Recommended tramps for Alaska visitors
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My 17 year old son and I will be visiting NZ in March for about two weeks and are looking to do one (possibly two) tramps in that time. We are experienced hikers / campers from Alaska and both in good shape so are looking for something challenging and scenic, but safe. I've looked through this site and several books and am more confused than ever! Also, we'll be arriving in Auckland and would like to spend one or two days getting over the jet lag. Any recommendations for a clean, reasonable hotel? Thanks very much for any guidance or suggestions.
Hi there. Welcome to NZ when tou arrive. It is hard to know where to start with advise. The South island is where the big mountains are, like what you have in Alaska. If you want something a little different then don't forget Tongariro or Taranaki National Parks in the North Island. The volcanic landscapes are probably a little different.
A good place to start for new comers like yourselves is the "Great Walk Tracks". These are walks specifically targeted to tourists. See under Tracks in the top menu of this site.
The problem with the Great Walks is that you will meet quite a lot of other tourists and not many NZers however if you get away from them then you may not meet anybody.
In the New Zealand bush you don't need to worry about bears and snakes. You can camp quite safely and not worry about anything much. There are sandflies in the South Island but I hear Alaskans are used to those sort of things.
I always tell people from the continents to beware of NZ weather. I don't know what it is like in Alaska but here our weather comes straight off the sea and can be very changable. We can get all seasons in one day sometimes, even in summer. You need to be prepared for anything. But maybe you are used to that.
Thanks very much, pmcke. I've been looking at possibly the Routeburn Track as we both like to be physically challenged. I'm not sure we will mind the tourists but would definitely like to meet more NZers than others. Not having to worry about the bears will make for much easier and lighter packing. We'll be sure to pack with layers and rain gear - since we live near the Alaska coast we're KIND of used to the changing weather but its usually fairly predictable. Thanks again for the advice - it sounds like we will want to spend time in those parks too. Do you have an inexpensive hotel in Auckland you would recommend for our first night?
Can't really recommend a particular place in Auckland, but there are plenty of places, especially near the airport and you will find something covering all budgets. Look for Backpacker style accomidation. They are usually clean and cheap, usually self catering and sometimes dormitary sleeping. But in many you can get your own room too.
The Routeburn is a good choice for a start. It is varied trip and has fantastic scenery. From that you could venture to other nearby trips line the Greenstone and the Caples or the Hollyford or the Rees-Dart. Those trips are not Great Walks but still have good huts and the tracks are well formed.
On the Routeburn you need to book your accomidation in the huts before you go. You also need to book your camp site. There aren't many camp sites so it is probably easier to get a bed in the hut.
Once you are away from the Great Walk system you are free to camp where you like and the huts are on a first in first served basis. You pay by pre paying before you go and leave the butt of the ticket in a box at the hut.
Even so, some of those tracks are popular so it would be a courtesy to camp out of sight of the track.
If you still want more adventure in that area I suggest a publication called Moirs Guide Book. It has two section, the northern section roughtly covers the area of Mt Aspiring National Park and the Southern Section covers Fiordland National Park. The division between the two is roughly where the Routeburn Track is. Those books will give you more than enough trips up tracked and untracked valleys to last a lifetime.
Thanks again - that's a huge help! I've got a Lonely Planet guide and another just about tramping. I'll see what I can do about getting passes and campsites now. Thanks so much again for your time!
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