Tag Archives: NZ

Tramping the Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Tramping (bushwalking, trekking, hiking for non-NZanders) the Routeburn Track recently showed me how variable the weather in the South Island can be….sunny one moment, foggy and raining the next, with snow falling a few hundred metres above the tree line. What fantastic scenery!

I’ve just come back (mid-November) from tramping the Routeburn Track over three days starting from the Routeburn Shelter and finishing at The Divide, with overnight stops at Routeburn Falls Hut and Lake Mackenzie Hut.

While not a difficult walk,  full wet weather gear and winter clothing is essential for safety reasons, even in summer. Waterproof boots make the days much more comfortable.

This was a most enjoyable walk despite the fact that it rained for most of the time, as the alpine scenery was awe-inspiring with the mists swirling into the valleys, the snow capped mountains towering hundred of metres above and thousands of waterfalls, which are often non-existent in drier months. Sometimes the sun would break through the clouds revealing the majestic scenery and the glacial valleys with their braided rivers. It’s no wonder that the South Island is the location for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.

I did not regret having booked a bed in the huts through DOC, as enjoying the camaraderie of fellow walkers, often from distant parts of the world, along with the evening talks by the hut wardens were highlights. In wet weather, there is nothing like a warm fire to dry out your clothes, and a comfortable mattress at night, without the sound of roaring winds and pelting rain. Of course, there are disadvantages, such as a lack of privacy and the disruption to sleep by snorers and those getting up in the night to go outside.

The DOC huts (pdf brochure download) offer a touch of convenience and comfort not available to those who pitch a tent.

November is at the beginning of the walking season and as such the risk of avalanche is often present to the extent that the track is either closed or helicopter transfers necessary to avoid the danger. This proved to be true in our case, with a heli-shuttle operating past the overhanging snow cliffs from Lake Harris to the Harris Saddle shelter, ……at our cost of course!

I never cease to be amazed by those who attempt such walks without even a waterproof jacket and sand shoes, which offer no protection against the freezing cold rivulets crossing the track. No wonder people have died from hypothermia on this track before!

Some more closely related posts: Routeburn Track (8)

  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Planning a Climb of Mt Aspiring, New Zealand | Flying In and Out

How do I organise a helicopter into and out of Mt Aspiring? Where does the helicopter land? How much will it cost for hut fees and landing permit? Where do I get more information?

Helicopter to and from Mt Aspiring

DOC Wanaka Advice

A ‘One-off Landing permit’ is required for your flight in and out of the Mt Aspiring National Park (landing at Bevan Col with the assumption you will be staying at Colin Todd Hut).

Note that unless you are using your own helicopter, there is an administration fee of $109.30 plus an additional crown fee of $17.30 per passenger.

Depending on which company you choose to fly with, the one-off landing permit cost may or may not be included in their transport price so it pays to ask them when you are arranging your flight. Note these permits are non-refundable but that they are date transferable if you call no later than the morning of your scheduled flight (for example if the weather is too stormy).

To stay in Colin Todd or French Ridge huts there is a fee of $20 per person per night (unless you are an alpine club member – in this instance it would be $10 per person per night). Identification is required.

Further information can be obtained from:

1. Mt Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre
Department of Conservation—Te Papa Atawhai
PO Box 93 | Ardmore Street | Wanaka 9305

DDI: +64 3 443 7660
VPN: 5730
Fax: +64 3 443 8777


2. Aspiring Helicopters

Cattle Flat Station
Mt Aspiring Road
Phone:     +64 (03) 443 7152
Fax:     +64 (03) 443 7102
Postal:     P.O. Box 168, Wanaka
Email:     info@aspiringhelicopters.co.nz

Related Postings

Mt Aspiring

  Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Review | The Shell Guide to the Routeburn (NZ) Track by Philip Temple | Pt 3 Route Guide

Planning to complete the Routeburn track in New Zealand? Want some hints from someone who has walked the track many times? Interested in the flora and birds? This article is a part review of the 40 page Routeburn Track Guide by Philip Temple, published by Whitcoulls in 1976, which has become a NZ tramping classic and still contains valuable information.

© Bushwalker

Route Guide

The track is 39 kms long and average travelling time according to Philip Temple is only 13 hours ” … so that a very fit, skilled tramper with a light pack might accomplish it in one summer’s day.

