while we were in westport, we had a weekend off together, so we decided the inland pack track, which is a 2 day hike throughout limestone cliffs and river valleys in paparoa national park (about 45 minutes south of westport).
we left early saturday morning and on the way down stopped in charleston, which is a small town that is known for its limestone caves and "glo-worms". interestingly, charleston (population 100), used to be a booming city during the gold rush. they even considered making it the capital of NZ at one point. now it is just a touristy spot along the coastal drive. we had heard from some friends about tubing in the caves...sounded interesting, so we stopped for a morning tubing/caving adventure. we learned a bit about caves and how long it takes for stalactites to form....i think it was something like 2000 years for every centimetre...crazy! they dressed us up in matching wetsuits ...a bit cheesy looking, but i was happy to have one on to prevent the sandflies from biting. the glo-worms themselves were amazing....we tubed down a river inside the cave and it looked like there were constellations of stars everywhere!
after our little
tubing adventure, we headed off to paparoa national park. we dropped one car off at the southern trailhead (pororari river), and then drove back to the trailhead at fox river. from there we started our hike. the first day was just about 5 hours to the "ballroom bivvy"...a huge rock overhand under which we camped. on our way there, we detoured to the fox caves to check them out. there were a few large river crossings (ie. water up to my upper/mid-thigh). the scenery was beautiful with huge gorges carved out between the limestone cliffs which are millions of years old! we had a nice supper of butter chicken.
next morning we headed off to the end of the trail. this leg in total took about 8 hours. the first few hours required multiple (over 40) crossings across dilemma creek and fossil creek. our shoes were absolutely soaked (we decided that we'd just leave them on for the crossings.) after getting past the creeks, we entered a forested and extremely muddy area. we were lucky that it hadn't rained for the past week or the mud would have been horrible and the rivers impassable.
we made it to
bullock creek, where there is an old farm.... after crossing it, we stopped for a lunch of tuna sandwiches. the final stretch afterwards was very muddy...and there were lots of sinkholes in the bush. we made it to pororari river where there is a HUGE crossing. water was almost at my waist walking across. this was the last crossing. the last part of the track after this was quite easy (though muddy). we finished off aroun 8pm and then drove back to westport....in time for work the next morning.
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