I’ve only been tramping (hiking) for two years but have fallen for it quickly, doing ten multi-day walks in New Zealand (mostly Great Walks), and a bunch of day walks in New Zealand, Sydney and Patagonia (Argentina and Chile). Some days can be pretty tough but moments like those below make it all worthwhile.
Lake Harris and Lake Mackenzie, Routeburn Track
My first Great Walk, first multi-day tramp, and still one of the best walks I’ve done, helped by perfect tramping weather (cool, but sunny and clear), if perhaps not the 18kg pack. Have learnt since what to bring. The whole thing was pretty special but two moments stand out. Firstly when I turned the corner and was confronted by Lake Harris, glistening and deep blue, and soon after heading over the saddle to see Lake Mackenzie, and the hut, my home for the night, in the seemingly endless distance.
Somewhat closer to home, but no less spectacular. Was heading back from Whites Beach to Piha via the Laird Thomson Track, turned the corner and saw this. Instantly broke into a big smile 🙂
Rangipo Hut, Tongariro Around The Mountain
Or more accurately the almost infinite views from the hut down the hillside and across the empty New Zealand landscape. Felt like the only human alive.
I’m making this up but it seems plausible given the amount of rain and sunshine that New Zealand is the best place in the world to see rainbows. I seriously thought my eyes were playing tricks on me during Tongariro Around The Mountain (was a tough tramp) when I saw the image below. I had to take a photo to confirm that yes, it was a rainbow below me. The rainbow on the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island was much needed scenic relief after a day of trudging through bush and mud.
Don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunrise as awe-inspiring as that which greeted me on Stewart Island before starting the Rakiura Track, or one as strange as on the Tongariro Northern Circuit, when I saw the glory effect in action, as my silhouette was projected onto the clouds below me.
I very much doubt I’ll ever see again the effect of 39cm of rain in 24 hours on a landscape, with waterfalls surging where they normally flowed, and appearing where they never normally would. I got completely soaking through, and was lucky to avoid hypothermia, but it was worth it.
Sometimes it’s the small things that are special, such as these epic spiders webs glistening in the morning sunshine, on a huge volcano in Auckland harbour.
Being a relative beginner with no alpine training or experience I’m a little wary of tramping with snow on the ground, but an early fall in May was manageable and added scenic magic to Roy’s Peak in Wanaka, and the Big Hill Track in Arrowtown, while Tierra del Fuego in December surprised with snow at less than 1,000m.
Lunch with a view doesn’t come much better than lying on a bed of thick grass on the side of a hill on Mototapu (island in the Hauraki Gulf, an hour by boat from Auckland) looking at this.
I’ve seen a lot of lakes but Nordenskjold Lake in Torres del Paine on a perfectly still day with the sun breaking through the clouds is pretty hard to beat.