The Book

Te Wai Pounamu Revisited, cover
Te Wai Pounamu Revisited, cover

I didn’t know whether I would survive this long, but finally the book is there. Grab a copy at hugendubel for €29.99 postage-free while you can, or the printers epubli for €29.99 plus postage. Plenty of color photos specifically brightened, contrasted and gammaed for the print medium. I hope you enjoy. Read more…

45. Mistletoe Bay – Kumutoto Bay (Queen Charlotte 2/5)

Monday, March 27: Foggy to begin with, clearing about lunchtime, with a lively east wind coming up in the afternoon, a couple of clouds

Sea kayaking: 19.9 km

Kumutoto Bay Campsite ($6, Doc)

It had rained a little during the night, but nothing too serious and when we were up at 7:30 the bay was very still and shrouded in fog. The door to the kitchen had been & remained closed for the night so our food was ready for eating. Christelle offered up her porridge and I supplied some sugar. We took all that she had left of it, microwaved it, and it was enough for the two of us. I put some condensed milk in as well.

Everything had to be packed up: The tents as wet as they were, then everything carted down to the boat. I had estimated high tide @ 11:30 and it was just on 9:30 so that whatever time we decided to leave the tide would be highest as near as dammit. I elected for trying the camera and its mount out and got everything together, except that I had forgotten how to put the camera into continuous mode (yet again) and left the camera running for the first part of the trip without taking any photos. Read more…

44. Picton – Mistletoe Bay (Queen Charlotte 1/5)

Sunday, March 26: A little rain to begin with and towards lunch time, stopping in the afternoon and clearing somewhat towards evening.

Sea kayaking: 19.4 km

Mistletoe Bay Campsite (Doc, $16)

There was one busybody up at around 6:30, and the alarm went off on time, so I went for a shower, finished the fruit juice, had a coffee, and then started packing. Was ready to go by 8:00 and was at Christelle’s hostel at ten past; then we were quickly at MSA, greeted by Alicia who was taking us through the hoops. First there was a safety video, which was mostly fairly common sense, some poor shooting, and one detailed commentary on wind ferrying which was technically right over the top.

Then the discussion about trip planning with Alicia started. I was fairly sure about stopping @ Davies Bay to begin with; an alternative was offered @ Mistletoe (apparently $10 more expensive, but with a camp kitchen). Ratimera and Blumine could follow, and Cannibal Cove, even, would be possible for the last night, and we could get to Ship Cove by 2:30 for the water taxi back. I got a few tips about alternative water taxi stops that we might be picked up from. Anyway with the combination of my spot and Christelle’s cell phone we should be able to arrange something if things go wrong. Read more…

41. Nelson: Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

Thursday, March 23: Very cloudy in the morning and a little cool, but warming to clear, blue skies; in the evening some dark clouds

Walking: 2.0 km

Genie’s

Genie offered to take me to the Brook conservation area for a bit of a walk this morning. This is a predator-proof zone not far from the centre of town, along a couple of roads that I had not yet reached, and is in a valley whose dams provided Nelson’s first drinking water (entry $5 donation).

A couple of fantails, a few bell birds, and one weka were very much all that could be seen or heard; a few trees had the distinctive orange berries that I had seen on the Heaphy, but by the time I had returned the staff were out again and I could not ask what they were. Seems like karaka might be a possibility, but for the fruit size. Read more…

39. Tapawera – Nelson

Tuesday, March 21: Sunny to begin with, clouding over, with sun returning in Nelson

Tramping: 8.2 km

Genie’s (airbnb, $40)

Despite the late night I was up @ 8:00, had the last of the tramping breakfasts and was packed up and ready to go by 9:30. The plan was to walk to Kohatu and wait for the bus. On the way out of town I noticed that the school was also home to the public library and being shown there by the receptionist was told that for a small donation I could use the “senior internet” access. Got on and messaged Genie who reported back that moving the booking forward one night would be OK. Tried messaging Elizabeth, but wasn’t sure if it had worked. In any case I was out after half an hour or so and that relieved some of the pressure on the day.

