Backpacking

The Famous Routeburn Track in New Zealand

The Routeburn Track is nearly as famous as the Milford Track, but many people think that it’s the nicer one of both.

The countryside got more changes and something which is very important is that there are less sand flies, as most parts of the track are above the tree line. The distances between the huts is also chosen wiser.

Altogether is the Routeburn Track one of the finest tracks of the world... if you are lucky with the weather. :)

The track is very popular and there is a limit for people to walk it. So you should at least book it 10-14 days in advance or be lucky that someone cancels his booking.

Bookings: www.doc.govt.nz

 

You’ll walk through valleys with rain forrest, along waterfalls, rivers and lakes. The track will get you as high as 1277 meters. Even up there it might be snowing in the summer time. We experienced it ourselves. A day later it was sunny and warm again.

Many travelers start the track from the Routeburn Shelter on the eastern side of the Humboldt Mountains. That’s the side of Queenstown. The track then ends at the Divide Shelter on the road to the Milford Sound, west of the Humboldt Mountains. To get from the Divide Shelter to the Routeburn Shelter or the other way round by car, you’ve got to take the road via Queenstown and Te Anau. That’s a distance of 300 kilometres. There are special bus services which can take you from one to the other point or can drop you off at one of the cities.

Perhaps you’ll find some other travelers (also with a car), who are doing the track at the same time, but from the other side. Then you can meet on the track, swap the keys and meet again in Queenstown or Te Anau to swap cars again. We did that and it worked great.

Another possibility is to walk the Routeburn in one direction and take the Greenstone or Caples Track (both further south) back again. If you start the Routeburn on the western side (Divide Shelter) and finish it at the Routeburn Shelter, you’ll need a bus transfer to get you to the start of the Caples and Greenstone Track (further south). Both tracks starts/end in the west with the Routeburn Track at the Divide Shelter. You can book these transfers and others at the DOC offices in Queenstown and Gelnorchy or at the Walks Booking Desk in Te Anau.

These are also the places to book the huts for your trip. A night costs around NZD 35,- per person. You’ll sleep in dorm rooms (up to 20-30 beds) on matratzes. So you’ll only need your own sleeping bag. There are gas cookers in the huts, so you will only need your own cans, food and water.

If you would prefer to camp, there are also campsites close by which costs around NZD 15,- per person. But then you just get bush toilets and would need to have all the equipment to survive in your backpack.

If you should decide to walk the complete round (Greenstone or Caples Track back), then you should know that you will need all the equipment. There are huts (around NZD 10,- per person), but no electricity, gas cookers or similar. You’ll also need food and water for around 5 days. That’s quite a lot of stuff to carry!

Remember that you are always walking (feels like climbing with all the stuff on your back) up the hills, down into the valleys and up again. We’ve had all the stuff for 5 days, but decided “only” to walk the Routeburn.

 

You should count 3 days for the Routeburn Track:

Sure, some guys/gals do it in 2, but I would recommend 3 to take it slowly and to enjoy the great scenery!

Day 1 – Divide Shelter – Mackenzie Hut

We’ve started at the Divide Shelter (western side), passed the Howden Hut (just at the first hill) and went to the Mackenzie Hut to sleep there. You’ll need about 4 – 6 hours without any breaks. The Mackenzie Hut lies beautifully at the Lake Mackenzie.

 

Day 2 – Mackenzie Hut – Routeburn Falls Hut

That part is said to be the nicest! I can’t tell, as we were unlucky and it rained heavily all day long and even snowed at the Harris Saddle pass (1277m). We were only able to make 1 single photo that day! That day was horrible at that time, but great afterwards! At the top of the pass, is a small shelter, where you can rest for a break. But it’s not heated and if the weather is cold and rainy, walking keeps you warmer. You should try to get a bed at the Routeburn Falls Hut as it lies right next to a big waterfall and with an awesome view down the valley! Another possibility is the Routeburn Flat Hut, a bit further and right at the bottom, in the valley. You’ll need about 4 – 6 hours from the Mackenzie to the Routeburn Falls Hut & another hour to the Routeburn Flat Hut.

 

Day 3 – Routeburn Falls Hut – Routeburn Shelter

That day will take you all the way down into the valley. You’ll pass the Routeburn Flat Hut and will cross several times rivers with using hanging bridges. For that part you should need about 3 – 4 hours. You should start early if you want to make it for the bus transfer. Make sure to get the right times, but I think the last bus was about noon or 2 pm at the Routeburn Shelter.

 

More useful Routeburn Track links:

If you shouldn’t have all the equipment with you... here is a great travel tip:

Where to rent your tramping gear in Te Anau

PDF File - Routeburn Track Map

PDF File - Routeburn Track Brochure

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Top Offbeat Places to Go Kayaking in the World

Kayaking is one of the best adventure sports for thrillseekers from all around the world.

If you are fond of water sports, then you will definitely love kayaking whilst enjoying pristine views. In this watersport, a small boat is used that is known as a ‘Kayak.’ Kayaking derives its name from Kayaks.

