New Zealand

Jen and I are recently back from a trip based in Christchurch, New Zealand. The main reason for our trip wasn’t climbing or walking, however we did manage to get out for some easy family bouldering on the superb limestone at Castle Hill with Paul, Lara, Rowan and Tilly.

Paul, Rowan and topping out at Castle Hill.

Paul, Rowan and topping out at Castle Hill.

We also squeezed in some walking, or as Kiwis tend to call it tramping. We completed the Cass-Lagoon Saddle track over three days with Lara; a two day circuit with Paul of the Kirwan’s Track and Waitahu Valley from Capleston near Reefton and three days up to the Carroll hut and exploring the Kelly Range and the Bald Range near Arthur’s Pass.

Jen and Lara just above the Cass Saddle Hut.

Jen and Lara just above the Cass Saddle Hut.

Most of this walking was based around the excellent DOC (Department of Conservation) way marked trails. The routes would tend to be described as easy to moderate tramps, but this being New Zealand that does mean that there were a fair number of river crossings and some steep tree route pulling sections on some of the paths. The unmanned huts on these routes varied in quality from excellent new huts with stoves to little more than very basic bothies, the Kirwan’s, Hamilton and Carroll huts were all very pleasant.

The excellent Kirwan's Hut.

The excellent Kirwan’s Hut at over 1200m.

The walking terrain varied from braided rivers; beech forests; West Coast rainforest, complete with parrots; open tussock ground and even some easy scrambling in the Bald Range.

Jen and Paul on the ridge of Kirwan's Hill (1297m).

Jen and Paul on the ridge of Kirwan’s Hill (1297m).

I’ll add some more photos to the facebook page.