The Ruru's

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts

Category: Day Walk (page 2 of 3)

23/7/17 It certainly wasn’t English swear words we know!

The buckets from above subsided … the grey matter broke open to reveal blue … it was an opportunity to head to some higher ground.

Another back yard experience to get elevation, this time on the Canterbury Port Hills and a little meander up Rapaki Track.

Calmbering over a slip on the pathway quite entertaining as fellow trailers negotiated the solid bits to be tricked and sink knee high in the sludgey mud.

We smiled at a number of people leaving their indent. Everyone else was too!

The panoramic 360 degree views from the rock face beyond the turnaround point was worth the extra steps up.

Full credit to the little Japanese girl who stood for ages pondering whether to go for it on the slip. It was halarious when I counted 3-2-1 and shouted ‘go’ to have her step off and go both knees deep. We turned around and quickly sped down the hillside not looking back.

I can still see her screaming as I had no idea what the hell she was saying.

It certainly wasn’t English swear words we know!

15/7/17 Arrrrrrrreeeeeeeeooooooooyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeee

The snow was over knee deep in places.

Disaster when your gumboots only came up your lower leg half way meaning the white powdery stuff broke off like an Antartic ice berg to drop into your galoshes.  It didn’t take much longer for it to become liquified.  Even the thickest of socks weren’t enough to protect the cold moisture nipping at your toes and the soles of your feet.

Laughter was frequent for the short arse in the party.  Alannah’s step had the snow just about touch her butt cheeks.  We took shorter steps to help.  Every now and then, the undulation beneath meant a face plant.  Laughter was then shared.From a distance, the slope to be conquered looked shallow.  At the bottom, the paradigm as was sharper with steepness.  However, this didn’t deter.  Up we stepped using the footprints left behind by other adventurers seeking the same adrenalin of sliding back down.

As altitude was reached, a cool wind whipped from left to right.  The sun beaming down in the cloudless sky did nothing to warm.  It did however, make the landscape crisp as far as the eye could see.  It was absolutely stunning to see the back bone of the South Island carpeted with snow.

Hordes of like-minded beings had made the most of what mother nature had dumped to create a play-ground so natural and free – there were little specs of bodies in all directions.  It was fun to watch from above the number of people who ventured out onto the frozen ice of the lake below.  As confidence grew, further out toward the middle they wearily trod.  No one plunged through during our observation.There was no paper, scissors nor rock as to who would go first.  Pick on the big guy!

As one looked down sitting on their toboggan moments before the grasp of the handle tightened and the feet lifted so gravity did its thing (nothing to do with a share slope at all, yeah right), you were zoned into the reality of what was.

This could either go tits up or plain sliding to the bottom.

A deep breath, a pause, and then feet lifted.

There was no yodelling ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’, that’s for certain.

Some might describe it as a scream.  Whatever it was.  It just was.


9/7/17 One Expected A Bear to Appear – Washpen Falls

We had seen the giants before in British Columbia, Canada. The goliath Douglas Fir tree.  They were competing for supremacy over the Radiata Pine tree and, the Southern Rata tree which is one of New Zealand’s showiest and most beautiful of native plants when in blossom.

Even the largest lily in the world contested the landscape, the Tikouka.  Commonly known as the Cabbage Tree, early European settlers used the hollowed-out trunks for chimneys for their huts.  On the other hand, the dead leaves of cabbage trees burn readily, giving off intense heat.  People either hate them or they love them.  There is no in-between.

In the thick of either forest as the trail meandered from sea level elevation and back, one expected a bear to appear.  But this wasn’t Canada.  This was the headwaters of the Washpen Creek which is the longest tributary of the Hororata River.

The canopy was alive in song from the Bellbird.  Their notes echoed throughout the gorge which reminded us of a call to prayer in surround sound.  Fantails and sometimes the infrequent flit of a Tomtit guided us on the path trodden.  The same earth once used by Maori to trap and kill the giant flightless New Zealand bird, the Moa.  Some species grew to three metres and once an important source of food, they were all eaten as they have been extinct for three or four hundred years.

Erosion too carved out the rock into wave breaking shape formations.  Tree seeds can prosper in the slightest of soil.  This was evident with shades of green disrupting brown rock cliff faces.

The Bluff lookout allows for one to view the Canterbury Plains, 250 kms in length and an average of 60 kms in width.  The Rakaia River streaks across the flatlands.  The Washpen Falls would contribute to the water level somehow.


A place in history where sheep once tarzan swung into the stream to wash the wool before shorn.

That past time has long gone as well.  Go see for yourself.  The breath of fresh air above the giants is exhilarating.




21-24/10/16 Rangataua Part 3: Gallipoli Revisited


The Carrot Capital of New Zealand is Ohuakune.

Many of the early growers were Chinese who cleared and ploughed the free draining soil and habitated the cool climate which is ideal for growing conditions.  It’s also a popular base in winter for skiers using the nearby ski fields and in summer for trampers hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.





Lake Rotopounamu made for a lovely stroll into the native fauna and expose kids to giant Rata trees, Fantail birds and ripples of inland lake water.  Nothing here made in China!  Vents of vapour escape what lies below the crusted earth reminding us that we were in a thermal geothermal area.







The Tangiwai  Rail Disaster monument is a memory of such.  On the 24th December 1953, 151 passengers lost their lives as the express train derailed into the river bed due to a collapsed bridge caused by a ‘Lahar’ that raged down the mountainside only minutes before the train reached the bridge.



It is New Zealand’s worst rail accident.

