2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us

We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.

Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!

Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.

Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!

Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!

Sunday, 22 September 2013


Just to let you all know that it is hard to kick the tramping bug and Steve has a job guiding on the Milford track. Being paid to tramp now, can't be bad !! So we will be living in Queenstown for the summer.

Milford Sound from Mitre Peak.

Check out an article on our walk in the Ki Waho Magasine.    Te Araroa Walk 

Monday, 27 May 2013

The final post.

Hi Guys, Just thought we would put up one last post of some of the out takes from the trail. It has been hard to adapt to not walking each day but we have enjoyed having the creature comforts again.

We will be returning to Hanmer in October. Thanks once again to all the people who have donated to our charity and to all of you Trail Angel's that helped us on the way.

Mud glorious Mud!!!

More mud glorious Mud.

Every picture tells a story!

A fine figure of a man, good job he is in the distance.
Too tired to get into the Tent.

Definitely not Vegetarian !!

Where the hell is the stile?

We are going to live and work in Wanaka for the winter so if you are keen to catch up or have a night or two with us please give us a call on 027 3157383.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

We made it to Bluff!!!!

We have walked over 3,000 kilometers  to get here, what an amazing journey and an awesome adventure. New Zealand is such a stunning country and we feel privileged to have been able to walk its length on the Te Araroa Trail.

We made it!!!

Sick of vegetarian food!!

We walked from Colac Bay to Riverton, a beautiful harbour village full of character and charm, then on to Oreti beach, the famous beach where Burt Munro tested his fastest indian !! The forecast was for a rainy day but we had the most beautiful day out of nowhere. We had fantastic views of Stewart Island and Bluff in the distance.

The beach was full of amazing pebbles and strange seaweed (Steve was tempted to try it as he is getting over the dehydrated vegetarian pasta dish.

We felt as if we had come full circle (metaphorically, as it was really a straight line !!) back to a long sweeping beach just like Ninety Mile Beach and it felt very special to be there. The tides were just right for us and our last river crossing of the trip was just a splodge.

Last river crossing. Stewart Island in the distance.

Finally we reached the access road and civilisation - cars on the beach, dog walkers and surfers. Steve celebrated with a quick dip in the Southern Ocean with the emphasis on quick. We the headed inland towards Invercargill.

We had a great day in the city and met the Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, as we were probably the slowest couple to have walked the Te Araroa and he had met the fastest guy. The weather was not kind that day but it did not seem to matter.

Spot the mayor.

Lounging around.

So off on the final sections down by the estuary to the long road walk to Ocean Beach. There are plans to create a walkway all the way to Bluff but the project needs funding.
There was a great boardwalk section and a wonderful bench that Steve made full use of.

The welcoming party.

We saved the last 7.2 Kms for our last day so that we would not look totally exhausted for the photos at the end , but more importantly so that Beth could join us and Dave and Kirsty could be there with us. It was overwhelming to be met by the gang at the signpost and so special, thanks guys!!

Our journey along the Te Araraoa has been a celebration for us of two wonderful people, my Mum Elsie and my brother Brian and they have been with us in our hearts. We have raised over $6,000 for Cancer Research thanks to the generosity of all you guys out there that have read the blog and kept us going.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of all the people that have helped us along the way. The Te Araroa  has also been a personal challenge to us both as well and I am amazed at what it is possible to achieve when you put your mind to it. So our message to you all is to live life to the full, follow your dreams and come and stay with us!

Lynne and Steve

If you would like to add a donation to our cause click on this link   Donate now

PS there will be one more blog of the out takes, funny stories and a slide show so stay tuned !


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A sniff of the ocean !!

Well we have made it to the Ocean having walked from Colac Bay to Riverton today and yes the weather has turned a little dodgy. Well 5 days of rain forecast at the moment but we can't complain and everyone else is very happy. It had to rain sometime!! Lets retrace our steps a few weeks........

We have made it to the Southern Ocean.

