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Backpacker Magazine – March 2012

Died and Gone to New Zealand

Hiker heaven, redefined, is a month-long hike/paddle/camp in Adventureland.

by: Jonathan Dorn and Michael Lanza

Whanganui River, North Island (Michael Lanza)
Whanganui River, North Island (Michael Lanza)
Mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest, North Island (Katie Herrell)
Mountain biking in Whakarewarewa Forest, North Island (Katie Herrell)
Narnia Track, South Island (Jonathan Dorn)
Narnia Track, South Island (Jonathan Dorn)
Queen Charlotte Track, South Island (Scott Bischke)
Queen Charlotte Track, South Island (Scott Bischke)
Doubtful Sound, South Island (Michael Lanza)
Doubtful Sound, South Island (Michael Lanza)
Rees-Dart Track, South Island (James Kay)
Rees-Dart Track, South Island (James Kay)
Abel Tasman Coast (David Wall)
Abel Tasman Coast (David Wall)

Online Exclusive
View interactive maps of these routes at
Huts Use DOC huts ( for most tracks. Prices vary with services, but start at about $15NZ/night. Also, check the New Zealand Alpine Club huts ( All are near life-list quality treks and packed with artifacts and guidebooks.

Maps Get 1:50,000 topos at outdoor stores or DOC offices. The Topo50 series covers both islands; maps cost $9NZ each:

Guidebook Tramping in New Zealand, $22NZ,


GPS data Get free tracklogs and waypoints for all of the trips listed here—and more—at


“It’s a roving basecamp, rustic love nest, and budgetsaving bombshelter rolled into one,” our editor-in-chief says of the cozy campervan he and his wife rented for their 20th anniversary trip to the South Island. “You can go anywhere, anytime, and never worry about waiting out storms in a tiny, sodden tent.” The price of freedom— about $180NZ/ day for a two-berth campervan with shower, toilet, sink, microwave, refrigerator, and satellite TV—is less than you’d pay for a car-andhotel combo, with lots more storage space. Bring your own towels, and reserve an automatic transmission in advance if you can’t drive a lefthanded manual. Rent from

Our scout’s favorite South Island campervan sites
» Franz Josef Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park,
» Mt. Aspiring/Wanaka Aspiring Campervan Park,
» Mt. Cook Glentanner Park Centre,

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Reader Rating: -


Mar 23, 2012

oh my god...i must go's fantastic...=O

Feb 27, 2012

Just got back from the south island, and we brought along this artciel to hike the Narnia Track. Initially, when we stopped by Flock Hill, they told us that only guests staying there were allowed to hike it! After some persuading, they agreed to let us do it (we had to fill out permit-like paperwork and keep it with us). While the scenery was gorgeous and we're glad we did it, we got horrible directions on how to do the hike and didn't receive any map. So, we ended up just kind of wandering around the area and after a few hours of walking came across a sign that said "narnia track", but we still weren't really sure where the actual track was. The area is a working ranch, so we kept wandering off on different vehicle tracks, only to have them peter out to nothing in a grassy field. So, we enjoyed the scenery and everything, but it was kind of a confusing wandering kind of a day rather than an actual route.

Feb 17, 2012

Does it cost anything to hike on Flock Hill station. I'm sure if it doesn't, they're be so thrilled that you've publicised them to this extent.

Feb 16, 2012

Better yet...have spent over 6 months there on 2 diffeerent occasions visiting this paradise for hikers....have purchased older (Mitsubishi)vehicles on both occasions and then sold them for exactly what we had paid for them...costing nothing except the insurance and gas

Feb 16, 2012

The Queen Charlotte is an excellent track which can be walked or mountain biked at certain times of the year. Highly recomended!

Dingo (New Zealand)
Feb 16, 2012

New Zealand certainly has the wow factor when it comes to hiking regardless if you are visiting the North Island or the South Island. It reallly is the outdoor playground of the world.
Feb 16, 2012

A much better option than 180 dollars a day to rent a camper van
which you will have to pay another fee to park , is to rent a car from
a local rental agency for only $30 a day, and camp or stay at hostels
for ten to sixty dollars per night.


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