The second week of my holiday took me into the peace and quiet of Kahurangi National Park. It’s been my favourite park ever since I first visited in 2002, and this time turned out to be a a particularly interesting backcountry adventure.
That’s because of some really surprising contrasting experiences. The Anatoki-Waingaro track travels along a couple of river valleys, and I started off at the Anatoki end.
Basking in the morning sun at the start of the track:
On the first day, it was 99% easy walking along a well maintained benched track. But every so often, the track presented me with a real challenge with a windfall with no track marker in sight, or pleasant creeks with big boulders to navigate.
To my great surprise, despite the numerous creek crossings, I didn’t get my boots wet. And to my even greater surprise, on arriving in Anatoki Forks Hut I was greeted by a warning sign regarding hot water.
I first thought this was a joke until I went into the main room of the hut and saw the big water cylinder. This was for real! But as it was a warm day and I was on my own, I didn’t want to fire up the range and opted for a cold shower.
That’s until I turned on the shower and WARM water came out. Courtesy of the people who had been at the hut a whole 3 days earlier!
A day’s walk further down the track, there was another surprise waiting for me. A shelter that had only been opened less than a year ago and wasn’t on maps and track brochures yet. I had heard about it from other people so had decided to go there instead of camping.
The Soper shelter tent camp:
It was fantastic. A place of pure magic, and made with love. It was like stepping into Hobbit wonderland, with even small details having done with great love and attention right down to the toilet seat. It was very cold that night and I was shivering in my summer sleeping bag, but it was so worth it.
Lake Stanley, formed in 1929 by an earthquake:
I usually had the huts to myself, but just when I felt like company, I got it. This was at Waingaro Forks hut, a beautiful old style hut:
I shared the hut with a couple from Tasmania, and a veteran tramper and mountainbiker. Who had come up to the hut on his bike just to prove to his wife that he could do it. Not an easy feat by any means. He turned 65 the following morning.
Another 2 nights in a hut further down, and then a spectacular walk out thanks to clouds hovering
Reaching civilisation again, I was greeted by farmlands with a distinctly Bavarian look which gave me a short moment of feeling homesick.
Me at the end of my Kahurangi adventure:
Dusk in Golden Bay from Takaka campground: