This year Freya is doing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award so our trip to New Zealand will be good training for her as we plan to include some tramping. During our 2004 visit she was four years old and the boots she wore then look tiny compared to her current walking boots. I found them recently in our loft and was amazed – you could hold them in the palm of your hand. Strangely enough, the sizes of the two pairs of boots are the same, size 8!
When I dreamed about returning to New Zealand I always expected we would do a complete walking track but this is looking unlikely due to time constraints. Most of them are take 4 – 5 days to complete. Usually in one direction although the Kepler Track is circular. It is, however, a challenging walk climbing to 1,400m (4,600 ft) at its highest point, Luxmore Saddle. I noticed on the Department of Conservation website that there are four shorter walks you can do from designated points such as car parks, so that might be an option.
Last time we were in New Zealand we managed to do about half of the Abel Tasman Track, the whole of the Caples Track and half a day on the Routeburn Track.
If you are interested in doing any tramping on the Great Walks, in most cases you have to book huts and campsites in advance during the peak season from 24th October 2017 to 30th April 2018. And they are surprisingly expensive. I was shocked to find that the DOC charge about NZ$34 per person over 18 per night and can reach prices of NZ$65!. Campsites appear to be not much cheaper at NZ$17 to 20. We certainly wouldn’t want to take a load of camping gear with us when we also intend to hire a motorhome. The other choice you have on the Abel Tasman Track is to take a water taxi to one of the beaches and walk back, having to ensure that you can gauge how far you can walk. Also, f we were to walk any of this track and had a motorhome on hire there would be the additional cost of leaving it on a holiday park for safety, if we wanted to stay overnight on your walk. What a logistical nightmare.