Chris' Blog

Okura Bush Walkway Closed
Posted: Saturday 19 May 2018 by Chris

The forested area of Okura Bush will be temporarily closed from 12 May to prevent the spread of, and protect against, kauri dieback disease.

The track from Stillwater to Dacre Cottage is open.  This closure only affects from Dacre Cottage to Haigh Access Road, where the track will continue to be upgraded to ensure is safe for Kauri.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Details on kauri dieback disease can be found here.

Waitakere Ranges Track Status
Posted: Wednesday 2 May 2018 by Chris

Since the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park are now closed since 1 May 2018 to prevent the spread of, and protect against, kauri dieback disease.

Below is a status list of tracks.


Waitakere Ranges to Close 1 May
Posted: Saturday 14 April 2018 by Chris

The forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park will be closed from 1 May to prevent the spread of, and protect against, kauri dieback disease.

Auckland Council staff will now begin to decommission tracks, remove signage and begin the process of restricting access to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

Click here to view.
Source: Auckland Council

Details on kauri dieback disease can be found here.

What is kauri dieback disease.

Hut Fee increases for Great Walks Tracks
Posted: Saturday 20 May 2017 by Chris

DOC is introducing modest increases for some Great Walks hut and campsite fees.

New Zealand’s nine Great Walks are our flagship walking experiences. Tracks like the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler are internationally famous and globally rank as some of the great ‘must do’ outdoor experiences

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Track Markers
Posted: Saturday 23 July 2016 by Chris

It has come to attention recently with quite a number people being lost in the bush with the main reason that they were following the wrong type of triangle marker.  As a person who goes tramping quite a bit, I thought that I would explain the different types of triangle markers that you see in the bush.

A number of different triangle markers

Orange (and possibly a white strip if following an old low use track/route) - This is a track marker, this is what you should be following to keep to the track.  Generally these will be placed about 30m apart and normally you should be able to see the next one in front (unless the track is clearly defined, such as a track of a great walk standard).  Sometimes if going through a large clearing there would be a marker as you exit and one as you enter, which also the same if crossing a river.  Tracks can also be marked by cairns or poles above the bush line and alpine areas.

Pink/Yellow/Blue - This is not a track marker, don't be confused.  These indicate trap/bait lines or actual traps for pest control such as possums & stoats.  In a number of cases there will be written information which generally identifies the trap/bait line and a number to identify trap/bait number (sometimes this can also indicate distance from start of the line).  Sometimes these lines can follow the track which normally indicate that the trap if just off to the side of the track.

4 Reasons Hikers Are The Best People You'll Ever Meet
Posted: Sunday 22 November 2015 by Chris

If you can surround yourself with anyone, surround yourself with hikers. They are the most down to earth, adventurous badasses you’ll ever meet. They are the definition of pure, good vibes.

They’re all different, but they all have similar characteristics that make them simply irresistible. If you don’t hike, you should strongly reconsider. Here’s why:

Click here to view.
Source: Elite Daily

Inspirational Tramping Video
Posted: Thursday 9 July 2015 by Chris



Great Walks Video
Posted: Friday 6 February 2015 by Chris

Posted: Thursday 26 December 2013 by Chris

It is often when you are tramping you say that you have bagged something, for example huts, campsites & peaks. Then you can go round other trampers or friends and say you have done that.

I have done a couple of maps that shows what I have bagged:

Wild about New Zealand
Posted: Thursday 19 September 2013 by Chris

There is currently a new TV series which is currently being screened on TV ONE (Tuesdays 8.30pm) which is called "Wild about New Zealand".

Its a six-part series takes in all the beauty and idiosyncrasies of six of New Zealand's stunning and unique National Parks. The series showcases this country's dramatic topography, unique species, spectacular stories and the cast of thousands that fight every day to maintain and preserve the rich history and future of our national parks.

Click here for further information or to watch on demand.

NZ Landscapes - Timelapse
Posted: Tuesday 14 May 2013 by Chris

This timelapse video shows the wonderful landscapes that we have in New Zealand.  Particularly this is showing the beauty of Tongariro National Park, which is one of my favourite places in the country.



Protecting our place
Posted: Wednesday 1 May 2013 by Chris

Kiwis are, without a doubt, an outdoor species. With a landscape like ours, who wouldn’t be? Whether it’s tramping, fishing, hunting or driving stock across the high country, we’ll take any excuse to get outside. In fact, nearly half of us enjoy Department of Conservation protected land every year.

From back country huts way off the beaten track, to lodges located along well worn walkways, the Department of Conservation’s huts have long provided essential shelter for Kiwi outdoor enthusiasts and international tourists.