From Queenstown we joined the Greenstone Track which was absolute bliss and we had a great night in the Greenstone Hut which ended up being very busy with all but 1 bed spare. So many trampers. It was lovely to socialise and thank god for ear plugs!
We soon were on our own again when we headed south down the Upper Mavora valley passing through the Taipo and Boundary Huts before staying in Careys hut which is magnificently located on the shores of the North Mavora Lake. We thought Boundary Hut could be called that as it was possibly the border of Otago and Southland?

Mavora lakes
In Careys Hut this was my moment to try the Back Country Mouse Trap explained to me by that wily old kiwi backcountry man and mouse killer Bill Clarkson.

My three tailer.
So you fill a large bucket with water. Place it underneath the neck of a wine bottle which is balanced on a table or chair. In the end of the bottle place a bit of cheese about 2cms down the neck. Vigorously smother the end of the bottle with something very slippy like cooking oil or similar. So all set. Mouse smells the cheese, mouse skips along bottle very inquisitive, mouse just can't resist going out along neck of bottle .......just wait for the splash. Yee ha. I caught 3 mice that night. I never thought I would turn into a hunter but this trip certainly has been a life changer!!. There is something very satisfying about hearing another plop in the wee small hours. Man versus Nature? So much for 10 pointers I had a 3 tailer.

Bacon sizzling in the pan, luxury!!!

Down the beautiful Movora Valley to be met by Dave, Kirsty, Crockett the dog and our Camper Van. We had 2 lovely frosty nights camped here with the gang. It was great being supported by these guys which allowed us to pack in some big days with light packs. On our first night with them Kirstys friend Rachel showed up and dished up a wonderful Spag Bol and gave me lots of meat as she thought I was turning into a vegetarian. Great nights, great company and many memories. Dave's cooking skills proved much better than his fishing skills - bacon butties yum yum.
After a quick dash to Te Anau for a weather update and resupply Dave and Kirsty dropped us at the start of the Lower Princhester Track which is the start of the traverse of the Takitimus. We did get chance to sample a pie in Te Anau. Yummy.

Takitimus are pretty special as well and we stayed at the Aparima and Lower Wairaki Huts. The night we were in the Lower Wairaki Hut it pelted it down with rain for most of the night however by morning it had eased off but this was the signal that things were about to change meteorologically!!
Just want to mention two very interesting near misses. I took a face plant in a river when a rock I stood on completely flipped and I went completely under head to toe. Miraculously no injuries!! Lynne took a tumble and face planted a bed of moss and lay motionless for what seemed an age as her hands were under her and her pack holding her down. Lynne not so lucky as me and twisted her ankle but managed to hobble on. I keep her going with a cattle prod. No seriously she has been a real trooper and soldiered on.
You eventually pop out of the Takitimus at Mt Linton Station followed by 12k walk on a magnificent 4wd track through this wonderful high country station and past the Rock Hut, and a memorial to a guy called Duggie who worked at the station for 40 years as a digger driver and musterer.

Looking back at the Takitimus.
We stayed in Ohai in the old Pub which was closed as a pub but the family took in Te Araroa trampers as there is no where else in the village to stay. What a backwater Ohai is. Property is certainly cheap but sad to see all the mines shut bar a few. We rested up there for a day. That particular day most of the village were attending a funeral which started at 10am. By 12 everyone seemed to be in the Fire Brigade HQ drinking and stayed there most of the day.
At Ohai and for the first time on the whole trip we were staring down the barrel of a pretty miserable forecast so we made the big call to stay off the tops in the Longwood Forest section and walk the backroads to Colac Bay. We are very glad we did as the bad weather has set in and we are over the moon now to be by the sea. We have been dreaming about this and are really looking forward to next few days especially tomorrow with our 27k walk along Oreti Beach and hopefully as well as the roar of the ocean we might hear the roar of Burt Munroes Fastest Indian. Thanks once again to Dave and Kirsty for moving our van on to Colac.

