Geoff Gabites is one of New Zealand’s most experienced adventure travel experts. His history includes climbing in the Himalaya with the likes of Peter Hillary as well as starting his own NZ cycling business, which has become one of the country’s leading cycle operators.
He’s walked and cycled all over the North and South Island’s however there is one trip that is very close to his heart. He calls it ‘The Best of the Southern Alps’ and we asked him some questions on why he believes this trip warrants the use of the words ‘Best of’.
For people looking for a trek away from the busier trails, what would you recommend?
Our Best of the Southern Alps Trek is the one trip that I am most proud of. Australian trekking specialists, World Expeditions, requested that I design a trek in NZ that could serve as a warm up for a walking trip in the Himalayas. This trip came out of that brief, and it remains my favourite to this day.
The scenery in stages is even more spectacular than Nepal . Not enough people know about the amazing opportunities closer to them than a delay in a rush hour commute. This trip should probably be called the ‘NZ’s Best Kept Secret Trek!!’
OK, can you give five reasons why you think it’s ‘the best'?
Over six days it traverses from Christchurch to Queenstown, the adventure capital of NZ.
You’ll overnight in a private mountain hut above Lake Tekapo which affords fantastic views across the lake and the local peaks. Next day we hike this amazing ridge to the top of a 2000m peak where the Southern Alps just opens up.
You hike into the Hooker Valley below Mt Cook, just to be up close and personal. The crowds here just highlight how remote and private this trek is compared to the busier guidebook listed trails. It’s like trekking to Everest Base camp without a hangover headache!
The next day you will be right back into solitude again, with a full day hike into remote lakes and valleys based out of my favourite accommodation at Ohau Lodge.
Heli-hiking. Kiwis are sort of a bit blasé about helicopters but they are so exciting!! The drop off zone is on the ridge between two peaks and we hike up to the summit of the Buchanan Peak that overlooks Wanaka and Mt Aspiring. On a fine day it’s as close to perfection as you can get.
The sheer number of peaks you get to view is extraordinary - and you don’t need to be a super mountaineer to experience them!
The Best of the Southern Alps trek depart between November and March each year. Visit www.advsouth.co.nz for more details.