Monday, May 8, 2017

Truman Track in Punakaiki

Along the way on this adventure we encounter people we consider messengers. They might be servers, gas station people, fellow campers or what have you. Whenever one of them gets truly excited about a place, I make a note and we follow up. "You have to walk the Truman Track!" said our enthusiastic waitress. So on a warm sunny Sunday we did and she was right.

The Truman Track has a curious history:
The track was named after Greymouth man Jim Truman who created the track in the 1950s. Strict government instructions stated that ‘no tree or shrub should be removed or destroyed’ in the process. So, over the course of the two year construction, Truman carefully uprooted and repositioned every tree that sat along the proposed route.

This is an easy walk just off the road north of wee Punakaiki, where we've been camping for a few days. Here's the route from our last camp near Cape Foulwind (click here to view map if you're reading in email).

The track begins in dense, pleasant sub-tropical forest where you will find excellent examples of many native New Zealand trees including rata, matai, rimu and nikau palms. Native birds including tui, bellbirds, kereru and weka can be heard and often seen all the way along this track.

The track ends at a cliff overlooking the wild Tasman Sea. There are barriers in place, for safety purposes, and a bench seat. From here, you can also continue (carefully) down a short (sometimes slippery) staircase to Truman Beach. Truman Beach should only be accessed at low tide. At high tide, be very careful as the water comes quickly into the beach and can be very dangerous.

This long-lens shot is pointed south, to exactly where we're camping...behind those trees and in front of that extraordinary rock wall. The pounding waves lull us to sleep.
But you can't walk from there to here along the water.

Art starts down the crevice entrance to Truman Beach. Exploring requires checking tide tables, with low tide at 2:30 pm today. It's 2 pm now. I don't think I'd want to be down there with the water roaring back in.

Like an open spigot, this water was pouring out of an opening in the shelf.

Not getting under that waterfall...
It's nearly impossible to capture the scale of these rock faces, but we're doing our best.

Looking back to where we entered.

The tide's pulling out as I watch, exposing rocky swaths that let you walk out and explore the tide pools.
Someone's looking for lunch (I'm still trying to ID this bird at NZ Birds Online. If you're inclined, have a look). White-faced heron?

Sea star

Like old bones, waiting to be covered again by the Tasman Sea.

Turn up your audio and listen to the birdsong on the return walk...

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