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Prelude to Aspiring: Or, what to do when there's no snow in paradise

Published
July 7, 2019

Finding not much snow up the skifields this winter, I go on a trip to the Matukituki Valley. This is a hidden gem below Mt Aspiring, up a 50 km road westward from Wanaka. It was the site of a famous 1949 expedition in which the elderly explorer and founder of the New Zealand Alpine Club, A. P. Harper, was accompanied by the poet James K. Baxter, the composer Douglas Lilburn and the photographer Brian Brake in the hope of making a great artistic production, which unfortunately never happened.

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June 18, 2019

'Tossed by the Wind': The rare and remarkable creatures of Tiritiri Matangi (Part Two)

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June 6, 2019

'Tossed by the Wind': The rare and remarkable creatures of Tiritiri Matangi (Part One)

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May 27, 2019

The Sanctuary Mountain

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May 23, 2019

The Catlins, continued

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May 14, 2019

The Catlins: An overlooked corner of New Zealand

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May 7, 2019

Paradise! The Real Top of the Lake

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Forthcoming books

A Maverick Australian Way

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A Maverick Asian Way

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A Maverick Pacific Way

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A Maverick Middle Eastern Way

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About the Author

Mary Jane Walker is a writer of historically well-informed travel stories that come with an autobiographical flavour. Mary Jane is a solo woman traveller who travels with no plans, just using intuition. She suffered a tragedy in her personal life and sought refuge through hiking and travelling the world.

Mary Jane first experienced world travel in an unusual way, as part of the crew on a Chinese junk named La Dame de Canton, the first to be built in the old way in decades. La Dame sailed from Canton, now Guangzhou, to Paris.

After only six weeks on the boat, Mary Jane found herself in the US military base of Diego Garcia, in which the junk sought refuge with ripped sails and water contaminated by salt.

Just as in the old days of exploration by sail, the voyage took a couple of years to complete, with many stops along the way for fresh water and supplies, and, yes, for repairs as well.

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