Too cold to surf !!
We hope to be in Bluff on Sunday. Yabba Dabba Doo! We just can't believe we are here and we are going to make it. Not sure we want it to end.
Thanks to everyone that has helped and contributed to our journey and fundraiser. $5600 at the moment. Would love to get it up to $6000 if we can.
The next Blogupdate will be the biggie. Keep your fingers crossed.

To donate now to Cancer Research click on this link ..... Donate to Cancer Research.


Steve and Lynne

Monday, 1 April 2013

Tekapo to Queenstown

We had some relief from the trials of tramping -  because the canals were closed for maintainence we decided to get on bikes and do the 50K road walk to Twizel.  There is a great new cycle path in this area that runs from Mt Cook village to Oamaru. So we had two great days on bikes cycling this new track to Ohau Lodge. Now the fact that we got there on March the 19th Lynne's birthday was either extremely good fortune on her behalf or very good strategic planning by the head of logistics... Lynne. The staff at Ohau Lodge were fantastic and not only did they make Lynne a birthday chocolate cake but they donated the accommodation costs to Cancer Research. This once again was a real treat for us and a very humbling experience.

From Ohau Lodge the Te Araroa heads up and over the Ohau range via Freehold Creek and the East Ahuriri Valley. This part of the tramp did present us with probably the roughest part of the tramp so far... As the decent down the East Ahiriri Valley, although poled has no trail on the ground. It's basically find your own way through the tussocks, spaniards and matagouri and plodge down the river when in doubt.
Home sweet home.
We camped this night in a stunning location, no sandflys and a full moon. An early start the next day saw us walking out into the magnificent Ahuiri Valley. If you have not been to this valley, you must visit it as we were blown away by the magnificent scenery. We had a major river crossing here of the Ahuriri river, however due to this stunning summer weather it never got above our knees. Couldn't imagine it in normal conditions.

Stodys Hut...with a romantic fire!!

From here, we continued our journey on an amazing 4 wheel drive track which climbed up and over Martha's saddle at 1710 metres and dropped us down all the way to the Top Timaru hut. These old musterers roads are an amazing feet of engineering and gritty determination. We stayed at the brand new top Timaru hut at this stage where we teamed up with Phil and Clare a young couple doing the Te Araroa as well. We had met them before on the trail when they had overtaken us the first time, however they had taken a break to watch the English cricket team in Dunedin for the first test match and had overtaken us for the second time!! The walk or should I say river adventure from the top Timaru hut to Stodys hut is not for the faint hearted once again we were thankful for the drought conditions as we had to cross the Timaru creek at least 14 times in pretty gnarly country. Unlike top Timaru hut Stodeys hut was a classic old musterers hut that had not changed in many many years, and as a result was overrun with little furry friends who visited us in the night. The huge positive of this hut was the beautiful open fire which we had roaring very atmospheric and a great place to stay.

Next day, on to another 4 wheel drive track and the Lake Hawea station famous for its Merino sheep and a quick blast around Breast hill to the new Pakituhi hut with fantastic views over Mt Aspiring and Lake Hawea. The hut is perched just below a ridge line which you climb up to and plunge down 980 vertical metres to the Lake Hawea shore line. A knee trembler if ever there was one. It was so lovely on this decent to be met by Bill Clarkson, it was great to see him out on the hill with his musterers stick! He also told us that 50 years previous he had been mustering the Timaru Creek area... What a boy!!

Bill Clarkson on the Breast Hill Track.

Although in previous blogs we have have mentioned that the water in the Pelorus river was the clearest and then the Blue Lake, Lake Hawea and it's crystal clear waters proved so tempting that Lynne and I went in for a swim on two successive days. It was also wonderful to dive into Lake Wakitipu with Beth and it must have been 10 degrees warmer than Lake Hawea but not as clear.
We have spent the last few days walking from Lake Hawea to Queenstown wharf doing all the flat easy bits and are just about to go back and do the Motatapu's which we didn't want to do over the busy Easter period. It has also been fantastic to have Beth with us carrying our pack !! and enabling us to do some long easy days on the flat. Beth is on an Easter break from Otago University and she is hoping to join us again perhaps for the last to days into Bluff in search of glory.

