Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Forget blood brothers, I got sweat sisters! Cape Brett Track, Jan 2016

I was at a bit of a loss as to what to fill my 3 weeks off with.  I was looking for overnight tramps and had found one that looked really interesting up in Russell, but having spoken to a few friends who'd done it, it sounded pretty hard and I wasn't sure I wanted to do it alone.  Never fear though, there's always someone in New Zealand who wants to join for adventure times!

I'd made friends with 2 girls at the Waywiser meet up I had gone on a few weeks back and they both wanted to come.  Even better, Nairi invited her sister along for the ride too so we ended up being a cool foursome.

My new gear....I didn't mean for the colours to match, it just happened that way!

Nairi, Nathalie and I drove up to Rawhiti, making a pitstop in Whangarei for frozen yoghurt and fuel, before setting up camp in a gorgeous camp site right on the water.

In the morning we woke early to pack down the tents, have breakfast and do last minute packing.  Our packs were super heavy - there was a warning that the hut we were staying at may not have any water, so I decided to play it safe and packed 5 litres - 5 litres! I think I went a bit overboard, but I would rather be safe than sorry. However it did make my pack ridiculously heavy.

Lana joined us and we set off for our little adventure!  As we ascended the steps that mark the start of the track, we spotted dolphins playing in Oke Bay below, which I took as a good omen for the trip. We watched them for 10 minutes then started the long 16.2kms of continuous hills ahead of us.  (Speaking to people since, apparently the track is measured as the crow flies and is more like 25k walking! This makes me feel better)

Fresh faced at the beginning

The walk was beautiful but really hard going - the up and down was relentless and really exhausting.  It became a mental as well as a physical challenge for me, especially the last 2km which were exceptionally steep - you crest over a hill and you can see the hut, but you have to go down the hill on the other side to reach the hut - you almost want to just roll down!

Inspirational messages along the route

This is 2/3rd of the way in - the hut is at the very end of the peninsular

The way we'd come

dramatic cliff faces

Lana admiring the big blue

"are we there yet?!"

loo with a view

Some people get a boat in to Deep Water Cove, and walk the remaining 2.5kms to the hut, and walk back the next day.  I can see why they do it - the walk from Deep Water Cove is probably the most stunning part of the walk (and also the hardest).  We were feeling pretty hot and sweaty by the time we got to the turn off for the Cove, so we dropped our packs at the start of the track and headed down for a sea swim.

Deep Water Cove

Taking a refreshing dip

Group selfie
So nearly there

Feeling refreshed, we eventually made it to the hut, collapsing on the grass just outside and taking in the view.  It was stunning.  A couple of boys came over and introduced themselves so we had a wee chat with them before making our dinner and having a little yoga stretch session.  A little while later one of the guys asked if he could join in the yoga and before long I was leading a session for 11 randomers in the dark on the side of a cliff, it was a bit surreal!  We all sat around chatting after - I've never been at such a friendly hut before, everyone was mid 20s-30s and friendly.

Tramping essentials

Dinner with a view

Another bunch of trampers just admiring the view

Sun sets from the hut

Each hut usually has a ranger and we were sitting outside when a guy walks over and asks us to come inside for the ranger chat - they usually do a quick 5 min introduction and safety talk and check your hut passes before letting you get on with your evening.  We were a bit confused as the guy who was the ranger had been hanging out with one of the groups of people all evening, but maybe he was just a super friendly ranger.  Anyway he starts giving this talk to everyone and making funny comments like 'there are lots of fish in the area, specifically the Blue Warehou, which when they swim out to depths of 90 metres they become sharks' and other such gems.  After a bit of banter between him and our respective groups it turns out he'd been dared to pretend to be the ranger by his friends which made everyone laugh and is a good prank to play - I want to to it on my next hike!

Later that evening one of the girls in the prank group told a bed time story, billed as 'erotic horror fiction'.  It was the weirdest and funniest story I ever heard and I won't repeat bits of it here as it's not family friendly but it had all of us in stitches and she managed to weave storylines for some of the people listening.

The following morning they all got up early as they had a boat booked, so that meant we all woke up too as the huts aren't particularly conducive to a morning lie in.  We made our porridge, packed up and headed on out back the way we came.  Going back was a bit easier as we had less weight but it was still a good old slog.

What a gorgeous place for a hut

Cape Brett lighthouse

And we did it!

We got back to the track head and bumped into a couple who we had met on the first night camping, and they were really impressed we'd done the walk.  They took a group photo of us and offered to take us back to the campsite which was very kind but we refused as we smelt really bad - the weather was a beautifully toasty 24 degrees so we were very sweaty and gross!!

We ummed and ahhed about staying another night at the campsite as it was so pretty, but decided that the comfort of our own beds was too appealing, so headed back down to Auckland.

It's a beautiful walk but I wouldn't do it again - unless I developed super hiking powers and the ability to walk up and down hills without my knees giving up.  I couldn't walk down stairs for 2 days after doing this hike!  However I would definitely return to the hut - the location is beautiful and there's lots of swimming to be done!  One of the groups had boated in with lots of supplies and stayed 2 nights before boating out again - that's definitely the way to do it!!!

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