Category Archives: road trip

Winter buzz | The annual TC slog.

There is a constant layer of frost in my backyard that continues to remind me winter is here to stay. The mountains start opening this weekend and there are plenty of excited people in town anticipating a great season ahead!

7am:
Tom & I hit the road bound for Treble Cone’s access road. Maybe we should’ve ridden from town but our coffees would spill.

Ready to roll
Ready to roll

7:30:
With a very short warm-up, we ride from the TC arch and start shedding layers…

Continue reading Winter buzz | The annual TC slog.

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A great stroll| The Routeburn, Fiordland

Saying we walked the Routeburn sounds so boring… We Strolled the Routeburn and soaked in all her glory! With the size of our packs, we really had no choice … 

  

It’s been 18 years since I last had the fortune to spend time on this track, well worth the return and the company I had made it that much better. Ashley, Erin and I spent 2 nights and almost 3 days on the track staying in the DOC huts along the way.


  

The biggest difference I noticed this time was the massive decrease in bird life. The introduced Stoat aka the incredibly well adapted native bird killer were prolific and were the main cause behind the dramatic drop in bird life. Once teaming with a frenzy of bird calls and vibrant bush, we were left with a green paradise left in silence, with only the sound of a booming waterfall in the distance.


  
To say the DOC staff were oozing with passion for nature was an understatement. Each night they would present a conservation speech to the happy campers.
Each night we rested our legs and reflected on the day of strolling through paradise.  Even without the Kiwi, Tui, Kakapo and other natives we were still treated to a gizillion waterfalls, streams, lush bush and springs we could drink from along the way.



Cruising Milford was the cherry on top… We marveled at 140km gusts and what they did to the water over the narrow Fiord. Trickles turned into Gushers and Waterfalls turned into Water-ups! 

 

I hope in another 18 years we can return to the area with the new generation of nature lovers and cherish the native birds once again while we stroll through paradise.

Sting Ray is delicious… | Biking Queen Charlotte Sounds

After spending much of my Summer guiding multi day cycle trips down the West Coast of the South Island, it was time to hit the trails – at my own pace! Tommy Parker, Keith Stubbs and I packed up my truck with the necessities, including a decent rain jacket, snacks & headed toward the Alps. From Wanaka, it was going to take 3.5 hours to get to Frans Josef where there is a 4km loop track, just north of the township. After hearing of the recent deluge there, we were happy to know the track was intact, due to a passionate few local shredders.

Camping with the fellas
Camping with the fellas

It begins at Ship Cove | Queen Charlotte Track
It begins at Ship Cove | Queen Charlotte Track

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Richie Johnston – Queen Charlotte Sounds | Image: Keith Stubbs
It gets me stoked to know the local councils and government is pumping cash into creating and extending trails. The West Coast Wilderness trail is over 120km of track that will keep riders with a range of abilities happy. The section from Ross to Hokitika starts off super flat, however the bush near Mahinapua makes for great bush riding with small gradients.

Continue reading Sting Ray is delicious… | Biking Queen Charlotte Sounds

Road Trip | 2382km through Chile

Our truck skids toward a barrier, we narrowly miss an oncoming 4×4 with trailer in tow. The dust settles and we almost shit ourselves. In contrast to the locals chilled out lifestyle and ‘Chilean Time’ they can be hectic drivers! Fortunately my co-pilots Sam & Keith were above average back-seat drivers and kept us safe while driving our late model Nissan truck.

Sam Smith, Keith Stubbs and I had just finished a super busy time representing SBINZ in Ushuaia, Argentina and it was time to enjoy some more of what South America had to offer. We said our goodbyes to the rest of the team in Santiago and checked into somewhere central city.
Chilean flags were everywhere as they celebrated their national day. We jumped at our first opportunity to buy one from a guy at a toll gate and strap it to the hood of our Wicked Camper 4×4. It almost helped us blend in although we were mistaken for Gringos most of the time until we said All Blacks or New Zealand when questioned. How instant their attitude changed, two islands off the coast of Chile we would say and it was all good from there.
Check this epic snap-shot of the trip by Keith Stubbs:
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/140530575″>Chile Time</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/keithstubbs”>Keith Stubbs</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>
The snow in La Plava was average, firm and fast however the friendly locals – some of which the boys and I had met during Interski made up for it! The start of each day there would consist of packing up our camper, hanging out with the snow school and sampling their traditional BBQ. We met up the infamous Diaz family, all of which are somehow connected to the snow industry through instruction, professional riding/skiing and accommodation.  We shared stories from where each of us had traveled to while we sampled the local beer.
From here we set off south of Santiago, deep into the hills of Chillån and rode Farrilones, Nevados de Chillan, and Corralco. Classic spring conditions for the most part with a couple of powder days in the Nevados area.  There is plenty of terrain to choose from and super friendly local instructors to show us around which was great for us! Pretty much all our lift passes were taken care of in exchange for a couple of photos to help boost their social media. Corralco Resort was one of the finest we visited. Perched on the side of a volcano we had the pleasure of enjoying sun filled days as we build a kicker in one of the natural pipes.
After chatting with the locals, we learned of a locals hot pool 15km off the road down a winding gravel road. Nestled in the trees and bush – very similar to NZ was a wooden hut and natural springs. We soon realised we were the only foreigners there and it was not long until we chatted with each other, sharing an insight of where we had come from and where our path was to lead us.
After spending all this time in the mountains and sunshine, we figured a night on the coast was the perfect way to finish up our trip. Pichilemu was our beach town of choice on the way home. We packed away our snowboards after riding some of Chile’s finest mountains and decided to enjoy the coast. Expecting a bustling surf beach town with bikinis, boardshorts and BBQ, we turned up to find much of the town very sleepy! It did not phase us too much in the end because our bodies needed a break from the late nights and socialising. We used the 4×4 to drive along the beach until we found a spot to enjoy the sunset. Campfire, dinner and cervezas on the beach was definitely a highlight. Our accommodation that night – a million billion star rating. It was so refreshing to enjoy a complete contrast to the last few weeks and spend time reflecting on the trip in South America.

What a privilage to see such a beautiful country. Even though we were a huge ocean apart, because of the similar latitude many times it felt like home. The simple life, qualities of Chile & South America we can all admire.