Playing in Puketui Valley

One of my favourite places to play is the Puketui Valley Broken Hills walking tracks. The turn off is pretty much opposite the turnoff to Pauanui on State Highway 25. Morrison Road turns into Puketui Valley Rd, which takes you past the Te Timatanga earthship, and onto a scenic stretch of gravel road. Don’t mistake this road for Puketui Rd, which comes off the Kopu-Hikuai Rd, State Highway 25a.

Make sure you let someone know where you are going and what time you are due back, as there is no cell phone coverage once you’re in there!

Drive across an amazing bridge and you will soon see the tranquil DOC Campsite at Broken Hills (which unfortunately does not allow dogs.) The Broken Hills tracks  do tho, so I took my boy, Doug along for the day.

Further up the road you will come to two different track entry points, and roadside parking. The first offers two short walks, both easy walks and are child friendly.

At the end of  Puketui Valley Rd is the entrance to an array of tracks of varying distances.

I like to photograph the maps if I didn’t already have one, so that once in there I can look back on my phone to see which way to go, or what it is I’ve stumbled upon.

I had about 2 hours to play, so decided on the Collins Track, taking the Water Race Tracks.

As with most New Zealand bush walks, the protection of the native Kauri tree is of great importance. Kauri Dieback refers to the disease Phytophthora agathidicida. The spores from this fungus-like disease live in soil and are spread with soil movement. That is why they ask you to clean your gear after venturing into one of New Zealand’s native forests and to keep to the tracks, staying off the Kauri roots. These tracks however did not have the sanitising stations which I’ve seen at other bush walks.

In the 1900’s Broken Hills was a site for Gold Mining. This type of alluvial mining was tough. It involved digging and sifting through mud, sand and gravel using shovels sieves, or even bare hands. Batteries were built to process the quartz found. The quartz was battered into powder by massive stamper which released the gold particles so they could be chemically recovered using cyanide. This process required water and that’s what the race tracks were built for. To ensure a good supply to the plant.

Gold mining in New Zealand

The track lead through three short tunnels. If you are afraid of the dark, or not keen on weta , I advise you to clamber over the tunnels following the narrow paths!

I took the 3rd Water Race Track, and added an extra 20min to my trek, an awful lot steps but some pretty amazing views!

Then, the descent, which took me past some pretty scary looking old mines and thankfully back to the double tunnels! Oh yay, wetas again!

 

By that stage I was well ready for some open space and enjoyed the fresh scenic walk along the rivers edge….

back to the short bridge I crossed at the start.

But this time I notice a little path just to the right of the Water Race Track. I had a quick peek and saw a cute little stream, and Doug had a drink. The underside of the bridge was pretty cool too. Even if you aren’t into big bush walks, at least park at the end of the Puketui Valley Rd and walk 10min to this little bridge, check out the waterfall, and then 5 min further up are the amazing river views. You won’t be disappointed.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

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Surf to Firth -toughening up

Being new to competitive running/walking I signed up for the 14k walk. I was just ‘Toughening Up’ ; ) My father, who was running the Surf to Firth marathon for the second time was ‘Tough Enough’.

Our bus ride dropped us up at the Waiotahi Block track, where we checked in and waited until our start time of 10am. This was a great time to chat to other competitors and to hear their story’s of how and why they we taking on the challenge. I meet John from Texas who had been Air Bnb’ing around New Zealand with his wife; Glen, whose wife was supporting him while grandparents minded their daughters and a young woman from the UK who has been in New Zealand for 3 weeks and was working and living at the Thames hospital. I’m looking forward to the results to see how these guys all got on!

I was fortunate to find a lovely couple, Andy and Sue from Pauanui, who were travelling at a great pace. I apologised as I tagged along with them for an hour, until we came across the mud. Ooooo and there was lots of it!

Andy has been a volunteer involved in the Pauanui To Tairua Trail which I have previously blogged about! I love the 8km track they have created. He told me of their struggle to find sponsor’s for the project. Check out the link if you think maybe you could contribute!

The first half of the track took an hour and a half, which was pretty good, considering the DOC tramping estimated times.

surf to firth nz new zealand bush walk run coromandel

From this height we came across some pretty amazing views.

The weather was perfect, although it had rained over night, which resulted in some pretty messy sneakers. At some spots there just wasn’t anywhere to go but straight through it. I pitied my father who was yet to come through this part of the track! I wasn’t sure what state he would find it in! I came across a stream, hesitated and put my foot right in it! I tripped once, on the descent and grazed my leg. It was awesome!

Then the 1km mark, and I was out of the bush and walking as fast I could to the finish line and my adoring fans! It was hard to resist the urge to run!

Then a 2 hour wait for my Dad to finish his marathon!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel

It was a great race and now I’m hooked! I can’t wait for the next race and will definitely attempt a run rather than a walk, which had it’s own challenges. Sometimes I just wanted to run! And it was hard being overtaken by runners when you know you had it in you to go faster too! Will see how sore I am tomorrow, how my bruise browns up and try and get all that mud off my shoes!

Surf 2 Firth

Before I go, check out this guy’s post:surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

He’s Craig Lovelock and is fundraising for St Catherines Hospice.

