a great day on Saturday where we camped at Ignimbrite Saddle and a glorious day Sunday as we climbed to Junction top and on to Waipakihi Hut. Monday was a predicted tough day owing to the weather turning. We made our way along the Umukarikari Tops in horizontal sleet.
A great w/e with a bit of everything, Here's some pictures


The Tanganui Forest Park W/E Tramp July 4 - 2014

From Tanganui Road we climbed 456 meters to Trig and then on to 627 meters to descend to Tangaihua Hut via North Tanganui route. - about 6 hours. On Sunday we went up the rough "Heli-pad" track on to Tanganui main ridge and on to Mt Horokaka. From there, down the Horokaha track to Whakapona track and out to the Lodge. A lot of "up" mixed with mud and rough tracks - a good work out weekend with the Auckland Tramping club.

Here's a pic of me bush bashing along the ridge. It was tough going!

See more Tanganui trip pictures here

The Bridge to Nowhere - Queens Birthday W/E 2014

A very historic week's hike. We set off from Pipiriki at around 9am for a one hour jet boat ride up the Wanganui River to Mangapurua Landing. From there we followed the Mangapurua river to visit the historic, Bridge to Nowhere then on 4 plus hours to camp at Johnsons on the first night.

The next day we went on to Mangapurua Trig (great views) and over into the Kaiwhakauka catchment. We intended to stay at Mosleys, but the site was shady and cold and it was only 2.30pm so we decided to go on finally camping at Bagleys.

Monday was a gentle one hour stroll to the road end at Whakahora and lunch of hot home made veggie soup at the Blue Duck Cafe - bliss.

Weather was beautiful and sunny but the nights/mornings were VERY cold and frosty.

Pictures of our trip

Stewart Island Easter 2014

Lee, Darrien, Sally and I did the leisurely Rakiura Great Walk over Easter. Lee and I had already done the Northern and Southern circuit, so day two was the only new experience. Stewart Island is a fantastic place. This time we flew in. A bit hairy on trip in but nice and calm on the outward trip. Here are some pictures.

Pictures of our Rakiura Tramp

Mt Arthur

On W/E April 12 2014 Lee and I topped Mt Arthur in the Kahurangi National Park. Then went on to Gordons Pyramid and down to Cloustons Mine. We camped near Gridiron Shelter Saturday night. Got heavy rain but stayed dry under our Twin Hexamid. A great w/e hike. Looking forward to Stewart Island next w/e (Easter)

Harper Pass

Here are some shots of our ATC Xmas trip over Harper Pass, up Townsend Creek to Minchin Pass and down to the Poulter and out at Andrews Shelter. The weather was too crap to continue and do the Tree Passes trip.

Pureora Range

This is a North Island section of the TA Trail (West of Lake Taupo). We started Saturday morning at the Bogg Inn Road end - Tramped to Bogg in Hut and on the Mt Weraroa. From there to Waihaha hut for the night (8 Hours). The next morning we left at 7.15am following the Waihaha River for about an hour and then up to the Hauhungaroa ridge on to Hauhungaroa Hut (4 hurs 45). Then to road end in 2 ours. but had a 1 hour road bash to meet Big Blue (club bus) that was not allowed to travel up the to road end. A great w/e and dispite forcast bad weather Saturday, we had fine weather all the way.

Lake Tarawera

Last w/e the ATC visited the Lake Tarawera region near Rotoiti. We went from Miller's Road to Okareka to Okataina then to Humphries bay for the night. The next day we went on to Lake Tarawera. The lake outlet was stunning. Weather was not looking good for the w/e, but apart from a shower or two on Saturday night we had good weather all the way

Lake Waikaremoana

Queens Birthday 3 day w/e I joined the Auckland Tramping Club on a 3 day circuit of Lake Waikaremoana. Great weather and easy walk. Great views from Pinekiri Bluff.

I have trouble accepting the "motel style" huts on these great walks. Give me the old 6 bunk forestry huts any day! Also I can't understand DOC allowing fishermen and hunters to squat the huts for two days having come in via boat. They are not w/e holiday cabins. I hope they paid!

I was also blown away by the gear (note, pack weight) that some people lugged along. Jez, I even saw two parties with slippers! Not to mention ceramic plates, steel pots and copious amounts of full jars of spread, sauces and pickles - for 2 days!

