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North Shore Tramping Club

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  • 25 Jun 2022 6:26 PM | Anonymous

    If you are interested in doing some tree planting, here's options all around Auckland. And of course you'll probably want to enjoy a short hike, tramping, walk whilst in these stunning parks.

  • 24 Jun 2022 5:57 PM | Anonymous

    by Joanna

    He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature – Socrates

    The morning meet up began at the sensible time of 8.30am outside the Takapuna library. The large yellow tramping bus was ready and waiting for all the eager trampers to gather and greet each other. As it was only my second tramp with the group, I was interested to meet people I had never met before and reunite with the previous tramp’s participants.

    Excitedly, we all boarded the old American school bus styled tramping transport and settled in for the journey to Mangawhai. People were chatting happily reminiscing about past hikes and sharing wisdom and knowledge. The atmosphere was welcoming.

    The bus stopped ultimately at our destination which was at the end of a long forest road quite close to the majestic Mangawhai Beach. The huge pine trees lined the road, and the forest floor was covered with pine needles which gave off a pleasant pine aroma which took me back to childhood days playing carefree in the woods.  

    Enthusiastically, we all put on the necessary wind breakers and secured our back packs which carried our valuable sustenance. Some people had walking poles which lead me to believe these individuals were the experienced ones. As we strolled out of the shelter of the thick trees and onto the wild, white, sandy beach the ocean’s powerful negative ions washed over us. As we inhaled in abundance the invisible molecules, I felt my serotonin levels increasing, stress levels melting and energy levels boosting.

    The walk had commenced, and everyone fell into their own personal comfort zone pace. My legs went into auto pilot, and I enjoyed trying to accomplish my mission of talking with everyone. The beach stretched for miles ahead of us and we tramped along until we reached a small stream flowing across the golden sand and down to the stormy sea.

    Methodically, we all tried our own way to cross the stream. Some with ease stomping through the shallows and some trying to find short cuts. This was the deciding factor of who ended up in the fast group and who ended up in the second to fast group. However, we all met up at the start of the track at Te Arai Point and reconvened for a recharge and some fantastic photo opportunities. Te Arai means “the shelter” and that was what we did briefly.

    Next, we set off over Te Arai Point up and down grassy paths testing our fitness and endurance until we reached the other side where we descended onto the pearly white sands again. However, we were no longer alone. There were signs of other human life in the form of sand carters, a type of small go cart with sails, making good use of the strong wind. Some of us paused to watch and be amazed at the speeds they were travelling at.

    Tiredly now, I walked along until I heard the welcome suggestion of a lunch break up in the sand dunes. Hungrily, I polished off my fried rice and mandarins and took note of what other types of food could be brought. People chatted happily sharing food advice and amusing anecdotes. By this time, I was onto my second litre of coconut water, and I felt recharged.

    On the return trip back along the untamed beach we had the wind behind us, I took off like a sand cart and in no time, we were back at the stream. This time I just stomped through the shallows as the wise ones ahead of me had done and managed to get back to Te Arai. The remainder of the walk I talked with more people and learned so many interesting stories. Then, to my surprise, the road to where the bus was parked appeared. Amazingly, everyone was there exchanging their walking boots or shoes to comfortable jandals. We were all united again and headed off on the yellow bus, which had been patiently waiting for us, in the direction of the chocolate shop. Here everyone swarmed the shop and bought well deserved sustenance and I had the biggest and most delicious drink of hot chocolate that I had ever tasted.

    One of our members, Victor, also took a video of the walk. This can be viewed here

  • 26 May 2022 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    It's been a successful summer of construction for the Taranaki Crossing Project, as four construction companies have all made progress on the $3.5 million worth of track upgrades.

    All sections are complete except for:

    1️⃣ The Holly Hut track between the Kokowai track junction and the top of Veronica Track.

    2️⃣ Some parts of the track Between Ahukawakawa and Pouakai Hut.

