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Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)

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avatar What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 03, 2015 06:28PM
I've been busy for a while...planning, then going on, a trip to New Zealand, which included three tracks - the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler.

New Zealand has an extensive hut system, so while there's lots of wide-open space one is often staying in huts. Which, at least, makes it easier getting through their biosecurity checks at immigration (if you have camping gear they want to inspect it to ensure its clean - particularly tents and stakes, if you have backpacking food they want to inspect to ensure it's all pre-packaged, etc.).

The "Great Walks", a category which includes all three of the above, require advance reservations - for the Milford I'd recommend reserving as soon as they come on-line (for next summer that happened a week ago or so).

On the Milford Track, normally the wettest of the three, I had gorgeous weather. One starts with a boat ride up Lake Te Anau:



with various sights while hiking up the Clinton River Valley:







until one reaches Lake Mintaro near the head of the valley.



From here its a climb up to MacKinnon Pass which separates the Clinton Valley:



from the more coastal Arthur River Valley:



Along the way down the Arthur Valley is Sutherland Falls, the highest waterfall in New Zealand, at 580 meters:



One continues down valley through increasingly wet forest:



until reaching Milford Sound.




On the Kepler Track...I wasn't able to complete the entire circuit because they closed the highest alpine section on account of avalanche concerns from a mid-summer snow storm (knee deep as far as it was open, apparently waist deep further on).



I did, however, get some very nice views:



before hiking down, then up the "other" side of the intended loop, to Lake Manapouri:




The Routeburn Track...I only intended to hike the eastern half, and up to Conical Hill for the views. Which were awesome:

Lake Harris:



Mt. Gifford:



From Conical Hill: the Hollyford Valley and the Tasman Sea:



Also from Conical Hill, Mt. Tutoko:



Back down...to a view of Routeburn Flats:



from Routeburn Falls:

avatar Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 03, 2015 09:12PM
Gorgeous. Color me ... not jealous... but I was honestly thinking about New Zealand
recently.. and also where you have been.
I bought a Lonely Planet Trekking New Zealand book over 10 years ago now...
just have never taken the time to do it.
Bowing to his greatness

Thanks for Sharing.
Just gorgeous!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 04, 2015 09:46AM
Very cool stuff. I have to add that to the ever growing list. And hope I live to be about 150 years old to be able to do it all!

Looks like great weather...do you recommend the time of year that you went?
avatar Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 04, 2015 11:59AM
Well, it was summer...that's always nice, sunrise was around 6:45 and sunset a bit after 9 PM. You did see the snowstorm I encountered anyway...it also rained on part of my Routeburn Track hike. New Zealand's Fiordland is a wet place, I really lucked out for the Milford track.

When I looked up climate averages, they seem to not have a "dry season".
Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 04, 2015 08:45PM
New Zealand is on my list of places to backpack. Thanks for sharing, and great photos.
avatar Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 05, 2015 08:25PM
No orcs?
avatar Re: What I Did on my Summer Vacation (New Zealand)
March 06, 2015 06:35AM
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