and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lake Hawea - Gladstone track & short section Breast Hill track

According to my garmin the walk was around 4 miles each way. We set off from Johns Creek and followed the track above the lake shore. Brilliant flowers growing wild - lupins, roses, orange Californian poppies, as well as other less ostentatious flowers. New Zealand flax, pines, silver birch and the odd blue gum, as well as some deep pink mesembryanthemums, clearly flourishing on the rocks in the sun.  The wind was strong today.

Map of the walk in one direction is here.

14 Dec Hawea walk

The wind has whipped white horses all over the lake, and the waves hit the shore with a crashing sound as stones are rolled back and forth. It sounds like the sea.

We're going to take the track to Lake Hawea village. It runs just in from the shore, through pines, and along cliffs. Today we're pushed along by the wind, but the sun shines and there are flowers everywhere - self set feral flowers?

Lupins, predominantly pink and purple, but with large patches of wild yellow ones too. Californian poppies, with their delicately shaped flowers of rich waxy orange. Wild roses, with their small pink flowers and arching branches. Two different types of yellow flowers, both growing as tall spikes. A blue flower, with pink on it - another spike. Even the birds foot trefoil is bigger and lusher than at home. There's a rocky slope where deep pink mesembryanthemum are sunbathing. The kete flax is everywhere, and we have pines and eucalyptus too.
We stop for coffee at the General Store and Café on the corner of Capell Avenue and Parry Crescent.  The way back is against the wind, but still bright and exhilarating.

15 December - short and steep

Uphill a bit . . .

I walk along the Timaru River road, from Johns Creek for about a mile, then for a very short stretch of the Breast Hill Track, part of a long distance walking track.

I meet a man coming down who says it's about an hour to get to the ridge, and very steep zigzags.  It does climb very steeply, and one of my excuses for turning back is that my old trainers are not exactly suitable footwear.

The track leaves the Timaru river road

Looking over Lake Hawea

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lake Alexandrina path

Very short - probably four to five miles in all.
This lake doesn't have the turquoise colour of Tekapo or Pukaki
Growing wild
a path with a view

Harry walked from Lake McGregor to the southern end of Alexandrina.  I walked most of the way then back to pick up the car and collect him from the (unsealed gravel) road from the camping area.
here we had a picnic

We saw Southern crested grebes doing a courtship dance, plus mallards, coot and black swans. Canada geese as well, of course.  These guys are everywhere!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tekapo to Mount John

Our longest walk in N Z so far. About 10 km - up to the hill top Observatory and back the longer gentler way.  We followed instructions from a local leaflet.

The only map we needed on a fine summer day was the one in the picture. The tracks are clear, well signed when they diverge, and easy to walk along. I had the photo on my camera - just in case!

ready for action
not as steep as the Trig Track on Kapiti Island
out of the woods
welcome . . .

Lake Tekapo

Heights above sea level

Lake Tekapo: 710m
Mount John 1043m

So - 333m of ascent - must be around 1000ft.

Deepest point of Lake  120m

Monday, November 12, 2012

A few short walks down under

Some short walks in New Zealand

Health warning - this post was written later than the date above!

21 November 2012
Trig Track and Wilkinson Track Kapiti Island

The enchanted island is a nature reserve and can only be accessed with a permit.  It has been forcibly cleared of predators such as rats, possum and stoats, to restore native fauna and flora.  There are various walks and activities at the two places where the public is allowed.
We had to take a boat from Paraparaumu on the west coast of North Island.

We landed at Rangatira, halfway along the eastern shore of Kapiti Island.

After our introductory pep talk about the wildlife and conservation, we decided to take the Trig Track up towards the highest point on the island, Tuteremoana (521 m)

Trig Track
  • 2km steady uphill climb, considerably steeper than Wilkinson Track, with narrow, uneven sections.
  • Requires a medium to high level of fitness.
 It was indeed steep, and hard work.
Looking back down the Trig Track towards Harry, and our guide, who showed us several native birds
We paused at a bird feeding station, which is essential for the hihi, or stitchbirds.   Some of the bigger birds can out-compete them for food.  From there it was another few minutes to the junction with the Wilkinson Track, a twenty minute walk to the summit lookout.   Lunch in hot sunshine.
Tuteremoana summit lookout

View from the summit lookout
We took the Wilkinson Track downhill - a gentler choice for the descent. It wasn't wet.

Wilkinson Track
  • Well-formed 3.8km track with a steady uphill climb.
  • Gentler gradient than the Trig Track.
  • You’ll pass a picnic area and hihi feeding station a third of the way up.
  • Sections of this track can be slippery in wet weather. Take care and wear suitable footwear.

Some historical information:

Historic sites
At the start of the Wilkinson and Trig Tracks is a historic whare, the oldest building on the island and the oldest associated with nature conservation in the country. It is thought to originate from the early 1860s when it was built as the homestead for the McLean family who farmed the island at the time. It was later home to caretakers on the island including Richard Henry, the world’s first state-sponsored conservation officer. It is now a base for scientists, trappers, students and numerous dignitaries and visitors.
Near the landing area you’ll find whaling trypots—artefacts from the island’s whaling history. 
The three shaded sections are from the information on the NZ Department of Conservation website about Kapiti Island.

22 November 2012
North End of Kapiti Island - Okupe Loop Walk

Okupe Loop Walk
  • 4.8 km/1.5 h return. Winds up a fairly gentle ridge through regenerating bush leading along the ridge top to the north-western lookout.
  • The track is accessed from the visitor shelter by following the track around the edge of the Okupe Lagoon.
  • Requires a low to medium level of fitness. 
  • Suitable for all terrain prams around entire length.

We walked along this before leaving Kapiti Island later on the second day, after our overnight stay, and kiwi walk.

The Okupe Loop track was gentle, compared to the Trig Track.

Near the Northwestern Lookout

great view

26 November 2012
Pelorus Bridge - Circle Walk

There's a campsite and a café at Pelorus Bridge Sceninc Reserve, and the café sells leaflets about  several walking tracks. We arrive quite late one afternoon, and decide to try the short Circle Walk.  

We have to cross the road bridge before starting on the track.

From here it's a pleasant, not too strenuous wander across a footbridge over the Rai, and then through woodland with views of the Pelorus river.
Afterwards we take another short track to the rocks and a swimming hole. 

You can see the road bridge clearly - one lane only!

28 Nov 2012

A couple of miles along the Queen Charlotte Track from the start at Anakiwa

The Queen Charlotte Walkway is a long distance path, and you need to buy a permit to walk any distance.  Much of it is well away from road access, and some people arrange to be picked up by boat at strategic points. The alternative is to arrange accommodation along the way.  We met some people who had walked it, when we took at ride on the Pelorus Mail Boat from Havelock, and they said it was not difficult, provided you were prepared and reasonably fit.
We didn't have time to organise a long walk, but did tackle a very short section at the beginning - no permit needed for this bit.  It made a pleasant evening stroll.
Our route
The path begins by the water at Anakiwa, and climbs up through woodland, then down towards Davies Bay. We hung around the bay for a while watching a wader, and also a New Zealand kingfisher - bigger than ours and nowhere near as shy.
spot the birdie
The hill shapes are typical of New Zealand.

December 1 2012 - Cullen point, near Havelock.

This was a very short walk - about half an hour or so, up to the top of Cullen Point, with a view over the Pelorus sound.