GLAMping… It stands for GLAMour camPING and we had our first taste of it at Punga Cove.
What is glamping? Glamping is the exact opposite of hiking/camping as I know it. It is finishing your walk for the day and having a cappachino, taking a shower and changing into clean clothes for a dinner that you don’t cook on a camp stove and then sleeping every night in a bed with clean sheets after a few glasses of wine or beer with dinner. Glamping is carrying a day pack and not having to set up a tent or worry about a rainy night. Glamping is a hair dryer and makeup, cologne and collard shirts after only 5 hours of walking from your previous resort. At first, glamping made me want to throw up.
Glamping and the Queen Charlotte Track: The QCT is the only “great walk” calibre hike in New Zealand that you can glamp on, as it is supported by a network of resorts, water taxis and guided tour companies. About half the yearly the walkers of QCT forgo campsite accommodations and stay in the resorts conveniently placed a short days walk from each other. The 70km walk is split up into 4 or 5 days, with a resort at each overnight location. The craziest part to me had to be the luggage system, which as foreshore at Punga Cove Resort I played a daily part of. Walkers would leave their packs (60lbs suitcases) outside the room of the resort they we’re staying at and staff would then load it onto a water taxi which would deliver the packs to our dock. I would then load the bags onto the trailer and deliver them to their assigned chalet and the next morning at 9am pick the bags up and get them on the next days water taxi to the following resort. You could walk 70km and very possibly never move your pack except through the door of your chalet each afternoon. It was a truly bizarre concept to me and violated everything I thought hiking was supposed to be.
Why I was wrong in my scorn: At the end of the day, I love nature and I think every human being should spend some time in the woods to appreciate what is around them. It’s not about who can carry the most expensive gear the furthest each day; it’s about walking up a hill and seeing a view that makes your jaw drop and realize how little you really are in comparison to Mother Nature. Glamping on the QCT makes this possible to such a greater group of people, something I didn’t realize until a week or two had gone by. Whether they were physically unable to carry gear for 70km, travelling with children or uncomfortable with sleeping in a tent and not showering for the better part of a week, the resort network on the QCT opened nature to a much larger demographic. I firmly believe that anytime someone experiences true nature and disconnects from the rat race for even a day, their horizons open and because of that I’m grateful for the water taxis and foreshore folks on the QCT.