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Home / The Sunday Afternoons Blog / New Zealand Field Report



By Jenn Byrne for Sunday Afternoons

December 3rd, 2018

New Zealand has no shortage of activities and variety in landscapes, and boy did we cover some ground in order to accomplish as much as we could in the five weeks we were there. We drove the length of the country from Auckland to the Milford Sound and back, a distance of over 2,000+ miles. By the end of it, I’m pretty sure my pal Ryan was more comfortable driving on the left than the right side of the road, although at the beginning it took a few reminders through clenched teeth. Over the course of our trip, we went on five multi-day tracks. The tracks, as they call them, are well established paths or routes taken by foot, canoeing or kayaking. A few of them were deemed “Great Walks,” premier tracks through arguably some of the best scenery the country has to offer.

Ryan wearing the Shorebreak Artist Series Trucker Cap, holding a map pointing into the distance with emerald green lakes in the background of the Tongariro Northern Circuit.

Ryan navigating the Tongariro Northern Circuit.

Ryan enjoying a dehydrated backpaker mela while wearing the Shorebreak Artist Series Trucker Cap

Ryan pretending to enjoy a dehydrated meal, but really he was just enjoying the view.

Picture of Mount Ngauruhoe through a steamed window....very artistic shot.

The Tongariro Northern Circuit circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe, and a hut we stayed in along the way offered quite the view of it.

Ryan bailing water from a recently capsized canoe on the Whanganui Great Walk while wearing the Cruiser Wide Brimmed Hat

We proved we were better hikers than canoers fairly quickly on the Whanganui Journey Great Walk. Ryan cleared our canoe of any water we had already taken on, and then we faced our first rapid—and there was no saving us from capsizing.

Ryan taking a snooze on a rock in the middle of a pristine lake while wearing the Shorebreak Artist Series Trucker Cap. Amazing view mountains of the Routeburn Track Great Walk.

Ryan taking a nap after completing the Routeburn Track Great Walk in nearly a day.

The bright red Brewster Hut on a grassy hill side with snow covered peaks peering through overcast skies

The Brewster Hut was not considered a Great Walk but was certainly one of my favorite overnights on the trip. The track was a treacherous incline where you had to use tree roots to hoist yourself up for nearly an hour and a half.

A couple playing cards on a wood table in the Brewster hut while zipped up in their sleeping bags and wearing the Overtime and Neptune beanies. Looks cold!

We were rewarded with great views, solitude in the hut, and even better company.

2 women jumping off a rock sculpted by water with a small tree growing out of the top in the ocean wearing hats and bathing suits.

Cooling off by jumping off a sea stack shortly after leaving shore for our three-day trip.

Jenn Byrne and Ryan toasting to a trip well done while wearing the Woodlands Artist Series Trucker Cap and the Aerial Cap. Pretty neat metal sculpture in the background.

Having a pint at Awaroa Lodge, a hotel accessible only by foot, boat or helicopter, inside Abel Tasman’s National Park. It is situated just before a tidal crossing, so we conveniently had some time to kill. (PS: that’s me!)

Picture of a forest and swimming hole from behind a small water fall.

Spending the last of our days with shorter day hikes and more mileage by car.

Pro-tip: Book your bunks in huts and/or campsites on the Great Walks early. They often sell out!



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