There’s so much to explore on the North Island alone, let alone all of New Zealand, and I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m doing my best dammit! Since I haven’t yet reached the workload I had during a lot of my master’s (mostly since I have no data to analyze or samples to run yet), I can still get away fairly often to see new things.
A few weekends ago I went with a group of friends to do a tramping trip on the Coromandel Peninsula, a pointy bit of land on the other side of the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland (in theory you can see one from the other in good weather). There’s lots of spiky-pointy-mountainy bits there and some good trails for hiking.
We got a bit of a late start, but it was okay because our goal was just to hike in to the Pinnacles Hut for the night and then to actually see stuff the next day. It meant a bit of hiking in the dark, but the trail is pretty well maintained and we had head torches, so it wasn’t too bad, more long than difficult–took us around four hours to get to the palace of a hut–bunks for up to 80 people, gas stoves, and more! Did I mention the hut system in NZ is awesome?
When we got to the hut, we already had some lovely nachos for dinner waiting for us, courtesy of chefs Tim and Manu who ran ahead to start cooking since the rest of us were making slow time. Talk about tramping in luxury! We passed around some chocolate (an absolute necessity for tramping) and tea (and other stuff…) and had deep discussions about geology.
The next morning, we got up nice and early to see the sunrise from the top of the Pinnacles. It’s only about a 45 minute trek from the hut to the top, but it’s a lot more difficult than the previous night’s hike–lots of ladders and tight spots and big rocks to climb over. A combination of head torches and the slowly brightening sky made it a bit easier.
At the top, the view was pretty nice. There were a few different spots to look from, perched up on a rock, out on a ledge, out on another ledge. We got to see the valleys and peaks light up as the sun rose over the Pacific Ocean.
I did a bit of climbing around myself to get all the different views. The pinnacles themselves are somewhat eroded volcanic plugs, so there’s a mix of volcanic stuff left over, ignimbrites, etc. If you want to know more you’d have to ask a specialist.
It seemed like pretty much everyone in the hut got up for the sunrise. Good on ya, peoples!
It was fun to look around an imagine Led Zeppelin playing one of their Lord of the Rings-y songs.
After that, there wasn’t that much else to do, just head back down to the hut and collect our things.
After that, we headed back out, over bridges, down rocky staircases, over streams, and back home.
Actually, it was kind of nice to get back from a trip in the afternoon for once instead of late after midnight like usual.