Everyday is Different (Part One) – The Humpridge Track

“On a Mish” #98 Everyday is Different – Part One. The Humpridge Track. Fiordland National Park. 25.4.2011. Hidden away on New Zealand’s rugged south coast is a hiking trail like no other in the country. Within the three days of hiking you will see everything that makes the South Island of Aotearoa one of the world’s most valuable treasures. Everyday is different, and many magic memories will be made while you wander the track for your three (long-ish) days. From the golden sand of the beach into the fresh green of the forest, and also a taste of alpine adventure to cap off 61km of captivating trekking. I was lucky enough to become the Track Manager for a couple of years, but before managing the track I had to walk it!

The summer of 20102011 was a shaky one for the people of Christchurch, and after I finished my work on the Routeburn Track we regrouped in Queenstown and began the voyage south to the booming metropolis of Tuatapere. Located almost as far away from the populated places in the southern island of Aotearoa as possible, Tuatapere is known as the sausage capital of New Zealand. I was told this and at first thought it meant it was a town of mostly men… As we drove over the rolling plains of Southland little did I know that in the future I would be travelling the very same roads on a weekly basis. But on this mish I was on virgin ground and enjoying seeing the far south for the first time. Tuatapere, a town that I would call home for three years, is a sleepy little part of the country and as we drove up the main road to our hotel it was its normal quiet self. At the Tuatapere Hotel we enjoyed a good feed while we watched the New Zealand Breakers (basketball team) win the NBL without the sound on. I guess the hotel patrons weren’t basketball fans! The hotel’s charm and rustic nature adds to the adventure, and we all slept well in the old school mesh spring beds.

Early-ish the next morning we tucked into the breakfast buffet along with a couple of other hikers who were preparing themselves for their own wander on the track. After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and began to head west towards the remote mountains of South West Fiordland. A paved road became a dirt track, and the houses of the town thinned to just farm paddocks and the waves crashing on the gravel beaches of the rugged southern coastline. We drove into the Rarakau car park at the entrance to the track and began to prepare ourselves for the trip, and as we did we got our first taste of southern rain. My folks dropped their hiking backpacks off to be flown up to the lodge, a very good option for those who do not want to tackle the 1000m climb with the weight of a full tramping pack bearing down on their weary joints. It was late April, with snow in the forecast and we had a 21km track and a 1km vertical metre climb ahead of us before we arrived at Okaka, the first lodge on the track. It was time to go on a mish

Sunsetting on the Tors of the Humpridge Track’s Alpine Section

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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