As is common, he recommends completing the walk in 3 days

Day 1 Routeburn Lodge (Shelter) to Routeburn Falls Hut(8km, 2.5hrs, + 250m)
Day 2 Routeburn Falls Hut to Harris Saddle (4.8 km, 1.5 hrs, +300m) and then to Lake Mackenzie (10.5km, 3 hrs, -300m)
Day 3 Lake Mackenzie to Lake Howden (9km, 3hrs, +?m) to Milford Road. (3.2km, 1 hr plus 1hr if climb Key Summit, – 150m)

Routeburn Falls Hut. Photo taken by Steffen Sledz

Day 1 Track Notes

Bridal Veil Ck footbridge 1 hr
Birds: parakeets, robin, fantails
Flora: Montane beech forest dominates between 500 – 1150 m with three species of beech: red (lower, warmer slopes), mountain , silver. Forest floor thickly carpeted by coprosma, fuchsia, ribbonwood, pepperwood and on the Hollyford slopes, kamahi, broadleaf and totara.
Upper flats: arrive after couple of hours, to cross the river by bridge. The Flats (702m) were the upper limits of horse traffic.
Looking north up the northern branch of the Routeburn you can see Mt Somnus (about 5.5 km away, true 32.5°, GR E0280942 N5048358, 2282m) and further away to the right is Turret Head (16 km across Dart, 62.4° True, GR E0292265, N5051650, 2350m)
Routeburn Flats to Routeburn Falls Hut (976m) 3.2 km, walking time 1.25hrs. The lower hut is DOC and the upper private.
Flora: giant mountain buttercup blooms in early summer in the beds of the higher creeks

Lake Harris, Routeburn track, from the path from Harris Saddle to Conical Hill. © Zoharby

Day 2 Track Notes

1. Routeburn Falls to Harris Saddle, the boundary between Mt Aspiring and Fiordland national parks.

Flora: giant buttercup, flowering spaniard, daisy, gentian, ourisia, hebe, snowgrass.
The track above Lake Harris may be impassable if snow covered and should not be attempted in bad weather.
Views from Harris Saddle: Hollyford valley to west, and behind that the Darran Mountains with Mt Christina (2692m)12 km away to the SSW ( 232° T). Mt Tutoko ( 2964m) to the north.
If you have time there are excellent views to be had by climbing Conical Hill (1515m) to the north of the saddle.
Harris saddle only has emergency shelter

2. Harris Saddle to Lake Mackenzie

About 2km from the Saddle there is a track intersection with Deadman’s Track and after another 2km a large square rock which can be used as an emergency bivouac. Don’t waste time on this section if the weather forecast is looking to be poor.

Looking north, “…..you will be able to see right down the Hollyford to Lake McKerrow and the sea at Martins Bay ….” 8.5 km to the south (200° T), at the head of the Hollyford Key Summit (GR E0272856 N 5033572) stands out.

Great reflections of Mt Emily (1815m) to the NE can be obtained in the lake early morning or evening.

Mackenzie Hut at Mackenzie Lake, Routeburn Track, New Zealand. © Steffen Sledz

Day 3 Track Notes

1. Lake Mackenzie to Lake Howden via Earland Falls

Views: Hollyford and Darrans
Flora: veronica scrub, beech forest, red of rata blossom in summer.
Birds: sweet notes of the bellbird, rattle and bell call of the kaka, whooshing beat of the bush pigeons, waxeyes at forest edge, brown creepers deeper in the bush, black backed gull on rocky bluffs.
After 2 hours reach Earland Falls. After another hour you reach Lake Howden.(671m)

2. Lake Howden to Key Summit (919m) to The Divide shelter on Milford Road

View from Key Summit, Routeburn Track NZ © Metapede

Great views from Key Summit which is a botanists mecca, where “… stunted beech trees take the place of subalpine scrub and merge into perhaps the finest bog and swamp region .. with plant life ranging from sundews, bladderworts and orchids to bog forstera, bog daisy and bog pine.”

Related reading

iPhone app: What Bird NZ

Previous Routeburn Track Planning posts

Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Review | The Shell Guide to the Routeburn (NZ) Track by Philip Temple | Pt 2 General Information

Planning to complete the Routeburn track in New Zealand? Want some information about  access, accommodation, weather, clothing and equipment, fitness and preparation. This article is a part review of the 40 page Routeburn Track Guide by Philip Temple, published by Whitcoulls in 1976, which has become a NZ tramping classic and still contains valuable information.

General Information

Ranger Stations and Access

Located at Glenorchy and Te Anau. Check in /out required

Can be walked from either end. Eastern access is from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
Western access from Te Anau to The Divide on the road to Milford Sound


  • Off Track: Queenstown, Te Anau, Glenorchy,  Eglinton Valley (on Te Anau-Milford Hwy)
  • On Track: Commercial Lodges at Routeburn Falls and Lake Mackenzie but can only be accessed as part of a Guided Walk.

Weather and Season

“Prevailing winds are NW and SW; heavy rainfall is common and snow may fall down to 1000m at any time of the year. The Hollyford Face between Harris Saddle and Lake Mackenzie is particularly exposed to wind and precipitation and the Saddle is normally snow bound during the winter and early spring. The usual season for track walking is late November to mid-April. The saddle crossing should not be undertaken at any time except under favourable weather conditions.

