/ New Zealand walks and maps?
I got tramping in NZ, lonely planet guide. It did the trick.
I did print out bits from this website though which is great.
Milford track needs booking months in advance if you are going to do that. I ran it in a day which doesn't need booking, but does need boats, it was hard but better than the 4 days of 15km a day which you have to do if you walk it.
Routeburn is supposed to be lovely.
There are a few great day walk trails through the rainforest in the Catlins, but you are probably best off just asking the guest house owner about these when you get there.
It's not like this country where you can plan routes just by gazing at the map and joining up peaks. The forest is pretty dense and the mountains are pretty steep which sort of makes you stick to the trails.
All of the country's DOC mapping is available here.
DOC (Department of Conservation) also sell the sheets, which are widely available from their numerous regional offices out there.
Also, I thought the Kepler Track was brilliant, as was the section we did of the Stewart Island track over the island to Mason Bay.
The Abel Tasman is very busy and flat coastal scenery, but good fun. The Hump Ridge Track was beautiful but repetative andwalking on boardwalks for the most part. Didn't do the Milford Track as it's renknown for being busy and we hadn't booked. The Rees Dart would be a good one travelling through some fantastic scenery, but still fairly flat by the standards of some of the others - probably be reasonably quiet too. A walk alon the Matukituki is well worthwhile too.Did a few others but can't remember what they were off hand. It's all good stuff for the most part.
can the Milford trail be condensed
No, it's either 1 day or 4 days. You can't just book the middle hut. 1 day is tough as you have to charter a boat at the north, and you have to be finished by 1630 (I think) for the boat at the south end.
A few previous threads about going to NZ which may help, all with a different slant but hey...
I did a fair bit of tramping when I was out there, mostly in the Tararuas as we were based in Wellington, so I only spent one day on one of the big name tracks which was the Abel Tasman. For me the great thing about Kiwi tramping was getting into some seriously wild wilderness, an opportunity that is hard to come by in this country, tramping for hours and days without seeing another soul. So my two cents would be to find something a bit more low key where the route won't be under so much pressure rather than going for a honey pot.
As others have said DOC (Department of Conservation) is the best source of advice and info www.doc.govt.nz. They tend to have shop type info centres around the place which are dead handy for getting local conditions and maps from.
More generally I'd echo what others have said about it being a gear shift from this country - I vividly remember a 700m ascent which was hanging onto tree roots and grass tufts the whole way (and I was carrying two packs but that's another story), the track builders don't f*ck about with nice contouring and switchbacks, straight up she goes! Routes tend to be multi-day so get used to a heavy pack. Also make sure you know what you are doing for river crossings if your route entails any, don't expect there to be a nice footbridge if the track crosses a creek!
Have you got any idea of your itinerary yet?
There are loads of great walks around Queenstown and the Fiordlands without having to do the Milford so don't worry about not doing that.
Trails are well marked, but there are no maps.
Bear in mind the weekend 7th December is the Kepler Challenge so Te Anau (last settlement before Milford Sound) is likely to be very busy/booked out.
I went with the missus a good few years ago now and it was fantastic. Bit short on time at the moment, but here's a couple of highlights:
You don't mention if you're planning on visiting both islands, but the Tongariro Crossing is a must if you're in the North - the scenery is quite literally out of this world. If you have time I'd recommend the circuit which takes 3-4 days at fairly a leisurely pace, but the location of the huts puts you in a great position to beat the crowds who are doing the day route.
My recommendation for the south is a little bit more obscure (i.e. not necessarily in the main guidebooks) but Nelson Lakes has some great walks. We spent a night in Angelus hut on the recommendation of someone we met on the Tongariro Circuit and when we finally get around to going back that area will be first on my list to go and explore further.
If you're interested I may still have a map of that area, so PM me. It might take me a couple of weeks to get back to you though.
Tomorrow I should book my flight out to NZ at end December - for 6 weeks. I will be heading for Nelson (staying/based with a fell running contact) and heading into the hills of S. Island from there.
When I was there 4 years ago I took the Lonely Planet 'Tramping in New Zealand' - this proved invaluable and will be going with me again for basic routes and ideas. I would recommend it 100%, you can plan everything from that single book. Buy it now!
I shall do Nelson Lakes from St Arnaud again, but a longer route. I'll probably avoid the great walks as too crowded and too much faffing with booking etc.
Where are you off to?
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