With ‘being in the bush’ in our blood, it was not long after we arrived in New Zealand in 2000 (we’re originally from South Africa) that we found ourselves drawn to the South Island and its majestic High Country.
Joining a formal Safari comes at some cost, however, so after familiarising ourselves with all the ‘must see’ places we decided to take it upon ourselves to accommodate those of us who would like to share in the beauty of our new adopted country.
With a fair few Safaris now completed, it has proved to be the most affordable way to see areas of the back country on a budget of approx. $3000 for an 18-day holiday for two adults.
On a bright Sunday morning of December 27 2015, it was 06.30am in Picton when most of us met for the first time; 10 Trucks chosen out of 45 applicants and 19 excited adventurers, ready for what lay ahead. Amanda and I introduced ourselves, did a quick briefing on the coms radio channels, driving etiquette and explained the ‘gate opening’ routine. Not much time was wasted and before long we were on the road to tackle our first track.
Approaching Leatham Branches, a quick stop was made to deflate tyres to what would be the tyre pressure of choice for the rest of the trip and we slowly meandered our way to Top Leatham hut where we stopped for a quick brunch and made further introductions on a more personal level with all present.