Getting into the backcountry...
As I've discussed, having a good level of fitness is pretty important. That fitness is what allows your body to get there and get back and carry the gear, equipment and food you need to have a reasonable comfortable time. Once you start getting into backcountry travel and start getting into these awesome places, all that will happen is you will start planning to go into other areas and extended trips. The maps will come out and you will spend hours looking at places to go. And there are lots.
The Routeburn valley, a great place for an day hike or multi-day adventure.
Having good gear is important and in time you will buy new gear and equipment, upgrade items, and replace old gear with better gear. It's just what happens. So having good fitness and being able to carry your gear, equipment and food, those boots you purchased need to be good and fit for purpose. Remember without good footwear that fit well and are comfortable to walk in you just will struggle to get to where you want to get to. It's your feet that are going to get you into these places so you need to look after them and having good boots and socks is very important.
Having the right gear and equipment can make or break your trip.
Over the next few months I'll blog about other items of gear but right now let's look at places you can go to and how to get there.
If you reasonably new to backcountry travel, whether hunting, hiking or tramping a good idea is join a club and get out on club trips with experienced members and learn from them. what gear they carry and why they carry it. Get out with friends or get some friends together and plan some easy day trips or easy overnight trips that only require walking into a hut.
Plan easy trips, trial different food types and are easy to cook and aren't too heavy, dehydrated meals are light and nutritional and easy to prepare. Get out with friends that have similar experience and fitness levels. This is a good time to look at your gear, equipment and what you are carrying.
Walking into a hut like Southern Lakes Deerstalkers hut in the Greenstone valley, you just need your food.
There are lots of easy tracks or trails that you can plan half day walks, a few hours in and the same out. Don't overdo it. Don't plan something that's too hard or too far for your level of experience and fitness. Keep it simple to begin with, in time as you gain more experience and your fitness levels increase you can then plan longer walks or multi day trips. For example in the Queenstown area, Queenstown hill, Arrowtown's Sawpit gully, Twelve mile loop track, Bannockburn's sluicings track or the Cromwell 45th Parallel track.
The Muller hut walk, a reasonable level of fitness is required but planning and some training is very do-able.
At some stage you then might plan a overnight trip up to Routeburn flats hut for example, about 2-3hrs walk in stay the night and out the next day. There are lots of tracks with huts on them you can plan to walk into. Then you might decide to walk into an area and tent the night. A great way to test your gear and you can plan to stay wherever you decide to camp the night.
Get your maps out and plan some trips. The DOC website and mapping is great you looking for tracks, huts, places to go and you can check out the areas in Topo and satellite imagery, really useful site. But I'm sure there are lots of other sites that you can check out to plan your trips.https://www.doc.govt.nz/map/index.html
The Routeburn camping area, about a 2-3hr walk in, but the views are worth it.
However be mindful of your experience, skills and fitness levels when planning these early trips. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in danger by going into places that are out of your level of experience or skill set. Just take it easy and plan simple trips that you will enjoy and fuel the fire for more. As your fitness, experience and skills increase then so can the level of the trips you do. The most important thing is you do these trips safely and return safely and enjoy them.