The story below is contributed by my friend Stacey. I too am so excited about the prospect of exploring NZ more and particularly doing some of our NZ Great walks without (dare I say it…tourists everywhere!) Love you, but I’m sure you understand what it’s like in your home land too!? Take it away Stacey…
One of the best things to come out of being “trapped” in New Zealand at the moment is being able to explore this beautiful country! Earlier this year my family of four took a trip around the breathtaking East Cape. It’s such a quiet part of the country and feels like taking a step back in time. Half way around the Cape lies the Mount Hikurangi, the highest non-volcanic mountain in the North Island and sacred to Ngati Porou.
My husband and I had done this hike 11 years prior and at the time a family with young children were also doing it so we said to ourselves one day when we have kids we’ll do this in them too.
The time had come, our family, including my 6 year old daughter Cecilia and 8 year old son Leo decided to hike up this mountain together! The track is a steady incline up a farm road with views out to the surrounding mountains and river below. At first my son seeing how high up the track went kicked up a fuss but with some coaxing he started the climb. We played lots of games and sang songs along the way to keep the kids distracted and had lots of snack breaks too.
We were so proud of our kids when we reached the hut, as it’s 10.5 km hike (it took us 4 1/2 hours) and 1000 m elevation! By luck we had the hut all to ourselves, I just wanted to rest when we arrived but the kids still had energy to burn and we spent a good hour, exploring around the hut.
As mentioned earlier Mt Hikurangi is sacred to the local tangata whenua and there is a circle of 9 Maori whakairo or carvings near the hut which represent Maui and Ngati Porou descendants. There are tours you can go on in which you would learn about the cultural significance of the mountain and they look fascinating! Check out their website here👉 Maunga Hikurangi.
From the hut you can walk another 2-3 hours to the summit but it’s a challenging walk and not recommended for younger kids. Also we did get cellphone coverage at the hut, in case you need it. The first time we went in October it snowed at the hut so be prepared for any type of weather. When we asked the kids what there favorite part of their trip around the East Cape was they said hiking up Mount Hikurangi and staying at the hut and we had to agree!😊
For the Department of Conservation track details click👉 here.
So get out there, now is a GREAT time explore this wonderful country we get to call home.
By Stacey Walden