All posts filed under: Feature

Tom Thumb Bluffs

Huia Tracks – Fletcher, Karamatura, Tom Thumb

It had rained heavily in the last 3 days making the tracks rough. Fletcher adds a bit more, it climbs up a steep spur then onto a ridge following the bluffs to Don McLean Track.  I’m following Fletcher – Karamatura – Tom Thumb Tracks in Huia. The first section is a steep climb, moving quickly towards the ridge.  The rain had washed debris down the hill, completely disguising the track. I followed the markers for a good part of this ascent. It’s not a well-worn track, maybe in the summer but I’m walking in winter and I don’t expect to see anyone.  I do know that there is one other person is on the track because I could see his tracks (I knew he was male because of his boot size, bush skills I learnt from my father finally come into play).  I did catch up with him later, he’s from the South Island and needed some time out in the bush.  I related to this very well. I reached the ridge and it ascends …

A 2am arrival at the woolshed to have our blisters looked at.

How to get through the 100km Oxfam Challenge

For years I’d wanted to enter the Oxfam Challenge, not just for charity (because that in itself is a big motivator) but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  I’m not unfit, nor am I very fit.  However, 100 km’s is a long way and I didn’t have anyone to do it with until one of my friends had to pull out of the event and I happily signed up.  I had three great team members who were encouraging, considerate and they’d all done this before.  I was the newbie. I didn’t get a lot of sleep before the race, I was too excited and I wanted to be sick. Knowing that your going to be walk for the next 30 hours is daunting.  I’d gone over the route so many times in my head.  I’d learnt every part of the track, the altitude and the different terrain.  I studied the weather and knew that it was going to be humid (uncomfortable) and possibly rain.  Rain I can handle, I live …

Fresh water sharks and volcanoes – Nicaragua

Our plan was to enter through Panama and exit from Mexico travelling through Nicaragua, with $300USD.  You become very creative when on a tight budget, a $9 room, a $10 ride on a truck and a bag of rice will do just fine.  You become more adventurous too, meeting people at hostels who can tell you of the beautiful places they’ve been and your confidence builds to a level you’ve never experienced before.  If you are on a tight budget, don’t let it bother you, get out of your comfort zone and travel freely.  What you see and the people you meet will be with you forever.  By the time Amee and I arrived into Central America we were happy to do whatever came our way and that just happened to be Nicaragua.  Although its the second poorest country in the west – after Haiti, it should be on everyone’s list of places to go.  I’d like to return to Nicaragua and explore every part of it. Crossing the border from Costa Rica takes a while …

Sailing the Amazon River

Sailing the Amazon River – Peru to Columbia

The only reason we were sailing the Amazon river was because we missed our flight to Columbia then randomly met a Dutch man staying at our hostel who told us about the river.  I don’t even remember his name but I can see his face perfectly, he was an older man probably in his 60’s.  He was well travelled with many romantic stories about the women he’d encountered along the way.   He had lots of energy and was very white, its an odd comment I know.  If you’d seen the area we were staying in you’d see why it was strange to come across him.  I guess the universe wanted us to miss our flight, meet this one guy who insisted we sail up the Amazon river, cross the Columbian boarder and have a once in a lifetime experience… it was meant to be! We said goodbye to our new Dutch friend and parted ways, we will probably never see him again.  Life is so bizarre sometimes. There are many travel agents near Lima’s airport so we booked a cheapish flight to …

Pinnacles Walk and Billygoat Track, New Zealand

Usually when I go hiking I take my camera but this time, I took the GoPro.  If you want to skip the detail for now, here’s a summarised video of the track and hut. YouTube Link to Video Pinnacles Walk – Kauaeranga Kauri Trail Difficulty: Medium/hard Length: 17km Hours:  3 hours to Pinnacles Hut 90 minutes return to Pinnacles and back to the hut 4 hours from Pinnacles hut to car park via Billygoat Track Cost:  $15 adult/night, $7.50 child/youth/night (5 -17 years), preschool free (0 – 4 years). Bookings https://booking.doc.govt.nz/Menu.aspx?sg=KKT The history of the area is very interesting. Kauri trees once covered this entire area but it was cut down by the first settlers in the 1870’s until 1920’s.  Today we only have a few Kauri left and unfortunately those trees are endangered due to a disease that is wiping them out. Kudos to DOC rangers who look after the huts and tracks. The drive to the track start is about 2 hours from Auckland city, we left 7am Friday morning so missed the traffic.   We started on the …

Life in the Vidigal Favela – Brazil

 I had butterflies when arriving into the favela but they were butterflies for adventure!  I’m not sure staying in a favela (Slum) is on everyone’s list of places to go, but it was for me and my cousin Amee.  We had no idea what to expect, would we be shot in the cross fire, will we be kidnapped? We questioned our sanity, as did everyone else when we told them of our plans.   We don’t have favela’s in New Zealand, nothing AT ALL compares to a favela!! This is partly the reason why we needed to experience a favela, both of us knew that in order to live life you have to step out of your comfort zone!  The Favela Expeience comes highly recommended by many travellers on Trip Advisor and the statement from their website had us on board! “By allowing meaningful and authentic dialogue between favela residents and guests, we show both the positive and challenging realities of life in these communities and do not glamorize poverty in favelas. Ultimately, we practice sustainable tourism because …

Waiotahi – a journey to my ancestors

I’m almost in Waiotahi, my jandals are off and I’m driving bare feet.  The smell of the ocean is swirling through my car.  This is how I like it.  Waiotahi is where part of me comes from, I’m a half-caste.  Maori/German. I’m here for a family reunion on my Maori side, my Great Grandparents Mariana & Te Waihirere. Our Kaumatua (Maori elders), including my mum, tell us stories in Te Reo (Maori Language) as we visit the pa and the house my mum grew up in. My ancestors roamed this land, they had food, water and each other.  Some lived on a pa, like this one I stand on.   A pa was not always a village though, they were often used to spot the enemy and defend their land. When they didn’t have to fight for their land, I’d like to think they had time to look at the view.  I’m also pleased to say that most pa sites in NZ are protected so no one can build a house on them.  They are for people to visit and to learn …

Piha – Centennial Track

4hrs Medium . If it rains, be very careful where you are walking due to the roots and slippery ground.  Some of it was steep and challenging… however to me, that is a great challenge to conquer!! Piha Track – Easy – nice start to a 4hr trek, smelt fresh the track was smooth, it was a very gentle warm up. McKenzie – Medium and Hard in parts – The track turns to a goat track with roots exposed and its a steady incline testing your fitness levels.  I could here lots of Tui’s but never seen them. Quarry Track – Medium – it did level out slightly, level as in a slight incline! Beautiful track though. We turned off to the lookout and I’m so glad we did, its only a 10min walk further up but once at the lookout its worth a moment of silence to appreciate the vast land they call the Waitakere Ranges. Centennial Track – Medium – Could definitely say easy in parts but sometimes the ground was rough and slippery. …