Wilsons Prom, Victoria, Australia
In August 2009 we spent four days hiking Wilsons Promontory, the southern-most tip of the Australian mainland.
It was the first time I'd done a multi-day hike and had to carry so much gear with me, so the first time I put the pack on I wondered how I could carry it for four days!
The first day we walked to Roaring Meg, the second to Little Waterloo Bay and the third to Sealers Cove. During the four days we only saw one other person and each night had the whole campsite to ourselves.
We had heard that the birds have learnt how to open zippers to get your food - and we indeed witnessed it twice! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.
We also awoke once to find a critter in the vestibule of the tent trying to get into the saucepan.
It's a sad reality that these animals have come to rely on the food of tourists and adapted to getting their food this way.
It rained on-and-off the four days we were there, but we had enough sunshine during the day to dry things out while we made some food.
There is a tidal crossing near Sealers Cove and we hadn't planned what time to cross so when we got there it was, of course, high tide. Sam made three trips across - once for each of the packs and once for me! He was very wet and cold after that, but we made it across ok.
Walking out on the last day we went through areas that had been burnt in the terrible bushfires of 2009. The park had been closed for a few months and parts of it were still closed, but this part had just reopened.
It's a truly beautiful part of Australia and for my first multi-day hike I had a great time.
In August 2011 we spent two weeks hiking in New Zealand, primarily on South Island.
We had our own crampons and ice picks with us, so Sam was keen to hit a glacier.
We spent a night camping just a few kilometres from the Franz Joseph Glacier National Park in what seemed to be a quarry. Sam took some beautiful photos of the sunset and moon!
The next morning we drove to the car park and prepared to walk to the glacier. It's about a half hour walk to the base glacier and despite some drizzle it was a busy morning on the track.
When we got the end the way up to the glacier was chained off with notices saying to go no further. But we could see organised tour groups up ahead so we ducked under the chains and kept following the track.
I was very nervous that we'd get in trouble but Sam convinced me to keep going.
It was quite a climb and we got pretty warm by the time we found ourselves on the ice and right with some tour groups.
A couple of the guides asked us what we were doing but we just spoke confidently that we were going out there and no one stopped us. Turns out you are allowed to go out on your own.
Sadly though, I chickened out. I was too scared by the thought of cravasses and slipping on the ice (despite having crampons). So I stayed behind and Sam went exploring on his own.
He said he'd be an hour... and I sat on the ice waiting, getting colder and colder.
As I watched the tour groups leave I realised I would have been fine out there. There were unfit people, old people, kids, people in shorts... It seems the tracks are very well made and this area is very safe. I regretted not going out there!
I got too cold so I walked back down. It was raining pretty hard now so I walked back to the car to get Sam some more warm clothes and some food for when he came down.
It had been two hours and I was starting to worry, but when I got back to the base of the glacier there he was - huge grin on his face.
Despite getting lost in the maze of ice and having to jump some crevasses sometimes, he'd had a great time. He'd even been offered a job as a guide while he was out there...
In August 2011 we spent two weeks in New Zealand, primarily on the South Island.
One of the tracks we did while we were there was the Copland Track to Welcome Flat. We decided on this one lured by the promise of natural hot pools at the top.
The night before we started walking we camped overnight next to a river about two hours from glacier country. The temperature dropped below -5 degrees and it was one of the coldest nights of my life! We made an early start before dawn to be able to walk the Copland Track that day.
The track starts about half an hour south of Fox Glacier. Just north of the Karangarua River bridge the Copland Valley is signposted and a small side road leads to a large parking area.
The first thing you have to do is cross Rough Creek. It was running pretty low when we were there and we easily walked across. Although there is a flood bridge 45 minutes upstream if you can't cross Rough Creek it's unlikely the other creek crossings will be safe.
After crossing Rough Creek, the track continues at the orange marker and follows a well formed path through the forest. The track is marked across open areas and river crossings by orange triangle markers on trees - they are usually pretty easy to see.
There are a couple of spots where you have to keep moving due to the risk of rock falls, and we did hear a couple while we were walking, but overall there wasn't too much srambling and it's not too difficult.
It is a long walk though, 17km, to Welcome Flat hut and the hot pools. So you need most of the day to do it.
The night we stayed there was only the volunteer hut warden, another couple and us. We were glad there was no one else, because even with so few people the hut was echoey and upstairs in the sleeping area you could hear every footstep and whisper downstairs - it must get busy and noisy in summer!
We only stayed one night and hiked out the next day. The other couple though were planning to stay a few days and do some day walks in the mountains.
We walked out on a Friday and saw three more groups walking in. Even in the midst of winter it's a popular route.
Some thoughts and pictures from some of the hikes we've done.