Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has been enjoying an active holiday with friends and family around Queenstown, yesterday finishing a three-day tramp on the Routeburn Track.

"It was a beautiful walk. The landscape around here is stunning, and we have had a lovely time," she said.

Helen Clark was joined by her husband, Professor Peter Davis, sister Sandra Clark, Labour MPs Darren Hughes and Chris Carter and Mr Carter's partner, Peter Kaiser.

They were part of a 24-person group on a guided walk with the Queenstown-based company Ultimate Hikes.


As a keen tramper, skier and mountaineer, Helen Clark said she had done many walks, but this was her first time on the Routeburn.

After a couple of mostly dry days, the group had been walking through rain on their final day.

Despite the showers, the group was in a fine mood, exchanging greetings and hugs with the guides and fellow walkers as they reached the final sign indicating the end of their walk.

Helen Clark's group will fly from Queenstown to Auckland today, and she will return to her base in the United States on Sunday.

"The last time I was here was back in August, when I managed to fit in some great alpine and cross-country skiing," she said. This visit is her third trip home since she took up her position as head of the United Nations Development Programme in New York.

There will be a lot of travelling in the future, as her husband has kept his job at Auckland University.

"Someone has to look after our home in Auckland," she said.

"We will just have to keep travelling back and forth as we have done for years."


Despite the long-distance marriage, she said she had settled into her new job and life in New York very well.

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