Clothing and Equipment

Temple warns that the weather is very variable with trampers needing to carry both warm weather and cold weather/snow gear. He gives the normal warnings about the need for a waterproof parka, well broken in boots, first aid kit compass and map.

Fitness and Preparation

The author gives some excellent advice on the need to be fit and have well broken in boots so that “you will have more time and opportunity  to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach!” His wise counsel that “there’s only one way to get fit for tramping- and that’s tramping” is very sound.

Approach to Walking

 I like his hints on how to walk. “Don’t rush and don’t loiter….. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm…..Start out early each day, so you always have time on hand. … Remember the golden rule – the pace of the party is that of the slowest member.

Part 3 in this series will discuss the actual route notes provide by Temple.

Related reading

Related Routeburn Track Planning posts

Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Planning a Climb of Mt Aspiring, New Zealand | Useful Links

Mt Aspiring, NW ridge, ramp, SW ridge, seen from Mt Barff (to SW)

Mt Aspiring (3033m) in the south island is New Zealand’s  second highest mountain and is set amongst some spectacular alpine scenery. While a serious mountaineering challenge, comparable to many more famous climbs in Europe, guides are available for those with little experience.

Weather can be unpredictable and extreme, as in all alpine areas, and the terrain life threatening. Fortunately, it is easily accessible by road or helicopter from nearby Wanaka which can make selecting a safe weather window easier.

The links below collate some of the information I have collected from commercial, government web sites and personal blogs in preparation for a climb later this year.


Mountain Recreation Equipment List http://www.mountainrec.co.nz
Aspiring Guides Equipment List (download pdf)
Boots and Footwear (Alpine Guides)
Equipment and Clothing | Aoraki/Mount Cook Expedition (download pdf) (Alpine Guides)
Pre-trip Information (Alpine Guides)
Guide to Equipment and Clothing | Gear for Mountaineering in New Zealand (Alpine Guides)
Equipment and Clothing Check-lists (Alpine Guides)
NZ Ascents Equipment  (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)
NZ Summer Equipment Notes (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)
Mountaineering Instruction Course Equipment (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

Equipment Hire

New Zealand Alpine Club
Bivouac Outdoor (Christchurch +10 other locations)
Outside Sports  Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau specialise in hiking, biking, camping, fishing, skiing, snowboarding )
Bev’s Tramping Gear Hire (based in Te Anau)
Mainly Camping (Wanaka) rental and retail: climbing, mountaineering
Wanaka Sports beacons for hire

Guided Climbs

Mt Aspiring Guided Climb (Mountain Recreation)
Mt Aspiring/Tititea (Mt Aspiring Guides. com)
Guided Ascent of Mt Aspiring/Tititea  (Alpinism and Ski Ltd )
Guided Tour Mt Aspiring / Tititea  (Adventure Consultants)
Sunrockice Mount Aspiring 5 Day Program (SunRockIce New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides )

Commercial Resources

From Alpinism and Ski Ltd

News from the Mountain and Ski Guiding Experts (Alpinism and Ski Ltd)
Posts related to Mt Aspiring Ascent (Alpinism and Ski Ltd) 
Guided Tour Mt Aspiring / Tititea  (Download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)
Sunrockice Mount Aspiring 5 Day Program (download trip information pdf) Sunrockice New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides
Conditions: Mt Aspiring National Park (Aspiring Guides)
**** Backcountry Tips-October 2008 (download pdf)
The proof is in the pudding – SW Ridge Mt Aspiring  Jean Clairmonte (Aspiring Guides)
Safety and rivers in the New Zealand backcountry (Aspiring Guides)

Department of Conservation Resources (DOC)

Mt Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre Contact Details
Mt Aspiring National Park: introduction, features , places to stay, plan and prepare (DOC)
Mount Aspiring National Park Alerts
Prepare and Plan Links to alerts, safety, weather, minimising your impact, online booking, maps, licences and permits
Planning a trip in the backcountry? (pdf , 415K)
Safety: equip yourself well

plus much more

Mountain Safety Council Resources (MSC)

Safety Tips
MSC online resources  for download include pamplets such as

  • Using Avalanche Transceivers
  • Bushcraft – Going Bush 
  • River Safety
  • Outdoor First Aid -Preventing Hypothermia 

MSC Resources: Equipment: pack liners and survival bags for online purchase (NZ only)
MSC Resources: Free Downloads: Mountain Radio Contacts, Bushcraft – Intentions form pads
MSC Radio Communications Pamphlet (pdf download)

plus much more



Eric and Lucie’s Bus Trip Mt Aspiring, Southwest Ridge, New Zealand December  2008 
**** Ascent of Mount Aspiring (3033 m), New Zealand
**** Tramping and Climbing in New Zealand: Mt Aspiring and the North West Routeby by Jaz Morris  


Mountaineering Instruction Course  (Adventure Consultants)
Mountaineering Instruction Course Notes (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)
Sunrockice New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides (download pdf)   for  Alpine Instruction Course


Fitness for Mountaineering (Alpine Guides)
Training Fitness Mountaineering (Google Search)


Aspiring Images
Mt Aspiring Powerpoint  (Bob Bell)
Mt Aspiring
Mt Aspiring Virtual Tour ( Adventure Consultants)

See also the blogs above.