Beth and Steve on the Historic Shotover Bridge.
It has also been wonderful to stay with Dave Felstead, Kirsty and Ritchie Hunter and their awesome dog Crockett (Davie and Crockett). So onto the last leg of the walk and The Greenstone and Mavora Lakes. There is a rumour among the Te Araroa walkers that the best pies in NZ are to be found in Te Anau. Our next big decision is do we divert to Te Anau to sample the pies????

Dave, Crocket, Richie and Beth on the trail !!!

Really getting close to the finish line now and hoping that this glorious weather will last but we really can't complain if it doesn't. Many of our friends that we have met on the trail and have overtaken us are all finishing in the next few days and will hopefully will come to find us on their journeys back north!!
We have raised over $5,200 now for Cancer Research. If you feel like donating please click on the link to the donation site.

 Many thanks.    Donate now to Cancer Research.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

From Pass to Pass

It took us seven days to cross from the Lewis Pass to Arthurs Pass. An amazing route through the Hope Kiwi Valley over Harpers Pass and Goats Pass.
John and Helen, kiwi tramping with wet feet!
We continued to walk in the heat wave setting off extra early from the huts to avoid the hottest part of the day. Our first stop was Hope Kiwi Lodge, a stunning hut in  the most wonderful location. Then over the Kiwi saddle with glimpses of Lake Sumner. We had a cool off dip in the Hurunui river and stayed the night at the Hurunui hut.
The next day was magic as we soaked in a natural hot pool on the side of the track, with no sandflies !!! Pictures not included. Then a short walk to the Hurunui 3 hut. This hut can be accessed by 4wd and a group of 3 hunters were there with enough food and booze for the week !! However they were back late and had a party whilst 7 trampers tried desperately to sleep. It is a difficult marriage of pursuits for hut use, trampers and hunters.
Here we met a new bunch of Te Araroa trail walkers. Hi to Claire and Phil, Cisco and Road Runner and Roger a Nobo. That means Northbound walker, so we must be Sobos - Southbound, but we are not sure that we like that label.
Over Harpers Pass which was a delightful track and then down to the Taramatau Valley and a night at the historic Locke Stream Hut. We stormed down the valley with dry feet till the final link track and ended up just wading up the river to the Morrison footbridge.
Here we met up with good friends from the UK who were just passing and gave us a lift to Bealey Spur for a day off. Hi Helen and John , hope you are having a great tour of NZ and great walks with dry feet. Thanks to Helen for her hospitality at the Bealey Eco Lodge.

We then traversed the Deception Minga Valleys on the coast to Coast Race route, we were not racing !! It is a scramble rather than a walk and great fun in a heat wave as we had 18 river crossings.
We left the track and caught the bus to Christchurch to resupply and say goodbye to our son Ben who has a 6 month job in Fiji. Thanks to Grant and Ann for all your help and donation and for getting us back on the track again.

Lagoon Saddle
Over the Lagoon Saddle for the next section with great views back down to Arthurs Pass.  We then dropped into the Harper river and onto the Hamilton Hut - an awesome hut with a huge stone fireplace. It was great to catch up with Cisco and Roadrunner again. We continued to Harper village and down to Lake Coleridge. Cisco introduced us to the term " trail angel",  - anyone who helps you on the trail. The next day our Trail Angel arrived - Megan to drive us around the Rakia, walk with us for 3 days and get her Mum to meet us with cold beer and chips at the end. !!
 It was a great 3 days of walking , the first day was easy on a 4wd track and we could look at the views not our feet. A night at Comys hut then 2 tough days . Walking up the river with over 40 river crossings, up steep hills and through giant tussocks, spaniards and matagouri (both vicious spiky plants). Manuka hut was awesome and a great place to rest.

