28 March - 3 April 2022

IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival 

Things to think about and do in New Zealand

A few comments from a travel writer about his favourite NZ things to see and do.


What's one place you'd take every visitor to in NZ and why?

One of the most 'understated' and 'beautiful' places in NZ, Franz Josef.

Franz Josef Glacier AdobeStock_9818855.jpg

It has been hard hit in recent times but is arguably one of the most understated and beautiful places in New Zealand, surrounded by even greater beauty beyond the township – Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier and the West Coast. Walk to the glacier tongues, hike around Lake Matheson and drop into the pub quiz at the local pub on a Tuesday. It’s also an amazing, friendly community.

What's your secret backyard favourite spot?

Ōrongorongo Valley AdobeStock_318843377.jpg

The Ōrongorongo Valley at the end of Wainuiomata. As a boy growing up in Wainuiomata, my most special memory was camping in the valley at the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder. It always reminds me of a time when things were simple and the pace of life was so much slower.

What's your favourite place for a pie/coffee?

fahmi-fakhrudin-nzyzAUsbV0M-unsplash.jpg

The Pie Shop that used to be on the main road in Pōkeno back in the mid ‘80s because the pies were nothing short of exceptional and I haven’t found a better one since. The best coffee has to be at Toastie on Picton’s main street. It’s new and outstanding and, what’s more, serves Allpress Coffee.

What's one NZ spot on the top of your bucket list?

Mt Cook and the Catlins. I recently did a South Island tour and missed these two spots and have regretted it ever since. It’s right up there on the list of stuff I know I have to do one day.

Mount Cook AdobeStock_231275108.jpg
Nugget Point AdobeStock_94088506.jpg

If you are interested in walking a track while in New Zealand, this will be for you.

One of New Zealand’s most beautiful walking tracks is tackled by soldiers who trek at breakneck speed and with no sleep.

Soldiers ditched their military camp in Burnham to test their mettle in one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist destinations, the Heaphy Track.

Soldiers `.jpg

The soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, put their mental and physical endurance to the test when they took on the Great Walk in Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island.

The 78-kilometre trek usually takes four or five days, but the Burnham soldiers completed it in just 24 hours.

Soldiers 2.jpg

Lance Corporal Ngoc Thang Lam, left, and Private Carl-Jacques Reinecke pushed themselves hard to complete the nearly 80-kilometre trek in a day.

Their mammoth hike formed part of Exercise Rua, which was designed to test their physical, mental and leadership skills, and the soldiers got to experience the varied, rugged and unique mountain, forest and beach landscapes the track has to offer.
With no sleep and only a few rests, the soldiers started at Kōhaihai on the West Coast and worked in teams of four to tackle the track to ensure they finished within the time limit.

“I knew I was fit enough, but I really had to push myself after the first 50km,” Rifleman Private Carl-Jacques Reinecke said. “By that point, you’re in pain but the ‘make it or break it’ factor comes in and you have to push through it.” He said he found the physical aspect of the exercise challenged him the most on his first visit to the Heaphy.

Soldiers 3.jpg

The hike was part of an exercise to test mental, physical and leadership skills.

“I learnt I could push myself a lot further than I originally thought. ‘Mind over matter,’ people always say – now after completing this exercise I know what they’re talking about,” Reinecke said.

 

Supply technician Lance Corporal Ngoc Thang Lam said that aside from the physical and mental challenges of walking for 24 hours, the exercise also tested his leadership skills.

“I learnt I could push myself a lot further than I originally thought. ‘Mind over matter,’ people always say – now after completing this exercise I know what they’re talking about,” Reinecke said.


Supply technician Lance Corporal Ngoc Thang Lam said that aside from the physical and mental challenges of walking for 24 hours, the exercise also tested his leadership skills.


“I really had to think about how I lead and ensure that as a team we completed the task successfully,” he said. “As a team we decided when to have a break and how to set the pace so that it worked for everyone. We didn’t have any sleep stops and I must admit there may have been a time or two when I fell asleep on my feet for a micro-second.”.


Bravo Company’s officer commanding, Major Alex Bowyer, said the walk was also an opportunity to get to grips with new radios the army is using. Bowyer said the exercise was a success. “Overall, the exercise was a success, with all soldiers learning more about themselves and each other. This was an experience they will remember for the rest of their careers.”

Another of our beautiful tracks, The Queen Charlotte Walkway.

IBCPC President Meri Gibson has walked this track and she says it is one of her most favourites and will stay in her memory for many years to come.


If waking up bright and early to birdsong, slathering on some sunscreen, and getting ready for an amazing adventure across beautiful Aotearoa sounds like your thing, then look no further than the Marlborough Sounds.


The Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds is 72 km's of brilliant views, bush-fringed coves and beaches, ancient forests, and the sea and its breath-taking views are open for business.

Incredibly beautiful and rich in history, the magical trail is also New Zealand's longest dual mountain bike and walking track. However, biking is restricted between Meretoto/Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle, which is closed to bikes over the busy summer season from 1 December to 28 February each year.

Queen Charlotte Walkway.jpg

Summertime is here and there’s no place like home - especially the amazing Queen Charlotte Track.

The well-formed route can be walked from Ship Cove/Meretoto in outer Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui to Anakiwa near Picton in four days or biked in two to three – but thanks to the ease of access to this track, you can also pick a section to explore for a few hours or a day.

From guided to un-guided options as well as bike hire or bring your own bike makes this track suitable for everyone.

Water taxi's from Picton can drop you, your bags and your bikes at your choice of starting point along the track and pick you up again at your pre-arranged location either on the same day or in a few days' time as you enjoy a range of different styles of accommodation along the track.

Queen Charlotte Walkway 2.jpg

Incredibly beautiful and rich in history, the magical trail is also New Zealand's longest dual mountain bike and walking track.

Queen Charlotte Walkway 3.jpg

Accommodation options range from camping, B&B's, homestays, lodges, hotels and even live-aboard boats that follow the track. No matter your budget or preferred method of accommodation, there's something available for everyone.

While enjoying the beauty of the areas flora and fauna you will also enjoy the assortment of meal options at the different accommodation places along the track.

Ranging from homestyle meals to fine dining, wood-smoked pizzas to relaxing BBQ on the water's edge, some of the amazing hospitality venues even offer packed lunches for your next day's walk or ride.

From guided to un-guided options as well as bike hire or bring your own bike makes this track suitable for everyone.

There's never been a better time for a unique New Zealand experience you won't ever forget, so visit the Queen Charlotte Track. For more information including full accommodation, activity and transport options, visit: www.qctrack.co.nz.