Flying-trek on the Routeburn great walk

New Zealand part II - Posted On

Nadège writes:

New-Zeeland is an adventurous and touristic country with a great lot of treks. The government works a lot on developing tramping tracks, with sometimes the effect of losing the wild side to the nature, in my opinion. Over-signalisations, huge huts and toilets everywhere are sometimes even emptied weekly or monthly by helicopter. However, we can understand it when we see the touristic mass of people, young and with no experience, climbing some hostiles and pristine mountains.

We realize our first flying-trek or vol bivouac (understand a trek, with walking and flying) in the country on the Routeburn Track, in the South West of the South Island. It goes from Glenorchy to Milford Sound. 

Carrying our small paraglides on our backpack, we chose to be as light as possible for the rest of our gear: nor stove neither pot, we opt for a huge quantities of noodles which we will eat raw. We get rid of the tent’s inside room, and we leave our sleeping bags behind, as we will sleep wrapped in our wings. The result is magnificent and we carry a light backpack for three or four days of gear, including our flying gear!

At the beginning of the track, we hide our bicycle in the forest and start a long and awesome climb. On the way, we cross the firsts huts, some huge dormitories witch can hold up to 100 peoples… hurry up, crowd coming, let’s flee out of here!! We sleep further, alone among the keas (parrots from high mountains). In the morning, we must be quick to read the wind and to find the landing site (not easy with the sea of clouds), to find the take off, get ready… alright, let’s fly!!! Fifteen minutes later we land 5kms before the end of the Routeburn track.

All guides say one needs three days to cross these mountains through the Routeburn Track, and we performed it in less than 24 hours!! Thanks to the flying-trek concept! 

As a result, we still have two days of food in our bags and we decide not to come back to our bike by car as originally planned (8 hours hitchhiking) but rather by feet, crossing back the mountains by another track named Caples track. But fro Olivier’s point of view, it’s too easy, too boring. 

“- What do you mean a track? That will be full of tourists, while we could go through this pass, look at how WILD it looks, must be BEAUTIFUL!”

And we decide to turn on another little track, well hidden on the map quickly glimpsed in a hut. 

However, at mid way, the signs of the track begin to be less and less visible, up to disappear completely! We can’t lose ourselves as we just need to climb up this valley. But it is much easier to say it than to do it!!! Instead of six hours to reach the end of the track, we did it in two days, extremely hard, crossing again and again a wide stream, walking trough prickly bushes and rolling stones!

For us who wanted to meet the wild and adventurous Aotearoa, well, we just enjoyed it!!