Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you. I have been taking it easy in the past weeks, enjoying time off, eating, drinking and otherwise mucking around on the property. The best part of this holiday is, however, that work still gets done and that important projects were finished (not by me). Fortunately, it is sufficient to take a supervisory/2nd row role, as David is an outstanding wwoofer (willing worker on organic farm).
Some day, Great Barrier Island, Tryphena, beniSland, other than the screaming orgies of the kaka and the car alarm-imitating tui songs, it has been really quiet and highly enjoyable. I take my regular walks through the backyard, absorbing the views from vantage points and taking pleasure in sitting in the bush, climbing the odd tree and otherwise establishing my presence and intentions. Continue reading Pictures Of The Week 40 – Impressions Of The Backyard
I highly recommend the Harataonga Coastal Walk. An easy grade four hour walk from Aotea Road to Harataonga Beach and camp site. There are plenty scenic viewpoints along the historic coastal track, inviting you to sit down and enjoy the magnificent views. Continue reading Pictures of the Week 30 – Harataonga Coastal Walk
When Ralph, a friend who was born and raised on Great Barrier Island but whom I had met in Auckland, told me that he was coming to the Island and that he’d be keen to go for a fish, I was quite excited to meeting him again after about 3-4 years. We saw each other in Tryphena and I very much liked his plan to camp on the beach where he grew up and go for a land-based fish early the next morning targeting kingfish.
We met more or less at the end of the road and hiked into XXX Bay fully laden with rods, reels, bait, burley, beer, food, sleeping bag, dog, etc. It was already dark by the time we arrived, the beach was secluded, we had a few drinks, sharing stories and since it was quite warm, spent the night under stars. I realized that Ralph used to come to this beach for kai (food) all the time, it was a 30 minute walk from his home, there were fruit trees along the way for a snack, plenty streams for fresh water and the Bay had it all. Exciting stuff on the beach to find and bring home and yummy food in the water to dive or fish for. Arguably the best playground for anybody.
There are superb hiking and tramping tracks all over Great Barrier Island and I intend to experience them all first hand and to post reviews here on BENIsLAND.co.nz. You certainly don’t have to leave the Tryphena vicinity if you are looking for rewarding hiking adventures, be it coastal or inland. Last Sunday we went for a hike and scout, and discovered Dolphin and Ross Bays. Access is via Cape Barrier Road and if you miss the following sign you’re probably driving too fast. It is on the right hand side going south and approximatively 5 km from the beginning of Cape Barrier Road.
As I mentioned in the previous post, spending a night at the D.O.C. Mt Heale Hut on Mount Hobson is a great idea. The hut has toilet, water, bunk bed and gas facilities and you’ll appreciate the beautiful views.
Let me begin with the key details for this track before writing about my own experience. The start of Kaiaraara Track forks off Forest Road (on the Port FitzRoy side, follow Aotea Road until the end. There is a parking area.) and it will take you about 3-4 hours to reach the summit of Hirakimata. The track rises steadily with a large portion of it climbing up wooden staircases that have been built to preserve the ecosystem. Whit an average level of fitness you can hike up and down the track in half a day carrying a day pack, but it might be a better idea to spend a night at Mount Heale Hut (D.O.C. Mt Heale Hut). An ideal spot to begin your adventure would be the Kaiaraara Hut (D.O.C. Kaiaraara Hut). You will experience indigenous and exotic forest, maybe spot or at least hear (endangered) fauna, cross several hanging bridges, observe historic kauri dams and be rewarded with a beautiful and extensive overview of the Hauraki Gulf and Great Barrier Island. In addition, another rewarding factor, you will physically feel your leg muscles and remember the somewhat challenging steady climb. Add South Fork Track to your itinerary and you’ll experience a beautiful loop tramping track rated amongst the highest in New Zealand.