Winter tramping and a roughly polled track presents these FMC Youth Award Grant recipients with new challenges, as they complete their Duke of Edinburgh Gold tramp along the Two Thumbs range from Mesopotamia to Tekapo in four days.
Uncle Jacko encounters a gang of hooligan keas on the Cascade Saddle and shares how packrafts have improved since his DIY raft from the 90s, the best recipe for fine campfire cuisine and the real danger of quicksand in the Dart River.
As a Youth Award Grant recipient, Harri Pickett embarks on a snowy Kepler Track and faces the tough decision to turn around when conditions become unsafe.
After successfully skiing the entire east face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, an accomplished backcountry skier attempts the Caroline Face and tragically passes away after an equipment failure. Matteo Scoz offers tips on gear checks and how to properly transition between modes of travel to avoid disastrous consequences.
After receiving the tragic news that her partner Lochie is missing, Tara pauses their plans to traverse along the Southern Alps from Cape Farewell to Fiordland to help with his search. When the search is called off, she makes the heavy-hearted decision to continue with the trip. Tara recounts the final leg of her journey as a Simon Bell Memorial Scholarship recipient – a solo trek across the Olivine Ice Plateau towards Red Mountain and down to the ocean at Big Bay.
Eight days and multiple peaks make for another epic adventure with friends. Rob Hawes leads a party of six climbing from Pioneer Hut, high above Fox Glacier in Westland National Park. With volatile weather conditions, they face the tough decision to continue on or turn back from summiting Mt Tasman, New Zealand's second highest peak.
"There were so many sets of rapids – it was like being at the water park with a fast pass to the best ride." Andy and his mates make the call to delay their second attempt of the Dragon's Tooth route in Kahurangi National Park, opting instead for the Kaimanawa Kaweka traverse and packrafting down the Mohaka River.
A young, solo tramper attempts to cross the Cascade Saddle during heavy rainfall and tragically drowns. Johnny Mulheron reminds us of the dangers posed by crossing flooded streams and how best to make an informed decision when crossing.
Over six months and 3,000 kilometres later, this incredible mother-daughter team crosses the finish line into Bluff and completes Te Araroa. While ending this epic journey and rejoining civilisation may be bittersweet, Emilie reminds us that they have many more adventures ahead . . .
Refreshed and ready for action, Victoria and Emilie return to the Trail to tackle the second-to-last leg of their journey – the Takitimu Mountains in the Southland region.
Fascinated and frightened by the thought of whitewater kayaking, Alastair McDowell embraces his fears (and excitement) to join his mates on a weekend packrafting trip in Mt Cook. After his partner's paddle breaks, Alastair gets thrown in at the deep end and learns the art of navigation.
A concussion en route to Queenstown requires Victoria and Emilie to take a brief hiatus from the Trail. With morale and motivation running low, Victoria finds encouragement in the kindness of friends and makes the decision to continue the trek onto Te Anau.
Gale force winds strong enough to carry a pack, a crossing of the largest unbridged river on the Trail, and the chance to use a nursing degree? It's just another week in the life of these two Te Araroa trampers.
After a forced rest day watching snowfall, Victoria and Emilie continue on their way and climb up to Stag Saddle, the highest point of Te Araroa at 1925m. Spurred on by grey clouds, they make it to Lake Tekapo, where the joy of having finished another section competes with the dread of having to re-enter society.
Making their way across Hakatere Conservation Park, Victoria and Emilie are welcomed by a cold South Island night and an unexpected memorial for a local hut mouse. With another front rolling in, they manage to get to Double Hut just before the snow falls.
What’s the hardest part of any tramp? A return to civilization. The Glen Eden Venturers tackle over 80km along the Rees Dart Track and while feeling reluctant to rejoin society, they become inspired to take their knowledge and train young scouts in backcountry skills.
After taking a short break with friends, Victoria and Emilie rejoin the Trail and have their first kea encounter. As the weather packs in, they hunker down to wait out the storm. Anxiety pays an unexpected visit and reminds Victoria that ‘just like the weather, this too shall pass.’
Crossing the Harper Pass, the wild west coast welcomes Victoria and Emilie as they bathe in its icy waters, explore its lush forests, and meander along its rocky riverbanks.
Celebrating their crossing of the Waiau Pass, Victoria reflects on her former fast-paced lifestyle and how truly precious it is to have this mummy daughter time in nature.