Hump Ridge Track

My good tramping friend Lee McKay (no relation - how many times have I said that!) was doing some work in Southland and asked me to join him on the Hump Ridge. I was reluctant at first as this is a very "tourist" track. Given it was the "off" season I decided to fly down to Invercargill to join him. The airfare would have got me to Sydney and back!

What a great decision, this three day hike starts with a couple of hours coast and bush walk and then hits the slopes. DOC gives times of 7 to 9 hours to reach the palatial Okaka hut - 19Ks. We got there in 6! The hut was in winter mode and we were the only ones there. This is not a hut - it's a lodge. It was cold at 4 degrees and no fire, but the bunk room was very clean and comfortable with full sized mattresses. The next day (19Ks)  we decended to Port Craig passing the Percy Burn Viaduct. Built in 1923 it is the longest wooden structure in the world - 125Mts long and 36Mts high. We got to the DOC School House Hut in 5.5Hrs (DOC said 7+). The following day out was 17Ks and meant to be 7 hours. We were out in 4.5hs. The forecast for the trip was crap, but we only had 2 hours of rain in 3 days!  

What a joy this tramp was with great company, vista and weather. I recommend even the harden hikers do this!

You can see pictures on my Picasa album

Ben Nevis - Richmond Range - Nelson Feb 2013

Lee and I just spent 3 days climbing Ben Nevis (Richmond Range - Nelson) and traversing along ridge to link up to the Te Araroa Trail on Mt Ellis Saddle then down to Wairau Hwy via Hunters, Porters and red Hills Huts. We camped both nights, firstly at the saddle on track intersect with Mt Ellis and Right wairoa tracks and then Maitland River - site of old hut. Great weather, fabulous country. A lot of up and down and ridge scrambling - Loved it - really recommend.
Enjoy the photos - click on Trip Photos to the right to go to my Picasa album

ATC Xmas Trip 2012 - Fiordland Coastal Route and Up the Hollyford

Here are some pictures of our 8 day tramp. You only get the fine weather shots! It was so wet for three days that taking photos risked a drowning camera!
Checkout photos HERE

The Richmond Range - Oct 2012

On Labour Weekend, Lee, Peter and I tramped (hiked) the Richmond Range. Most of this trip was on the Te Araroa Trail. Our route was: Hackett - Mt Starveall - Slaty - Old Man and on to Lake Chalice. We had 4 season in 3 days - sun, rain, hail, snow, high winds. A great trip. It was Peter's first tramp and despite a few grumble he did really well. You can check out the pics on my Picasa page

 Whirinaki Forest Park

A Queens Birthday trip with the ATC - Big w/e - first day 25 Kms - day two 21Kms - day three 19Kms - blew out my knee halfway through day two. Hobbled the rest of the trip. Saw three large deer. Stayed at Upper Te Hoe and Upper Whirinaki huts. Great weather and tested the new 2012 Gorilla pack. See review on main page. You can see photos of the trip at 

Mt Pirongia

Sorry guys lost the photos of this trip - Went in Saturday morning - slept under tarp at the top - bloody cold night . Came out Sunday. Great trip and grand view.  

Mt Taranaki/Egmont

A w/e ATC trip, March 9 - We kicked off from the Egmont Visitors Centre at 9am and dropped off gear at the Tahurangi Hut. With lunch, 3 liters of water and storm gear we set off for the summit in clear blue sky, a great day. Our total climb was 1560 meters with 985 meter ascent back to the hut. Total time for trip was 6.5 hours.
We got to the top in clear conditions and great views from East, through North to the West. The South looked ominous. Clouds were building. After lunch on top, I took some photos. Bad move, should have taken them first. Within the space of 5 minutes we were in whiteout and misty rain.
Going back down was cold and despite being tempted to short change on gear when we started, we know how quickly mountain conditions can change. Rugged up in beanie, gloves and mittens, puffer vest, rain jacket and over-pants we made a decent comfortable. The scree was a bitch up and down.
Thanks to the Taranaki Alpine Club, we were soon back in their very comfortable well equip hut (sorry, should have called it a lodge!). Over night the skies opened and in the morning we headed off at 9am via the Razor Back, in full storm, for our club bus parked at Egmont Village - a 1 hour 15 downhill glide.
A big thanks to Keith our Leader and bus drive along with Lee and Peter (bus drivers). A satisfying W/E and another NZ peak knocked off! He's a picture of the mountain on Saturday at the start from Egmont Visitors Centre - Sunday was a different story. See more pictures at