Megan times three.
We descended then towards Lake Clearwater and on to Mt Potts Station. 32 kms , our greatest distance in a day so far. How is the blister Megan ?

Guess where I am? Clue LOR...

The Rangitata River bed is 10km wide and took us almost 3 hours to cross but was only knee deep as it has been so dry.Once on the other side we went up Bush Creek to the Crooked Spur Hut in the Two Thumb range. Awesome country, and we are trying to love tussocks!!

Royal Hut

The weather continued to be hot and sunny as we made our way up to the Royal Hut. So named as Prince Charles and Princess Anne are supposed to have stayed there as children.
Then over Stag saddle the highest point of the whole Te Araraoa - 1930m, we were blessed with blue skies and not a breath of wind. The ridge down from the saddle was just the best track with views of Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook.

We stayed at the Camp Stream hut, built in 1898 and then down to Tekapo via a great track - the Richmond track , would be great on a bike too.

We are now in Tekapo with our campervan and just moving on to Wanaka before getting the bus back again.
What a journey, great company , great country and we have now raised $5,000 for Cancer Research.

Two gnarly trampers on the Stag Saddle Ridge.
If you would like to donate please click on the link............ Brodies Walk for Cancer Research.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Waiau Pass

The Nelson Lakes and Waiau Pass have been on our list for a long time and living in Hanmer Springs it really was a walk in our backyard but a trip we have never made.
St Arnaud was a welcome break for us after the Richmond Hills and we started again with the walk beside Lake Rotoiti - it was just stunning. We have been so lucky with the weather, the forecast was for showers and strong winds but they just never arrived. The trail up to the John Tait Hut is a very gradual ascent and all the time you are surrounded with majestic mountains, then up past the Travers Waterfall to the Upper Travers Hut. This had to be on of the top ten tracks so far!!

Lake Constance
From here we climbed steeply over the Travers saddle and very steeply down to the West Sabine Hut over a rocky saddle and through a stunning gorge. Then the climb up to the Blue Lake Hut by the side of the roaring alpine stream, not surprisingly the hut was almost full as it is just a breathtaking place to be in the mountains. The lake is the purest source of  freshwater in the world.
We climbed the next morning up past Lake Constance to the foot of the Waiau Pass. Not a cloud in the sky, how privileged were we. A hard climb to the top revealed the valleys below and the most wonderful views for 360 degrees. That was the easy bit !! The descent is steep but not too technical, just a good head for heights needed and bionic knees !!!

Looking up the Lake Constance Valley.  Waiau Pass up on the left above the steep shingle.

We made it down to the Waiau Forks and made slow progress down the valley over boulder fields and slips to the Caroline Bivi. Not my idea of a great place to stay on Valentine's Day - so we slept in our tent, which was very cosy and tried not to share it with the clouds of sandflies outside.
Ann Hut
The next day was a big challenge too as we had 30 kms to walk on very tired legs, but the scenery was so uplifting that it did not seem so bad. We joined the St James Walkway, now on familiar territory and arrived at the 5 star Ann Hut. A new hut to replace the one that burned down, it was splendid.

The penultimate day was a walk to the Boyle Flats Hut over the Ann Saddle , a mere pimple compared to the Waiau Pass. A great fianl night with John and Melanie before the final walk out to the Boyle Village.
Thanks to Wendy and her staff for the warm welcome with tea and scones - bliss. Also thanks to Jim for the ride back to Hanmer in the Rusty Carrot Van. The end of an awesome 7 day crossing and back to the Hot Pools and our own bed - yea ha.

We have now walked over 2000 kilometers and raised over $4,800 for Cancer Research. If you would like to donate to our charity please click on this link.       Donate Now to Cancer Research.

Off through Arthurs Pass next and on to Lake Coleridge and then Tekapo. Planning the walk is as big a challenge as the walk itself, we need to send food parcels and maps onto the next resupply point and predict roughly how long it will take us. Although it is hard to give definite dates if you are keen to walk with us or help us along the way, please contact us. We hope to be in Tekapo around the 15th March.