on May 26, 2010
A half-day heli-hiking trip on the Heaphy Track with Rob Douglas of Simply Wild was, well, simply...wild. Our chartered chopper soared over green mountain ridges and swooped into Kahurangi National Park, where we landed and hiked a stretch of the Heaphy that took us from bush to beach in less than an hour.If you’re looking to walk diverse but well-maintained—and strikingly beautiful—terrain, the Heaphy Track delivers an incredible experience. This last stretch of the 50-mile seaside trail is shrouded in native palms and ferns until it opens onto a wide beach and the rowdy Tasman Sea. We walked on the beach for a bit but, facing strong winds and flying foam, headed back onto the sheltered track after about 30 minutes. No official entry back onto the track? No problem! Rob confidently led the way through the bush and we left the wind behind in no time.I couldn’t have asked for a more knowledgeable or enthusiastic guide than Mr. Douglas, who started Simply Wild several years ago with a group of fellow ex-corporate adventurers. He injects his passion for adrenaline travel into every Simply Wild tour, and the company’s unique Journeys at the Edge product is a direct descendent of Rob’s experiences as a participant in New Zealand’s grueling Coast to Coast adventure race. Simply Wild’s other tailored trips include kayaking, sailing (the company has two luxury yachts moored in Nelson), heli-hiking, and—new to me—heli-biking and heli-rafting. Spoiled for choice, spoiled for scenery—Simply Wild does a wonderful job of embracing the beauty of the Nelson region and sharing it with their guests in a stylish but authentic way.As for me, to say that I hope to return to do the entire 5-day Heaphy hike soon is an understatement: I’ll be counting the days until then. But a trip with Simply Wild is worth the wait.
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