Waning Wanderer

mach

Waning Wanderer

The wanderer is back again. Living a smaller life post the last NZ escape (and pre the next one no doubt).



Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington December 26th 2014

And so the long trip home begins. I doubt there'll be many (if any) interesting posts from now on given I'll be in cities until I land back in London on January 1st. A flight on the 28th will get me to Auckland in enough time for a flight to Bangkok where four nights of a big, big city experience (and no doubt some humidity) await. Having seen in the new year there, a flight on January 1st will get me back to dear ol' Heathrow. Before all that, today's trip took me away from South Island and across to little Wellington city. A short flight across the water and a sunny landing in windy welly. A quick trip to the lookout on Mt Victoria to allow views of the harbour and city and to scout ... read more
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Two nights in Kahurangi are, somehow, already in the past. Before the first night there were four hours of hiking in the afternoon heat past Flora hut, a number of shelters, streams, and waterfalls to an empty Salisbury Lodge. Then a hike up to the Tablelands summit (if a tableland (plateau) can be said to have a summit) and then back to complete the a hike round the bizarre landscape of the potholes - strange depressions where the landscape seems to be feeling the weak force of gravity a bit more than most. I have the luxury of having the (large) hut to myself again. Before the second night there is a big day. Leaving the hut an hour later than planned, I'm on the trail by 9am. An hour of slow trudging gets me through ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Motueka December 22nd 2014

Slow start given none of us could get to sleep last night - minds too busy. Bobby is still in bed but I spend a couple more hours with Shelley over breakfast - the subject hasn't changed. I pack up and head out a bit after ten, already a bit sad to leave these two behind. Three hour (hot, drenched) hike out and then the long drive to Motueka. Find my motel, wash everything, re-supply with tramping foods, and then out for a meal with Lance. I might pop back there for breakfast and see if he's still around - I quite like his company. Tomorrow brings a drive out to Flora road-end, a hike into the Leslie valley to Salisbury Lodge, then a day up and over the summit of Mt Arthur to Arthur hut, ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Marlborough » Pelorus Sounds December 21st 2014

Packed up and rolling out of the cabin by mid-morning. A couple of hours' drive brings me to Kaiuma Bay. I park the car next to a frustrated draught-horse and head off into the heat. And it is hot. Half an hour in and I'm drenched in sweat again. Maybe I need to change swap to cold hikes. When does sweating become bad for you? I don't remember ever being this wet on a track (when it wasn't raining). On through the weird mix of ruined sounds landscape with large areas of (lethal) pine forest where once there would've been podocarp and diversity. Three and a bit hot hours later and I'm at the Nydia hut. This is no ordinary DOC hut - it was built as a youth centre (some of the maps still show ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Marlborough » Pelorus Sounds December 20th 2014

Slow and lazy awakening despite the early night. Perhaps I was tired. A light drizzle is creating rainbows over the bay so I sit outside the cabin with a short series of cup of coffee watching water move through the air. The Tuis and ducks are providing entertainment. Then Lester appears and we talk about life. Before we know it, we've been talking for more than three hours (subjects far too varied to recount here but Lester descends from John Bull (one of the first pioneers here, creating a deep sense of background guilt) and is an engineer and boat designer whose boats appear all over these islands so discussing the world with him is a bit like walking through some of Pirsig's deeper chapters). A neighbour's tractor maintenance issue (snapped rim) drags Lester away. It's ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Marlborough » Pelorus Sounds December 19th 2014

Slow start from Picton having collected some supplies for the next couple of days then drive out to the sounds. The cabin for the next two nights is on Pelorus sound (the north side of the more famous Queen Charlotte sound). I've already communicated with the hosts (they live in the house next door to the cabin) and they won't be around but the cabin's open (like most houses are anyway on South Island) so I stop off and place some items in the fridge before driving up past the head of the sound, to the Kenepuru saddle and beyond to the beginning of the Mt Stokes track. Only when I get there do I realise I have (of course) been here before. More importantly, cloud is blanketing the summit (and has been all the way ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Marlborough » Picton December 18th 2014

And somehow I've reached Thursday and I'm driving back over Takaka Hill without a detailed plan. The one realisation I've come to though is that, despite landing on South Island nine days ago and, in theory, having at least two rest days scheduled in those nine, yesterday was the seventh day in a row in which I've finished the day with my legs singing a mournful tune in complaint at what I've been asking them to do for me. Add in the complaints from the shoulder muscles, the lower back, and the hip and the chorus is getting louder. Yet, still, even with this realisation in mind, I catch my mind looking at the weather forecast (heavy rain) and spotting a gap this afternoon during which we could make it up to, or across to, or ... read more


A bad night's sleep (I won't bore you with the long list of aching body parts that made it so) leads to a slow start in the morning. Coffee and some cereal-style-nibbles see me off to the hour-long hike down. I leave my French friends to visit the lakes again before heading down - according to the forecast, the rain is not "due" until 1-2pm. I'm back at the car by 10:30am and on the road by 11. As I reach the ridge above and pause again, the repeat photo I take is somewhat different. A thick veil of rain is making its way down the valley and is already over the hut I left a few hours ago. As I wind my way down the long road out, the rain catches up with me a ... read more


Last night, taking into account that there are likely to be about 30 hours available before some rather heavy rain arrives, the mind decided the wanderer was heading in to Fenella hut (4-5 hours), up Waingaro peak, overnight in the hut, then out tomorrow morning hoping to beat the worst of the arriving rain. So the long, long drive in to Cobb Dam begins. This road (Cobb Dam Rd) is rather infamous around here. It's variously described as one of "great fun", "an eye-opener", "ah, it's alright", "scary as hell", "the narrowest road in NZ", "sheer hell" etc etc. I'll hold off the hyperbole and just say that is starts narrow and sealed, the seal soon runs out to leave loose gravel and dirt, and the road continues to narrow until the point where some of ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Nelson Region » Golden Bay December 15th 2014

An alleged rest day - always a challenge for the wanderer. But the day actually began restfully enough. A wander across the road to the cute little court house cafe for excellent eggs & bacon with good coffee. A few average provisions collected from the sparsely-stocked village store - to be pulled together into trmpaing food later for whatever tramp tomorrow brings. But first the afternoon wants filling and farewell spit is only a short drive north. So off the wanderer goes for a visit to Cape Farewell, then a short hike out to Wharariki beach (I'll let the pics do the talking for those two). Then back along to Puponga Farm park and the last point mortal humans can drive to. Now this is a rest day, and the four days of the Wangapeka have ... read more
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