Friday, February 02, 2007

Three tracks, Duder's Regional Park - 3rd Feb. 2007

Today Nickname Pending and I drove out eastwards to Duder's Regional Park, and this time it wasn't raining.

The park sits on a peninsula, with a historic pa site on the far end, and a whole lot of farm between the carpark (with helpful signs and map leaflets) and that headland.

We started out by heading left from the carpark, following the red markers of the Farm Loop. This involved some pretty unpleasant up within a few minutes, and it actually hurt to breathe. The views from the top of the ridge were great - the farmland to the south and south-west, the Hauraki Gulf to the north, tidal flats and wetlands to the east, and Duders Bay sweeping to the west.
We continued to follow the red markers through various fields on the ridge, some dotted with skittish ovines and one including the trig station.

Eventually we came to a post that also had blue markers, which indicated the Whakakaiwhara Pa Walk. Sadly at this point we went the wrong way and ended up not heading towards the end of the peninsula, but at the start of a coastal walk.

We decided to follow this for a while and see where it went. When the coastal walk petered out we kept going around the coast (luckily the tide was out) and eventually found a spot to clamber up and rejoin the Whakakaiwhara Pa Walk, almost at the headland itself.
There at the end of the peninsula, where once there were defensive trenches and kumara pits, was a lovely restful spot where you could gaze out at the Gulf, Waiheke Island, Ponui, Pakatoa and even Rangitoto in view.

And then, the best thing happened - what appeared to be a fishing boat turned out to be a full size waka, clearly on it's way to Okahu Bay for Waitangi Day on Tuesday. Fantastic to watch it at full steam, and we walked much of the way back along the ridge to rejoin the Farm Loop with their coordinating chants ringing in our ears.

Then we went through the cow paddock

and along part of the Farm Loop again, and followed the metal road back to the carpark. Which had another one of those previously controversial frames (just like at Cascades).
All up it took us 2 hours 45 minutes, despite the error, and with the now customary many photo stops. Good walking shoes are essential, and there is a lot of long grass. Also for the first time since walking at John O'Groats in Scotland in May I felt the need of insect repellent.

Wonderful, varied, views - a good place to take visitors to NZ if they are ok with uneven land and massive bovines.

(Pics added 8.45pm Sunday 4th Feb 2007)

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