Charity walk from Bluff to top of South Island - Outward Bound

Charity walk from Bluff to top of South Island

Inspirational, Fundraising, Life after OB, Champions

While most university students tend to relax after finishing their exams, one OB Alumni has strapped on her tramping pack and is currently on a 75-day walk of the South Island.

Last month, University of Otago student Maddy Whittaker, 18 years, left to embark on the 1400km walk from Bluff, over the Southern Alps to Ship Cove, in Marlborough Sounds, on the Te Araroa Trail.

Maddy said although she had always been “fairly active” she had never tramped until her Mind Body Soul course in January this year. After that, she was hooked.

“It was one of the main things that got me started. I am at my happiest when I am in the middle of nowhere.”

Now, she goes tramping or mountaineering most weekends – she has spent more than 60 days in the “wilderness” so far this year – and is a member of the university’s tramping club.

Maddy is joined by two friends and during the walk will be isolated for about 11 days, sleeping in tents or huts.

She’s cooking dehydrated food, which she prepared before she left and has her parents sending more food to her next destination.

As an OB Champion, Maddy is doing the walk to raise money to put towards scholarships so that vulnerable teenagers can benefit from the OB experience.

“For me, I saw a lot of people at Outward Bound that definitely got a massive self-esteem boost.

“They had a renewed sense of purpose and came out of it with the attitude that they could achieve anything that they put their mind to and I think those things are a pretty powerful combination to give anyone, let along people in a vulnerable state.”

Maddy said she personally left the course with a “bigger sense of adventure” and it was good to rediscover what was important to her, away from the influence of social media.

I feel like it completely transformed my self-esteem which is really awesome.

Maddy expects to arrive at Ship Cove in mid to late January.


To help Maddy raise funds for another OB student and see her updates, follow her OB Champions fundraising page. 

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Maddy Whittaker


MBS637 Kupe Crazy

Maddy's watch - Kupe 637