Here at Wilderlife, we’re collating Victoria’s diaries, photos and videos into a digest. Each post spans a section of Te Araroa between major towns and rest days. 

Walking with her seven-year-old daughter Emilie, together they are raising funds for Federated Mountain Clubs and telling stories about the mental health benefits of time spent in the wild places of NZ, as well as the importance of protecting those areas for future generations to enjoy.

Makahika to Ōtaki

Day 30:  28 November 2021

The Mighty Tararuas

Makahika OPC – Waiopehu Hut

We made it to Waiopehu Hut in just under seven hours, fuelled by the fumes of coffee and sugar.



The extra strength coffee I’d poured into my poor stomach at 5:30am left me energized and nauseated. We were out the gate of the Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre at 7:30am, stomping down Pouds Road to the start of the Tararuas.

Both of us were loaded up like two little pack mules with enough food to wait out a few extra days of bad weather due to the heavy rain forecast.

This was definitely the heaviest my pack had been since starting out down the beach from Cape Reinga, only this time I felt much stronger.

I’m not sure how much Emilie’s pack weighed and I tried not to think about the effect this might have on her growing body as she shouldered the additional load of our cooking gear and a loaf of sourdough bread without complaint, the little legend.

That kid was definitely the superstar of the day. In fact, I was starting to wonder if she had magical powers — her physical capabilities almost outmatched mine and her determination for good humour and camaraderie helped distract me from the weight of my pack.



I gave her a pocketful of Fruitbursts to keep her spirits up, which lasted until the final climb, when even my resolve was crumbling.

When my alarm clock roused me at 5am that morning, I spent a few moments watching Emilie sleep. I thought about how much she still resembled her baby self, with those full cheeks, dark lashes and rosebud mouth.

This morning the baby dived back inside her sleeping bag with a muffled wail of “I need more sleep!” But she was quickly coaxed out of our soggy tent with the promise of one of our new fruit bars with her breakfast.



The folks at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre warned us the forecast was grim. Our fair weather window was replaced by a low pressure system bringing days of wind and rain.

So we made the call to head to the first hut and hunker down for a few days, with the hope that the weather would improve enough to let us pass through before our nine days of food ran out.

Despite the weight of my pack I enjoyed the climb to Waiopehu Hut and the sensation of my body moving in unison, like a thousand weighted lunges. My legs felt strong with the pleasurable sensation of placing my feet, as well as feeling joint and muscle lock together to propel me upwards.

I would never have survived road walking under such conditions. But this was a rough and rooty tramping track where we climbed up over 900m elevation in classic Tararua bush, and I was loving it.



After some unnecessary agonizing over trail shoes versus boots for this particular section, I had sent our tramping boots back to the South Island and we set off in our trail shoes, tiny gaiters doing little more than keeping our socks clean.

It was a good call. I loved feeling the terrain under my feet and having the ability to delicately navigate the muddy, rooty track while we climbed, seemingly endlessly, to the subalpine.

Giant tree trunks wrapped with thick vines disappeared into the canopy above our heads. Instead of craning my neck, I contented myself with observing how the leaf litter changed underfoot from dry brown spiked leaves to the delicate red and gold of mountain beech.

Several times we wandered below towering rimu, treading on powdered brown crunch, watched by flittering pīwakawaka and serenaded by an incredibly sweet song from an invisible songstress. Once I came across a plain light brown bird the size of a common song thrush. We gazed, startled, at one another before it melted into the forest.



Emilie and I had reached a happy equilibrium. After we had shared a few stories (I’d learned a good short story was appreciated almost as much as a long one), she was content to sing to herself while I powered on ahead up the hill, stopping every now and then to wait for her to catch up. I’m a much bigger fan of uphill than she is; and when I saw her morale dropping, I let her go in front where I could truly appreciate the effort it takes a little person with little legs to step up while carrying a decent pack.



There’s definitely a certain psychology in allowing yourself to crave for the track to end. You start staring wildly through the trees aching to see the angle of a roofline, a woodshed, a loo, anything to indicate that the end was here.

As soon as our heads popped out above the bushline and into the mist, the rain hit and we scurried the final hundred metres to the hut.



Although we found Waiopehu Hut a little cold and damp with black mold growing on the interior walls, we quickly set up “home”. We changed into warm clothes and watched as the weather closed in and the wind and rain lashed against the windows.


