A Travellerspoint blog

Living in Harmony...

...in Otaki.

semi-overcast 24 °C

After an introduction to the other wwoofers, Peter, Joya, and Catlin, and an extensive tour of Harmony Farm (HF), we sit down with everyone for dinner. Ron and Leanne really promote giving thanks to the food we eat since it all comes from the earth and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Leanne Working in the Kitchen

Leanne Working in the Kitchen

In terms of work, Julie gets the assignment of putting together a couple of educational YouTube videos about building a solar shower and making seed propagating pots from newspaper. She also designs an educational flow chart of the water cycle with human influences. Aside from these tasks she upholsters a bench for the wwoofer's cabin by reusing carpet underlay and carpet. I take on the task of building a coat rack from olive wood and a nice piece of reclaimed lumber, and making saw horses from various used materials. We are also quite involved in preparing for Leanne's 50th birthday party this weekend. This includes preparing compost toilets, designing a fire pit, putting together seating for 80 people, preparing food, and gathering bbq's from neighbours. It is going to be an awesome party and everyone can't wait for the weekend.

Wind Shelter for Feijoa Trees

Wind Shelter for Feijoa Trees


Feijoa Trees

Feijoa Trees


Feijoa Flower

Feijoa Flower

During our afternoons off work we head to the beach, check out the local artsy markets, and score some good buys at the outlet stores in Otaki. One afternoon we head to Waikanae Wetland Restoration Site and meet John Topliff. Julie came across this intriguing restoration site on the internet before we left home and emailed John to find out if we could help in some way. Being a good-hearted kiwi John invited us strangers into his home and offered to take us on a self-guided tour. John started removing invasive plants and planting trees alongside the river, in the floodplain, and in and around a wetland 35 years ago. He was not asked to do this, he just recognized that it needed to be done and he did it, he did not ask for help and expected no help. Eventually he was recognized for his work, and now that he is elderly the Council has offered to take on the project and continue his good work. John is a very inspirational man and our conversation went from ecology to life and death. This experience will never be forgotten and it made us realize how everything that happens in life happens for a reason. Life is a journey and not everything is in your control. Even so, love the life you live and live the life you love.

Waikanae Wetland Restoration by John Topliff

Waikanae Wetland Restoration by John Topliff

Back at HF, the birthday party starts on Friday with a bon-fire. As the fire crackles everyone shares a story, some words of wisdom, or says something special to Leanne. The party continues into Saturday, the highlight being a potluck dinner with a roasted hogget (a juvenile sheep older than 1 year). There are games to play and live music to listen to. Julie and I, and the rest of the wwoofers help throughout the day setting up and cleaning up etc.

Ron Carving The Hogget

Ron Carving The Hogget

Wwoofing at HF has really reinforced the need for each of us to use every resource the earth offers us wisely and not to take anything for granted. For example, by filling a mug with water first and then pouring it into the empty kettle to boil you are not using any more electricity or water than you need. This is a great tip that everyone can easily practice. Our time at HF has also made us realize how much of our 'garbage' can actually be reused. Items we throw away can be used create something else you just have to be creative.

HF was our first time wwoofing with a group of people, which made for great laughs and someone to talk to other than Julie! We met great people from around the globe, each person with their own stories and helpful hints to share. So after ten days at HF it was tough to say goodbye to the new friends we had made.

WWoofers at Harmony Farm

WWoofers at Harmony Farm

Posted by ontarions 18:25 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Windy Welly

...beginning of the North Island tour.

overcast 22 °C

We check out of the hostel after a horribly windy night that kept us wondering if the old creaky building would be still standing in the morning. The high winds continue as we stroll the Wellington streets hitting a few tourist hot spots. First off is the uniquely shaped parliament building called the beehive, a strange piece of architecture. The 120 km/hr gusts then blow us over to Old St. Paul's Church which was constructed entirely of beautifully carved native timber in 1866.

