I almost didn’t do the Bealey Spur Track, but I was so glad I did! It’s an easy, steady climb through beautiful forest, swamp and along a ridge line with a gorge on one side and the wide Waimakariri River valley on the other side. The views were spectacular!
After so many amazing experiences in my year in New Zealand, everybody’s been asking me where I”m going now. While I still have plenty to share about NZ, here’s what’s next in 2015 for Jenny Far Away!
Well it had to happen sooner or later: they’ve kicked me out of New Zealand. Ok, not actually kicked me out. But yes, sort of. I mean I got that email from New Zealand immigration the other day: the one that was sent just to remind me that my visa is expiring and that if I want to stay longer I’d damn well better be making other arrangements. We hope you had a nice time, but now you need to get the hell out. That sorta thing.
Just a two hour drive outside of Wellington are the Putangirua Pinnacles, towering formations of crumbling clay and rock that tower over you in an amphitheatre of columns. On the Southern coast of the North Island, they are in a wild and remote area where not many people seem to go.
Many of the hiking tracks here in New Zealand cross private land. That’s no big deal in itself, but the thing is that the private land is usually farmland, which means there’s stock on it. Sheep are no big deal, but I’m scared of the cows. Yes, that’s what I said. I’m scared of them. I really do tense up and get quite nervous when I have to walk through a field of cows.
Opito Bay doesn’t get mentioned much on the Coromandel. I don’t know why; it’s gorgeous! A long, curving expanse of sandy beach with super clear blue water leads to a pa (fort) site on a huge headland at the end.
I wasn’t really interested in birds before I went to Ulva Island, and now I’m a dedicated birdwatcher! For just $20, you can take a ferry ride there and get picked up again a few hours later. There’s nothing on Ulva Island besides a small private property and a few walking tracks through beautiful forest, making it an incredibly peaceful place to spend some time.
When I found out it was possible to climb Castle Rock, I knew that I had to do it. A short but steep climb up to the sometimes-castle, sometimes-sleeping giant is rewarded with amazing 360 degree views of the Coromandel Peninsula.
I jump into water that is only about 14 degrees Celsius and am told to go swim, hoping that some of those seals sitting on the rocks over there might get curious and come to check me out. They don’t. They take one lazy glance at me and stay contentedly on their rocky perches, where I am not allowed to venture.
The Punakaiki – Pororari Loop track is spectacular; the water is so clear you can see the rocks at the bottom of the river and the logs that have fallen in. The dramatic limestone cliffs are towering above you and the sunlight is filtering through the palm leaves, turning them an incredible shade of green.