Day 31:  29 November 2021

Waiopehu Hut (0km)

With thick heavy mist blowing past like smoke, punctuated by periods of rain, it’s a very wet day outside.

Inside the hut, it’s cold and slightly damp. But we’re warm enough in our sleeping bags, waiting for the worst of it to pass.

We’ve made the most of the wet weather day by reading, drawing, eating, playing cards and snuggling in our sleeping bags, with occasional excursions to the loo.



Apart from ourselves and a lone trail walker called John, who turned up soaked to the bone late yesterday afternoon and headed out again after lunch, the hut is empty.

Signs pointing to the “view” are just visible through the mist, and apparently one can see all the way to Taranaki on a clear day. I could see the lights of Levin shining in the darkness at one stage during my nocturnal outing, but by early dawn the cloud had closed in again.

Around 6pm the mist finally cleared, revealing awesome views of the mountains, Levin and the coastline. We dragged ourselves outside for a flurry of activity, including drying off the tent fly and soggy socks before the next wave of clouds drifted across.

I’m hoping the worst of the rain passes before we walk on to Te Matawai Hut and resume the Trail over to Nichols Hut and down to Waitewaewae and beyond.


Day 32:  30 November 2021

Waiopehu Hut – Te Matawai Hut (8 km/5 hrs)

Apart from ourselves and a lone trail walker called John, who turned up soaked to the bone late yesterday afternoon and headed out again after lunch, the hut is empty.

Signs pointing to the “view” are just visible through the mist, and apparently one can see all the way to Taranaki on a clear day. I could see the lights of Levin shining in the darkness at one stage during my nocturnal outing, but by early dawn the cloud had closed in again.

Around 6pm the mist finally cleared, revealing awesome views of the mountains, Levin and the coastline. We dragged ourselves outside for a flurry of activity, including drying off the tent fly and soggy socks before the next wave of clouds drifted across.

I’m hoping the worst of the rain passes before we walk on to Te Matawai Hut and resume the Trail over to Nichols Hut and down to Waitewaewae and beyond.

“Stop snoring!” Emilie commanded, dragging me out of my slumber. I rolled over and gave her a cuddle, enjoying those early morning moments when she was still peaceful with sleep.

After cuddles turned into boisterous giggles, we got up and broke into the chocolate granola. It tasted as good as it looked, but I doubted very much that we’d get the prescribed eight servings out of the bag, not at the rate we were eating.

Outside all was blanketed in thick white mist perpetuated by a gentle drizzle. The breeze blew the mist in wafts like smoke, ruffling the turfs of mountain tussock and flax.

Neither of us wanted to get wet, but I was keen to press on to Te Matawai to shorten our journey forward to Dracophyllum and then Nichols, once the weather improved.

Emilie took a little bit of sweet-talking, but we agreed we’d make ourselves a hot drink and get back into our sleeping bags once we arrived at Te Matawai.



Wrapped up in all our wet weather gear — gaiters securing damp trail shoes and our pockets stuffed with Fruitbursts — we were ready to go.

Once you surrender to the fact that you’re going to get wet (I mean completely wet, damp, sticky, muddy, all of it), there’s something magical about tramping in the rain, at least for me.

The mist seems to dampen down all sounds and soften the forest, turning the muted palette a darker hue of browns and greens.

There’s something a little sensual about stepping into a puddle and feeling the cool water rush in between your toes, followed by hearing the slurp of the mud sucking at your shoes.

And again, there is the sheer pleasure of a physical sensation with every correct foot placement, feeling the leg muscles lock into place to propel you forwards.

But the track was very wet and rough; water flowed around roots and pebbles, moss turned slimy and tussock treacherous.



We clambered up the peaks of Waiopehu (1094m) and Twin Peaks (1097) with thick mist swirling around us, pausing for a solemn moment at the memorial beacon.

I tripped myself in the tussocks several times and slipped on the downhill, landing heavily on my ass thanks to the weight of my pack.

This is where sturdy tramping boots outshine trail shoes, allowing you to dig in with your heel and prevent your shoe from sliding out from under you.



I experimented leading with the ball of my foot and only dropping down with the heel to a solid hold. It seemed to work better. We navigated the narrow ridgeline to Richards Knob in just under two hours, instead of the signposted three, before dropping down below the bush line into the dripping wet goblin forest, the rain falling steadily through the canopy.



