Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Up the Naki

The weekend just gone was my first 'proper' NZ bank holiday weekend - proper because I was working so got to benefit from an extra day off rather than travelling when every day is a day off.

I was going to go to a party at a famous party mansion in Auckland, but Shanyn suggested we escaped Auckland for the weekend instead, so that's what we did! Clemence and Ben from climbing came along as did Ben and Shanyn's uni friend Owain, who met us in Hamilton and rode share the rest of the way.

this picture made me realise i need to cut my hair...

It took a while to get down there due to traffic and the fact it's actually really quite far away, and we arrived at the hut at 12.45am.  It was absolutely freezing and we didn't get the best sleep, also hampered by a bunch of super loud people getting up really early and having no respect for anyone else trying to sleep.  

Having arrived in the dark, I went outside in the morning and did a double take at the view behind the hut - I literally stumbled backwards as I wasn't expecting anything so magnificent. 

woke up to this view

went outside, turned round and did a double take at this view

After a borrowed breakfast of porridge (silly me forgot to pack anything breakfasty) and debate about whether we should summit the mountain, luckily for me and Clemence the boysdecided to stick to our original plans of walking the Pouakai circuit as we weren't really prepared for summiting the snowcapped mountain!

We set off the track which was a steep up hill road and I really wasn't enjoying it - I love tramping but I HATE hills! When we set off the eather was beautiful, sunny and clear and as we got higher the clouds came in and it got colder. Always be prepared! I am quite lucky and I get really hot when walking so I was fine temperature wise, even though we ended up surrounded by snow.  

the route goes round up to the tower on the left, then up to the snow line

weather closing in 

the first bit of snow

more snow!

credit to Shanyn

credit to Shanyn

When we reached the snow line we had a little break which was well needed for me, not so much for the others who are as fit as mules! Luckily the rest of the track to the hut from here on was either down hill or flat, and a bit more exciting with a few rock clambers, walking along snowy ridges and and walking across a landslide. 

go team! (credit to Shanyn)

We reached the Holly hut in good time, claimed some beds, and discovered we'd be sharing the hut with a really annoying guy we'd crossed paths with earlier in the day.  One of those really annoying people who thinks they know everything and are very arrogant and have no respect for anyone else - he was walking about the hut with his boots on (very bad etiquette in NZ), made a ballsup of the fire because he thought he knew best, made a ton of noise in the middle of the night because he couldn't sleep, and continued to make noise in the morning and speaking really loudly even when asked by others to keep it down. He was so annoying!   

Holly  Hut

Owain testing the beds

Hiding in the trees to make Ben and Clem jump

lunch break

Anyways we claimed our beds then headed out on a side trip to Bell Falls, which was a nice 1 hour return trip from the hut.  We clambered round on the falls and took pics and sat and chilled at the beauty of it, and as we headed back dusk was arriving making the sky do weird apocalyptic things which was pretty awesome.  That night we slept much better - I wore all of my clothes and a hat and 2 pairs of socks and some of Shanyn's and was much warmer!

Contemplative (credit to Clemence)

awesome photo of the falls by ben

Apocalyptic sky

We set off early the next morning as we had a heap of hiking to do to get back to the car.  The first half of the walk was mostly uphill which wasn't fun but the stunning scenery and weather more than made up for it.  At one point I got Shanyn to tell me everything that's happened in Game of Thrones to distract me from the uphillness.  It worked!  When we reached the top of a peak you could see for miles - we could even see Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe!  At our lunch stop, for some reason Ben had a stash of army supplies as his food so we had fun trying to decipher what was in each can and package, one can of what could have been tuna turned out to be a can of cheese.  Weird.  

the next morning before setting off

this bit was sooooo slippery - icy boardwalk (credit to Shanyn)

gorgeous misty swampland

team photo at the tarn


We trundled on and on and the last hour for me was a killer - I was bored, tired and hungry and fantasising about a giant burger to get me through.   Owain and I kept ourselves entertained by making different animal sounds and trying to guess what they were - if anyone walked past they probably would have thought we belonged in an asylum and I was laughing so hard my belly hurt.   I also introduced everyone to the 'i own a business' game which kept us all entertained for the weekend - thank you Martha for introducing me to this great game 3 years ago!

Eventually we made it back to the car and bombed it to New Plymouth to check into the hostel, shower and get a much needed dinner.  We had burgers then pudding in an american themed diner and slept in an exhausted heap in the hostel.

On the way home the next morning we stopped at Te Rewa Rewa bridge because Ben's company had made it and he was super excited to see it.  As bridges go it was pretty cool to be fair! It reminded me of a stegasaurus!

NB the majority of the photos (all the good ones!) are credited to Shanyn and Ben who's photos I have borrowed as I forgot my own camera...

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