Saturday, October 14, 2017
Kahurangi National Park
Kahurangi lies on the north western corner of the South Island not far from our bach in Ngatimoti. So we decided it was definitely somewhere we wanted to visit whilst we were in the area. It is the second largest National Park in New Zealand and contains the most diverse flora and fauna of any of the National Parks. It is also one of the ones which is slightly less visited and we discovered why when trying to reach the car park.
Since we were not far from Motueka we entered the Park through the entrance near the Motueka river. Following the signs leads you to an unmade road and signs that warn you of steep slopes and dangerous driving conditions after rain. They also have these rather terrifying notices showing steep slopes and cars almost falling off the road. Very stern signs also warn of not attempting the road unless you have a 4x4.
As you climb through the mountain range the road does indeed get steeper and narrower and I began to worry about what exactly we would do if we met a car coming in the opposite direction! The idea of having to reverse down these precarious roads which were extremely narrow with steep drops on one side, did not appeal. Fifteen kilometres later, we emerged, very relieved, into a DOC carpark which was populated with several 4x4s and two very battered looking sedan cars. I have not idea how they made it up the road, since my own big 4x4 struggled on several of the slopes!
The rather traumatic drive is worth it to reach an untouched tropical rainforest in the clouds. I am sure the views would have been fantastic on a clearer day, but unfortunately we were walking through the clouds when we visited. This did however, provide an awesomely eerie atmosphere which really rather added to the whole experience.
We also met another very friendly Weka who was clearly used to being fed by many generous trampers.
We walked up through the forest to reach Aurthur's hut. A DOC hut which you can stay in overnight. It looks terrifically cosy and it must be amazing to wake up surrounded by wildlife and native forest. Its gone on our list of things to do next time!