We reached Te Matawai Hut thoroughly soaked after five hours of solid tramping, only to find this hut even more dank and cold than the previous. Black mold stained the walls and white spores clustered amongst the ‘glow in the dark stars’ someone had stuck to the ceiling.

I got the fire going and attempted to dry out some gear. The rain reduced to a constant grey drizzle, clearing for a few moments to reveal the towering green mountain and distant ridgeline we were due to climb the next day.



There’s not much else to do now except enjoy our dinner and snuggle down to escape in a book, trying to ignore the feeling of damp discomfort that seems all consuming after a few days of rain.


Day 33:  1 December 2021

Te Matawai Hut – Dracophyllum Hut

32 days on the Trail and I’m finally enjoying myself as I stagger through a rugged goblin forest looking for a tiny orange hut.

Teamed up with John (aka ‘the Trail Walking English Teacher’), we left Te Matawai at 9am. The day kept getting better and better as the clouds rolled back to reveal some of the most awe-inspiring mountain scenery.



The climb up the ridgeline to Pukematewai was an extremely satisfying full body workout, as we pulled ourselves up hand over foot through overgrown tussock, dracophyllum and alpine daisies.


The sun shone down and the views stretched out on every side of the narrow ridgeline . . . such a welcome contrast from the days of mist and rain.


Yet as we neared the intersection with the main ridge, the mist swirled over the mighty tops, surrounding us in cold damp cloud.

Stopping only for a few mouthfuls of food and to don rain jackets, we picked our way along the narrow trail, our progress slowed by mud, rocks and tussock.



Once we dropped down below the bushline into the goblin forest, thick green moss obscured the tree trunks and the track.

The remaining two kilometres to Dracophyllum Hut took us nearly two hours, as we picked our way through rotten windfall and thick mud, squinting to see the grimy orange track markers obscured by moss.



Right now my body is exhausted and my mind empty of everything except joy — joy of being alive in this wild and beautiful place.

Day 34:  2 December 2021

Dracophyllum Hut to Nichols Hut


This morning I caught the sunrise.

The mist blanketed the valley below us, giving the sensation of standing on an island amidst a sea of drifting white.



As I watched, tendrils of mist were spilling out and over into the neighbouring valley. The ridgeline where we’d continue walking today and the towering blue shoulders of Mt Crawford stood tall and clear against the sky.



I stood around grinning at nothing as the warm sun kissed my face, intoxicated by the magic moment of which I’d become a part.



Later we followed the ridgeline along to Nichols Hut, dropping back down into the goblin forest for a time before rising back up above the bushline.



Here you could see clear evidence of how the goats are decimating the tender alpine plants. It’s like someone has taken a pair of hedge clippers to the plants, but with telltale signs of droppings everywhere.



We farewelled John at Nichols Hut, who was continuing down to Waitewaewae while we stayed to enjoy the afternoon sunshine and stunning scenery.


Day 35:  3 December 2021

Nichols Hut to Waitewaewae Hut 


I’m sitting on the deck outside Waitewaewae Hut watching steam coil up out of the forest canopy and into the sky.

The most gentlest of rain, a fine mist really, is falling on the punga — the ferns, the majestic green river on my doorstep.

I’m drinking a peppermint tea (as I’m out of everything stronger), and I sit here, staring at the scenery.

I’m not sure if I’m feeling ecstasy, euphoria, sheer exhaustion or a mixture of all.

It’s 5:30pm and we staggered in about an hour ago after six or seven hours of hard tramping, climbing, slipping and sliding 1000+ metres from the misty heights of Mt Crawford down to the banks of the Ōtaki River.

My entire body feels broken, yet I’m enveloped in a warm bliss. I want for nothing, except maybe to immerse myself in that beautiful green water and loll about as lazily as the huge trout we saw while crossing the swingbridge.

God damn the Tararuas hold some deep magic. I could stay here forever.

mewhere in the canopy I can hear the throaty gurgle of tuī; on another side the sweet call of smaller songbirds.

Giant punga are dwarfed by totara, beech, towering rimu with long beards of moss, all intertwined in a sea of green.

We left the pretty little sanctuary of Nichols Hut around 10am after hanging around for an extra snuggle and a game of cards in the small hope the rain would ease and the views of yesterday return.

When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen we decided to press on along the ridge, our bare legs kissed by wet tussock grass, gingerly picking our way through the mist.

