Before you go on your trip to New Zealand check these handy travel tips to help make your mountaineering experience more enjoyable
Your passport must be current and valid for at least 3 months from the date of your departure.
New Zealand has restrictions for entry of certain goods and this includes certain outdoor equipment, especially if it is soiled. It’s recommended to thoroughly clean and dry your shoes, tents, and crampons before arrival.
Your baggage may be sniffed by a detector dog and x-rayed, and it may be searched to identify any restricted goods you might be carrying.
To avoid penalties it is best to familiarise yourself with these guidelines prior to travel. See the Ministry for Primary industries for further details.
Travel insurance is widely available and easy to obtain. This will cover you in any event related to your travel to and from New Zealand as well as your entry into the mountains but will not normally include mountaineering. Make sure to purchase the most comprehensive insurance you can find to allow for cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances.
Mountaineering Insurance can be acquired from the New Zealand Alpine Club and a number of mountaineering councils. This insurance covers most mountaineering and some restrictions may apply above certain elevations, so check your insurance carefully. Check with the Austrian Alpine Club, the British Mountaineering Council, Dogtag and others.
There are direct International flights to Queenstown operated by Air NZ, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia with Emirates and Singapore Airlines flying direct to Christchurch. Many more operators have direct flights to Auckland, with same day onward connections to Queenstown. Driving time from Queenstown to Wanaka is approximately 1 hour, and Christchurch to Wanaka is approximately 6 hours.
Shuttle bus shuttle services from Queenstown or Christchurch airports can be arranged with Alpine Connexions, Connectabus, InterCity, Atomic Shuttles, Naked Bus
Wanaka has a large range of accommodation to choose from to suit every traveller from backpackers, youth hostels, motels, and hotels to luxury lodges. All accommodation costs are covered from the commencement of the trip at 8.30am on Day one until 5pm on the last day, unless otherwise stated. In the event that the weather prevents us from entering the mountains on the first day, accommodation is provided and is usually backpacker style dorm accommodation. Upgrades to private accommodation can be arranged at extra cost.
It’s important that you arrive for your trip in the best possible shape to ensure you get the most out of your adventure. Mountaineering is the best training for climbing mountains, but hiking with your pack laden (15-20kg) on 6-8 hour treks can go a long way in strengthening all the muscles, tendons and ligaments required for a mountain adventure. Regular gym workouts that incorporate balance and endurance such as Cross Fit, Body Attack or kick boxing can also help enormously. Read this in depth insight into peak performance training for mountaineering. Remember also to arrive mentally strong and flexible, gaining adequate rest, stretching daily and double checking your pre trip organization.
New Zealand’s Southern Alps have a cool temperate climate with a strong maritime influence. The mountain weather is affected by the surrounding ocean, prevailing westerlies, and the topography. Mountaineering objectives can be achieved at any time of year and usually at the start any trip the current forecast is discussed with regards to objectives.
The best time to climb is dependent on your objective but most climbing takes place during the longer daylight hours of summer. Early summer (Oct-Dec) generally has better snow and ice coverage, with late summer exposing a lot more of the rock features. Winter has shorter days and cooler temperatures but for the right adventurer this is the perfect time to enjoy great conditions in solitude.
The options for climbing routes in the Southern Alps are enormous. There are still many ridges and faces left unclimbed for those willing to venture into remote locations. A tailor made adventure at any time of year can be arranged to suit your individual requirements.
At the conclusion of every trip, I provide you with high-quality photography so that your mountain memories can be shared and savoured again and again. If you wish to hire my photographic services to document a specific trip, I’m more than happy to consult with you.