Mt Aspiring (miroar)
Mountain Climbing Mt Aspiring New Zealand Alps  (nightguy75)
Summit of Mt. Aspiring (avipoodle)
View from French Ridge Hut (hellosailor1982)
Aspiring – Flyin to Bevan Col (Part1) (craigwigglesworth) 
Aspiring – Summit Day (Part 2) (craigwigglesworth)
Aspiring – Bonar French Ridge Out(Part 3) (craigwigglesworth) 
Mount Aspiring NZ Flight (palevo7)


Wanaka Regional Map (download, pdf)
Wanaka Town Map (download pdf)
Changing Garmin GPS units from NZMG to NZTM factsheet (PDF, 360K)
Topo50 CA11 Aspiring Flats (LINZ) free download or from map shops.

Small section of CA11

Weather Reports

Mountain Conditions (MetService)
Backcountry Avalanche Advisory
Mountain Safety Council Backcountry Advisory
Severe Weather Warnings (MetService)
Severe Weather Outlook (MetService)
Severe Weather Watch (MetService)


Alpine Coachlines (Wanaka): shuttles to Mt Aspiring
Aircraft Access
Aspiring Helicopters 
Atomic Shuttles (online bookings)
South Link Travel

Newspaper/magazine  Articles

Just the Tonic by Maina Perrot (Wild Adventure) Outdoor Australia March 2009 (pdf download)
Climbing Mt Aspiring (pdf dowload) Marc Connors Outdoor Australia March 2009
Warning about NZ weather
Climber dies on Aspiring
Body retrieval first task with team
Mt Aspiring (3032m) by Geoff Wayatt

Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tramping Book Review | The Shell Guide to The Routeburn Track (NZ) Philip Temple, 1976

Philip Temple

In the seventies, Philip Temple wrote a series of Shell guides for many of the great New Zealand walking tracks including the Routeburn, Milford, Heaphy, Tongariro, Waikaremoana, Copland and Hollyford.  The Routeburn Track Guide, published by Whitcoulls in 1976, has 40 pages, including a two-page centre map, and a personal notes page. While it is no longer in print, it has become highly sought after as one of the first guides to the track. Philip Temple has written 36 books going back to the early 1960s, with many related to New Zealand and his mountaineering experiences. He was a keen walker, personally walking the routes and taking part in expeditions to New Guinea and the sub-Antarctic. His diverse skills have included landscape photography and he continues to write novels.

 I love reading walking guides and my bookshelf is full of such guides. It was therefore with a great degree of anticipation that I waited for my copy, bought online from the Tall Ships Gallery in Palmerston North.

This book is well illustrated by historical photos of Routeburn Flats, The Earland Falls, Emily Peak reflected in Lake Mackenzie, Lake steamer Antrim at Kinloch, Sir Thomas Mackenzie, the original hut at the start of the track, Harry Bryants open air buses, a two page map of the Routeburn track, Routeburn Gorge, Routeburn Falls, Lake Harris in spring, Looking down the Hollyford Valley, Lake Howden and the Greenstone Valley, Mounts Christina, Crosscut and Lyttle, Harris Saddle and shelter.


This guide is one of a series and in the author’s words ” ……designed to assist those who would quit wheels for walking, shoes for boots, and make the effort to explore the country first hand.”

History of the Track

The track has enormous historical significance for the Maoris as it represents an early route from Lake Wakatipu to mine greenstone in the mineral rich ranges to the north-west for trade in South Westland and Central Otago, which continued to the mid-nineteenth century. Wakatipu was first seen by Europeans about the same time. Not long after goldminers, searching for an more direct way to get their gold to Australia other than via Dunedin began exploring the Routeburn with the aim of establishing a port at Martins Bay.

Over the last hundred and forty years, the Routeburn has steadily gained popularity with tourists and trampers. Early in the 1900’s the track was extended from the Harris Saddle to Lake Howden.Then in the nineteen thirties, a motor service from Kinloch into the Routeburn commenced. Just before WWII the final section of the Routeburn track was completed and in the nineteen seventies the road over the Dart river meant that the Routeburn became accessible by motor car, replacing the lake steamer Earnslaw.

General Information

This section gives information about access, accommodation, weather, clothing and equipment, fitness and preparation.

In  future posts, I will comment on Philip Temple’s sound advice and his route guide.

