Taking on the Siberia Experience in New Zealand

Taking on the Siberia Experience in New Zealand

New Zealand is famous all over the world for boasting some of this planet’s most breathtaking natural scenery. The landscape all over the country is incredibly diverse – from lakes, beaches and coastline to glaciers, volcanos and dramatic alpine terrains.

If you want to take it all in, heading over to Wanaka in the South Island is a pretty good first step. Wanaka literally has it all – natural beauty, epic hiking, mountain biking, skiing in the winter and of course, delicious local cuisine to fuel all of your adventures. Wanaka is also home to Mount Aspiring National Park – a stunning park known to be a hiker’s paradise with both short walks and long hikes featuring mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes.

Take a look at the view outside our window when we visited Wanaka a few years back:

Not a bad view to wake up to every morning!

 

Our trip to Wanaka included the Siberia Experience, which is a perfect way to explore some of the diverse wilderness in Mount Aspiring National Park. The Siberia Experience starts with a flight over to the hiking site, which is an experience in itself! The scenes from the small plane are spectacular and dramatic, featuring jagged alpine valleys and waterfalls. You then land in a sort of grassy clearing which is literally a remote valley up in the mountains. 

 

Heading out on the Siberia Experience!

 

I found the whole experience quite quiet and peaceful but just exhilarating at the same time, especially since it felt so remote and was so different from my everyday surroundings. 

After landing, the adventure side of it then really started for us, as we had to cross the Siberia stream to get to the path. The river was freezing cold and actually reached above the knee with water, following a few days of rain.

 

Getting ready to cross the river!

After crossing, you have a long(ish) hike (roughly 3 hours) which takes you across open tussock flats and native rainforest. The whole time, you’re completely surrounded by the incredible alpine landscape. 

Unfortunately for me, it was during the early part of this hike as I was trekking through some tall grass that I managed to sprain my ankle quite badly! I must have missed a step as I cut through the grass and later found out that it was sprained in three different places. As you can imagine, it was quite painful and I couldn’t actually put much weight on it so unfortunately had to cut our trip short, which was very disappointing! The next step of course was finding a way to get to the hospital – a tough feat given how remote we were. Luckily, an American family had noticed me go down and one of the guys (a firefighter apparently!) carried me to a helicopter that was set to leave shortly. The whole situation was very dramatic and although quite painful at the time, the injury and emergency liftoff just added to the adventure of trekking in the New Zealand wilderness. Although I do deeply regret missing the rest of Siberia Experience, which would have included the remainder of the beautiful hike followed by a boating trip through a glacial mountain river!

 

Injury or not, exploring a bit of Mount Aspiring National Park and enjoying the (first half!) of the Siberia Experience was truly unforgettable. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of adventure and immersion into breathtaking natural scenery – maybe just wear some supportive shoes and make sure you’ve got an American firefighter with you…just in case…

 

Rowing and Hiking in BC – by Kayla

Rowing and Hiking in BC – by Kayla

I started rowing in my first year of university and instantly fell in love with it. As an outdoor adventurer, athlete, and water lover the sport just seemed a natural fit. Over the past two years, I started taking the sport more seriously and started training several times a week with the intention of competing and performing at competitions. I soon after qualified for the provincial team and have been training 10-16 times a week since, depending on the training phase we are in. These sessions include: rowing, cycling, running, weight training, and more. 

This past year I started winning local competitions, placed second in a two-person crew boat at a competition held in Canada with competitors from around the world, and placed seventh in Canada at the National Rowing Championships. 

I have always loved outdoor adventure and have kept hiking and road cycling as a normal part of my training plans, so it seemed a natural fit to extend my stay following the National Rowing Championships held in Burnaby, BC. One of my friends from university lives in West Vancouver, so I met up with her and we went hiking every day for the three days following the culminating competition for the year.

Hiking in Slovenia – By Jessica

Hiking in Slovenia – By Jessica

Location: Lake Bled, Slovenia

Just a little over a year ago I took a spontaneous trip with one of my closest friends, Emily. I flew from London to meet her in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. I didn’t know much about Slovenia beforehand but was eager to explore! One of our most memorable days in Ljubljana was our hike around beautiful Lake Bled and the Ojstrica and Osojnica hills.

Ojstrica and Osojnica are perfect for those looking for an easy hike with a beautiful view. The highest point is the viewpoint at Mala Osojnica at only 670 m. The whole trip is roughly an hour, which gives you plenty of time to explore the surrounding bay. The hike itself starts at the edge of a meadow and leads you down an unmarked path into a forest. Following the path through the forest soon brings you up Ojstrica and later to the summit at Mala Osojnica. At one point, we encountered what I like to call the Stairway to Heaven. The summit itself features a beautiful benchtop with a truly breath-taking view of the lake. As you can imagine, we spent awhile at the top taking a few photos and stopping for a rest. The descent is slightly more difficult and can be quite steep – although luckily for us it was dry that day and not particularly slippery.

When our world opens up again, if you’re heading to Slovenia and want to get a little outdoor adventure into your trip – do check out Ojstrica and Osojnica at Lake Bled!

 

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