Gone Bush

Thanks to the network of well maintained walking tracks that criss-crosses our rural backblocks, you don’t need to be Bear Grylls to enjoy the outdoors.

Whether it’s a 30-minute scenic loop from a highway rest area or a multi-day sub-alpine tramp – there’s nothing like going bush to help you shift gears and unwind. As far as natural remedies for stress go, that ‘aaah’ feeling you get when you’re dwarfed by giant trees is hard to beat.

If you’re still back at the start of the previous paragraph trying to work out what ‘tramp’ means – welcome to New Zealand, where hiking is known as tramping.

Going into the bush is one thing. Waking up in the bush is something else entirely. The Department of Conservation maintains over 950 backcountry huts where you can wake up to million dollar views for as little as a few dollars a night. Huts in areas close to major cities (or major tourist attractions) can be in high demand so make sure you book ahead, especially at this time of year.

If you’re new to tramping, make sure you brush up on ‘hut etiquette’ – a simple set of guidelines that can be summarised as ‘be considerate of other hut users and do your bit to keep the hut clean and comfortable’.

DoC also promotes an Environmental Care Code aimed at preserving our wildlife, heritage and facilities for future generations. It’s a set of simple guidelines that can be distilled into the classic slogan; take nothing but pictures – leave nothing but footsteps.

We could ask you to share your favourite place to go tramping but the whole point is to get away from it all, right? Why would you share your precious secret spots? Instead, we’d like you to post your hot tips for sticking to DoC’s Environmental Care Code. Found a nifty way to deal with rubbish while tramping? Got a tactic for getting the kids to ‘keep to the tracks’? How do you minimise the impact of your tramping on plants and wildlife?