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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 backpacker.com/nz12.
THE NARNIA TRACK, SOUTH ISLAND
Hike to Aslan’s refuge on a picturesque sheep farm in the South Island’s most-overlooked national park.
Smack in the middle of the South Island is a vast, verdant upland whose crown jewel is a lightly visited preserve known as Arthur’s Pass National Park. The region teems with fluffy sheep that graze beneath mountain landscapes worthy of a Swiss postcard, and is split by the aptly named Great Alpine Highway. Midway along the highway is Flock Hill Lodge, a ranch so large its owners visit the back acres by ultralight helicopter. And threading across this working sheep station is one of our favorite South Island hikes. The 15-mile Narnia Track crosses tundra-like pastures ringed by snowcapped peaks, offering horizons you feel like you could hike towards forever and never quite reach. The rarely-hiked route also visits multiple filming locations from the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. You’ll pass under Aslan’s Rock, detour into the valley where William rallied his troops against the White Witch, and cross a broad meadow where the production crew camped.

Do it
Simply ask permission and get a map at the main lodge (flockhill.co.nz) before hiking the track. Cost $




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READERS COMMENTS

Niky
Mar 23, 2012

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

Sara
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.

Honora
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.

SuJi
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

Tony
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.

jacksukow@hotmail.com
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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