Ghondi Monument at Wellington Train Station

Ghondi Monument at Wellington Train Station


Wellington Parliment Buildings - The Beehive

Wellington Parliment Buildings - The Beehive


Old St. Paul's Church

Old St. Paul's Church


Old St. Paul's Church

Old St. Paul's Church

From the church, we make our way north to the hip heart beat of the city, Cuba Street. Cuba Street is lined with clever cafes, lively bars, and one-of-a-kind shops. On our way out of the city, our feet sore from covering miles of pavement, we take a detour through Aro Valley. This old neighbourhood of hippies is built along steep valley slopes with some crazy “deck” driveways.

We drive east out of the city into the clouds over the Rimutaka Range on a switchback road. The scenery is probably spectacular but the visibility is down to roughly 20 meters. Finally, we arrive at our campsite on the edge of Tararua Forest Park, with the winds still blasting. Julie finds a sheltered area for the tent just before the lights dim and we are covered in darkness.

Julie and I wake after yet another gusty night in the tent. We take a stroll to the rivers edge to relax before packing up and moving south along the coast to Cape Palliser. Along the way we suit up for a short hike into the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve. Up the gravelly river bed we go, then up to a lookout point high over the organ pipe formations which have formed over millions of years from erosion. We scamper back down to the riverbed and deeper into the gorge to stand at the base of the towering stacks. They are extremely fragile and we must keep watch for debris tumbling earthward. It's incredibly hot in the deep gorge, as we feel like we are being baked in an stone oven, so we decide to head back to the car.

View of Putangirua Pinnacles

View of Putangirua Pinnacles


Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles

Julie and Putangirua Pinnacles

Julie and Putangirua Pinnacles

Further south along the coast we pass the small fishing village of Ngawi with a strange assortment of bulldozers lined up along the beach. There isn't a harbour, so the fishermen pull their boats out of the water everyday and park them with their uniquely painted dozer.

Bulldozers and Boats in Ngawi

Bulldozers and Boats in Ngawi

The coast to Cape Palliser is scattered with sun bathing fur seals and miles of turquoise seascape behind the odd black sandy beach. We reach Cape Palliser and its candy red stripes high on a cliff above the road. The sun is still blazing down and walking up the 200 or so steps to the lighthouse doesn't seem like fun right now. As fast as we reach the cape, we turn around and head back north to Greytown, NZ's first inland settlement.

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Greytown is also home to NZ's oldest intact main street. Wooden Victorian style buildings line the streets and are home to an array of cafes and artsy shops. After a short walk along the historic streets, we return to the same campsite as the night before and cool off with a swim in the Tauherenikau River. There are plenty of locals swimming and jumping off the cliff into the refreshing waters. We are told the dark river is home to some massive eels, so we make our swim a quick one before chilling on the rocks.

Tauherenikau River and Gorge

Tauherenikau River and Gorge

In the morning we pack up once again and make our way towards the west coast and the home of Harmony Farm. Along the way we stop in Lower Hutt for some op-shopping and a picnic lunch in the dunes of the Queen Elizabeth Park.

Harmony Farm is run by Ron and Leanne and a steady army of wwoofers. It's going to be a unique permiculture environment to live and work in over the next 10 days, we are very excited to be here.

Posted by ontarions 03:40 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Our Reflection of the South Island, New Zealand

...moving.

all seasons in one day

When we initially flew into Christchurch all I could see from the plane was farmland, which made me wonder if I misinterpreted the amount of natural beauty and natural ecosystems found here. But we were fooled by the view from the plane. The South Island has a vast amount of parks, National, Regional, Scenic Reserves etc., which enclose the natural and native beauty of New Zealand.

