Time for Gold! Zander Groenewald from Otamatea High School in Northland completes his Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition around Taranaki Maunga.
'Though plenty of inexperienced day walkers happily climb Taranaki, the mountain is still one of the most deadly in New Zealand. For many, the northern summer route is their surest way to safely experience climbing Taranaki.' Seasoned mountaineer, Peter Laurenson, provides foundational advice for minimising trouble and maximising fun on Mt Taranaki this summer.
No ride, no problem. FMC Youth Award Grant recipient, Tara Isaacs, organises her own DOE Gold Qualifier from the ground up. Starting without a team, a shadower or a ride, she compiles a crew and all the components necessary to cross off one of her 'bucket list tramps' – the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk.
'No growth occurs when comfortable' becomes the guiding mantra for five Youth Award Grant recipients. Flexibility and persistence prove essential during their DOE Gold Qualifying Journey, as they respond to ill trampers and an emergency helicopter rescue along the Pinnacles.
For their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Qualifying Journey, Emiliana and her team opt for an alternative mode of backcountry travel – kayaking. Dubbed the Kayak Kapers, this team of twenty-four students (over half of whom had never kayaked) bravely took up their paddles and developed new skills during a multi-day exploration of the Marlborough Sounds.
Over the April school holidays, six students set off to complete their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Qualifying Adventurous Journey in Tongariro National Park. Demonstrating excellent planning for their tramp, the group successfully navigates all the challenges thrown their way and completes a trip of a lifetime.
"Journey – a long and often difficult process of personal change and development." For these four FMC Youth Award Grant recipients, they draw upon their strengths and honestly address their shortcomings to come together as a team to support one another, as well as look after fellow trampers on the Tongariro Crossing Northern Circuit.
"You know you have taken on a good adventure when you have butterflies in your tummy." Feeling ready to tackle another ambitious mission, Andy and his two mates attempt to fastpack the Richmond Range High Ridge in 45 hours over four days.
“Was it fun?” After a six-day non-stop adventure race through the mountains around Mt Aspiring, Alastair McDowell ponders this question and asks himself, "Why do we do this to ourselves?" He shares a thought-provoking exploration into what calls mountaineers into the wild, what the experience is truly like, and how brushes with fatality are an ever present reminder of mortality.
Examining their Gold qualifying tramp through the lens of Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four dimensions of wellbeing), Alicia and Sophie reflect on the significant challenges they faced on the Rees-Dart Track and what strategies helped encourage them to continue.
Through the wild and remote Matakitaki region to the well-trafficked and sociable valleys of Nelson Lakes, Alastair McDowell takes the reader on a visual journey of his fastpacking mission in photo essay form.
Freezing temperatures bring unexpected challenges to a group of Duke of Edinburgh Silver qualifiers on the Ruahines. But through it all, they embrace the magic of a winter wonderland tramp surrounded by snow and icicles and demonstrate what is to be a good hut steward.
After planning their tramp over two years ago, Andy and his mates finally embark on the backcountry trip they've been waiting for – Dragons Teeth in Kahurangi National Park.
A second attempt and an alternative route pays off for these four Duke of Edinburgh qualifiers. After a flooded track and health problems forces the group to turn back on their first try, they persevere and successfully complete their next tramp with lots of fun and skill building along the way.
Based in Fiordland working as a stoat trapper, Tom #1 and his mate Tom #2 embark on a week-long backcountry exploration into the Glaisnock Wilderness Area.
Inspired by the ‘Rounds’ in the UK, British native and New Zealand ultra-runner Martin Lukes designs the first ever New Zealand ‘Round’ – a classic long-distance mountain challenge taking in all of the summits of a local area in an aesthetic loop. After spending a summer bagging peaks in the Southern Lakes, Alastair McDowell tackles Canterbury’s answer to the famous mountain challenges of Britain: the Craigieburn Round.
While competing in her first ever GODZONE race, Crystal Brindle asks herself, “How much is too much?” Pushing further past her comfort zone than ever before, she reflects on the different ways we experience connection in the natural world during adventure racing and what makes these endeavors not only possible, but worthwhile.
Drawn to Fiordland in the search for more summits, Alastair is confronted with the tough reality that his kayak has floated away and he is trapped on Mitre Peak. Saved by the kindness of a mysterious stranger, he successfully completes Challenge Day 17 in under six hours.