Visualise yourself tramping in misty mountains, emerald fjords, ancient fern-cloaked forests, cascading waterfalls and kilometres of half-empty black and white sandy beaches.
By the way, we call hiking “tramping”, down here in New Zealand.
One of the main reasons I am writing this post is my personal experience in seeing visitors unprepared for tramping. Open-toed shoes, and no backpack [which means no warm clothing or supplies] will not do!
So, if you are planning on tramping in New Zealand, here are a few things to keep in mind to prepare you for what promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.
Nothing more or less!
Expect changeable weather
The weather in New Zealand is unpredictable. Many visitors experience four seasons in one day in various parts of our country. Even in the peak of summer if the sun doesn’t shine and the wind picks up the temperatures can dip rather quickly.
Be prepared for rain. Fiordland alone gets approximately 7,000mm of rain throughout 182 days a year, NO that’s not a misprint! The chances of you getting wet are going to be quite high. Try to remember that damp weather tramping can still be great fun as long as you are wearing the appropriate clothing
As with most outdoor adventures, come prepared for anything!
As I mentioned above, we do have very changeable weather, so it is best to keep your itinerary flexible. While in between tramps and touring via a road trip that may take you to places you planned or didn’t expect to visit.
One of the best sources for the unexpected is one of us locals.
So then, my advice would be to allow time to have a yarn with a local or two who could put you onto discovering a few more of our hidden treasures.
While in the bush or mountain areas you need to pack for changeable weather. Expect and prepare for four seasons in one day, sort of weather.
New Zealand has plenty of easy walks rather than tramps, while others require you to be reasonably fit. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy your time tramping. Don’t overestimate your ability as you are putting the whole group at risk. If you are unable to finish the tramp, the entire group has to walk you out. Again, do the training before embarking on a long-distance walk/tramp.
To enjoy longer ones, including the Great Walks, make sure your fitness is at a reasonably high level. Before you book a tramp, organise yourself to do at least 2-3 walks a week.
Each week increase your walking distance. With some days carrying a backpack that you will be bringing on your trip. Importantly include many stairs and hill climbing. Not in a gym preferably on similar terrain as your future tramp.
BEST TIP: Do get a physical completed by a physician before embarking on a new outdoor adventure.
Make sure that you let people know where you are heading and never go into the bush area alone. Check out Adventure Smart website to fill out an Outdoor Intentions Form – go HERE.
As a visitor, you won’t have the local knowledge. Even better, maybe connect up with tramping groups before you arrive. Then if you are a solo traveller, you have the opportunity to explore with others. This way is also a cheaper version than heading out on the more populated tourist routes.
What tramps are the Greats?
The more popular and very commercialised “Great Walks”, three of them being in Fiordland National Park and a few others in the central North Island are now attracting vast amounts of people and need to be booked way in advance of your planned visit to New Zealand.
If you don’t want to experience the walks as mentioned above and would enjoy more of the non-touristy ones that aren’t busy with more people than you want to really see or even chat too.
Then check out a few local Tramping Clubs to pick out places to test your fitness as you will indeed find many variations of wild paths to tread on while visiting New Zealand. It is a fabulous way for active travellers to enjoy our country.
The thing to remember most of all is to enjoy your time in our beautiful backyard.
Links to find out more about what walks you could explore, at this stage, I can’t add a personal touch. It is on the to-do list!
These are just a few tracks that could be explored. As I gain more fitness and experience, I will share some of the local tramps I have completed this summer and beyond.