Sylvia Tops

With summer coming to an end, it was time to head out and catch some sunshine. Click here for the full photo story. 

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Buckland Peaks

Sometimes, you really need a timeout in the mountains. After building a house for the last half year, it was finally time for some fresh air. Click here for the full photo story. 

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Lightweight Tramping in New Zealand

Working for myself comes with benefits that I occasionally need to remind myself of. The other day I had to jog my memory when I noticed a weekend tramping trip wasn’t an option, but that a quick mid-week getaway was available to those of us with a flexible schedule. Yay!

As I gathered my gear, I mentally reviewed the changes I had made to my tramping kit over the past year. My goal was to reduce neck and back pain that had been plaguing me for many moons. I have been reviewing these changes over a few trips, going through various iterations of equipment that brought me ever closer to my dream setup.

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Bald Range

Impressions from my recent one-night tramp to Bald Range. Click here for the full photo story. 

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Woolshed Hill

A man on a mission, a quick solo adventure to check out new gear and old bones. You can find the full slideshow here. 

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Faust & Mole

When the Libretto and Ella Ranges beckoned in autumn 2022, we heard the call. Click here for the combined photo story. 

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New Beginnings

Three years ago my battery ran flat. To be honest, it had been an ongoing process over many years. Every tramping trip felt a little less inspired than the previous. An hour into trips I would be longing for my sofa. With my back hurting and sweat stinging in my eyes, I wondered why I was doing this to myself.

I had come to the end of a years-long trend of diminishing returns. Adventuring around New Zealand had once been a reason to move between continents. A decade after my relocation I felt jaded. Every trip a stale rehash of its predecessors. Been there, done that.

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Lazy Lagoon

As the backcountry adventures are getting fewer and farther between, I find myself harder pressed for solitary destinations. One easily reachable area that I’d had my eyes on for a few years is only a short detour away from a popular tramping track. And so, on an unseasonally hot November day, we dipped into vat of sunscreen and set off from the northern end of Cass-Lagoon track.

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Walking on Sunshine

Snowshoes are fun, even when the experience is hard-earned. But in the end, the excruciating climb to get to altitudes with enough snow is always worth the effort. When I finally get to unstrap my snowshoes from my pack and put them on, I always feel like walking on sunshine. No more need to concentrate on my footing, worrying about tripping, slipping or sinking in to my knees. Snowshoes are the reclining chair of backcountry locomotion.

Unfortunately, New Zealand is blessed with few areas suitable for snowshoeing. Most valleys are too warm to sustain a layer of white goodness, while alpine areas with reliable snow are steep terrain that requires mountaineering skills. Luckily, there are a few exceptions. One of these exceptions is the region between Cardrona and Cromwell. Pisa Range offers that rare mixture of gently rolling terrain at alpine elevations that make it prime snowshoeing terrain. 

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Duck Tales

Sometimes, you just point at the map and go for it. And when you do that, you risk ending up knee-deep in potholes, ducks and, well, turds.

It had been years since my last proper tramping trip into the badlands between Hanmer Springs and St Arnaud. To spare ourselves a long and bumpy drive along Rainbow Road in the morning, we spent the night at the campsite by Lake Tennyson. The barren landscape had been one of my first tramping destinations after moving to NZ. Back then it had just blown me away with its otherworldliness. Fast forward eight years and it is shocking how the novelty has worn off. The area around Lake Tennyson is beautiful, but it is a far stretch from the mystical lands of my memory. It made me a little sad to think how, despite my best efforts, some of the magic just fades away.

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