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French Pass, D'Urville Island, Arapawa Island...thoughts?

French Pass, D'Urville Island, Arapawa Island...thoughts?

Dec 9th, 2010, 12:25 AM
  #1  
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French Pass, D'Urville Island, Arapawa Island...thoughts?

I'm in the early stages of planning a return visit to the SI of NZ. As we've been many times, I'm trying to find some new areas that we've not yet explored. French Pass, D' Urville Island and Arapawa Island have caught my eye. We love the Marlborough Sounds, but previous visits have been limited to the areas along the Queen Charlotte Track, Kenepuru Sound and Endeavor Inlet.

Just wondering if anyone has any insight into these areas as well as other out-of-the way, off-the-main-drag potential gems that we might have overlooked previously.

We're always on the hunt for new tracks too, so any suggestions in that regard would also be much appreciated.
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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Have you done the Hump Ridge yet? Most of the people I met were Kiwis we all had a great time at the lodge. You can helicopter in one pack between the two of you and bring food, drink and fortifications as needed. The first day is uphill, rest is downhill or flat. Breakfast of porridge is provided each day.

http://humpridgetrack.co.nz/index.ph...=3&m=&sm=&pp=1
mlgb is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 02:13 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for that mlgb. I just looked at the Hump Ridge website, definitely intriguing. I wonder if we'd freeze down there in June? Looks like the lodges don't have gas, cooking equipment or hot water that time of year. I'll bet it's nice and quiet though...
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Dec 28th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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Hi, Melnq8,
My sister, bro-in-law and some of their adult family did the Hump Ridge last January. They struck shocking weather and found it very heavy-going even though they are all fit and had trained for this track. June might not be the best time to go being winter. Mind you, they are about to go on the Heaphy Track tomorrow, and the weather in that area yesterday led to people being rescued! Perhaps they shouldn't do these tramps!
I'm assuming you have looked at the West Coast around Karamea upwards - the Oparara Basin, although rental cars probably wouldn't be allowed in parts of that area, but there are tours; Jackson Bay the furtherest south on the West Coast you can drive has a couple of walks but would only take a half a day at most, fabulous drive there, watch out for yellowheads which are a bird at risk.
Collingwood, Takaka, and Puponga all offer interesting walks, and are steeped in history. Puponga was a coal-mining region - my husband can remember as a boy visiting one of the mines and meeting several of the pit ponies, one of which was still alive in 1973 when I first visited there!
Drive through Puponga to the end of the road and from there you can access Wharariki Beach - home to seals, sand dunes and interesting rocks with holes in them just off shore. Of course there is also the trip to Farewell Spit, which leaves from Collingwood.
Happy planning for your trip.
dottyp is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Hi again, Melnq8,

have a look at these websites for some more info on what I mentioned earlier.

http://www.whararikibeachholidaypark...ng-beaches.htm

http://www.oparara.co.nz/

http://aatravel.co.nz

I know you will have checked out the aa site, but it is useful for info about other places too.

Ciao,
Dot
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Dec 28th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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You'd run the same risks as tramping anywhere in Fiordland, ie wet and or snow. When I went the huts were not heated but they had a fire in the dining room. It was quite cold and they had an extra stock of sleeping bags, gave each of us a topper for the night (this was up on the ridge).

I understand there is a lot more boardwalk now, when I did it the track was less developed and muddy in spots. I think you would want some good knees for those downhill boardwalk sections.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 05:12 PM
  #7  
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Thanks guys. Unfortunately, I don't have good knees anymore, thanks to an injury received while tramping in NZ!

Great suggestions dotty...we've visited the areas you've recommended, but we'd happily visit all of them again (and again).

Funny that you mention Collingwood, as I was just looking for accommodation options in the area yesterday. We've spent quite a bit of time in Takaka, and have done the Collingwood Spit 4x4 tour, walked a portion of the Heaphy (from the Karamea end too) but haven't done much walking around Collingwood. I love Wharariki Beach, but was only aware of the walk over the hill and down to the beach, is there more walking around there?

We've also walked in the Pu Pu Springs area, up arond Cobb Ridge in Upper Takaka and from Totaranui to Mutton Cove. Wouldn't mind doing that one again either.

Would you happen to know if there are any walks in/around Pohara?

I didn't realize Puponga was a former coal mining area..the things you learn on Fodor's!
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 10:41 PM
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I thought i remembered that you had a knee problem, but didn't know if you ever had it repaired.

There might be an option to helicopter down from the ridge to the beach (Day2) but that would be a shame. The change in vegetation from the ridge down to the coast was very interesting and there were a lot of birds including kakas which I hadn't seen much of elsewhere.

Have you ever done any of the Stewart Island hikes? I think some are quite level. I've never made it over there.
mlgb is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Ahh - Cobb Ridge! We drove into the area with cousins who live in Motueka (thanks to whom I have seem a fair bit of the area between Motueka and Collingwood, the rest thanks to DH) and was petrified most of the way in especially when we met someone who wanted our share of the road as well as his! It is an interesting area to look around. Sorry, I can't help with walks in Pohara - I'm not as active as you, I have to confess. I'll put my thinking cap on though.
dottyp is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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mlgb -

The knee has been repaired twice, but will never be the same.

Yes, we spent three days on Stewart Island and did quite a bit of walking.
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Dec 29th, 2010, 07:56 PM
  #11  
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dotty -

Excellent website for Wharariki Beach, thanks for that.
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