A mazing!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

52 Marathons Facebook Page

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!

Surf to Firth – are you tough enough?

Well I did it! I walked the 14km track of the Surf 2 Firth! My race was more like a Firth to Firth, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.

surf to firth

surf to firth hikuai school marathon

At 7am, in the dark, we gathered at Hikuai School for the debrief, along with 28 other marathon runners from around the world. There were Dutch, Swedish, American, Brazilian…

Sanitising procedures were followed to ensure Kauri Dieback was not carried into or out of the forest on the runners shoes.

surf to firth kauri dieback

The Hikuai School Principal, Jared Stein, welcomed the runners and spoke briefly about the painting that hung on the wall, which they use to inspire the students. He explained how at Hikuai School they encourage the children to set their goals high, looking towards the Pinnacles, the nearby mountain range the runners were about to climb. He pointed out the stepping stones in the river, which  symbolised the challenges they face. He explained to the runners that if they accomplish each of the smaller challenges, before they know it they will have reached their main goal.

surf to firth hikuai school

And then…. they were off!

And we headed back home for a cuppa ; )

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!

 

Paku Summit

paku tairua nz new zealand bush walks #goodforyoursoul

If you are passing through Tairua, as must tourists do, on their journey while circumnavigating the Coromandel, you must stop and take the short hike to the Paku summit. You can pretty much drive to the top of the mountain, that was once a volcanic island. There is plenty of parking and the track is easy to spot. The track is fun, and winding, with informative plaques posted along the way. There is a bit of a dodgy bit near the top, where you are required to clamber up over some rocks, but other that, it’s a true New Zealand native bush walk with the most amazing views!

NZ Must Do paku tairua nz new zealand bush walks #goodforyoursoul

#goodforyoursoul #thecoromandel #tairuainforcentre

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!

 

Twin Kauri Walk

This is a great stop, enroute up the Coromandel coast. The Twin Kauris can’t be missed as you wind your way up the hill, 2km out of Tairua, heading North.

To help protect these ancient trees from Kauri Dieback , a fungus-like disease that is specific to kauri, there is a sanitising station. You are required to scrub dirt of your boots and to spray them with the solution provided before and after being in the forest.

A perfect 20 min loop track to stretch your legs. So many tourists stop and have their photo taken in front of the huge Twin Kauris, but they don’t realise what a quick little trek is just steps away. In the bush they will see more of these unique natives, a trickling stream and a stunning canopy of intertwined braches, vines and leaves. Make sure you take the time to stop and look up!

The track is thankfully marked with little orange triangles,  otherwise I think I would have gotten lost ; ) The track isn’t difficult. It’s a short fun walk that even little kids can mange. Mine love spotting the next triangle!

This time I took my 1 year old in the backpack.

luluslists.com

#goodforyoursoul #thecoromandel #tairuainforcentre

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!

new zealand dotterels

It’s getting harder and harder to spot the NZ Dotterel , tūturiwhatu, on the Coromandel Peninsula. Apparently this is the first year that there have be no Dotterels on Tairua Beach. I managed to spot a couple of breeding pairs on Pauanui Beach, but that was all. I have seen them at the Pauanui Lakes Golf Resort, where residents are not permitted to own pets. Perhaps these man made environments will be the only safe place for these vulnerable species to live.

The Southern NZ Dotterel is currently classified as nationally critical with a population of approximately 250 birds surviving on Stewart Island and nesting on mountain tops.

The Northern NZ Dotterel is a little bit better off, being nationally vulnerable with a population of approximately 1,700.

Unfortunately it seems we value the freedom of our pets more than we do the conservation of our native fauna. As the owner of two rather large dogs, I appreciate having an open space to let them have a good run, but I’m all for dog restrictions. I’m not quite sure why we need to have access to the entire stretch of a beach. I think these breeding sites on sand spits and near estuaries  should be completely dog free, all year round.

Pests such as hedgehogs, stoats, cats and possums need eradicating. Trapping programs should be managed throughout the year and should be a priority of all coastal communities. Like a lot of New Zealand natives, these endemic birds have a lot going against their survival. Their nests are generally just simple depressions in sand or soil. They may be decorated with shells and are sparsely lined. The 2-3 eggs that they lay are camouflaged with their sandy surroundings, being cream in colour with dark brown speckles.

If it were down to Darwin and his theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ then these tiny birds are on their way out. Despite this natural selection, economically New Zealand must invest in the reproductive success of such species. We are a unique country and have so much to offer. Our Gondwana existence draw thousands of tourist to our shores every year.

 

DOC on Dotterels

DOC Dotterel Watch Program

 

Pauanui Waterfall

If you are ever in the area, you have just got to stop at the Pauanui Waterfall. Pop it on your List! The sign is definitely in need of some attention, but still not hard to miss. The track is about 2km out of Pauanui, on the left. The walk is a quick and easy 20min even the kids can do it. The stunning native bush leads you to a trickling stream, and onto the dramatic waterfall! The waterhole it creates is perfect for swimming, just make sure you check the depth first, and don’t go diving it!

Pauanui Waterfall walk nz new zealand native bush

#goodforyoursoul #thecoromandel #tairuainforcentre

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!