Just before Kohatu was overtaken by Marcel & Jasmin and their small car which was packed full, despite which they offered me a lift. I wanted to walk the distance, however, and was in Kohatu just after 11:30. The only thing here is a cafe and I had a coke, had to restart the compass twice because the rucksack had fallen over, then went across the road to eat my muesli bars. In the course of waiting decided I would see what happened if the camera took some timelapse. First tried in “M” mode, but the camera stopped after a while; but in “Av” mode the sequence appeared to want to go on forever. At around 2:30 I packed up and kept an eye out for the bus, but it was nearly an hour in coming. Eventually it was there and despite the traffic in Richmond and Stoke was not delayed any further and arrived in Nelson at just 4:05 (fifteen minutes late). Marched up to Mount St, but Elizabeth was not at home, and then to Genie’s, where she was awaiting me with her friend Chris. He had tried intercepting me, but had picked the wrong bus. With a coffee to wake me up, things had to be organised. Read more…

34. Heaphy – Track End (Heaphy Track 4/4) – Karamea

Thursday, March 16: Some clouds in the valley at dawn, otherwise quite sunny

Tramping: 15.6 km

Rongo Backpackers, Waverley St, Karamea, $65 for twin as single (independent hostel)

I slept through from midnight to 6:00, and then some snoring started, so it was difficult to get back to sleep and although no one else in our dorm was making a move I decided to get up around 7:00.

Cheese was still good, milk was about to run out, but there are enough coffee, sugar and ryvita to last for the second leg. I had everything dry (including the sox I had brought in the night before and hung in the common room), packed away, and ready to go shortly after 8:15 and was on the track a few minutes later. Read more…

33. Mackay – Heaphy (Heaphy Track 3/4)

Wednesday, March 15: Sunny right from the beginning with some residual cloud

Tramping: 18.2 km

Heaphy Hut (Doc, $32)

I was up at 7:00, the preorganised breakfast was quickly dealt with. As there was finally a view of the mouth of the Heaphy River that was stable, a bracketed pan was on the agenda, while the spot was sending its message. Had to put the tripod up on the table on the deck to get a reasonable view but no one was complaining.

Was able to leave just after 9:00 & catch up with everyone else in the course of the morning. Track was very flat, except for a couple of trees that had fallen over & had to be detoured. Was able to get a couple of shots of the track, an inquisitive weka, and the confluence of the Lewis & Heaphy Rivers. Lewis Hut was soon reached and that was time for lunch (just under three hours). Had a look around the river and thought I could take another bracketed pan of the bridge before heading off; only, finding the way back to the track (and onto the bridge) was a little adventurous, but possible. Read more…

28. Nelson: Tahunanui Beach

Friday, March 10: Overcast during the day with some sunshine in the afternoon, rain expected in the evening

Walking: 8.1 km

Elizabeth’s

Another variation on Elizabeth’s breakfast this morning was to have weetbix with the ground up seeds, a plum and milk, and to forget the banana at some stage. Toast was a rather teutonic type of bread and it was plied with marmite. Not much sign of the torrential rainfall expected from the north.

First call of port was to tidy up the Wangapeka Track. Got an offer from Tapawera that they would pick me up and rent me a cabin for $75, which would have to be unbeatable. An Intercity bus @ full price can be cancelled up to two hours in advance for a full refund, but that has yet to be booked. In Karamea the very rainbowy Rongo Backpackers was taking $65 a night for a twin room plus $20 for a pickup which comes to much the same as Tapawera above, and was promptly reserved. Two things I will have to keep in mind: Taking enough cash to pay for everything, and a shopping list for Karamea. Shampoo & shower gel will have to be topped up before I go so that I can get some personal hygiene done in Karamea and Tapawera. And some decent meals. Read more…

27. Nelson

Thursday, March 9: Sunny, windy, not particularly warm

Elizabeth’s

After all of yesterday’s excitement I thought I might need a bit more sleep than usual, but was up just after 8:00 giving Elizabeth enough time to show me some stuff for breakfast (Allbran with yoghurt & cream, a banana, some toast, one of those in-the-packet coffees) before she was off to her work.

I wanted to see a bit more stuff around town so I headed off to Victory Park to see if there was a Four Square there with reduced price sandwiches (no such luck, no supermarket, but various convenience stores) and there was a cricket match in action in the park. Back along Vanguard St I opted to have a look in countdown for some milk, apples, and chocolate for emergencies; they had PAMS/Woolworth’s instant peas ($2/200 g) so if the Heaphy/Wangapeka comes into effect that is something worth taking.Read more…

18. Loch Maree – Kintail (Dusky Track 6/8)

Tuesday, February 28: Cold again in the early morning but otherwise a fine and sunny day

Tramping: 11.5 km

Kintail Hut (Doc)

Kea were playing on the roof for their breakfast @ 6:00, but otherwise the night was surprisingly peaceful considering the age distribution. Only one person snored, and then not too loudly.

I let the others get onto the track before me, and then was able to pack up everything, send off a spot OK, get a sat fix, sweep out the hut and get on my own way. Pretty muddy today, and a lot of ups and downs all over the place. I could see that one “gut” had been completely avoided by a new track, but still, even if the mud was fairly firm in places, in others it was soft and unavoidable. Read more…