The wind picked up as we neared the summit of Mt Crawford. It was hard to tell when the mist ended and the rain began, except by the time we’d dipped below the treeline, steady droplets had soaked us to every pore.

But it wasn’t cold, at least as long as we kept moving. Once you’d surrendered to the wetness, you could enjoy watching the drops of rain rustle the ferns or note how the mist seemed to blanket everything in quiet.

We’d just weaved through a grove of podocarps when a high pitched bleat stopped us in our tracks, staring at a little white bottom moving in the ferns. A big brown head peered around a tree, anxious eyes under a set of horns, calling its kid. Together the mother and baby goat melted into the forest.

It was one of those slow, painful descents because moving quickly would only end in a treacherous slip or trip off the track into the thick undergrowth. Rotten windfall, slimy with water and moss, hampered us even more.

Our spirits lifted once we heard the roar of the river. But by the time we were on the flats, I could feel the last of my energy draining away as I followed Emilie across the swing bridge and the last few hundred metres through the mud to finally arrive at the hut.

As usual she had miraculously recovered and was skipping across the floor, enjoying a sweet treat of Skittles left for us with a note from another Trail walker, playing with a Jenga set someone had left here and chatting away. It was all I could do to prepare a basic meal, rinse and hang up our mud-soaked clothes, clean myself and fall into bed.

Day 36: 4 December 2021

Waitewaewae Hut rainy day

I woke in the early hours to the thunder of rain on the roof and felt huge relief that I could justify calling today a rest day.

I’d given up last night halfway through a game of cards, and fell asleep with Emilie reading me a story from her book. “You have a fever, Mummy!” She’d cried, feeling my forehead. “I’m going to look after you.”

I didn’t fancy my chances but here I was, in the moody darkness of Waitewaewae Hut, with her snoozing peacefully beside me.

The rain was so loud that it had penetrated my slumber, even through my ear plugs. I’d taken to wearing ear plugs over the past week and found they helped me sleep deeply, a big improvement from my usual fitful, jumpy rest.

I lay warm in my sleeping bag and marvelled at our DOC hut system and how it’s possible to find a safe, warm, dry space in the middle of a forest and just wander in to shelter from the elements.



My thoughts turned from security to uncertainty as little whispers of doubt gnawed at my consciousness. What was I doing out here . . . and with my young child? We still had two full days walking ahead of us to get to Waikenae and I wasn’t entirely sure if I could make it.

Oh sure, my body probably could but my mind was fragile in the darkness of the pre-dawn. How nice it would be if someone would come for us, full of camaraderie, cheer and good humour to get us through the mud and damp and cold.

I rolled over in an effort to physically dismiss these thoughts from my mind.

No one was coming and we weren’t princesses who needed rescuing (although high up on my rest day schedule was the plan to warm some water and wash my stinky self with my lavender oil soap).



I did a mental stocktake of our food supplies, praising myself for having the foresight to bring extra groceries up that first hill.

We still had a ten pack of wraps, unopened, a third of a bag of couscous, some freeze dried meals, tuna sachets, one portion of egg noodles and a chunk of elemental cheese, the smelly kind that I love and Emilie doesn’t . . . not to mention a scrape of cream cheese and peanut butter, along with a few squares of chocolate and a cup of Brazil nuts. We were running low on porridge oats, but I’m sure she’d happily eat noodles for breakfast tomorrow.

We had eaten the last of our sourdough bread for lunch yesterday — two chunky sandwiches with cream cheese and honey. While not exactly lightweight, real food made a big difference to my energy levels and my morale.



So if we were stuck in the Tararuas for another few days, at least we wouldn’t go hungry. And if Mama learned to hunt, I could supplement our diet with one of those trout and a couple of steaks of baby goats . . .

Emilie was inside, drawing and singing. She wore her matching pink Icebreaker thermals and she arranged her baby tuī and kiwi on the table with her. It’s so lovely to see a content child and now she’s learned to read, she will often take herself away to her book, or come and read a chapter to me.



Now I’m outside, finishing the dregs of my cold coffee and watching the rain. The river is flowing faster than yesterday, sleek and brown. And while the sky beyond seems bright, the mist continues to rise up out of the canopy then fall again in brief but heavy showers of rain.

I’m so happy not to be walking through it today. It takes a lot of energy to psych yourself up for hours of walking in the damp, wet and cold and I think yesterday took it out of me. Plus the next leg to Parawai Hut involves a big climb and a heap of stream crossings, which may or may not have settled by tomorrow.