    These two sections will be completed in summer 2022/2023.

    For more information, head here:

  • 24 May 2022 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    Due to kauri dieback and Covid-19 some tracks in the Chatswood, Chelsea, and Birkenhead areas have been temporarily closed. Please click here for the latest news on which tracks are open and which are closed!

  • 1 May 2022 9:42 AM | Anonymous

    The Kaimai Ridgeway Trust has their latest newsletter out, including news of track maintenance through the autumn/summer and hut updates. Check it out on their website here

  • 25 Apr 2022 12:20 PM | Anonymous

    Chris has shared some great shots of the views from this trip, held on 9th April:

  • 13 Feb 2022 4:59 PM | Anonymous

    DOC has 5 tips on how to get that perfect photo whilst out on a tramp. And it doesn't need expensive equipment... Click here to read more!

  • 7 Feb 2022 4:09 PM | Anonymous

     Report by Eric

    Standing on the top of the perfect cone-shaped volcanic peak makes you quickly forget the efforts of getting out of bed before 5am and the 3 to 4 hour climb up from Tahurangi Lodge.  OK, so I was out of bed before 5am to avoid incurring Arletta’s wrath, but all of us had that priceless wide-eyed look of achievement on our faces as we looked down the full 2,518 metres to the West Coast of Taranaki. 

    We had enjoyed a glorious sunrise before reaching the summit mid-morning. The day was near perfect - the sky above was a cloudless deep blue, with a gusty but quite light wind reminding us that this was alpine country.

    Gazing east from the summit, the horizon was broken by the sharp point of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu’s jagged ridge line. To the north, we could see the shark-tooth shaped Paritutu Rock and the famous Power Station Chimney of New Plymouth.

    Low scattered cloud was drifting in from the south and west, but you could still make out the coastline curving its way around to the grey green of the distant South Island.

    Starting from Tahurangi Lodge saves almost 500 metres of elevation, but we still used up some serious calories getting up the last 1,000 metres. First, we negotiated the small rocky gully in the dark, then ascended the series of steep steps that steered us to the scree slope. A few hundred metres later we scrambled up onto ‘the Lizard’ (named as such because it looks like a lizard in autumn as the snow melts around it), an endless succession of rocks and boulders that lead us to the narrow ledge and down to a small gully covered in hard-packed snow. Then another 10-minute scramble to the summit.

     All stages of the track are steep and equally, if not more, challenging on the way down especially for the tired and weary. A rescue operation was in full swing as we descended after someone had fallen going down the stairs.

    However challenging, it has been a feat successfully accomplished by many and should be pursued by many others.

    Many thanks to Arletta, Craig, Ilva, John L, Rose and Vlad – great to share your company, and to Kevin for organising the trip.


  • 18 Jan 2022 6:09 PM | Anonymous
     “Planning and preparation prevent piss-poor performance”

    For many NSTC members, the Christmas tramp is the highlight of the year. Let me describe this for the benefit of newer members. The trip normally begins on 27 December and we return to Auckland on 4 January, give or take a day. The destination is a tramping area in the South Island; participants arrange their own travel to and from a nearby airport, e.g. for the Arthurs Pass trip we were advised to assemble in the arrivals area of Christchurch Airport by noon on the 27th. There are two or three out parties of 4 to 8 people each, who will be tramping for most or all of the following week. The Home party, about 12, is based at a motel or similar and carries out day walks, with perhaps an overnight excursion. The organiser hires vans to carry the Out parties from the airport to the beginning of their track, and the Home party to their motel. All out parties return to the motel on the second-to-last day and we enjoy a meal together in a restaurant before dispersing.


