Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NZ travelogue: Pouakai Circuit

Last Sunday we took off to our long-planned 'tramp' (NZ-English for what Americans call 'hiking' and in England may even be called a 'walk') of the Pouakai Circuit, in the Mt. Taranaki region.
We had hoped to go swimming somewhere along the coast on the way north, but decided on a quick walk along here as it was too windy and the water seemed just a bit too nippy to make it 'comfortable'. Plus a danger of undertow...

As we were approaching the area, the mountain slowly came into view - here it is still too far away for my camera to focus properly:

But it got better with only a few more kilometres down the road.

We stayed at the Camphouse at the foot of Mt. Taranaki, from where we could even see Mt. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe in the distance just before sunset.

View of Mt. Taranaki from directly below,
with a slice of Camphouse thrown in.
 In the morning, we set off in the mist.

Some serious climbing included on the way.
 But before lunchtime it cleared, and Janet and I even took a side route to Bells Falls waterfall while Tony and Rose already went ahead to the hut where we were going to spend the night. We had found out that a whole gang of Germans was going to arrive behind us and we wanted to secure bunk beds for us as we did not have any air mattresses so that anybody of us could have slept on the floor.

 Next morning it was clear from pretty much when we left and we kept the mountain in good view at all times. The concept of the Pouakai Circuit is that it gives you a lot of wonderful good views instead of taking you 'round the mountain' for real.

This swamp we had traversed the day before and now got to look down on, from the top of Henry, a smaller summit along the way.

The way back to the Camphouse and Visitor Centre included some heavy bush walking with lots of roots to clamber over and climb down. Nothing for the faint-hearted, but absolutely wonderful.

A swinging bridge as we are getting closer to the end of the walk, which did not scare me at all when there, but certainly entered my dreams the following night!

By now a Southerly has blown in, we are back in Wellington and drinking lots of cups of tea.

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