2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us

We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.

Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!

Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.

Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!

Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Faces and Places

Shona and Steve at start of Walkway.
We have been lucky to meet so many wonderful people on our journey, that have helped us on our way – many thanks to you all.
Shona and Bruce run the Karamu Valley Lodge and offer great support to Te Araroa walkers with their Travellers Rest.
John at the Te Kauri Outdoor Pursuits Centre will pick walkers up after the Pirongia section at Gayne Road and whisk you back to the centre, very similar to the Forest Camp in Hanmer except that it also had 1400 hectares of bush reserve as well !! Thanks John and for going the extra mile!
Monica and Maurice at the Art Coc Gallery and café in Bennydale have been awesome in helping us to change plans due to track closures, we wish them success with the Timber trail accommodation plans. The Timber trail is an exciting new 85k cycleway from Pureora to Ongarue, well worth a return trip.
Finally Linda and Tracy  at Te Punga on the Whanganui River who were the ultimate hosts when we shared our journey with Sally, Pete, Geoff and Janet who we had met earlier on the way through Kerikeri.

Whanganui River Journey

Davey Crocket !!

We started our journey on the 13th Nov at the Blue Duck Station , Whakahoro – it was our 30th wedding anniversary and a great place to be for such a momentous occasion!! Lynne deserves a medal or is it the other way round?

We had a 2 day walk to get to the Bridge to Nowhere from Whakahoro  along the Kaiwhakakauka Track/Mangapurua Track and camped at Johnson’s campsite  - a stunning spot and luckily hot and sunny. These 2 tracks are essentially old tracks that have been magnificently upgraded to form part of the new Mountains to Sea Cycle route. This is an awesome part of NZ. Land within these 2 valleys was offered to returning World War 1 servicemen. These early pioneers cleared the land of its forest and transformed it into farmland but access, bad erosion, falling prices during the Depression forced most of the settlers to abandon their farms. All away along the valley the settlers names appear on posts marking their sections. A sad story capped by the ironic Bridge to Nowhere. Just passed the Bridge we met the gang (who had arrived by Jet boat from Pipiriki) – and had the biggest packed lunch ever !!! ( Sally, Pete, Geoff and Janet )
The team
From Mangapouri Landing we got into our Canadian canoes and had a few lessons from Big Chief Sitting Bull Brodie on how to paddle and off we went down a few exciting rapids till the river calmed and passed though the most incredible gorges.
Our trip became a great adventure staying at the Convent in Jerusalem, where we had to bash out an access point with our barrels, meeting Tracy and Linda at Te Punga and being treated to culinary delights, getting soaked in a storm and having lunch in the Marae, visiting the Flying Fox and walking and cycling the last section when the river rose and it was too dangerous to continue.We would thoroughly recommend the trip to anyone and especially with the help of the Te Punga girls.

For the canoeists out there reading this the Wanganui River Journey from Taumaranui to Wanganui must be one of the best Grade1 / 2 trips you could do. We only did part of it. Lots of options with campsites, tremendous scenery, no cell phone coverage, lots of canoe hire companies. A basic understanding of moving water techniques would be useful. It has a huge catchment area and can rise dramatically. It’s definitely not for novices. A canoeing guide is available from I Centre in Wanganui. Treat it with respect.

Filling in the gaps 

We had hoped to do the Tongariro crossing section next but the volcano erupted and put paid to that. So we have spent the last week in and around the area, we did the 42nd traverse on foot  - better known as a mountain bike track, a stunning route through the Tongariro Forest Conservation Area. Also the Mangetepopo Hut to National Park via the Whakapapa Village and Chateau !! Then added in the new section of the Mountain to Sea Cycle track along the Fisher Track and back to Whakahoro. 1200k plus completed.
We are now taking a break to have Xmas with the Brodie bunch who fly in from the UK all wearing their England rugby tops!!!!
We need to come back to do full Tongariro Crossing and then our plans are to finish final 300k of N.Island during the first 3 weeks of January then the Queen Charlotte last week of Jan and the Richmond Hills starting first week of February. Although not exactly sure of dates if you are keen to join us at all please keep in touch.      027 315 7383

Happy Xmas and hope to see you next year sometime.   Lynne and Steve    xxxxxxxx

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Great to meet you in Whanganui...our number is 0223082656, hopefully see you in the Tararuas! Jayne & Kev

    ps if you have a number for the accommodation in Feilding that would also be awesome as we couldn't see it in the notes.