Our experiences on the South Island were filled with numerous natural experiences in pristine environments. Our favourite hikes were the alpine hikes as they were linked to surreal views when the weather co-operated. High on these mountain environments we discovered plants and bugs we had never seen before. All of these had adapted thick scaley membranes to protect them from the wind and cold. We also were blown away by the lush rain forests layered with diverse flora, the coloured lichens wrapping around tree trunks, the dense sprawling matts of mosses, the dangling old man's beard (a common lichen), the fresh fern fronds within vibrant green fern patches, and the thick gnarled branches of various beech trees. Never in my life have I seen such a diversity of species in a forest. It show prooves just how complex nature is, and how humans can never truly duplicate all aspects of an ecosystem, try as they might.

While on the South Island we stepped foot in every National Park. Of all the tramps and trails we completed my favourite two, because I can't choose just one, was Avalanche Peak and Gertrude Saddle. The two day tramp to Crow's Hut over Avalanche Peak was packed with jaw-dropping views, and the Hut was remote, quiet, and surrounded by towering mountains in a glacial river valley. The day hike to Gertrude Saddle was a favourite because our eyes never tired and your attention was always occupied by the various terrain and ecosystems we passed through. The views from both of these hikes were phenomenal and upon reaching the summit/saddle we felt like we were on top of the world. The images our eyes captured will never be forgotten.

Another favourite part of the South Island was Doubtful Sound. It was as if it hadn't been touched by humans. It is pristine. It is remote.

The South Island is laid back and not build up, and it is vast with few people, both of which are exactly what we needed. Throughout all of the South Island we never saw a shopping mall. Sure we came across big box stores like Warehouse (an equivalent in Canada would be Zellers or Walmart) but these were few and far between. The only highway that contained more than one lane in each direction was North of Christchurch. If I were to live in New Zealand I would have chosen Christchurch as my favourite city, however you would have to be crazy to move to that city now. As the two recent earthquakes have made it known that the city lays on top of a fault line. I would have lived in Christchurch as it is such a clean city with beautiful heritage buildings, incredibly friendly people, a great walkable downtown, and great parks. However, since the second earthquake all that has changed.

The people of the South Island are generally pretty chill and laid back. They have a day by day attitude, never knowing what they were going to eat for dinner or where they would be heading tomorrow. They are incredibly trusting and welcome strangers into their home. We have a few experiences with this. One of these experiences happened in ?? where I stopped at the library looking to use the internet. The librarian said they didn't have it but walked me across the street to her house so I could check my email! People who weren't affected by the second Christchurch earthquake were offering extra space in their homes to those who needed a place to live. The generosity and kindness of the kiwis are amazing and it would do the world wonders if there were more people like them around!

In terms of food we had a few surprises while on the South Island. You would think that with NZ being a small island surrounded by ocean sushi would be quite common. But surprisingly it is rare as they don't have the Japanese population to open up the restaurants. Another surprise of ours was the difficulty in finding sheep dairy products. Despite my efforts which consisted of looking in every grocery and health store I entered I never found any milk or yoghurt on the South Island. However, sheep cheese was fabulous although also hard to find. Other food discoveries included the meat pie, an amazing and common New Zealand savory.

The things we will not miss about this island include the clouds of sand flies. And if there weren't clouds of them there were tornadoes of them, all targeting your ankles. Our ankles now look like we had an outbreak of the chicken pox and are covered in red scars. These sand fly bites itch for days, it is nothing like a mossy bite which only itches for a few hours. But yes, they have those too!

Move the map around to get a visual of our route and to access photos of our stops along the way.

Posted by ontarions 02:55 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

The Grand Finale

...of the South Island.

semi-overcast 25 °C

Good morning Julie! Good morning Nate! We rise refreshed and ready to explore Nelson Lakes National Park. It is another rugged landscape full of roaming mountain ranges. We crank out a quick breakfast, pack a bag and head down to Lake Rotoiti. I bring my fishing gear to try my luck at the head of the Buller River which pours out of Lake. It's easy to spot the trout sniffing my lure but they aren't into what I've got to offer. As I try my luck, Julie relaxes by the river's edge listening to its calming ripples flowing past.

