6 Dec 2010

Rakiura Track on Stewart Island – 5th

For this day I had planned to walk a part of the Rakiura track, which is consider to be one of the great walks in NZ. The whole track is about 36 km and one’s suggested to do one or two overnights in the huts along the track. However, I thought that it may be possible to do the track in one day, but I think it would be wise to start with the first third to Maori beach, then make a final decision. I packed my rucksack with food and rain clothes only and left the house at 9am. Cloudy and a westerly breeze. I excluded the Horseshoe Point track and headed directly towards Lee Bay. On the beach at Lee Bay a huge Sea Lion had parked himself. I reached Maori Beach quarter to 12. Had a small lunch and finally decided to do the whole Rakiura track. By the way, Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island and means “Land of the Glowing Skies. While this is a reference to the blushes of Te Rakitamau it also describes the island’s spectacular sunsets and its night-time displays of Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights.

The track between Port William and North Arm Hut were just wonderful. Through native old forest all way, valleys with small streams, suspension bridges, a few lookout points, even though one never reached below the bushline. I reached North Arm at 3:40pm and had a 20 minutes rest in the hut with coffee and food. Unfortunately, it started to drizzle when I hit the track. The track between North Arm and Sawdust Bay were just a muddy disaster as some clever one had pulled away the wooden walkway, instead of doing it step by step when replacing it with a gravel walkway. I arrived to Jo and Andy’s house at 7pm, with quite muddy and wet trekking boats, but happy to had have completed the whole track, though there was no other option then to proceed. The regular bird species were seen in good numbers during the walk. I got to bed early and fell in sleep at once.

Dead Man Beach in early morning.
The huge Sea lion at Lee Bay.
View along the coast from Peters Point.
The suspension bridge at Maori Beach.
The lovely dense native forest between Port William and North Arm.
A temporary suspension bridge between Port William and North Arm, due to construction work of a collapsed part of the track.
A nice stream along the track.
View towards Prices Inlet.
The North Arm hut.
Part of the North Arm seen from the hut.
View at Butterfield Beach nine o'clock in the evening!

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