The Department’s 973 recreation huts and lodges, which support more than 14,000 km of track, are well used by New Zealanders. According to the 2012 DOC Annual Report, DOC estimates that two thirds of the 300,000 bed stays per year at the DOC huts and lodges are by New Zealanders. 
However, these huts are often exposed to New Zealand’s harshest and most extreme weather conditions and are in need of protection themselves.
The Department of Conservation has announced a $1.5 million partnership with Dulux New Zealand to paint and protect public huts and lodges over the next three years.
It’s your place too, so you’re most welcome to lend a hand. You can choose the next hut to be painted, pick the colours or even pick up a brush and put a lick of paint on a deserving hut.



Further information on Protecting our place.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing to reopen
Posted: Wednesday 1 May 2013 by Chris

The Department of Conservation is pleased to announce the reopening of the northern section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This will allow walkers to walk the full length of the track from Mangatepopo car-park to the Ketetahi car-park. This will take effect from Wednesday 8 May 2013.

Additional toilets have been put in at the Soda Springs and temporary repairs have been made to the Ketetahi Hut which will now act as a day shelter until it is replaced with a new day shelter in 2014.

Source: Department of Conservation

Great Walks - Lake Waikaremoana Intro Video
Posted: Tuesday 5 February 2013 by Chris

Intro video on Lake Waikaremoana.

View my tramping report on this track

Further information on Great Walks.

Great Walks - Abel Tasman Coast Track Intro Video
Posted: Friday 28 December 2012 by Chris

Intro video on Abel Tasman Coast Track.

View my tramping report on this track

Further information on Great Walks.

Great Walks - Tongariro Northern Circuit Intro Video
Posted: Friday 14 December 2012 by Chris

Intro video on one of my favourite tracks - Tongario Northern Circuit.

! Warning: Due to recent Mt Tongario eruptions Ketetahi Hut is current closed for 2012/13 season.  This also affects part of the Tongario Alpine Crossing.  Click here for up-to-date from DOC. 



Further information on Great Walks.

Great Walks Intro Video
Posted: Thursday 8 November 2012 by Chris

Video that is now playing on-board selected Air New Zealand flights, encouraging Kiwis to get out and walk New Zealand’s stunning nine Great Walks.

Further information on Great Walks.

Mt Tongariro Eruption - tracks & huts closed
Posted: Thursday 9 August 2012 by Chris

The Tongariro Crossing is currently closed and will be reviewed on a daily basis. Mount Ruapehu ski-fields are unaffected by the eruption. Walks around Mount Ruapehu are also unaffected.

The Department of Conservation says tracks and huts on Mt Tongariro will remain closed for the immediate future while GNS experts continue to assess volcanic activity on the mountain.

GNS has described the overnight eruption at Te Maari Crater as a small scale hydrothermal event and volcanic specialists are continuing to monitor the situation.

Three of the huts - Ketetahi, Waihohonu, Oturere - were clear of trampers and three men found at the Mangatepopo Hut on the opposite side of the mountain were safely walked out of the area.

Ketetahi Hut, which is closest to the crater eruption and was unoccupied at the time, has suffered boulder damage.

View photos of the damage to Ketetahi Hut and the Tongariro Crossing track.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Tramping Safety
Posted: Saturday 4 February 2012 by Chris

You have may have heard in the news that there has been a number of people reporting overdue, missing, lost, or never returning. All of these are due to people not being prepared and not taking care while tramping.

Here is a few guidelines that I follow to ensure a successful trip.

  • Tramp in a group (min 3 people)
  • File a route intention (and have a person act on it if you are overdue)
  • Take enough food & water (include an emergency supply)
  • Take water proof & warm clothing (to prevent exposure)
  • Take a map, compass, gps (if have one) & personal locator beacon (if you have one, especially in remote terrain)
  • Take note of the weather forcast
  • Carry mobile phone
  • Know your limits & risks

Track Maps now in 3D
Posted: Sunday 6 June 2010 by Chris

Thanks to Google Maps, the track maps are now available in 3D.

Just click the "Earth" button at top right of the map to view in 3D. You will need to have the Google Earth Plugin installed on your computer for this to work.

Google Earth View

Click here for more information.

Click here for 5 tips on how to use 3D.

New hut for Coromandel
Posted: Sunday 6 June 2010 by Chris

A new DOC hut and camping facility is under construction at Crosbies Settlement on the main Coromandel range, about 12km north east of Thames.

The new hut will sleep 10 people and is expected to be open to the public in June 2010.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Fee increases for some DOC facilities
Posted: Saturday 5 July 2008 by Chris

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has announced some modest fee increases for some of its high profile walks for the coming season/year.

In announcing the increases, Acting General Manager Operations - Southern, Graeme Ayres stressed that most of the hut charges on the Great Walks had not increased for four years, and in the case of the serviced huts in other areas, these had been stable since 1999.

