| Middle-Earth? More like Brother's Grimm land on NZ's Hump Ridge Track.
For the last tramp in our 6 week NZ trip, we opted for The Hump Ridge Track, a privately run 3 day “Great Walk”, that travels through a variety of enchanted fairy-tale-like forests, sublime sub alpine landscapes, towering wooden viaducts, and scenic beach/coastlines.
Having just finished the illustrious Milford Track, the Hump Ridge Track turned out to be an ideal change of scenery, that far exceeded our expectations. Never have I taken so many pictures of forests! With each day covering 17-19km, and a 2800’ climb on day 1, this track was much more demanding than the Milford and Routeburn. Fortunately, the upscale lodges (not “huts”) offer plenty of amenities, like cushioned chairs, couches, kitchenware, and a small store. The price is a tad higher than the DOC great walk huts, but also includes oatmeal for breakfast.
About 1/3rd of the trail seemed to be comprised of chicken wire wrapped boardwalk, elevated 20” off the forest floor. You literally walked above the forest floor, never trampling a blade of grass/moss while exploring the most intriguing, ever changing forests imaginable.
The full story is worth the read:
Day 1: Beaches, enchanted forests, and sublime sub-alpine on the way to Okara Lodge...
Day 2: Revisiting "The Hump", more enchanted forests, archaic wooden viaducts, and a dolphin show at Port Craig...
Day 3: A perfect sunrise on the Hump Ridge Track, and a perfect sunset in Queenstown on our last full day in NZ...
Day one along the beach, and into enchanted forests (is that a tree angel?)
The forests evolved as we gained elevation, always maintaining a fairy-tale like quality.
A walk up “The Hump” to admire the sublime sunset views (we were fortunate the fog cleared).
Day 2 started with another visit to “The Hump” (see full report for pics). Then it was a descent through forested trees, to the ocean (straight ahead in 1st pic).
More fairy tale forest…
Luncheon Rock, and Frog Rock.
Miles and miles of boardwalk through the forests on this trail.
We crossed 3 via ducts.
At Port Craig, we caught some Hector dolphins putting on a show.
Day 3 started with a spectacular sunrise.
Hiking along the beach.
Returning through scenic forest, and driving back to Queenstown.
And a spectacular sunset from Queenstown on our last evening in New Zealand.
This is the last NZ report of my 6 week adventure. To read more about it, check out:
My New Zealand adventure web journal, with daily photo/journals
The 8 NZ related TRs I’ve posted on 14ers.com