My daydreamings were interrupted by the brief passing of three ultra fit trail runners — more like muscle clad gods than men, off to run up that slippery slope that nearly killed me yesterday.

By midday we’d been joined by four other trail walkers and spent the afternoon playing cards and swapping stories.


Day 37: 5 December 2021

Waitewaewae Hut to Pārāwai lodge (10KM/8 Hours)

Rain eased overnight to a bright new day and by 7am we were ready to set off.

It’s amazing how quickly friendships are formed when you stick six sweaty strangers under one roof, eating, sleeping and drying our underwear together.

So while we all walked at different paces, it was good to know we’d have familiar faces at the next hut.



Today the bush was thick, dark and damp, quickly leaving the river to wind steeply up over the hill and across several side streams still swollen with the recent rain.

The humidity smoked from the damp undergrowth and we soon removed our rain jackets and staggered along through mud and across windfall.

Huge old growth trees reared up out of sight, their massive trunks green with moss. Over time several of these behemoths had fallen, taking down smaller trees and completely obscuring the track.

We spent hours laboriously clambering up, over or around windfall, navigating masses of tangled branches and twisted trunks, which became treacherous and slippery obstacles. It was slow going.



At one stage Emilie got herself wedged under a tree, her body sliding down but her backpack jammed. I could feel my heart hammering in my ears as she shrieked, until I managed to free her from her pack.

Her mood didn’t recover quickly (it was all my fault she had gotten stuck, she said) and I felt myself slipping into a dark place as she fought her way along the track.

We had a good talk about how our behavior can affect others and after a Fruitburst and some storytelling, we made up and she led the rest of the way.



Heavy rain set in once we’d reached the sanctuary of Pārāwai Hut, a lovely old tramping club hut set back behind a grove of native trees some five minutes walk from the Ōtaki River.

Before the rain, we’d managed a dip in the river to wash off the mud. We both stripped down naked on the shingle beach, delighting at the warm air on our skin and the silky touch of the water.

It was cold and swift. I amused myself by wandering upstream then letting the current wash me back down to our clothes. Emilie strode off naked, apart from her hut shoes, to play in a shallow pool. I observed her from my own watery sanctuary, a little brown nymph with golden pigtails, glowing in the afternoon sun.

Tomorrow we need to muster the last of our strength for a huge day of bush and road walking if we are to reach Waikenae, with the promise of a hot shower, clean clothes and ice cream.


Day 38: 6 December 2021

Pārāwai lodge to Waikenae


They wake before dawn, lanky ghoulish figures, illuminated only by the red light of their head torches. Surreptitious rustling in the darkness as they pack and repack meagre possessions into dry bags and backpacks, ferret for food and coax sleepy warm feet into damp socks.

I lie and watch in a kind of awe — this is the true breed of a determined trail walker.

Murmuring voices are completely drowned out by the thunder of heavy rain on the hut’s tin roof. I’m tired, so tired, after a restless sleep woken by the roar of the downpour, even through my ear plugs. Emilie continues to sleep beside me as I lie awake and worry.

I am beginning to see the Trail not just as an act of physical capability, but one of mental fortitude. Endless days of physical discomfort have a way of breaking you down and leaving an aching void to doubt yourself for a whole range of reasons.

This morning I was seriously wondering what the actual f#ck I was doing out here at the far edge of the Tararua Forest with my seven-year-old child. Despite packing an insane amount of food, this was Day 9 and our supplies reduced to a couple of lunch wraps with a whisper of peanut butter and some stinky cheese I knew Emilie would refuse to eat, a spicy freeze dried meal, some couscous, a handful of nuts and an even smaller handful of milk chocolate. Our kind new trail friends quietly donated their excess porridge sachets, so we had breakfast, lunch and a dinner covered. But not enough for another rest day to wait out this insane torrent of rain.

But still . . . my tramper’s intuition told me to stay put — no one should be out walking in this downpour. However if four other trail walkers could do it, surely we could too?

I managed to pull myself together by 8am to head out, determined to make it over the Pukeatua Track to Mangaone South Road, where I hoped a local trail angel could meet us.

But my resolve crumbled as we crossed the mighty Ōtaki River, now a churning brown mess, a far cry from the swimming hole of yesterday.