Te Araroa Trail - Whananaki

Great relaxing w/e tramp this w/e from Miniwhangata to Ngunguru on the Long Pathway - The Te Araroa Trail. Got off to a bad start in the Auckland Tramping Club bus with a flat tyre at Walkworth and our leader falling out of the bus breaking his wrist. After 3hours at Whangarie hospital we arrived at the track head at 3.30am! A nice easy start Saturday at noon finishing at 5 and the next day a relaxing 4 hour tramp with a swim halfway at Sandy bay and an expensive coffee ($5) at Sandy Bay.

You can view some photos on my Picasa Album Public site 

ACT Xmas Trip 2011

This year we visited the Nelson Lakes area. Started down the Rainbow road at the Hamilton River. Camped first night a couple of hours up river. The following day, over Hamilton Saddle to Beagly Hut. Then up the Paske Valley to Paske Hut. Got weather bound here for 2 days.
Once over Paske Saddle we dropped into the upper Clarence and over Clarence Pass to the East Sabine. A big days tramp. Camped mid East Sabine. next day to Blue Lake Hut. Then over Waiau Pass and up to Lake Thompson another big day in drizzling conditions. From here we went over Thompson Pass and into the upper D'Urville. Down the D'Urville to Moss Pass footbridge. Over Moss Pass back into Blue Lake.
Blue Lake to Lake Rotoiti via Speargrass track. We did Blue Lake to Sabine Hut in 6 hours and Sabine to carpark via Speargrass in 5 hours. It's amazing how fast you can travel when there is a cold beer in sight!
See photos in my Picasa "share" file.

Sorry Guys been a bit lacks re trips updates

Obviously been hitting the hills since June - Recently in the Kimanawas for the w/e and a few Sunday "training" hikes around Auckland in preparation for Xmas. Been testing new gear. Looking forward to the annual ATC Xmas trip in the South Island. This year doing some interesting trips in the Nelson Lakes Area,

ACT Xmas 2010 Trip

Just back from the Auckland Tramping Club Christmas South Island trip.

Weather was not a strong feature AGAIN this year. Having said that we only got held up on the second day whilst a storm pounded the whole country. Nina hut is a nice place to have a pit day!
Part two of our 12 day tramp was Doubtful River, Lake Man, Top Hope and out to Windy Point - Rain and high winds kept us off Garfield Tops so we were 2 and half days ahead of schedule. We ended up "speed tramping" the St James Walkway.

Checkout photos by clicking link "To View Gallery" under photos in right panel
Part two of our 12 day tramp was Doubtful River, Lake Man, Top Hope and out to Windy Point - Rain and high winds kept us off Garfield Tops so we were 2 and half days ahead of schedule. We ended up "speed tramping" the St James Walkway.
Checkout photos by clicking link "To View Gallery" under photos in right panel

We tramped the Nina Valley, Boscowan Saddle to Lake Christabel, Brass Monkey Biv, Mt Technical and Lewis Tops.

ACT Easter Trip 2011

We spent 4 day crossing the tip of the North Island - Spirits Bay on the East Coast around to Te Paki Stream at the top of 90 Mile Beach on the West Coast. Great trip - Weather was kind with about a half an hour of rain before reaching the cape and heavy rain on the last hour of the tramp up Te Paki Stream. Click "To View Gallery" under photos in right hand panel.

Just back from 3 days in the Kaweka Forest Park - Lots of wind, clag and showers. We had intended to go up Makahu Spur, but one gaze at the tops on Saturday morning put paid to that.

We stayed low and headed for Middle Hill Hut. On Sunday we headed off to Makino hut and on Monday down to Te Puia Lodge and out by noon.

A nice soak in the hot pools and at 2pm we were off home, arriving in Auckland at around 7.45pm.

A great weekend with the usual excellent company of the Auckland Tramping Club.

Thanks Lee for another great trip, thanks Sally for being a good "housewife" and Dennis for translating my Aussie Twang into English (in joke!).


I took my ULA Conduit Pack - a little beauty for three to 4 day trips (It's now called the CDT).

I also took my Macpac Adventure 300 bag as I was expecting to tarp under constant rain - didn't - My Western Mountaineering HighLite would have been better and 255 grams lighter!

See photos in the gallery on the right panel.