Kayaks have a double-bladed oar, which is used for paddling. These boats are available in different sizes and shapes, there is an enclosed deck to cover the legs of the rower. Most Kayaks usually have a single-seating arrangement, however, some kayaks also have a seating arrangement for two to three persons.

Kayaking is an exciting water sport that can be done on almost any water body. Kayaking usually involves other activities such as fishing or camping. There are different types of kayaks which are made for different conditions.

If you are aiming to have a race, the boat will be made differently than the whitewater kayaks. You can have a great time while kayaking in the rivers, ocean, lakes and other similar water bodies.

There are thousands of kayaking spots around the world. Let us take a look at some of the most thrilling and beautiful kayaking spots where you can enjoy the sport in all its glory.

 

Thrilling Kayaking Spots Around the World

Milford Sound, New Zealand

While looking for the best kayaking destinations around the world, you can’t ignore this place. The Southwestern part of New Zealand is full of beautiful and world famous fjords among which Milford Sound is a really beautiful place. It is surrounded by lush green forests and is a heaven for beginners who want to try their hand at kayaking. You can have a tour guide if you are doing it for the first time.

 

Sea of Cortez, Baza California, Mexico

If you want an incredible natural view while kayaking, this is the perfect place for you. The amazing marine life, bright sunny days and clear water are perfect for having a great day of outing. If you want more adventure, you can navigate to the interior portions on your kayak. If you are lucky, you can also spot whales! Stay safe and enjoy the thrill.

 

Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

Did you say Hawaii? Now, this is one of the most wonderful places around the world which is famous for adventure sports. Whether it is snorkeling or kayaking, enjoying watersports at the Pacific Ocean is really amazing. Get your kayak and paddle beside the cascading waterfalls and green cliffs. You may even come across dolphins and sharks while kayaking!

 

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

While Kayaking in Canada’s Vancouver island, you may come across Orcas swimming alongside your boat! This place is one of the best places to experience kayaking as you can get the chance to explore amazing local wildlife. You can spot humpback whales, porpoises, seals, river otters and many other sea animals.

 

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

If you are on a tour of Europe, you will find countless mesmerizing places there. But if you are looking for the best kayaking zone, that is definitely this coast of Croatia. Hot summer days, bright sun, crystal clear water and numerous coves can be explored here! If you are looking for spending some private time away from the eyes of the world, this place is simply perfect for that.

 

Amazon

For those who seek adventure and thrill, the Amazon is the place to be at!  Kayaking here is a unique experience. Spending few days away from the civilization and experiencing the true adventure can only be possible if you are in Amazon.

 

Hebrides, Scotland

This is one of the colder Kayaking destinations - a rarity! This is at the north-western coast of Scotland which is one of the most remote parts of the UK. If you want to stay away from the crowd and lose yourself in nature’s beauty, this is the best place for that. The turquoise water will amaze you, and this is also a great place for kayaking if you are a beginner.

 

Sermilik Fjord, Greenland

Irritated by the hot summers? You can travel all the way to Greenland to experience the most exotic kayaking experience in the world! The calm waters of Greenland with sheets of floating icebergs provides an excellent view. Moreover, you can also spot whales and seals there.

 

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Kayaking at this island means you get to spend a lot of time with yourself or with your loved ones! The unique white sand beaches, coral reefs, blue water and marine life with turtles and dolphins are an amazing sight to watch while kayaking here. If you are experienced paddlers, you can arrange a self-guided tour by hiring a kayaking kit.

 

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

If you are kayaking to this place, cruise along the 2000 ft. sea cliffs. You can experience mist-covered valleys, sea caves formed by lava, remote beaches, waterfalls and lots of other wonders of nature. While kayaking here, you can also come across monk seals, different types of tropical birds, dolphins and lots of other marine life.

 

Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

If you ask the top adventurers of the world, they will definitely tell you about this place. Icy glaciers, high snow-capped mountain peaks, cobalt blue waterbody- what more do you need for a mesmerizing kayaking experience? While kayaking here, you can enjoy the experience of watching Glacier Gray, one of the most amazing glaciers in the world.

 

Fiordland, New Zealand

When you are in this country, you will get pure wilderness of nature. This place is perfect for the paddlers as they can enjoy the azure blue water surrounded by dense rainforests. You should remember that the place is absolutely remote and there is no lodging place around, only pure nature. The place is only accessed by boats and helicopters. You can enjoy camping in the region too.

 

Soca River, Slovenia

Surrounded by the Julian Alps, the Soca River flows in Slovenia which is gaining immense popularity as one of the best kayaking destinations around the world. If you prefer whitewater rafting, this is the perfect destination for you. The calm water of Soca River is suitable for beginners.