It's another fine day and our legs are feeling rested and ready to conquer the next mountain. We choose to scamper up the St. Arnaud Range Track for a quick nosey along the ridge. As we zig-zag up through the beech forest, we notice how it adapts to suit the changing altitude. The species change as we climb higher and the tree growth becomes stunted near the tree line. The afternoon heat beats down and we end up shirtless, good thing Julie is wearing her bathing suit. Emerging from the tree line, the Parachute Rocks jut out abruptly from the mountain side. Julie's legs are feeling fatigued but we continue another half hour through snow tussock, then sub-alpine shrubs, and then alpine herb fields. Finally we reach the highest ridge (1650 m) that runs like a spine up to the next peak. To the west from the ridge Lake Rotoiti's bays and peninsulas are well defined and surrounded with dense native forest while the town of St. Arnaud sits a little further away. Peering over the other side of the ridge to the east, alpine bogs are scattered over the terrain and the Wairau River flows far below in the valley. Once again we are in awe with 360 degree views and are reminded why we put ourselves through these somewhat gruelling uphill climbs. Julie notices a rumbling cloud advancing quickly towards us, so we make a quick escape down from this amazing vista.

Lake Rotoiti from St. Arnaud Range Track

Lake Rotoiti from St. Arnaud Range Track


Yoga on Parachute Rocks

Yoga on Parachute Rocks


View from St. Arnaud Ridge of Alpine Bogs and Wairau River

View from St. Arnaud Ridge of Alpine Bogs and Wairau River


Ridge along St. Arnaud Range Track

Ridge along St. Arnaud Range Track

Another day arrives and it's time for us to pack up and keep moving north. We head to Nelson and stop at the library to catch up with overloaded e-mail accounts. I sit and quickly upload photos for the blog while Julie is off to discover the spirit of Nelson. She returns to the library after watching buskers entertain and after listening to a reggae band performing on the street. Our night is spent tenting on a tiny piece of lawn at a downtown backpackers hostel in the rain.

Sunday arrives and it's time to hit the much anticipated Nelson market in Montgomery Square. The huge weekly event organically spills throughout the downtown setting. Julie is in heaven discovering local clothing designers and alternative food choices. We recognize some of the venders from the Motueka Farmers Market and return to them to stock up on natural soaps, organic venison salami, and other products. After fully indulging at the market we make our way out of Nelson, and by chance we pass the Founders Brewery, an organic company. They brew some amazing suds, so I stock up for sipping by the campfire in the coming days.

We head for Marlborough Sounds and decide to head for the farthest campsite from civilization at Waimaru Bay Recreation Reserve. The long winding road to the DOC campground passes some extraordinary coast and native bush. Marlborough Sounds seems nice at first glance but looking closer you'll notice livestock roaming through streams and along ocean shorelines, large pine plantations, clear cut mountain sides, and mussel farms filling every secluded bay. The mussel farms are evident as numerous floating buoys in grid-like formations, while under the water's surface cables hang down on which mussels attach themselves.

Finally, after the long drive on winding shingle roads we reach the campsite and are a bit disappointed. This “Recreation Reserve” doesn't have a close beach to access and the campsite is surrounded by cattle paddocks. Across the bay our view isn't so great either as it consists of hillsides of pine plantations, some clear cut for export. We debate whether or not we should find another campground when I notice a family walking down the road through the paddock with beach gear in hand. We figure there must be a beach nearby, so after setting up the tent we explore further down the gravel road.

Luckily, about a 10 minute walk away we find a small trail through the forest revealing a quiet pebbly bay, Wairamu Bay, that is perfect for swimming and hopefully fishing. I head back to the car grab my fishing gear and return to the beach to scamper out along the jagged rocks to the point. Before the sun vanishes for the day, I catch a sunfish and a red cod. I return both to the ocean hoping to catch more in the coming days. Before I return to camp I stop to chat with a pair of campers next to us. They invite us for a campfire later which is awesome since we haven't had one since Hawaii. Campfires are banned nearly everywhere in NZ, including here, but at this remote location lighting one up shouldn't cause a stir.

