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Prologue Diary Route Maps
Evan Hunter, 4 Feb - 8 Mar 2003

Beautiful scene on the Kepler Track

The South Island of New Zealand is an amazingly beautiful place, and great for hiking! I especially liked the mountains (Australia has no mountains with permanent ice), and the cool temperate rainforests.

I spent 32 days in the south island. I had intended to see the whole south island, but after my first tramp I decided to skip the northern part to give me more time for other tramps. I'm sure I could have easilly spent five (or more) times as long there as I did, but unfortunately I only had 5 weeks off work. I packed quite a lot into the time I had however, spending 19 of the days hiking various trails, covering over 250km.

New Zealand very well set up for hiking, with hundreds of well marked trails and excellent backcountry huts. The DOC (Department Of Conservation) visitor centres provide maps, route descriptions, weather forecasts, intentions forms, and will even organise search and rescue should you fail to return. New Zealand is also well set up for backpacking, however I found that I really didn't like the way that many of the backpacker busses zoomed travellers around the country without pausing.

The Southern Alps are wonderful. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo on the tramping trails that run through the Southern Alps - the area is just so spectacular. I sometimes would take a photo of a beautiful vista only to find that just around a corner was an even more amazing view. It's lucky film is cheap.

This trip certainly re-affirmed that some of the places I most like to be, are those that are wild, remote and beautiful. New Zealand has huge areas that fit this description, and which most travellers will never see. I learned how easy it is travelling and hiking in English speaking developed countries like NZ.

I found that the people I met hiking, and in backcountry huts, were the friendliest, and easisest to talk to of any of the people I met. If I go back to New Zealand, there are lots places of places I'd like go, especially, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, Ball Pass, the Routeburn, etc.


Prologue Planning & what I took
4 Feb Arrived Christchurch 2:30pm local time (3 hour flight from Sydney) and explored Christchurch a little
5 Feb Explored Christchurch - visited Antarctic experience, and Gondola and the botanic garden.
6 Feb Took the Tranzalpine train to Greymouth, then the Bus back to Arthurs Pass village (amazing scenery)
7 Feb Started the Harman Pass Tramp, Stayed in Carrington Hut
8 Feb Harman Pass Tramp Day 2, Stayed in Julia Hut
9 Feb Harman Pass Tramp Day 3, Stayed in New Seven Mile Hut
10 Feb Harman Pass Tramp Day 4, Hiked out via 4WD track Stayed in Arthurs Pass - Mountain House Hostel
11 Feb Climbed Avalanche peak Stayed at Mountain House Hostel
12 Feb Bus back to Christchurch, shopping, etc. Stayed at Rolleston House YHA
13 Feb Bus to Mount Cook Village, Day walk out to Mueller and Hooker Glaciers, Stayed at Hermitage Chalet
14 Feb Mueller Hut Tramp day 1, Stayed at Mueller hut
15 Feb Mueller Hut Tramp day 2, Scenic Flight, Bus to Queenstown Stayed at Lakeview Holiday Park (tent)
16 Feb Started Rees-Dart Track, Stayed at Shelter Rock Hut
17 Feb Rees-Dart Day 2, Skipped Dart Hut, extreme wind and rain Stayed at Daleys Flat Hut
18 Feb Rees-Dart Day 3, Hiked out to Chinamans Bluff. Stayed at Lakeview Holiday Park (tent)
19 Feb Shopping, washing, etc, in Queenstown. Stayed at Lakeview Holiday Park (tent)
20 Feb Bottom Bus to Dunedin, Stayed at Dunedin Central Backpackers
21 Feb Bottom Bus to Invercargill, via Catlins, Stayed at Southern Comfort Hostel
22 Feb Plane to Stewart Island, Day walks around Oban, Stayed at Innes Place
23 Feb Walked around Ulva Island, Plane back to Invercargill, Bottom bus to Riverton Stayed at The Globe
24 Feb Bottom Bus to Te-Anau, via Manapouri Stayed at Lakefront Backpackers
25 Feb Bus to Te-Anau Downs, Boat to start of Milford Track Stayed at Glade House
26 Feb Milford Track Day 2, Walked along Clinton River, Stayed at Pomplona Lodge
27 Feb Milford Track Day 3, Crossed Mackinnon Pass, saw Sutherland Falls. Stayed at Quintin Lodge
28 Feb Milford Track Day 4, Walked along Arthur River to Milford Sound. Stayed at Milford Lodge
1 Mar Milford Sound cruise, Bus to Te-Anau, Stayed at Lakefront backpackers
2 Mar Started Kepler Track. Stayed at Luxmore Hut
3 Mar Kepler Track Day 2, Stuck in Luxmore Hut with track closed due to high wind Stayed at Luxmore Hut
4 Mar Kepler Track Day 3, Hiked through snow, skipped Iris Burn Hut, 34km walk. Stayed at Moturau Hut
5 Mar Kepler Track Day 4, Hiked out to control gates, Bus to Queenstown Stayed at Southern Laughter Hostel
6 Mar Jet Boating, Bungee Jumping in Queenstown, Stayed at Southern Laughter Hostel
7 Mar Kiwi Experience Bus to Christchurch Stayed at Rolleston House
8 Mar Visited Museum, Departed Christchurch 3:30pm Air New Zealand Flight NZ183 Arrive Sydney 5:00pm (flight time 3.5 hours)