 

Svalbard, Norway

The beauty of Svalbard will leave you amazed. Kayaking here is one of the best experiences you can treat yourself with. It is advised to plan at least a week-long trip at this place. While kayaking, you will get to see the floating icebergs around you. Svalbard offers a unique wildlife experience. Over here, you come across some indigenous animal species such as polar bears, walruses, arctic foxes, and reindeers.

 

Glacier Bay, Alaska, USA

This place has been regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are looking for amazing scenery while kayaking through massive glaciers, this is the place to be! The view of the temperate rainforest, snow-capped mountains, deep blue fjords and wild coastline will challenge the adventurer in you. Be careful while kayaking here as the water is harsh and you need experience to paddle here.

 

Halong Bay, Vietnam

The Halong Bay of Vietnam is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and it consists of 1,600 islands. There are several sea caves to explore, mangroves and tunnels. Not only can you experience the pristine beauty of nature, but you also get the opportunity to get along with the coastal community and know about their culture. By paddling, you can also reach to the floating market of Mekong Delta which is quite a unique experience in itself.

 

Andean Fjords, Patagonia, Chile

At this location, the Andes Mountain meets the sea, and therefore, the view is magnificent. The glacial valleys, snow-capped mountains, and the rainforest add variations and layers to the landscape. While kayaking here, there are great chances to come across sea lions, dolphins and penguins.

 

Yasawas, Fiji

If you like to kayak in warm waters this is the place where you should go. While kayaking, you can visit the nearby villages or remote places to spend some time alone. To cover three to four islands, you should kayak for 3-4 days and enjoy the camping experience on the remote islands and beaches.

 

Vang Vieng, Laos

If you are in Laos, then fix a day for kayaking on the Nam Song River. To enjoy the pure natural beauty of the place along with exploring the area, a day or two isn’t enough. Go to the underground rivers, swim as per your heart’s content and explore the sea caves as these are some additional fun water activities you can do along with kayaking.

 

So, these are top 19 kayaking destinations from around the world where you can get an experience of a lifetime!

We hope we have helped you plan your next kayaking trip.

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Odlo Performance Blackcomb Base Layer Shirt w/ Face Mask Review

The Odlo Performance Blackcomb Base Layer Shirt is a hooded and body-mapped synthetic baselayer shirt that’s good for aerobic cold-weather sports where you need a wicking baselayer that pulls moisture away from your skin so you stay dry and don’t get chilled. Specs at a Glance Weight: Men’s XL – 9.6 oz Fabric: 79% polyamide/16% …

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Lessons from Miles 0-100

Don’t Jump the Gun
Well folks, here we are! The calendar year Triple Crown is officially underway and of course there have been a few hiccups here and there but that’s what I’m here to talk about!
Let’s start with the beginning. Upon registering for my AT thru-hike, Bob informed me that my starting plan may have been a bit too aggressive. At the time, I scoffed at him. I had been training heavily for this; ...

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Missing AT Hiker’s Body Found Near Approach Trail in Georgia

The body of a missing Appalachian Trail hiker bound for Maine was discovered Wednesday afternoon near a creek about a mile from the Hike Inn Trail in Georgia, Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson said at a news conference Wednesday night.
Eddie Noonkester of North Carolina, who began his hike on the Approach Trail in Amicalola Falls State Park on Friday, Feb. 14, was reported missing on Sunday after a friend called 911 to report concerns about Noonkester’s health. ...

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Day 1- Amicalola Falls #266

Ron at Yellow Blazin drove me to Amicalola. I walked 600+ steps. I stopped, ate, and drank a couple times.
There’s a gentleman that’s lost, so it was hard not to think about him, his family, and the people he touched, like Bob who gave me the AT introduction. The parking lot was full of people looking to find him.
My gear was all delivered to the visitors center rather than the lodge as labeled. The front desk lady told me I’d have to hit the stairs again to go get em before volunteering to make the drive. ...

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What Backpackers Need are Textured Stuff Sacks

Imagine reaching into your backpack and being able to pull at the exact stuff sack you need because it feels different from the others. Using different colored stuff sacks to pack different gear types is great, but you still have to take them all out of your backpack to find the one you want. But …

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Etna Hiker’s Hut on the PCT is Closing Down

2020 is shaping up to be a year of big changes in the PCT trail angel community. Following announcements from Hiker Heaven, Casa de Luna, and Scout and Frodo, yesterday, another popular hiker location announced that they will be closing their doors.
According to the PCT Class of 2020 and the Scott Valley News facebook pages, Dave and Vibeke Harrison are closing down Etna’s Alderbrook Manor Bed and Breakfast and PCT hostel Hiker’s Hut along with it. ...

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Sherpa Mike Preppin for some AT Trekkin

As the winter wears on, I wonder if I should have set an earlier start date. I will head up the approach trail to Springer on March 30. I sectioned to NC on March 7, 2014. Learned a valuable lesson. Don’t take advice from people who haven’t through hiked. Local outfitter in MA said, bring a 40 degree bag. That’s plenty warm. Don’t make that mistake. It snowed and I froze my butt off.  Better prepared now. ...

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