I flew down from Auckland early on Friday morning, to then pick up the hire car from Queenstown airport and set off to collect my friend. Having a car made it super easy to get to and from the airport and to the start of the track. We wanted to hire walking boots, and for anyone thinking of doing the route I strongly recommend walking boots (However one of our party completed it in trainers, though she did get wet feet). We popped to Small Planet Sports Rentals, I was amazed at what you could rent from boots, bags, and stoves to crampons, gaiters, and poles. Two pairs of boots cost us $40 for two days. We decided we didn’t need to rent a second bag and to only take one big rucksack between us and the other person to carry a day sack. This worked surprisingly well for us.
After getting everything sorted, we packed a 2-man tent, our sleeping bags, mugs and bowls and raincoats (just in case) all into the big rucksack. Other items such as food, water and sun cream (and don’t forget your swimsuit) we wanted easy access to so carried them in the day bag. A day trek is feasible however it is a 10 to 12-hour return journey. For advanced walkers, it is possible to complete the track in 8 hours but I strongly recommend spending a night under the stars either by the river or the glacier.
We set off to collect the other members of the group and then headed towards Glenorchy. Mrs Woolly’s General Store is the last shop before you reach the carpark. About 20 minutes out of Glenorchy down Glenorchy – Paradise Road, turn right onto Lovers Leap Road at the end of the gravel road is the start of the track.
It all began with the 7 of us at the carpark with our walking boots laced, our bags full to the brim and being caked in sun cream. The start of the track wasn’t signed posted until you jumped the gate and crossed the paddock to begin the climb. As you pass the sign you start a small hill with a gorgeous view over Paradise from the top.