I am not sure where the year has gone, but as we prepare for our next trip, it dawns on me how little time we have before we fly to NZ and take on our biggest challenge. Our airfare is booked, backpack and gear weighed and re weighed, dehydrated and dried foods being boxed. As we analyse the topo maps, read the trail notes, organise potential rest accommodation and re supply points it all seems a bit surreal. We can organise and prepare as much as we can, but there is one vital element we can’t control – the unpredictable NZ weather! So a few contingencies need to be built in so we can be as prepared as possible. Safety is not negotiable, we will carry all necessary wet and cold weather gear in addition to personal locator beacon, compass, paper maps.