The Milford Track, New Zealand

The Finest Walk in the World.

That’s the tag line inevitably associated with the Milford Track on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s almost always wrongly attributed to Kiwi Poet Blanche Baughan. Her original title — A Notable Walk — was changed by an editor when printed in the London Spectator, 1908.

Serious hikers often make the Milford pilgrimage so they can legitimately rank it below more favourite treks.

In reality, Milford is a wonderful hike. Lakes, crystalline rivers, huge waterfalls, kooky birdlife, rainforest, and, of course, arriving at fantastic Milford Sound.

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Details on besthike.com

The Great South Coast Walk, Australia

You may have heard of this adventure. It’s a long walk down the beautiful coast of New South Wales. A thru-hike for normal people.

David and Pennie Briese dreamed it. And then achieved it. Congratulations!

… time to walk, time to reflect and time to rejuvenate.

… splendid isolated beaches, around magnificent rock platforms, over windswept cliffs and headlands, though superb untouched forest, and past wetlands and lakes filled with birds.

Sounds lovely. But New South Wales is quite developed. They enjoyed a cold beer at the end of most stages!

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Travelogue and photos.

introducing Ray Jardine

jardine.jpgThere is no hiker more famous than Ray Jardine. He is often credited with igniting the light weight hiking revolution.

Jardine championed hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail using only lightweight gear.

He replaced tent with a tarp & sleeping bag with a quilt. He advises that we make & modify our own gear.

Ray Jardines Guide to Lightweight HikingHis controversial book Beyond Backpacking (1999) is now the Bible for many thru-hikers.

In his spare time, Jardine rowed across the Atlantic, kayaked to the Arctic Ocean, cycled across America twice, and canoed the sub-Arctic wilderness.

Oh, and he invented the “Friend” used by all elite rock climbers.

Check Ray Jardine’s eclectic website.

CanyonWiki – canyoneering information

Wow. A wiki dedicated to the wonderful but still somewhat obscure sport of canyoneering … or canyoning. (The use of these words and what they mean is still being debated.)

The best trips involves abseiling down through waterfalls.

But canyoning can also involve hiking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, swimming and “li-loing” (using an inflatable air mattress).

Check out CanyonWiki.com

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Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

The best multi-day Kiwi hike, we feel, is not the Milford Track, rather a circuit around an active volcano called Ngauruhoe. You know it as Mt. Doom in the film The Lord of the Rings.

On this 3-4 day trek you can scramble 2 volcanoes. Walk the only desert in the country. Wash-up in pristine waterfalls. And marvel in how life survives in a bleak, tortured volcanic landscape.

The best trip report is posted by David Briese. He calls this the Land of Mordor.

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Ngauruhoe – David Briese

Details on besthike.com

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

The best day hike in the world, we reckon.

Especially if you have never hiked around active volcanos. It’s fascinating.

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You can warm yourself at steaming vents, scree down volcanic scoria, marvel at aquamarine water filled explosion holes, tramp craters & puzzle at bizarre volcanic formations.

Wait for good weather before setting out. Wind & low cloud sometimes make this hike a miserable slog in the fog.

Details on besthike.com