Geoff Spearpoint


Geoff is King of the NZ Backcountry. For over 50 years he has ventured deep into New Zealand’s backcountry, hiking and mountaineering. He is as keen as you can get about New Zealand’s back country huts, the wilderness and the wonder of great adventures. He speaks and writes with passion about back country huts in NZ and he has co-authored two books on the topic: A Bunk for the night: A Guide to New Zealand’s best Backcountry Huts and Shelter from the Storm: The story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts.

In the 1960s Geoff began tramping in the Tararua ranges and this sparked his lifelong passion for walking in the hills, bushwhacking, trackless adventures and exploring new place. His first book, Waking to the hills: Tramping in New Zealand, was published in 1985 and became the foundation for a life of walking and writing.

Geoff has been described as gentle, highly observant and curious. He is known for thinking a bit differently and of course for his love of the backcountry. He is the NZ backcountry’s biggest fan! He is philosophical and poetic. He says, “Every trip, in many ways, is an adventure into the great unknown. It’s a very real life, it’s a life where you’re alive and what’s important is what’s in front of you and what’s happening in the next half hour or five minutes.”

Geoff will be speaking at the festival about his new book, The Great Unknown: Mountain Journeys in the Southern Alps, which won the Mountain and Adventure Heritage award and 2020 NZ Mountain Book of the Year award. This book is a chronicle of over 50 years of trans-alpine journeys through the Southern Alps. The large-format style is illustrated with Spearpoint’s magnificent photography; it reads as poetry, a guidebook and a memoir combined. This unique interpretation will resonate with backcountry trampers and mountaineers as it captures elements of our landscape and culture, and the joy of our relationship with the backcountry of New Zealand.

We look forward to hearing Geoff speak about his adventures at the festival.