Waimaru Bay

Waimaru Bay

Julie and I watch a beautiful glowing sunset over the mountains and realize how special this place really is. It is really peaceful and quiet except for the hum of the recently emerged cicadas, their exoskeletons left clinging to the trees. The stars slowly emerge and we join our neighbouring campers at their fire. We chat with the couple from Nelson about anything and everything and burn through a huge pile of gathered dead fall before retiring for night.

Sunset from Waimaru Campsite

Sunset from Waimaru Campsite

Over the next three days we spend time exploring as far into the reserve as our car could make it before the gnarly road became impassable. We discover another beach near Te Purako Point, that is even more secluded and beautiful than the beach near our campsite. We settle into the perfect little shade hut built out of driftwood and tree fern leaves standing in the sand a few hundred metres down the shore. Julie relaxes while I desperately try to catch dinner without any luck. Determined to bring something to the dinner table, I decide to try fishing off the rocks at Wairamu Bay but the only seafood I manage to catch is a pot of mussels gathered at low tide.

Relaxing in our Tent

Relaxing in our Tent


Rasta Fun

Rasta Fun


Dinner at Waimaru Campsite

Dinner at Waimaru Campsite


Te Puraka Point

Te Puraka Point


Driftwood Hut

Driftwood Hut


View from Hut on Beach

View from Hut on Beach

On the last night we manage to kill our car's battery by having the netbook plugged in for only minutes. Fortunately, the farmer down the road promises to come by in the morning to boost us. We have booked the 1pm ferry from Picton to the North Island and we will need to leave the campground by 10am. In the morning, however, for some reason our car won't boost so we call CAA to come to the rescue (for the second time during this trip!). After waiting for 2 ½ hours the mechanic drives in and instantly revives the Hobbit. We thank the friendly mechanic and race to Picton. Julie had moved our ferry time back but maybe we could still catch an earlier one. With my stealth driving skills we make it to Picton and are the last car to sneak onto the ferry with minutes to spare. Julie gathers some lunch and the laptop and we get comfortable for the 3 hour boat ride to the North Island. It was such a rush getting to the ferry that Julie feels like she didn't get to say goodbye to the beautiful South Island.

As the ferry cruises towards Wellington the soaring cliffs of the North Island come slowly into view from the ships deck. There aren't any lush native forests to be seen, just sprawling city and grazing land. We roll out of the docked vessel onto the bustling streets of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. We head to the grocery store and it's busy, everyone seems to be in a hurry, and its stressful! We feel really out of place coming from the laid back South Island, not being exposed to a city this size for months. Julie is baffled at how quickly and easily we are pulled into the fast-paced stressful city life and worries this is what will happen when we return home.

Aboard Ferry from Picton to Wellington

Aboard Ferry from Picton to Wellington

After this shockingly hectic trip to the grocery store we find a hostel with a room and make a delicious dinner. Julie suggests driving up to Mt. Victoria for the sunset, so we follow the winding roads up past some interesting houses to the summit. We miss the sunset but gaze over the city as street lights flicker on creating a sparkling landscape. We discover the meaning behind Wellington's nickname of “Windy Welly” as huge gusts make it impossible for Julie to use her tripod.

Night Glow of Wellington from Mt. Victoria

Night Glow of Wellington from Mt. Victoria


Night Glow of Wellington from Mt. Victoria

Night Glow of Wellington from Mt. Victoria

What a long day from boosting the car to watching the flickering city of Wellington from Mt. Victoria. Our journey of the North Island has just begun and from Julie's research there is going to be some unique adventures in the next few months.