Most of the fee increases affect the Great Walks and will add $5 to the cost of a hut for an adult hut ticket. On the Milford and Routeburn tracks for example, the cost will rise from $40 to $45 per night, and on Tongariro the cost will rise from $20 to $25 per night.

There will be no increase in charges for the facilities on either the Abel Tasman Track and the Waikaremoana Great Walk, as these were increased last year, and nor is the Whanganui Great Walk to be part of this current fee increase.

The cost of serviced huts will rise from $10 per night to $15. There are 95 serviced huts, mainly in backcountry locations throughout the country, and they are serviced in the sense that heating fuel is provided for hut occupants. There will be no change in the charges for the use of standard huts and there are over 400 of these on walking tracks throughout the country.

The fee increases are effective from 1 July 2008.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Tongariro Crossing Track Renamed
Posted: Saturday 17 November 2007 by Chris

New Zealand’s most popular one-day trek across Mt Tongariro in the central North Island is being renamed the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’. The new name better reflects the nature and terrain of the track and coincides with the start of the Great Walks season.

The change of name was decided upon at a recent meeting between representatives from Tourism NZ, the Department of Conservation, the Tourism Industry Association, the Ministry of Tourism and the NZ Police. The meeting was held to discuss safety aspects of the track and follows concerns that many visitors who undertake the Crossing are under-prepared both in terms of equipment and expectation.

Advising the public and the tourism industry of the name change is complex and DOC is working closely with Tourism New Zealand, local I-sites and tourist operators to get the message across.

DOC is also undertaking a number of other practical initiatives to improve public safety. These include an ongoing project to upgrade the track surface and alignment, developing a deviation of what is known as the ‘devil’s staircase’ and new signs at strategic points suggesting visitors turn back if their fitness or the weather is failing. DOC also hopes to improve the descent from Red Crater to Emerald Lakes, where many injuries are known to occur.

In contrast to many South Island tracks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is easily accessible and impressing the changeable nature of its alpine conditions is an ongoing challenge.

“It’s an 18.5 kilometre trek over a mountain – yes it’s rugged and also has some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscape,’’ says Dave Lumley, the Turangi Taupo Area Manager for DOC. “People often get caught out because they don’t realise how quickly our weather changes or the level of fitness needed.”

Mr Lumley says that although guiding is not currently allowed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, DOC has indicated that using professional guides is one of several tools that will assist to improve public safety. A section of the track crosses private land and the owners are in the process of preparing a management plan for permitted activities. It’s not yet known whether this will include guiding.

DOC estimates that approximately 65,000 people traverse Mt Tongariro each year.

Free information leaflets on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (still using the old name) are available from the Whakapapa Visitor Centre. An updated brochure will be available before Christmas.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Mt Ruapehu top considered hazardous
Posted: Saturday 29 September 2007 by Chris

Following last night's eruption of Mt Ruapehu climbers, skiers and sightseers are being warned not to venture to the top of the volcano.

This morning, staff from the Department of Conservation (DOC) and GNS Science inspected the size and extent of the eruption during an early morning flight before briefing staff involved in last night’s event and alpine rescue of a climber injured by the eruption.

Dr Harry Keys, DOC, commented that the two most significant hazards were flying rocks and lahars. The lahar that flowed down the Whakapapaiti Valley beside the Far West T bar was smaller than the one seen during the 1995 eruption while a small lahar flowed into the Whangaehu River, scene of the lahar on 18 March this year.

GNS Science volcanologist Brad Scott said, “The eruption was a ‘blue sky’ event occurring with virtually no warning. Previous records show that blue sky eruptions on Mt Ruapehu may be a single event or, as happened in 1975, involve two or three eruptions each getting less in strength than the one before.”

Therefore, Department of Conservation, GNS Science, NZ Police and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff agree that for the next five days the upper mountain should be treated as an unusually hazardous area. GNS Science will continue to closely monitor the volcano and report back any significant change, until any immediate likelihood of another eruption is past.

The Department of Conservation is strongly recommending that no-one venture beyond the upper boundaries of the Whakapapa or Turoa ski fields

At 8.23pm last night Mt Ruapehu erupted for seven minutes, sending a plume to an estimated 5000 metres and two lahars (volcanic mudflows) down the slopes of the mountain. The eruption, described as a blue sky eruption, came without warning.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Great Walks to be cheaper for under 18s
Posted: Saturday 29 September 2007 by Chris

Hut and campsite fees for children and young people aged under 18 will be free from July next year on New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, including the Whanganui Journey.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced the initiative on the Abel Tasman Coast Track today, on the eve of this year’s Conservation Week (August 6 –12), the theme of which is outdoor recreation.