Related reading

Related Routeburn Track Planning posts

Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

iPhone Apps for Bushwalkers Visiting New Zealand (NZ)

Want to check the weather in NZ? Listen to streamed radio? Find Public transport in Auckland or Wellington? Book an Air New Zealand Flight? Calculate distances and times between towns? Find wifi access or budget accommodation? NZ Snow report? Navigate roads? Identify birds and their calls? View topographic maps?

 There are certainly a large number of iPhone apps available to bushwalkers/trampers and I have reviewed many of these in a series of previous posts, some in detail and others briefly.

This post looks at 15 or so iPhone apps from the perspective of someone who is planning to tramp in NZ or has arrived in New Zealand and wants to add some local flavour.  To make it easier, I’ve grouped these and provided a brief synopsis, taken directly from iTunes. Where I have actually used the app I have provided a more detailed review


  • Weather NZ

    Get the latest weather forecasts from New Zealand’s own MetService forecasters. Up to date, marine and general forecasts for all New Zealand Urban areas. WeatherNZ also lets you chart tidal data for all Primary and Secondary ports around NZ, plus lets you see latest Situation isobar image as they get released. Snow and Surf reports are updated directly from snow.co.nz.

  • New Zealand Snow Report

    Get your New Zealand snow reports on the go, for free, with SnowReports.co.nz and your iPod Touch or iPhone. Whether you are on the road or still lying in bed you can instantly check the weather, road and lift conditions at your favourite NZ ski areas. Or, if you are trying to decide which ski area to go to, simply browse conditions at ALL of them! The free SnowReports summaries include: Mountain name, Weather status, Road conditions, Number of lifts open, Snow base depth, New snow depth, Temperature, Wind, Time last updated


  • Timetable NZ

    If you’re a user of public transport in Auckland or Wellington then this App is for you. Find bus, train, ferry and even cable car schedules for public transport in greater Wellington and the City of Sails. Store frequently used routes in a favorites list and view the next three departures on those routes in a convenient initial page. View the location of your departure station within Google Maps in relation to where you are now to help you find where you should be going. Best of all, these schedules are all stored on your iPhone or iPod meaning that you don’t need to have a network connection to use the App.

  • Air New Zealand-mPass

    With mPass on your iPhone or iPod Touch you can: View up to date details of all your flight bookings. Go straight to the gate when travelling within New Zealand without bags. mPass acts as an electronic boarding pass. The mPass boarding pass is also recognised by Air New Zealand airport kiosks. Just scan your mPass boarding pass to collect baggage tags when travelling domestically with bags. If you’re a Koru member, scan your mPass boarding pass for entry to the Koru Lounge.


  • Find NZ

    Find! NZ is a New Zealand local search engine based on location awareness. The app uses an open source database from Zenbu. (www.zenbu.co.nz) Features: Online & Offline search. Search the nearest points of interest by predefined 43 categories. Custom search by any keywords from your keyboard entry.  Phone call, Open website, Send email, Send SMS and Map. (phone call available on iPhone only) Add, Edit Entries – You can add/edit entries in App. (Online only) Option to choose location control : GPS or Manual setting. Option to choose the max number of search results to display. (200 max) Special offers provided by Arrival NZ Magazine. (Discount coupons/Free stuffs)

  • NewZealand.spot-on

    Browse activities and destinations by region and then save them for quick access upon arrival. Save and share your adventures back home by creating custom Postcards with your photos and then posting them to social networks.
    Highlights: Works offline so that you can plan your trip during your Air New Zealand flight 1500+ pre-loaded activities and destinations organized by geography/region. Postcard builder with dozens of frames, stamps, and captions to make fun vacation snaps for friends and fans across Facebook and Twitter. Travel Notes area for backing up important names, numbers and trip detail.  Recommendations from local bloggers and recent travelers. Automatic content updates of additional activities and events
    Helpful tools include: WiFi Finder – lists cafés, libraries, and other known establishments with wireless access. Distance Calculator – estimated driving/flying times between towns. BBH Hostel Network – full list of budget accommodations and amenities across the North and South Islands. iSite Kiosk Directory – New Zealand’s official travel information resources. Kiwi Translations – learn the lingo so you can order your coffee just right.  Map of New Zealand – pinch, zoom, plot, escape.  Book a flight – direct access to Air New Zealand flight bookings and deals
  • Zenbu

    Find Everything from Zenbu instantly on your iPhone, no network connection required. http://www.zenbu.co.nz is a local search engine for New Zealand (and only NZ) places, products & services with over 80,000 listings including restaurants, cafes, accommodation, hairdressers, service stations, banks, ATMs and more. With this app you have the name, address, phone, website, activity description and opening hours all at your fingertips. Zenbu is the perfect reference tool for locals and tourists.

