New Zealand Hiking
I interrupt my depressing breakup posts to ask you, are you a camper? because I’m a camper. Really and truly, I absolutely love it. Don’t get me wrong, modern day luxuries hold a special place in my heart (oh hai there soft beds, comfy couches, hair straighteners & the Internet, mama bear loves you), but there is nothing quite like being in the big, old, outdoors, away from the real world for a few days.
Natalie and I hiked and camped the Abel Tasman trail while in New Zealand, and? It was spectacular. I really had no idea how tropical-like New Zealand was, and I have to admit it was a much-needed break from the Internet & the real world.
I think the words “camping” and “hiking” hold a lot of people back from getting out there and exploring our pretty world, or at least, they once held me back, but after hiking in Nepal to Everest, I feel confident in my skills and thought I’d share some of my top tips.
- There are hikes out there, all over the world, for absolutely all levels. They can vary from fairly easy walks (like this one I did), to fairly strenuous hikes (like Everest).
- Hikes also vary in length, so if you’re nervous - start small! Natalie and I did some spectacular 4 or 5 hour day hikes around New Zealand, but some hikes are even 1/2 an hour.
- Pack water. Obviously.
- Plan ahead. Especially in New Zealand. NZ actually has five self-proclaimed, “great walks” and the Abel Tasman is one of them (if New Zealand wasn’t at the end of the world’s train line I’d put all 5 walks on my to-do list!). Some hikes are regulated and you need to plan ahead (if I got to redo the trip, I’d try and do the Milford Sound Track, and Routeburn track) and I believe there is a 6 month wait list for the West Coast Trail in British Columbia, Canada, which is on my bucket list.
- Don’t let the “camping” part intimidate you. No one is really a professional camper so one can do as they please when it comes to this (plus, you refine your own system over time from trial & error). Tents these days are so easy to put up, but also pricey - so borrow one from a friend! (same as backpacks!)
- Invest in a good sleeping bag. Goose down vs. Synthetic? Both have pros & cons so research.
- Do it with friends! Nothing beats a good group of friends and a goal.
- Boots are not always a “must.” Good running shoes, or even flip flops on easy trails will do.
- I find tracks very well sign posted so there isn’t much of a fear of getting lost, but be smart about it and stay on the track.
- Food is a tricky one. Natalie and I were too cheap to buy a burner as we weren’t camping long enough to justify it, so we made sandwiches, pasta salad, bread & cheese/tomatoes, and brought snacks.
A quick search of your area will tell you where your local(ish) hikes are, so I hope you do it. I’m rather excited to head back to Toronto later this year to take advantage of some of Ontario’s trails. Muskoka (cottage country) is absolutely incredible in the fall when the leaves change colour, and I plan on dragging my sister & friends up north to hike with me.