    The first step is deciding on the area to visit. Perhaps a club member is keen to tramp in a particular area and is told that if he wants this place to be our Christmas destination, he should volunteer to organise the trip himself. The area should offer a variety of tracks including a long, challenging route for our fittest and boldest members.  There should also be a suitable motel and a number of day walks for the Home party; if there is nothing suitable in the vicinity you might have to go further away. For example, two years ago the out parties were tramping on Stewart Island, the home party was based in the Catlins area on the mainland. By long tradition our Christmas tramps have been held in the South Island. From time to time, however, one hears suggestions that we should consider the central or lower North Island, eg Kaimanawas, Kaweka range, Tararuas, which are really too far away for long weekends and have been largely neglected by our club. Once the area has been chosen and a rough outline of the routes prepared, the organiser should submit the project to the Planning Committee for approval.


    Next the organiser needs to identify and book accommodation. This should be done at an early stage – February or March is not too soon. The internet is probably the best place to start. It is not possible to know exactly how many rooms/beds we will need on each of the eight nights until bookings have been received; there will probably be one or two couples who are happy to share a double bed, some of the out parties might return to base for a day before going out again. It is best to explain the situation to the hotel manager and overbook, as it is easier to cancel bookings for one or two units than find more accommodation if we have under-estimated our requirements.


    The organiser also needs to book the transport at an early stage. With 25 to 30 participants, we require three minivans each with a capacity for up to 12 passengers, to be collected and returned at the airport. It is club policy to take out zero excess insurance on them, even though this greatly increases the cost. Once suitable vehicles have been identified, it is essential to secure our booking by paying a deposit immediately. Even if the company does not ask for a deposit, the organiser should request an invoice, forward it to the Treasurer and personally check that a deposit has been paid; otherwise he may find, weeks or months later, that our booking has been cancelled and no more suitable vehicles are available. 12-seater minivans can be driven by anyone with a drivers licence for private cars, no passenger endorsement or heavy vehicle licence is required. Remember that the vehicles should be refueled before returning them; this could be paid for by the driver, the group leader or anyone else, but should be agreed in advance.


    Once accommodation and minivans have been booked the organiser should draw up the budget and calculate cost per head.  Accommodation is the main component of the final price and will naturally be higher for members of the home party. This should be submitted to the Treasurer for confirmation and approval.


    At the same time, the organiser should be preparing a more detailed, day-to-day itinerary for the out parties. Finding sufficient information should not be a problem; DOC track notes are available on the internet, also articles from the back numbers of Wilderness magazine, other websites related to tramping and other club members, some of whom have tramped all over the country.


    The organiser should then prepare a prospectus to be published on the club website (preferably in April or May). This would include the dates, an outline of the different routes proposed and the cost, and the date and time when bookings will open. This is normally at 9 am on a Saturday, a week or two after the trip has first been advertised. Our Christmas trips are deservedly popular and all places are usually booked within the first ten minutes.


    Being amongst the first to make a booking does not guarantee you a place on the expedition of your choice, however. The organizer, club president, Health & Safety Officer and other senior members of the club will assess whether applicants have the required fitness and experience. After all, if you are three days into a tramp and it turns out that a member is unfit and cannot continue then this will spoil the trip for everyone. If nobody knows the person then he or she will probably be turned down. Therefore, if you would like to take part in the Christmas tramp, it is advisable to join as many as possible of the shorter trips held throughout the year, so that other club members will be able to assess your suitability for a longer tramp. Leaders for the different groups will be selected.


    The organiser might then hold a meeting for all participants. In past years, people registered to take part in the Christmas tramp, but not for any particular out party or home party; the organiser then gave a briefing, explaining the different options, and people then signed up at the meeting. Even if participants now register for their preferred option, a meeting would still be worthwhile so that participants can see who else is going and ask questions. Party leaders would probably also hold a meeting for their own group.