Emilie was prepped and primed. She’d agreed to tough it out in the rain, in return for two good behavior coupons that she was saving towards a new Generation Doll. And what’s more, I’d promised to let her look up the Toyworld site on my phone to browse the dolls and their clothes.

But as we wandered out in all our wet weather gear, I could see I had my day cut out for me. Quiet and sleepy, she wandered behind me with wet pigtails swinging in the rain. She was already daydreaming as she poked her hiking poles at the weeds and flowers. We walked up the gravel road to the start of the Pukeatua Track, noting the raging side creeks diverted under the road. I was preparing myself mentally to turn back and sit this one out if we got to a creek too wild to cross.

I could totally see why other walkers paired up together. It’s such a relief to have the confidence and moral support of another adult human — to share the leadership role, to cheer each other up and egg each other on.

For me and my tiny trail walking companion, today was clearly going to be a mammoth effort of physical and mental fortitude. I shoved a Fruitburst into her mouth and gave her a kiss. “We’re going to get really wet, so let’s pretend we’re forest mermaids and we get to leave our pools and go on adventures together in the rain!” I suggest. Let’s see how we go.



Monday Night, 10:30pm

Well, I said today would be a mammoth effort . . . little did we imagine just how intense it was going to be!

We never made it to the road end. We got within a kilometre, after scaling the mighty 800m ridge and dropping down almost 600m, soaking wet and covered in mud, The talk of food and hot showers at the end of our big day propelled us onwards.

We were feeling pretty pleased with our speedy progress down the hill. We had just come across a wild boar rooting amongst the punga and were navigating a big pile of windfall when things changed for the worse.

Imagine our surprise when Bryan, the fast walker of the group who had departed a couple of hours before us, came staggering back up the track, wet weather gear plastered to his white face.

“There’s a creek in flood and no way we’re getting past it,” he told us.

“Where are the others?” we ask.

“They’re coming. We’re all going back to the hut. This way is impossible,” he warned.

We were digesting this information when Iain popped around the corner, followed by Chris, who confirmed this was unfortunately true. No one had picked up this stream crossing on the maps or Trail notes, as the last river crossing of the day was bridged. Our hearts sank to the cold depth of our muddy trail shoes at the thought of trudging back up onto that ridge to begin the long descent back to the hut.

I felt so bad for Emilie. The poor thing was drenched, wet and cold and bitterly disappointed, having made big plans with Mummy to find a cheap motel with a hot shower and a TV with cartoons for our rest day. She perked up a little to see the others and did her best to hustle back up the hill. But as a cold wind blew through the forest, I could see her lip wobbling and her chat turned into tears. Bless Iain for I think he felt as bad as I did for her.

Chris and Bryan had burned on ahead to the hut and to prepare Plan B, while Iain walked with Emilie and me. We fitted her gloves, gave her some chocolate and took turns carrying her backpack for a little bit, which saw her speed up exponentially as she tore down the hill with us in hot pursuit. I had a few slips and trips on the way, as the track had disappeared under torrents of rainwater and in several places we were walking calf deep through mud.

Finally we got back to the hut where the guys had lit the fire. We went through the process of stripping off wet gear and warming ourselves up. All pooling our remaining food, we had a group dinner where we discussed the situation and made plans to get out tomorrow, this time via Ōtaki Forks. I’ll have to reflect on all of this tomorrow, as my body is completely shattered now. Ten days in the Tararuas and I’m still not sure they will let me leave.

Day 39: 7 December 2021

Pārāwai lodge to ōtaki – THe great escape


We finally emerged, like swamp people, covered in mud and soaked to the skin, after ten days in the Tararuas.

It was still raining, but the river had dropped a little by the morning and we were all walking out via the Ōtaki road and getting picked up.

Fortunately, this plan was a success. We are now heading back to civilisation to wash off the mud, the mountains still fresh in our memories.


Victoria and Emilie are walking the Te Araroa over the 21/22 summer season. They are raising funds and telling stories about the mental health benefits of time spent in the wild places of NZ, as well as the importance of protecting those areas for future generations to enjoy.  To see all their stories, visit and follow them @adventures_with_emilie on Instagram and Facebook.

90% of the funds raised are donated evenly between the Mental Health Foundation and the Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ Mountain & Forest Charitable Trust. 10% is going towards some of the expenses of walking the trail.

If you’d like to help them out, please donate via their give a little page.