Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Kaituna Track

Kia ora, campers: it's been a wild and wooly couple of days here in Collingwood, with gusty winds from the west, periodic shattering downpours, and then full sun.

With occasional rainbows

The caravan is rocking and rolling and Art keeps reassuring me it's not going anywhere. 

The queen of flat whites will drink to that

Between blasts of rain and wind today we drove to the Kaituna Track, which if you're serious is an 8- or 9-hour walk all the way to the west coast. We walked just a couple hours of it along the happily rushing Kaituna River, traveling through luscious NZ bush.

The little stream running under that bridge was sweet in its passage and gentle tumble (activate some audio and click here to view video if reading in email):

There's some history here. The Kaituna Goldfield was first worked in 1859, continuing until the late 1800s, though, sadly, not much gold was ever recovered.

The native forest is stunning, with enormous trees that left us gaping. Lots of bird life, including the kereru, the NZ wood pigeon, a grand and colorful forest dweller. Smart too. On Great Barrier Island earlier this this we saw a kereru perched in a tree that had sprays of red berries, the bird enfolding the berried branches between its wings to bring them closer to its beak.
not my photo

The track we walked follows the original packhorse trail to the goldfield, the sluice and other working areas down near the Kaituna River.

Beyond a certain point the track shifts into what's called a route, meaning there are rivers that are impassable when flooded, the path is not maintained by the Dept of Conservation, and just generally the track is rock-strewn and more of a challenge.

Here's an excellent illustration, 20 feet past the sign, of a cobbled stream crossing. Yes we could do it, but we have another field trip in mind for after this.

Turning back we see a mammoth tree we hadn't even noted on the way in. I'm dressed in protective coloration, but please do visualize me for scale.

Look at the girth on this tree, which might be rimu, prized like kauri for its straight board feet and prized by me just for being here.

Soon we're trekking back to the car along a grassy field where someone has planted hundreds of what I think are manuka shrubs. Manuka honey is big business here. Remarkably, we've had a mostly dry walk and the skies have cleared, if only for the moment.

We're driving north to check out a campground for tomorrow and the next few days. I'm thinking we need to move off the fierce winds of the estuary.

This should do nicely. Site #3 for tomorrow then in Pakawau.

See you down the road...

Here's today's map (click here to view if reading in email), from our current campground in Collingwood to the Kaituna Track to Pakawau, farther north on the kiwi's beak.

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