Sunday, January 25, 2015

3,000 Stairs

Last night the sky was amazing…

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Who need a gym when you have the great outdoors.

This morning was moving day again. I had decided to move through to Awana Campsite and do the Windy Canyon and Palmers Track on the way.

What a wonderful island this is. The views and landscape are quite unique.

Windy Canyon lived up to its name just…

From there Palmers Track heads across into the interior of the island and towards Hirakimata (Mt Hobson). At 621 metres it is the highest point on the island and some of the views on the way are spectacular.

At one of the more open areas….

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and the view from the top….

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That is a 180 deg panorama from where I was staying last night around through Okiwi and Port FitzRoy and down towards Whangaparapara with Little Barrier very visible in the distance.

On the final approach to Hirakimata the area is where the black petrel nest so DoC have built the most amazing set of stairs and walkways to protect the nesting area and the rare plants like the Gt Barrier tree daisy and sun dews that are unique to the Barrier. It is fascinating that the petrels nest so high in the bush and yet travel as far as South America but return here to nest.

From the lookout on top of Hirakimata I wandered down the other side to Mt Heale hut. On the way crossing one of the many slips that have torn through this area.

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It appears that the set of stairs was the last in the line, but the destruction is just mind blowing. So after a short walk through the bush I reached Mt Heale hut where I had a bite to eat.

Shame I wasn’t there yesterday, according to the book there were were a bunch of Australians sunbathing naked on the deck!

It is a lovely new hut complete with solar lighting and gas cookers and room for loads of people to sleep with two bunk rooms.

So I headed back up 835 stairs to the turnoff to the top

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and then down 669 stairs and back through Windy canyon and back to the bus, a very welcome sight. So just on the Hirakimata to Mt Heale hut and back there were a total of 3,000 stairs, 1500 each way. That does not count the stairs that are up to Windy Canyon and back or the stairs up to the top of Hirakimata from the junction.

DSCF6100 I then headed down the road and into Awana camp and set myself up there….

I will stay here for the remainder of my trip and take advantage of the tidal estuary over the back and do some fishing and kayaking and swimming at the surf beach just a couple of hundred meters down the estuary. More on that tomorrow.

Time to get some dinner ready and have another shower.

Safe travels everyone!