  • Lonely Planet Auckland

    # easy to use – swipe to scroll through a full table of contents, dip into sections, and turn pages with a flick of your finger # offline maps – there’s no need to go online to access our detailed street maps, fully retooled for the iPhone with location awareness, multi-touch controls, full-colour styling and six-level zoom # tons to see and do – choose how to search through hundreds of geo-coded points-of-interest (POIs) – by proximity, category, preferences or favourites – then just tap to visit the website, or place a direct call # text search – whether you’re into ‘live music’ or ‘fine dining’, every article and POI in your guidebook is text-searchable # location-based navigation – plot your location in real time on our interactive maps, exploring back streets and hidden treasures with no danger of losing your way # worth a thousand words … – if you need some inspiration, just thumb through images taken by our award-winning photographers # personalisation – tailor your City Guide to your tastes by tagging the best POIs as ‘favourites’ # money saving – forget roaming costs, our apps are designed for offline use, and only take up the room of an average album on your iPod


  • MapApp NZ

    MapApp NZ South Island displays full topographic maps of New Zealand’s South Island. Explore the South Island on your iPhone or iPad.  Find your current location on the map using the built-in GPS.Search for place names. MapApp includes all the map data with the app, so maps can be displayed even when you have no cellular coverage. The map data is derived from the latest LINZ 1:50000 scale Topo50 series.

  • Google Earth

    Navigate the world with a swipe of your finger. Swipe with two fingers to adjust your view to see mountainous terrain. Show the Panoramio layer and browse the millions of geo-located photos from around the world. View geo-located Wikipedia articles. Use the Location feature to fly to your current location. Search for cities, places, and business around the globe with Google Local Search. Nav4D New Zealand


  • New Zealand Radio Streams

    Alarm Clock Sleep Timer Search by radio name,  Graphic Equalizer, Favorites list, History of last played stations ,Regular updates over the air, Customer service support, Song title and artist name (when available), iPhone 4 Retina Display icon, Recording, Facebook & Twitter support, Advanced Alarm Manager – Multiple Alarms, Day Selection, iPod music / Radio station and more, Transfer Recordings to your computer with iTunes USB File Sharing (iOS 4.x), “Wifi only” On/Off switch (setting can be found in the main setting app under Radio)

  • New Zealand Radio Stations

    The Tunin.FM New Zealand Radio Stations application allows you to listen to New Zealands radio stations whilst travelling. You no longer need to switch frequencies when travelling across different coverage areas. You can now even listen to internet-only radio stations or local stations whilst travelling and anywhere you like. Enjoy radio in digital quality on the train, the bus, in the car and on your bicycle. The Tunin.FM-application does not require a Wi-Fi connection. With this app, even mobile internet connections which are sometimes slow (i.e. 2.5G/GPRS) allow you to listen to good quality radio. It is easy to save your favourite radio stations on the list of favourites and an automatic record is kept of the radio stations you listened to most recently the next time you start the app again.

First Aid 

  • St John NZ CPR

    St John is the leading provider of first aid training in New Zealand as well providing ambulance services to 85% of the population. This application teaches the life saving skills of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR. Knowing how to save a life of a family member, friend or colleague is vital, so why not get this application now so you have it on your phone. You never know when you might need it and it is FREE.

Field Guides

  • What Bird NZ

    WhatBirdNZ provides a concise pocket reference guide to many of the interesting birds that can be seen around New Zealand. Not only does it allow you to hear and see them but it also provides interesting trivia in a fun “Top Trumps” style card format. Also when in this view you can rotate your iPhone/iPod to see a zoomed in photo.

Similar Posts: 


  Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Bushwalking Navigation | Using Topo50 Maps (LINZ) for Tramping in New Zealand

Want to plan your NZ tramp using digital topographic maps? Like to view NZ Topo50 maps on your iPhone or Mac? What sorts of maps are best for tramping?  How do you select the appropriate map? How can you load and calibrate these maps on an iPhone or Mac computer? What are some of the technical problems?

New Zealanders are certainly lucky to have high quality recent produced raster digital topographic maps (300dpi) available for download for FREE , and despite some controversy, the change to NZGD2000, which is equivalent to the universally used WGS84 for bushwalking purposes, has brought some bonuses for those of us who like to use NZ maps on our iPads and iPhones. There is no doubt that for tramping a 1:50K topographic map is needed and  for steep terrain a 1:25K map is even better.

Navigation Apps

Many newer mapping programs that may not have been able to use the old NZGD1949 datum, but do have the newer WGS84 datum installed, are now able to be used by bushwalkers/trampers in NZ. Two of my favourite navigation apps,  Bit Map for the iPhone and MacGPS Pro for the Mac computer can now view and use the latest NZ Topo50 (1:50K) and Topo250 (1:250K) maps. No doubt any GPS that is able to load non-proprietary maps will be able to used these maps too.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

The new Topo50 and Topo250 map series are available for download from the Land Information New Zealand website in two formats

  • geoTIFF (141 Mb for a typical map) (no map legend or margin, but includes embedded calibration data to allow automatic georeferencing and alignment of adjacent maps)
  • TIFF (214Mb) (includes the legend and margins, identical to the paper version)

Map Selection

The first step is to decide which map you wish to download and this can be done by going to the LINZ Map Index page and selecting the appropriate 1:250,000 map. Once you have selected the correct large scale map, clicking the large grid square, will reveal twenty five, 20 km x 20km 1:50,000 maps which can then be individually selected for download.

