I embarked on a trip to Auckland (Town) on the ferry with my car last week. The plan was to purchase a complete photo voltaic (PV) system and various other things that had either ‘broken’, like my gum boots, or things that I always needed, like a crimping tool. Taking advantage of a special deal (during a fraction of a year) for residents, it cost 320 NZD for a return trip for myself and a vehicle. I also took out the passenger and rear seats to maximise loading space. My next vehicle will definitely be a true 4×4, one with a transfer box and low gear, van.
I was invited last week to take a bird’s eye view of Great Barrier Island and of my place, BENIsLAND. As some visitors and most locals know, flying to the Island can be an exciting experience. Continue reading Flying Over BENIsLAND
The Wharf to Wharf Marathon, a fundraiser for Kaitoke School, is one of the bigger annual public events here on Great Barrier Island. This established marathon draws people from all over the world, and of course many locals as well, to challenge themselves in a race from Port FitzRoy to Tryphena. Be it walking, running or mountain biking. I experienced its thrill back in 2011 (W2W 2011) completing the course on the Mountain Bike, and still have fond memories of the race and more so of the pre-race trash talk. Those who know me personally, know that I have a knack for trash-talking. Well, any (sport) activity, independent of the level of skill, is also a ‘head game’.
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.
I enjoyed an extremely scenic drive to FitzRoy from my place in Tryphena on Wednesday to pick up two mates. My friends from Germany have already seen quite a bit of New Zealand during their (work-)holidays but were very keen to experience the beauty of Aotea (Great Barrier Island) and to actively take part in the island lifestyle. The ferry from Auckland to Port FitzRoy arrived a bit early and while they were having a few beers and watching the locals picking up various freight for themselves and their businesses, I was still on the road, taking pictures and enjoying the drive.
Sebi and Jani, friends living in Germany I met in New Zealand about 5 years ago, contacted me a few months ago and told me they were coming on holiday to New Zealand and were quite keen to come and visit me here on Great Barrier Island. So, we kind of got a plan together, they would arrive here via ferry and stay for 4 nights before leaving via plane to Auckland and then to the South Island. At the moment, they are in the Motueka region, hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park. After that, they are going to Queenstown/Glenorchy where they’ll be doing the Routeburn Track followed by the Caples Track. Continue reading Friends from Germany
Yesterday was the big day, the long anticipated Wharf to Wharf Marathon 2011 from Port FitzRoy to Tryphena, Great Barrier Island. Two mates and myself decided more or less independently from each other to participate in this year’s race. The Wharf to Wharf Marathon is an annual event and you can complete the 42-somewhat kilometers on the bike, run or walk it. The first half of the course traverses through hilly, rugged forests with a couple of river crossing, plus some awesome single-track along the ridges with astonishing views and the second half is mainly on asphalt but still hilly.