Admiring the scenery while Bogan Tramping on Te Araroa, Bunnythorpe.

Whenever the FMC executive meet it’s traditional for them to go for a tramp after all the arguments and asparagus rolls have been digested. Members of the exec come from all over the country and these tramps are a great way to meet and get to know each other without someone taking minutes.

The story you’re about to read came about because recently “retired” exec member Anthony Behrens has his own tradition when it comes to tramping – a tradition that involves being totally unprepared. On a recent post-meeting tramp he found myself wandering the hills of Wellington on a hot spring afternoon with arguably New Zealand’s most experienced trampers. He was wearing black jeans, a black tee-shirt and a black hoodie. He had no water and no sunscreen. He literally cooked himself from the inside-out while the rest of the exec wandered on in blissful ignorance.

Heat exhaustion, sunstroke or dehydration have proved useful tools of enlightenment before – think Jesus in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights – so it’s hardly surprising that he realised the truth that scorching afternoon – he wasn’t just a tramper – he was a bogan tramper!

WARNING! satire follows!

Once upon a time I lived in a flat with a bunch of loose units. We all had our own skill-sets, but one of us, Jo, had a special one. Jo liked to drink a lot and go for long walks.

A party for Jo wasn’t a party if he didn’t attain a blackout. Us flatmates treated this with a mixture of concern and humour. Concern because regularly drinking until becoming comatose is quite hard work for the drinker AND those who live with them. We thought it was funny, because…well…it was the eighties, we were young and rightly or wrongly, getting shitfaced was hilarious when we were young.

Jo was really good at not remembering how he made it home after a party, but he was really good at getting there none-the-less. He usually did this by foot.

Jo’s most legendary trek in the wee small hours was from a keg party way out in the wops. After hitting the limit his liver allowed, Jo’s homing instinct kicked in and our hero walked the 20-plus kilometres back to the flat – over a small mountain, down through the outer suburbs and back to bed in the centre of town.

Although not identifying as a bogan, Jo had strong bogan tendencies and this startling physical and mental act exemplified them. In a nutshell, Jo’s trek was a consummate act of Bogan Tramping.

The most bogan thing about this amazing feat was the fact that Jo could neither remember doing it, nor prove that it had been done. He thinks he probably walked home. Jo’s flatmates thought the same.



A mountain has never been a requirement of Bogan Tramping – it just adds street cred. The one thing a Bogan Tramper must walk on is a carriageway of some sort. Jo lead the way in those early years by finding a mountain with a road.

Be psychologically prepared (off your face if need be), but don’t be physically prepared. Jo was drunk, unfit and had no hiking gear. This was A-grade Bogan Preparedness. Not that there was anything wrong with C-grade preparedness. If anything a C grade was better than an A grade…which could sometimes come across as try-hard.

Jo’s footwear was a pair of Doc Martins. Being the mid-eighties, white basketball boots, jandals or slave sandals would have been fine because none of these shoes are designed for covering long distances.

Raincoat – waddarya?

GPS, mobile phone or PLB? This was New Zealand in 1984, not The Tomorrow People! Bugger off!

There was no merino, so Jo probably wore jeans and a black Slayer t shirt. If Jo had been a female, she would’ve been wearing a Stevie Nicks-like velvet dress with lace.

Having the right odour is a big part of Bogan Tramping. Real trampers just stink. Eighties Bogan Trampers gave off of a unique aroma of beer, spirits, vomit and/or Karma Sutra perfume if female.

Not to mention smokes. Jo smoked rollies. Chur!


We’re all a bit more PC these days so we recognise that people like Jo had a problem – but we still look back on such things with a certain fondness. Those were innocent times and we just know more these days. Heavy drinking and walking long distances with the occasional cigarette stop just doesn’t make sense anymore, but it’s still part of a proud history.

Like Jo, I don’t identify as a actual bogan, but because I like its style, I’m no stranger to THE MODERN ART OF BOGAN TRAMPING. My favourite place to do it is in Wellington, but I’ll give it a go in Auckland, Sydney (on the way to the airport on a 43 degree day with a suitcase!)…Hamilton. My favourite spot, Bunnythorpe, is THE most Bogan Tramping spot in the country AND it’s on Te Araroa so has an international reputation. Bunnythorpe is a bit like South Auckland where an American TA hiker, and honorary Bogan Tramper, recently got shot at.