Posted by ontarions 01:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Avalanche Peaking out of Arthur's Pass

...and graveling screeing

sunny 26 °C

Our day begins with getting a long-overdue tire puncture repaired in Methven after about a month of adding air every couple days. With that finally off of our list of “to-do's”, we head off on the scenic route to Castle Hill, just south of Arthur's Pass. Castle Hill is a rock climbers dream come true, with rounded limestone boulders stretching into the blue sky. The sun is shining down as we scramble onto some rocks that are a perfect shape for nestling into and relaxing.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

Leaving the boulder-strewn paddocks of Castle Hill, Julie eyes a pair of crested grebes with a baby on Lake Pearson in the Moana Rua Wildlife Reserve. We stop to watch the strange looking ducks with our binoculars as they dive for food. They are just out of range for her telephoto lens, so the finer details are out of focus in the photo below.

Making our way north to the town of Arthur's Pass, our mission is to gain insight on coming weather. I really want to tramp over the Goat Pass but that involves hiking up one river valley, over the pass, and back down through another river valley to civilization. DOC informs us of a slight chance of heavy rains within the next 24 hours. If the heavy rains arrive we might be stuck at the hut for an extra few days before it is safe to tramp down the river valley. Our best option is to prepare for the gruelling hike but to get a weather update again in the morning and then make our final decision.

With the remainder of the day, Julie is interested in taking a short hike up the Otira Valley to wander through an array of alpine flowers. The track starts above the treeline at Arthur's Pass (920m) and travels up the deep valley with views of the Otira River flowing below. We hike over the old glacial moraine now grown over with alpine flowers and tussocks waving in the wind. Mountain ranges are on all sides and the snow has melted off all of them except Mt. Rolleston.

Flowering Shrubs on Otira Valley Track

Flowering Shrubs on Otira Valley Track

After the quick hike up the Otria valley we head to Klondike Corner (south of the town of Arthur's Pass) for the night. A friendly couple from the UK, looking for some company, approach us while we are finishing our dinner. We chat about our travels and play some great card games as the sun sets. The setting is perfect in the open grasslands as the stars poke out one by one and the moon slowly appears from behind the mountain ranges. It's hard to call it a night, but we have to get some shut-eye before tomorrow's trek.

Camping at Klondyke Corners

Camping at Klondyke Corners


Moonlight Night at Klondyke Corners

Moonlight Night at Klondyke Corners

Morning brings more gorgeous sun and we find out that rain will not arrive until tomorrow afternoon. We discuss our options. We really want to do the day hike to Avalanche Peak but we also really want to stay in a back-country hut over night. The lady at the DOC office informs us of the perfect solution. That is to head up to Avalanche Peak (she mentions that it is the best day trek in NZ) and then drop over the other side to Crow Hut via an unmarked trail. Julie is bit nervous of the “unmarked” portion of the plan, but is convinced that it will be an amazing adventure. So we change our original plan, a 2-day trek over Goats Pass, to a 2-day trek over Avalanche Peak.

Our hike begins directly after filling out an intentions form and hiking to the trail head just north of town. We take Scott's Track literally straight up the steep mountain and within an hour we emerge from the tree-line with outstanding panoramic views of the Bealey River Valley. Devil's Punchbowl Falls is across the valley and looks just like a huge punchbowl spilling out down a rocky cliff. As we continue gaining elevation the track gets drastically steeper on all sides. Keas fly overhead letting us know of their presence by letting out echoing squawks that sound just like there name “KKKEEAAA”.

View of Bealey River Valley

View of Bealey River Valley


Enjoying the View from Scott's Track

Enjoying the View from Scott's Track

After a short break we reach the summit, the highest point on the ridge we ascended. There is only enough space on the summit for about 6 people to stand, it is quite small with steep rocky screes on all sides. The 360 degree views are astonishing, comprised of towering scree slopes, glaciers nestled between sharp ridges, and distant river valleys. It is break taking, words can't describe it, and photos don't do it justice. Once we get our barrings we trek off in the opposite direction of everyone else that is on the summit with us.

