Saturday, May 12, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The end - almost
After reaching the end of the track there was additional 800m walk to the jetty to meet the boat that would take us back to Picton.
Looking back on Mistletoe Bay
James Vogel Walk to Mistletoe Bay
Wasps seem to hang around the black barked beech trees, but we found that providing you take care, they don't bother you much.
Hilltop lookout - two Sounds
This shot shows Lochmara Bay and Double Cove. Allports Island can be seen in the background.
Weka Point and Ferndale scenic reserve, Kenepuru Sound
Weka Point and Ferndale scenic reserve, Kenepuru Sound
Originally uploaded by mchnz.
Although the upmarket accommodation and pack-transfer services can make the Queen Charlotte track sound like an easy beginners walk, the length of the last two stages and the undulating nature of the ridge line track, fully justify it's rating as moderate rather than easy.
We wore well broken in boots. These, coupled with the excellent "Trampers Wool" padding supplied as part of our "Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company" orientation kit, allowed us to complete the trip without any blisters. A walking stick was also useful for some of the slopes and for taking the pressure off of the odd sore joint at times.
Day 4 - Portage to Anakiwa - Kenepuru Sound (near Portage)
The saddle between Portage Bay in Kenepuru Sound and Torea Bay in Queen Charlotte sound is a low point in the ridge line where the Maori used to carry canoes between the two sounds to avoid having to navigate around huge peninsula on the other side of Kenepuru sound.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Portage is a bit closer to civilisation, cell phones can get a signal, and it's accessible by road (or water taxi). It's a good place to spend some time as there are plenty of activities on offer - many walkers take a days break at Portage.
The local shop was interesting. It will sell you groceries and fuel, and they'll whip up some fish and chips for you if you're hungry.
This image was taken very near the last Shelter about 6 kilometres prior to reaching Portage (at about 19.5 kilometres from our start this morning).
The farmland at the right of the image stayed visible as we progressed along the ridge line, providing a useful marker by which to judge progress throughout the day.
There were more people on this section of the track, probably because the second part of the Queen Charlotte track is accessible by road.
One of the things we learnt was that the estimated walking times allow some time for quick photo stops, but if you want to stop for lunch, rest, or spend time composing every photograph, you'll need to allow extra time. We took a steady approach to walking the track, but we noticed other people used different styles such as going for it hard and fast, then resting. We ended up leap-frogging each over the next two days.
Monday, April 16, 2007
As well as an excellent restaurant, beer and pizza can be purchased from the cafe on the jetty.
Note that the proper name for these tree ferns is ponga but most Kiwis use the word punga instead. Furthermore, many Kiwis use punga generically for tree ferns of all types, so its not a precise term by any means.
We spotted this tractor just past the start of the antimony mine side trip.
We started day two by walking the Furneaux Lodge waterfall side trip. The walk is worth doing for the bush alone - there are a number of old Rimu trees along the route. One of the highlights of this walk was a sighting of a tomtit - the first time we had ever seen one of these birds in the wild.
Sorry no photos of the waterfall - a dry spell had reduced it to a trickle and it was too dark under the trees for a good shot anyway.
Part of the charm of Furneaux Lodge is its isolation. It is accessible only by foot or by water taxi. There is no cellphone coverage. The sky is incredibly black at night making it perfect for star gazing.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Having reached the 220m saddle into Endeavor Inlet, we were on the last leg of the journey to Furneaux Lodge, our accommodation for the first night. From this point the track begins a slow descent back to sea level - over a distance of 6km.
One of the unusual things about the Queen Charlotte Track is the range of accommodation along the track – everything from camping grounds through to luxury resorts. We chose the latter.
The Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company arranged all the transport, accommodation and luggage transfers for us. Daily packed lunches were provided by each lodge/resort. Cougar Line were responsible for the transportation and transfers. Everything was well organised, and ran to plan.
(For precise locations - click on the image and then use the Flickr map link.)
Weka sightings are quite common along the Queen Charlotte track. They have a reputation for stealing gear, so it's best not to feed them.
There are a number of side trips along the Queen Charlotte track. In addition to this track, we walked to Furneaux Lodge waterfall, Eatwell's lookout, the hilltop lookout and we walked the James Vogel nature track. These side trips added another 10 kms to our walk, but all of them were worth the extra effort.
For precise locations - click on the image and then use the Flickr map link.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Putangirua Pinnacles - Wairarapa
Rain erodes the sand exposing rocks deposited in the gravel beds of an old flood plain that first began to form 10 million year ago.
This photo of the Putangirua pinnacles was taken from the lookout. Most people walk up the stream bed and completely miss this lookout which is part of the bush walk. If you have the time and energy, it's worth viewing the pinnacles from both vantage points.
The Putangirua Pinnacles feature in Peter Jackson's movie version of "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King", they can be seen at the beginning of trek into the "Paths of the Dead."
More images of the Putangirua Pinnacles are available on my flickr pages - just click on the image to be taken there.