Peter Vollweiler, along with a group of foundation members, is regarded as the founder of the Milton Rotary Tramping Club. Commenced in 1986, members of The Otago Youth Adventure Trust/Milton Rotary Tramping Club were all highly experienced tramping and climbing enthusiasts. Peter, who was a member of both organisations, shared his excitement and enthusiasm with all who would listen. After some initial trips, it was decided to develop Peter’s idea further and use the trips as a fundraising effort for both organisations.
Tramps are held during the season from December to March. Participants arrive at a pick-up point with their own gear. From then, the Otago Youth Adventure Trust / Milton Rotary Tramping Club volunteers take care of every other detail!
Often, people who have completed a tramp, subsequently go onto manage their own. There are just as many repeat trampers who appreciate just arriving at the pickup point with their gear and being taken care of. The 2018 season saw some 700 people visit for a tramp. The majority of these, 66% came from New Zealand North Island; 28% from New Zealand South Island, 5% from Australia and 1% from the United Kingdom, United States of America, or Canada.
The trips themselves are run on a cost basis with the help of volunteers. To participate in the walks you must become financial members of the club and also make a yearly donation. The Tramping Club is registered with the Charities Commission as a not for profit organisation. At the end of the season, any accumulated surplus must be divided evenly between the two organisations. Last financial year the surplus amounted to $120,000.
The following is a snapshot of a stay and walks at Borland Lodge which is a residential camp. A typical trip last year had 44 participants, the oldest being 81yrs old, and 6 volunteer leaders. Day one is taken up arriving, rekindling or making new friends, setting up rooms and gentle walks. The remaining days have a variety of walks such as climbing up Circle Track to view Mount Titiroa, Hope Arm of Lake Manapouri and surrounds, a walk to Green Lake, walks down the South Borland Valley, up the North Borland Valley to see the rock Bivvy and return. Day four, the last day is a walk along the ridge to view the surrounds to Mount Burns, the Grebe Valley Lookout and finally a walk across Burnt Track to Lake Monowai. After walking all day, welcome meals are served, having been prepared by the volunteers.
Pictured above: Rotarian Peter Vollweiler on his 51st walk of the Milford track.
The Otago Youth Adventure Trust was formed in 1968. A need was identified by the local youth court judge and local high school principals. An outdoor camp was subsequently established at Tautuku in the Catlins area of the South Island of New Zealand opening in the early 1970’s. Able to cater to 100 students, it wasn’t long before another similarly sized camp was built in the Berwick Forest in West Taieri, the area near Dunedin. In the 1990’s a third camp was identified to mainly cater for family groups at Sutton which is close to the end of the Central Otago rail trail. Each of these camps has an onsite manager and the overall operation is overseen by a volunteer group of trustees.
The Club was charted on the 5th September 1947 and is in District 9980. The club undertakes many community-based projects, providing scholarships and support for young people. The club is involved in Rotary programs such as RYLA, RYE, and the eradication of Polio.