    Over the following months, it is likely that a few participants will withdraw for one reason or another, and will be replaced by those on the waitlist. The organiser must arrange for someone to collect the club’s personal locator beacons and ensure that at least one is distributed to each party, with a record made of which PLB goes to each group. (This record will be left with someone who is not taking part). All club members use camping gas stoves; as it is not permitted to carry gas canisters on an aircraft, we must arrange for someone to purchase the required number of canisters and bring them to the airport where we arrive (fortunately we have a couple of members who now live in the South Island). Our end-of-tramp feast will probably be held in a small country pub or restaurant with only one chef; it would make things much easier for the staff, and save our members a long, hungry wait, if we check the menu beforehand and notify the restaurant in advance of everyone’s main course choice.


    Finally, on Christmas Eve the organiser must check the weather forecast for the area and, if necessary, modify the plan if bad weather is predicted. On the 2021 Christmas Tramp, for example, both the out parties had routes which required fording substantial rivers on the first two days; heavy rain was forecast and the routes were changed.


    In conclusion, a successful and enjoyable tramp is the outcome of a good deal of organisation behind the scenes.

    Five hopeful trekkers (plus the one behind the camera) at the beginning of their Christmas tramp (Richmond Range, 2020). Many hours of work have taken place to make this happen.

  • 18 Jan 2022 5:33 PM | Anonymous

    Report by Eric Skilling                  

    When a white-haired, slightly ancient looking bloke with the muscled legs of a 30-year old mountaineer confidently rates an overnight tramp as a “walk-in-the-park” -  be afraid! 

    When he adds “a little tester for those wanting to do an overnighter. Just a stroll in and out” - you need to be close enough to look under those bushy eyebrows and notice the twinkle in his eyes.

    The real clue was when he announced he wasn’t coming along. We didn’t take note and instead headed into the woods next day and boy were we in for a surprise.

    It started badly. Twice over. Firstly, we nearly missed the start. 

    Then, after the earlier advice of no river crossing, we were somewhat surprised to be heading up onto the narrow track with wet feet. ‘Nuff said!

    We had decided to split into two parties of five. Beth, John, Karen and Vivienne took off like bank robbers. Peter was allocated to THAT group but clearly his conscience was clear because he soon joined the more sophisticated association of Grace, Ingrid, Joanne, Tanya and of course, yours truly.

    The contrast to Bealey Spur walk the day before was stark. Gone was the wide, meandering, steadily rising path through spacious beech forest. Instead, we scrambled, clambered and scaled an endless series of head-high (and higher) rocky or muddy ledges, searching endlessly for hand and footholds.

    Here on the northern side of Arthurs Pass the foliage was a dense mass of beech and gnarled podocarps with numerous other broadleaf shrubs. Certain members of our group didn’t find this much of a problem and had time to stop and take plenty of photos.

    However, when someone asked what we would say to Roger next time we met him, someone was heard to say…. “There won’t be any talking. I am just going to wring his neck”. 

    As the trail began a traverse towards the top, we got our first views of the spectacularly steep and narrow Otira Gorge, and the Barron Range scarred by scree-slopes. The vegetation began to change to a mix of snow tussock and other alpine shrubs, the mist appeared and it got quite cold.

    Carroll hut came into view, looking fragile and isolated in the expanse of the cirque. The ‘other group’ had already arrived at the hut and true to form, were happily ensconced in the hut having commandeered the best bunks.

    The weather clagged in a bit, but it was a pleasure to spend the rest of the day in the cosy, spacious hut. Even the ‘other group’ turned out to be ok company.

    Next morning, we took some time to explore the tarns and bogs off the track behind the hut. The variety of plants and flowers unique to these alpine environments are a must see. 

    Vivienne was in her element. The lady is a walking encyclopaedia of native plants, rattling off both common and Latin names as she searched the ground around her, oblivious to the mist and the cold. At one stage she muttered “This is better than sex” but it may have been “this is a brachyglottis”. Eventually we moved on. I don’t think Vivienne noticed us leave.

    Meanwhile back in Nutsville, Grace was changing her clothes after …… wait for it…. having been for a swim in a tarn. Apparently, we don’t have to worry. No isolation necessary. This condition is not contagious.

    Thanks to all (even Roger) for a memorable trip.


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