Bogan Tramping has come a long way since the heyday of 1980’s New Zealand. Drinking may not be required anymore, but a craft beer or three is encouraged.

These days everyone, even a bogan, carries a GPS and a phone. Because Bogan Tramping generally takes place in urban areas, a PLB isn’t necessary. Just ring your mates, or mum, if you think you’ve bitten off a bit more than you should’ve.

Because I’m old and actually like real tramping too, I don’t go Bogan Tramping in bad shoes – I wear hiking boots – BLACK hiking boots. These look bogan, but afford some protection from such things as shin-splints, plantar fasciitis and blisters. Call me soft…just don’t do it to my face.


In the old days, blue jeans were considered bogan, but I reckon you want black these days. The tighter the better. Those ones with a bit of elastic in them are best because they hold their shape and get REALLY hot and uncomfortable. They look awesome, and afford plenty of flexibility if you’re chased and need to get out of a tight spot fast. Obviously black tees are de rigueur for men AND women these days, but I reckon a velvet dress with a bit of lace and a good splash of Karma Sutra perfume will always rock.

When I’m out Bogan Tramping I never take a bag with water or sunblock. A bag would make any self-respecting Bogan Tramper look…like a dork.

If I need a drink, I know that there will always be a tap at any primary school. I always carry ID, because bogans hanging around any school will make the authorities curious – especially during school hours. A pub is also a great rehydration option and another reason to carry ID.

I don’t wear a hat. Not because I don’t like hats – trucker caps are cool – but the real Bogan Tramper will always forget to carry one. If I need sun protection, I take off my hoodie and drape it over my head. If it rains, I call someone or harden up and take it like a man. Sunstroke and dehydration can be quite dangerous, but I reckon that’s a key part of the thrill of Bogan Tramping.

The panoramic views on New Zealand’s most popular Bogan Tramping spots may be a bit shit, but the constant threat of being run over more than makes up for that…the excitement of living life on the edge is why I do it.

Speaking of danger – one of the Bogan Tramper’s biggest trouble spots is the busy urban roundabout. Like river crossings in regular tramping, these can be very tricky and deadly. Unlike river crossings, solo crossings are best because decisions can be made quickly and instinctively. Always cross upstream on the true left of the actual roundabout and make sure you catch the eye of the driver that you walk in front of before you do it.

Crossing roundabouts in pairs is a nightmare. If you’re with your girlfriend or boyfriend, don’t for God’s sake link arms or hold hands! This isn’t just dangerous…it’s very uncool.

Roundabout crossings should not be attempted at rush hour with a hangover. Never take legal – or illegal – highs and expect to come away from a busy urban roundabout at peak-hour unscathed. True, search and rescue is only a phone-call away, but the first thing that happens to you when you arrive in the ED with a major injury, is that the buggers cut your black jeans off with scissors then stick a finger up your bum. Ask me how I know.

Zebra crossings are an option, but if you’re wearing black means you are unlikely to be seen. If a driver doesn’t slow down, give them the finger but don’t try to kick the car as this can lead to all sorts of problems. Getting dragged down the street after getting a leg caught in the wheel arch being the most common.

River crossing and wheel rim on Te Araroa, Bunnythorpe.



Anyone can try, but not everyone is hard enough


Style is everything. Bogan Tramping without the right gear is just Urban Tramping…a sub genre of the sport that appeals to wusses. Would an All Black be an All Black if he wore a pink uniform?


Take it one thing at a time and don’t beat yourself up if you find it harder than you think. Wear a black t shirt next time you walk around the supermarket. Buy yourself a pair of black jeans and go out for a walk in the dark one night. Literally no-one will see you.


NEVER BE PREPARED! The great thing about Bogan Tramping is that you can find yourself doing it any time. An example: If the Holden drops it’s guts 12ks outside Taihape just walk to the garage to arrange a tow. You may not be dressed appropriately, but the small act of walking along a State Highway in a singlet and jandals may be the start of something special.


Bogan Tramping should not be attempted in actual New Zealand bush. NEVER run into the bush if you crash your, or someone else’s, car into it. I know this seems counterintuitive, but a day in court for DIC or car conversion is preferable to death.