Loading Topo Maps into your Map Viewing App

Bit Map requires that you first convert the geoTIFF map image file ( no margins or legend) into a form that it can read and labels .bitmap. This can be done within your iPhone or  using a desktop application, such as those available free of charge on the developers website, which optimises the files for use prior to loading into your iPhone. The optimisation process splits the large geoTIFF image file into a large number of smaller tiled JPEG image files which have been produced at a much lower resolution to reduce loading time. This optimised format is very similar to ozf2 format, which means that if you already have files of this type from a program such as OziExplorer (not version 3), they should load without the need for any optimisation.

The next step is to calibrate the file, which requires a knowledge of the grid references of the corners of the map and the grid zone name. For the Routeburn track this is 59G. The grid references of the corners of the map (extents) can be found from the LINZ website, where it is possible to download the data as a text file, spreadsheet (preferred so you can change the order of the data) or view on the screen.

World UTM Grid Zones by Alan Morton

View an enlarged map

MacGPS Pro first needs to convert the geoTIFF image file into PICT format, which while no smaller, is the format used internally by the program. Once imported the file is automatically calibrated by  the user when the correct units (datum: NXZGD2000 and grid: NZTM2000, km, m, magnetic or true) are chosen and the file saved.

Check you have it right by finding the coordinates of a known point on the map and see whether they correspond to that on the TIFF or paper map

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Bushwalking Trip Plan | Routeburn Track, New Zealand | Pt 3

Previously I looked at how to plan a walk to the  Routeburn Track in the South Island of New Zealand from Adelaide, South Australia, how to search the internet for information, whether November is suitable from a weather perspective,  reviewed commercial packages, and costed the logistics.

The next stage in tramping the Routeburn Track will involve locating relevant maps, and preparing a detailed route plan.


High quality image files may be downloaded free of charge from Land Information NZ (LINZ) or paper copies purchased from map retailers. 

  • geoTIFF (138 MB) (no margins, suitable for mapping software, have calibration data embedded)
  • TIFF (79 MB) ( full paper map including legend)
  • Topo50 map legend (858KB) (Additional to the Topo50 GeoTIFF)
  • Important Topo50 information

The relevant Topo50 (1:50K) Maps are CB09 Hollyford, CB10 Glenorchy and this whole area is covered by Topo250 Te Anau #25 (1:250K)

The relevant ones from the old series of maps, now replaced by Topo50 were Map 260 D40 / C40 Milford, Map 260 D41 Eglinton, Map 260 E40 Earnslaw

Routeburn Track Map download ( from Routeburn Track Independent Tramping Southland/Otago – 2010/2011 season – DOC) 

Routeburn Track Route
Most trampers seem to do the walk in 3 days, with 2 nights in one of the DOC huts, but it would be feasible to do it in one day, if you were fit, travelling light and admiring the scenery was not a high priority.

One Way
Time 2 – 3 days
From Routeburn Shelter, head of Lake Wakatipu
To The Divide, Milford Te Anau Road
Distance 39 km
Huts 4 Great Walks Huts, 2 Great Walks Campsites
Grade medium
Highest Point
1277m, Harris Saddle
Lowest Point 450m
Maps Topo50 (LINZ) CB09, CB10; Topo250 25                (Source: Backcountry NZ)

Detailed track notes are provided on the Backcountry NZ website

Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Flats
8 km
2.5 hours (2)
Flats to Routeburn Falls
3 km
1.5 hrs (1)
Routeburn Falls to Harris Saddle
5 km
2 hrs (1.5)
Harris Saddle to Lake McKensie
10 km
3 hrs (3.5)
Lake McKenzie to Lake Howden
10 km
3 hrs ( 3.5)
Lake Howden to Divide
(Source: Backcountry NZ)
3 km
1 hr ( 1.5 hr)


I have added all my bookmarks to Delicious, the  social bookmarking site, where you can see my Routeburn tagged bookmarks and those of others. Filter the bookmarks by tag eg “tracknotes”, search by tagger’s name eg “oz.bushwalkingskills”, or select those that have been bookmarked often, which is usually an indication of their value.

Web Research

 Read other posts in this series about the Routeburn Track

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    Bushwalking Trip Plan | Routeburn Track, New Zealand | Pt 2

    Can the Routeburn Track be walked  in November and, if not, when is the best time? How long do I need to do the walk? Do I require a permit and how much will it cost? How much will it cost from Adelaide for two people for transport and accommodation?