“This initiative is designed to reduce the barriers to more young people walking New Zealand’s most spectacular tracks with their family, their friends or with school groups,” Mr Carter said.

“As our population becomes more urbanised, it is crucial we make it as easy as we can for young people to switch off the TV and the playstation and discover the outdoors. Only through first-hand experience will young New Zealanders fully appreciate the importance of preserving our natural environment, and its significance to our national identity.

“By abolishing fees for those under 18, we can reduce by a third the cost of walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track for a family of two adults and two teenagers. The cost of three nights in huts on the track drops from $270 to $180. The savings are even more pronounced on more expensive Great Walks like the Milford Track,” Mr Carter said.

“This intiative fufills a key recommendation from the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Summit last year to improve access to the outdoors, and it also complements the Labour-led government’s wider work to tackle obesity, foster recreation and tourism, and enhance the time working people have to spend with their families.”

The nine Great Walks are:

  • Lake Waikaremoana,
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit,
  • Heaphy Track,
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track,
  • Kepler Track,
  • Routeburn Track,
  • Milford Track,
  • the Rakiura Track,
  • and the Whanganui Journey.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Mt Ruapehu Lahar
Posted: Monday 19 March 2007 by Chris

A lahar at the lake yesterday released 1.3 million cubic metres of water and debris which had accumulated behind a dam of soft rock built up by the 1995 volcanic eruptions.

That reduced the lake level by about 6m and nearby roads and railways were closed while the lahar emptied into Whangaehu River.

Nobody was injured and only minor damage to property was reported.

The dam of soft rock was completely washed away, meaning no more lahars like yesterday's were now expected.

The lowered crater lake at Mt Ruapehu is now at a higher risk of hydrothermal "steam-driven" eruptions, GNS Science experts say.

Mr Wakelin said water was flowing out of the lake's natural outlet as it had before the 1995 eruption.

"Now you've actually got a lake that finally can just flow in normal fashion."

He said Whangaehu River was still dirty with mud and debris, but flow levels were returning to normal.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

AA 101 Must Do's for Kiwis
Posted: Saturday 10 February 2007 by Chris

Visiting Mitre Peak and Milford Sound is the country's No 1 "must-do" experience - but most Kiwis reckon there's no great reason to visit Parliament.

Or so says a 101 must-do list of the best sights, attractions and adventures on offer in New Zealand.

The Automobile Association five-month survey garnered 20,000 votes from the public which resulted in few surprises among the top choices such as Doubtful Sound, Bay of Islands, Fiordland and Abel Tasman National Park.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Landslide in Mt Aspiring National Park
Posted: Sunday 14 January 2007 by Chris

Natural causes rather than seismic activity probably triggered the massive landslide in Mt Aspiring National Park.

The landslip, about 150m wide and 150m long, sent at least half a million cubic metres of rock and debris crashing into the John Inglis valley floor burying an alpine lake and blocking a tributary of the Joe River.

Wakatipu DOC area manager Greg Lind said trampers in the park should take extreme care.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Mt Ruapehu crater lake close to bursting
Posted: Sunday 14 January 2007 by Chris

It is only a matter of time until up to one million cubic metres of water - enough to fill 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools - will burst from the Mt Ruapehu crater lake and sweep down the Whangaehu Valley, says the Department of Conservation.

"If that water comes out in half an hour, you can expect quite a sizeable lahar," said DoC scientist Harry Keys.

Dr Keys said the lake was at a record level, 2.8m below the top of a dam that has started leaking up to 10 litres a second. The seepage is eroding the dam, which blocks the lake's usual outlet.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake reaches Milestone level
Posted: Saturday 2 December 2006 by Chris

Conservator, Paul Green, says, “The lake level has reached Warning Level 2 on a scale of levels set by the agencies involved in monitoring and responding to a lahar from the lake. This level is significant in that the water level is now half way to the top of the 7.6 metre high dam. However, the likelihood of a lahar occurring at this level is considered to be only 1-2% and should one occur it would be small.”

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe warnings downgraded
Posted: Saturday 14 October 2006 by Chris

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has reduced the high risk warning status around the Crater Lake on Ruapehu to a medium risk warning. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has also reduced the medium risk warning status at the crater on Ngauruhoe to a normal risk warning, which now applies to the whole volcano.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Climbers warned to steer clear of Mt Ruapehu
Posted: Saturday 14 October 2006 by Chris

Warnings for climbers to stay away from the top of Mt Ruapehu remain in place after seismic activity triggered a lahar alert on the mountain on Wednesday night.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Warning as tremors beneath Mt Ngauruhoe increase
Posted: Sunday 11 June 2006 by Chris

Trampers have been warned to stay away from Mt Ngauruhoe's crater after an increased number of tremors beneath the volcano.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

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