Avalanche Peak Track near Summit

Avalanche Peak Track near Summit


Kea on Avalanche Peak

Kea on Avalanche Peak

We find the slightly worn trail marked with rock cairns and slowly creep across the windy ridge looking for the scree that will take us down to Crow Hut. DOC gives us three critical conditions that must be met in order for us to know which scree will take us to the Hut. If we take the wrong one we could get bluffed out, which could be fatal. No big deal. The three conditions are: we must be able to see Devil's Punchbowl Falls in its entirety, we must be able to see all the way down the scree slope to the Crow River, and the scree is located before the trail sharply ascends. As we hike along the ridge we come across a large arrow formation on the ground made with rocks. At this location, all three conditions were met and without any doubt we know this is the scree we had to descend.

Heading North along Ridge from Avalanche Peak

Heading North along Ridge from Avalanche Peak


View of Crow River Valley

View of Crow River Valley

We strap on our scree boots and hit the scree slopes. The loose rocks slid under our feet making the decent a blast. It is like walking down a steep sand dune, but with rocks. After almost an hour of screeing down and some close calls of loose soccer sizes rocks tumbling past us, we hit the valley floor. When we started the decent down the scree we were nearly at the same level as the Crow Glacier and now it loomed high above us. The Crow River stems from the Glacier but at the bottom of the scree the water is not at the surface but beneath tons of rocks. We are standing in between two rock screes in the valley. As we follow the valley “down stream”, small pockets of fresh glacial water begin to appear, so we strip down for a polar bear skinny dip. Luckily the sun is beating down because the water is instantly numbing and is only tolerable for a heartbeat before stinging sensations set in. Before putting the packs back on, I dip down and take a slurp right out the stream, the pristine water quenches my thirst. Another 20 minutes down stream and we arrive at Crow Hut, a newer ten person hut. The entire afternoon is spent exploring the area and relaxing under the sun before it slips away behind the steep peaks. What an incredible hike to a remote paradise and we have the hut all to ourselves!

Top of Gravel Scree Slope

Top of Gravel Scree Slope


Bottom of Gravel Scree

Bottom of Gravel Scree


Drinking from Crow River

Drinking from Crow River


Views from Crow Hut

Views from Crow Hut


Crow Hut in the Crow Valley

Crow Hut in the Crow Valley


Getting Drinking Water from the Glacial Crow River

Getting Drinking Water from the Glacial Crow River


Stoking the Stove in Crow Hut

Stoking the Stove in Crow Hut

The quiet night passes and the sun finally hits the valley as we leisurely pack our bags and drag ourselves away form this beautiful place. We follow the Crow River down stream, which by this time is a raging torrent. The trail is marked again and after some boulder hopping and river crossings we reach the point where the Crow River joins the Waimakariri River. The vast valley has grown immensely since the point we descended the scree slope. We now trudge along the Waimakariri River over rocks, crossing its braids dozens of times. We have managed to keep our feet and boots dry up until now but have reached a point where we have to ford the river, and its deep. We plunge through the river, icy water filling our boots. I hate getting a soaker. It's only about an hour with sloshy boots before we reach the gravel road that takes us out to the main highway.

Crow River

Crow River


Waimakariri Flats and Mt. Wakeman and Mt. Davies

Waimakariri Flats and Mt. Wakeman and Mt. Davies


Fording the Waimakariri River

Fording the Waimakariri River

Julie sticks her thumb out and hails a ride within minutes. We end up getting a lift with a Newfie doctor working for a couple months in Christchurch. He drops us off at our car in the town of Arthur's Pass and we wish him well. The forecasted rain sets in as we unpack our gear and hit the road toward St. Arnaud and Nelson Lakes National Park.

After a good four hour drive we pull into the DOC campground only to find out that it is full. Luckily the warden points us to a free DOC campsite for the night. We utilize the full-service campground, indulging in much needed hot showers and filling our bellies while the sun drops calmly behind Lake Rotoiti. We then head to the free DOC campsite, which only contains an outhouse. Once the tent is upright, our heads hit the pillows and sleep arrives quickly after an exhausting day.

Posted by ontarions 15:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (4)

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