    In a previous post Bushwalking Trip Plan | Routeburn Track, New Zealand | Pt 1 , I set out some general questions which had to be first answered before beginning detailed planning and suggested that there were four good places to start  for this sort of general information. My next post Searching for Bushwalking Information on the Web | Search Engines and Social Bookmarking explained some of the techniques which could be used to search for information on the web.  This post will attempt to answer the above questions using the web as a research tool.

    Source: Backpack New Zealand

    Both the NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) or Mountain Safety Council (MSC) have provided excellent downloadable information relevant to the Routeburn Track.

    Publications and Links: Department of Conservation (DOC)

    Publications: Mountain Safety Council (MSC)

    DOC also have a Fiordland Visitor Centre

     “Always contact the nearest visitor centre for the latest information about facilities and conditions.”

    What is the best time to tramp the Routeburn Track?

    A little Google research has revealed:

    “Great Walks Peak Season (October to May)”  (Source: Routeburn Track Brochure: Department of Conservation (download pdf 2190K)

    Routeburn Track Weather at Mackenzie Hut (DOC) reveals that November has an average daily high of 15 °C, highest temp of 24 °C, lowest temp of -2.5 °C and 17 days of rain.  Certainly cold and wet, but great for active walking.  February would be the best time to go with only 9 days of rain and slightly warmer conditions.

    “The track is a moderate 30 km long tramp and the best time to walk it is during the summer months as in winter months snow and ice make it hazardous. Like all tracks in New Zealand it is best to contact the department of conservation to get track conditions.(Source: Backpack New Zealand by Gary)

    “We then planned to walk the Routeburn track together and established that Feb was the best time for weather, generally being settled at that time and warm enough for an Aussie to handle, …..(Source: A Wet Trip on the Famous Routeburn Track By Richard M Bryant and Elaine Bryant )

    “November through April is the season. “ (Source:Classic Hikes of the World: Routeburn Track. An excerpt from Peter Potterfield’s new book on the world’s best hiking routes By Peter Potterfield GreatOutdoors.com )

    How long do I need to allow for the tramp?

        “Most walkers take three days/two nights to complete the track, usually staying at Lake Mackenzie and Routeburn Falls Huts. However the trip can be extended by also staying at the Lake Howden and Routeburn Flats Huts. Those walking the track from one end and finishing at the other will need to make transport arrangements, as it is 350 kilometres by road between the two ends of the track. Bookings are essential for all overnight stays on the track and can be made online at http://www.doc.govt.nz, or by post, fax, email or phone.” (Source: Routeburn Track Brochure: Department of Conservation (download pdf 2190K) 

    “Two to three days are required” (Source: Backpack New Zealand by Gary)

    ……Three days, two nights ….(Source: Backpack New Zealand)

    Rankers Travel Reviews gives feedback from a about 15 trampers who have recently completed the walk and they suggest 2-3 days.

     How much will it cost?

    Hut Fees

    “Fees are charged per person, per night to stay in huts or campsites on the Routeburn Track. There are no fees for park entry. During peak season (26 Oct – 27 Apr) you must pay your fees ($51.50 pp/night) by purchasing Great Walk Tickets – a  booking is required.(Source: Fees and Bookings DOC)

    Track Location Map (DOC)

    Road Transport

    The area is well serviced by commercial companies who can collect and deliver by bus to either end and even drop you off and drive your car to the end and leave it for collection after the walk. Typical transport charges (Kiwi Discovery) to the start of the walk from Queenstown and the return from the Divide are $110 pp. Other centres such as Milford Sound, Glenorchy and Te Anau are also linked.

    A list of transport/package providers is on the DOC web page  Transport Options


    A typical 4 day Routeburn Track package (Kiwi Discovery) includes transport to and from the track, 2 nights hut fees, 2 nights accommodation (share room) in Queenstown, pre-walk briefing, track map, souvenir book and pack liner, ranges from $585 -$715 per person depending on the quality of the accommodation.

    Many people will want to visit Milford Sound which is nearby and can be arranged at additional cost of about $140 including the cruise on the Sound and the extra nights accommodation on the track.

    Flights from Adelaide to Queenstown return

    Typical flights via Air New Zealand  take about 20 hours overnight and are via Auckland with links to Christchurch then Queenstown, or if your lucky Queenstown  direct from Auckland.

    Cost $391- from Adelaide and $347 return (max 23 kg bag)

    Overall Cost ( excluding meals)

    Per person, using typical prices and  not necessarily the best available

    Air Fare: $738 return to Adelaide
    4 day Routeburn Package (not including Milford Sound option) $585–$715
    5 day Routeburn Package (including Milford Sound option) $725–$865

    $738 + $775 (apartment/motel style, share, Milford Cruise option) =$1513 pp

    Is it doable from Adelaide in November?  Certainly. 
    Are there better options, cheaper packages and fares? Probably.

    Your feedback would be appreciated.

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