Published: August 6th 2007April 25th 2007
For our last few days in New Zealand, we thought it would be great to do a three day trek or "tramp" as they call it here!
Following advice, we headed inland to Arthur's Pass, about 2 hours from Christchurch, in the heart of the South Island. We bought a big topo map and stocked our bags full of camping gear and dried food. We spent the first night in Arthur's Pass planning our route at the local YHA, before heading to Cass the next morning, where we began our trek. Over the two nights that we were "tramping". we stayed in Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts. These huts were available for a small fee and were very basic.
Day 1: We headed from Cass (a small town 50km south of Arthur's Pass) to Hamilton Hut. The first day took about 6 hours, where we walked just short of 20km. Unfortunately about an hour into Day 1, Dom fell in a stream and broke the camera! Hence the lack of photos! It was the first time we'd been on a long walk with our backpacks and we found it difficult to balance ourselves! We shared Hamilton Hut that night
We found this in the middle of nowhere shortly after Cass!
with a english couple, Dave and Phillipa, who kindly agreed to forward some photos to us (which we will then put on here). We spent the night playing cards in front of a log fire.
Day 2: Today we followed the nearby Harper river about 3 hours down stream to the Pinnacles, a fascinating geological formation. The walk was tricky, having to wade up to our knees in freezing water, most of the way. It was well worth it as the Pinnacles were quite spectacular. Formed three to seven million years ago the Pinnacles were perfectly pointed peices of rock, created due to the rain erroding the rock around them. They look like huge stalagmites but out in the open. We returned to Hamilton Hut that evening and found ourselves alone. We really enjoyed building our own fire and cooking on our little (though VERY powerful) gas stove.
Day 3: We were in for a tough walk from Hamilton Hut to Bealey Hut. As with Day 1, there was around 20km of walking of several different terrains (and lots of ups and downs!). The beautiful forest merged into some spectacular scenery at the top of Lagoon Saddle, where we had great 360 degree views of the mountain range - we wish we could have captured it on Camera. After arriving at Bealey Hut early at 2pm, we decided not to stay over at the Hut, but instead try to hitchhike our way back to Christchurch that day (before it got dark at 6pm).
Being hitchhike novices we weren't sure what to expect. We'd been told that Kiwis were very friendly towards hitchikers so were farely positive about our chances. After about 5 minutes we got a lift from a local on his way to Sheffield, 60km from Christchurch. After half an hour of waiting in Sheffield with no luck, we began to get a little worried. Fortunately a nice lady in a school bus took us as far as the next town, Darffield. From here we persuaded an Irish guy to give us a lift into Christchurch, just in the nick of time!