Over packed?

New years eve and also the eve of my mammoth trek. I’m in a motel in Kaitaia and checking my gear. As you can see from the PIC it looks a lot! It certainly weighed a lot when I walked from the bus station to the motel. Heres’s what I’ve got

Arcteryx bora 80l rucksack, drysack inner plus black bin liner to keep stuff dry

Karrimor ridge 2 man tent weighing 2.8kg (2 man for when Chris comes over), karrimor xlite air mattress, eurohike 500 down sleeping bag 1.2kg, karrimor deluxe pillow, karrimor cotton sleeping bag inner, emergency blanket.

Meindel goretex walking boots, north face walking shoes, Crocs, silicone insoles. Gaiters. 3 pairs hiking socks, thermal pants and top, hiking trousers, waterproof trousers, fleece top, goretex waterproof jacket, emergency poncho, 2 pairs shorts, 3 pairs pants, 3 shirts, sun hat , baseball cap and wooly hat, bandana, sunglasses, trekking poles, knee pads.

Suncream, shampoo,toothpaste, toothbrush, lipsalve, cold sore cream, ibrufen tablets and emugel, razor, insect repellent, blister plasters, thyroxine medication. First aid kit, tweezers, nail clippers, water purification tablets. Toilet roll!

Compass, GPS (etrex 20), the araroa trail notes and maps (39 pages notes and 18 maps to get me to Pataua in approx 3 weeks). Penknife, spare trek pole ferrules, string, survival kit, binoculars, mp4 player, camera with waterproof box, air mattress repair kit, headlight, plug adapter, cellphone, spare batteries, chargers, tablet (hudl) notebook, pens, passportpassport. Book (Wild by Cheryl Strayed, about author experience walking pacific crest trail). “Sauron’s” ring and necklace which my brother Chris gave me to look after and cast into the “fires of doom” (one of the north island volcanoes)..

Telescopic fishing rod, small reel and hooks,sinkers, swivels

Billy cans, gas cylinder, stove, waterproof matches, flask, collapseable 2l water bottle, 2 500ml water bottlesbottles, knife fork spoon,

Museli, spagetti , rice, pasta “back country” adventure ration pack (2 main meals, cereal and snacks), 1kg of scroggin, macaroni cheese mix, isotonic drink powder, 3 pasta meals, 250g cheese, beef jerky, milk powder, tea and coffee, salt, seasoning sachets.

And finally my Dad’s favourite blue shirt which I will cut a strip of each day and tie on to an appropriate anchor.

Apart from the obvious missing t towel do you think I’ve missed anything?kr

Merry Xmas

hearing that weather not so good in uk so here’s a few pics to brighten up your Christmas. Hope you have a good one!


The fish I caught won't fit on the barbie, will have to give it to Komit the dog.

The fish I caught won’t fit on the barbie, will have to give it to Komit the dog.



To the beach

Will be off grid for about week as we head out to the beach today for Xmas. Mike and family have been fantastic hosts since we arrived in Whangarei on Wednesday. Training going well with a walk up PArarkiore mountain and also couple hours walk back from dropping off the hire car. Got myself a GPS (garmin etrex 20) but still working out how it functions. It’s loaded with nz maps supposedly including the te araroa trail. Alice has been under Trent’s guiding hand and been shooting his guns and riding his 250cc dirt bike, also tasting his home brewed spirits (he has a still and makes rum,whisky,vodka,gin and a very tasty coffee liquor when mixed with “raw ” milk stra!ight  from his dairy cows ).  Will post a few pics later. I have set up a Facebook site too!.

Climb every mountain

Guess which one of us was wearing the. Full rucksack?

Guess which one of us was wearing the. Full rucksack?


krWell, climbed one at least. This is Mt Manganui near Tauranga. Started climb at about 6.30am and met at least 50 people already on their way down! This was opportunity to test myself with full pack and against gravity. I won but as you can see it wasn’t easy. I will need to scale mountains ten times higher than this 230m one. Scary!

Training regime

I’ve been out walking every day,  Marie has been great coming with me. We get up early  and walk for around 2 hours. Yesterday I tried out the rucksack for first time. It certainly makes a difference and my pace dropped notably. It felt ok on the back and shoulders which is a good sign. I felt like I was walking on air when I took it off. I’m also doing a few exercises like press ups, sit ups, squats and calf raises, better late than never! My plantar fasciitis is not flaring up which is so much of a relief as I feared it

Something with a wider girth I just felt I needed to hug

Something with a wider girth I just felt I needed to hug

Those fit kiwis out at 6am

Those fit kiwis out at 6am


I’m going on an adventure!


Before and after pic Te Araroa trail?

Before and after pic Te Araroa trail?

krOut of this world visit to Middle Earth. Fantastic to be able to see the Hobbiton movie set so close up, as you can tell by my goofy smile which remained in place for the whole afternoon.

Visitors to Matamata (which is nearest town) are up by 900 percent. The info centre is straight out of the Shire and even has it’s own Gollum. Hopefully you can tell us apart in the photo (this may be harder at the end of my challenge!).

Just how fit are these kiwis?

One of the benefits of jetlag is getting up early and exploring. Seeing all the kiwis also up at 5am doing fitness in all forms (mostly the most energetic varieties) got me thinking how active are these new Zealanders. Well, they are fit as the proverbial butchers dog if their “Active People” survey is anything to go by Www.activenzsurvey.org.nz

Apparently a phenomenal 79 per cent of adults participate in at least one sport or recreation activity each week. That is double the England levels! Even more impressive is that 48 per cent participate at least five times  a week. On closer scrutiny it appears that activity includes fishing, gardening and occupational work so maybe they are not so much fitter, although as I sit here on my fat pommie backside in burger king I think there are some significant differences.