A soak in a hot pool at Tokaanu Thermal Pools soothed the bones after the mountain bike ride the day before.  Stay in the jets of heat too long and you too can age prematurely with water wrinkles.




The ‘haere ra’ to new friends made had us retrace our route back to Wellington.  We are so fortunate to have a magical land where parts of Canada ridden was replicated here.  It stirred the emotion of why we travel.  Goosebumps too.

Our flights are booked for us to make our way to the top of this island. Not long now before we take the first steps on the Te Araroa Walk.

A visit to Te Papa Museum in Wellington itself served two purposes.  A catch up with a close friend Delwyn for my regular clip around the ear for cheeky comments made from behind a keyboard.  And, to wander through the Gallipoli exhibit.



Jeez, this was impressive.  Not the clipping of the ear but the exhibit!  The life like giant figurines portraying life on the peninsula were realistic, right down to the veins on arms and beads of sweat on the brow.  It brought home the significance of us having walked from Istanbul to Gallipoli back in 2011.






Te Araroa, the Rurus are coming!

Happy birthday Barry.  Cheers Cuz.


Taylors Mistake: So That’s Where All The Jandals Ended Up.

When I was in my early teens, frequenting the Kaiapoi Swimming Pool was a regular weekend activity.  It would be fair to add that back in those days, mischief was also a regular activity inclusion.

I used to pinch peoples jandals – only one from each pair, and when walking home across the swing bridge over the Kaiapoi Cam River, toss them over the side.  They would float off into the distance and then, the activity would be repeated the next weekend.

TM4A couple of weeks ago, we ventured onto the Peninsula to walk to Godley Head and the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour.  


TM6Starting at Taylors Mistake, it wasn’t long before we strolled passed some batches fronting the sea shore … and then bam!!!!!

TM5Right there hanging from a wall at one of these batches were jandals!  My past had caught up with me – so that’s where all the jandals tossed ended up!



The grin at the mischief one used to get up too was humped all the way up to the spot where gun emplacement ruins lay at peace.  It goes without saying that the view was spectacular, the dots on the ocean below weren’t more jandals but paddle boarders.


Furthermore, my mischief was replaced with military service when I joined the NZ Territorial Force Army in my mid-teens!

TM35It is a walk worth doing.  And if you see your jandal from yesteryear … help yourself!

Avalanche Peak at 1833 metres

AP3 - You Are Here - Avanlanche Peak TrackFirst we were “You Are Here”






AP28… then we were there





AP94 - You Are Here - Scotts Track… to return to another “You Are Here”






If you are here, you have certainly got to get there – Avalanche Peak at 1833 metres is just spectacular.

AP12 - The track up Avalance Peak TrackAP15 - Alpine treesAP23AP24 - Ridgeline markersAP24 - Ridgeline markersAP25 Sun shadowAP36AP48AP49AP53 - Avalance Peak at 1833mAP59 - BC from the summitAP64AP75


Karamea Konnections

The Karamea ANZAC service was held mid-morning.  Town folk gathered to hear a story about three Baker’s leaving the area to go fight and to fortunately return as five.  The rumble of restored army vehicles echoed across the basin  and made the experience just magic – who needed a fly over? Trying to convince the farmer to load up the turret machine gun and fire off a volley didn’t eventuate as much as me trying to convince BClaire to volunteer as the target.

DSC02441 DSC02426 DSC02433 DSC02438

It was a further 17kms north by road till it ran out.  We had now driven the last of it as far as we could.  It ended at the start of one of NZ’s Great Walks within the Kahurangi National Park – the Heaphy Track.  I walked it back in the early 90’s and what takes 4-5 days by foot can now be mountain biked over 2-3 days.

DSC02470 DSC02450 DSC02467

DSC02471A land line phone rang in the shelter, so I answered it.  The person on the other end asked for Martin.  Calling out his name, this lanky Irishmen came running over.  It was his transport call to organize his pick up.  Just the fact the phone rang like that had joking comments about his Mum calling to see if he was okay through to his pizza order confirmation – it had heads shaking and laughter abound and allowed new connections to be made.

Martin had just walked the Heaphy from the Collingwood end and was now getting ready to tackle another tramp from west to east called the Wangapeka Track (52 km).  It’s a tougher one with saddles over 1000 metres, the highest 1701.   Another seed sown for us to add to our ‘adventure’ list.


DSC02474The second bedroom handled the 14 km steep winding gravel road to the Oparara Basin Walks exceptionally well.  More spectacular was the Oparara Arch, a limestone formation at 219 m deep, 43 m high and 29 m wide.  Back at the carpark where a mum and dad were trying to bribe their moaning and groaning young children to walk up to it was made easier when I mentioned that you can find a pet rock to take home as big as Dad can carry.  And off they trundled!


DSC02477 DSC02484 DSC02486 DSC02492 DSC02497 DSC02499 DSC03005a

Our final sortie of the day ended at the ‘Last Resort’ for an ale.  The world is a small place when you connect with total strangers that are linked through personal associations – the camp caretaker knowing my Dad as the shuttle driver from Kaiapoi; the ‘Last Resort’ owner going to school with our friend Mandy in Greymouth; a woman girl friending a cousin from Amberley; and a woman from Picton remembering BClaire’s family when BClaire lived there aged 6.   It made for un-expected conversations, banter, laughter and too many re-hydration ales!

The camp kitchen during our time in Karamea allowed us to meet four young German tourists holidaying in New Zealand.  The dialogue around ANZAC Day and its significance made for all to make a comment about how they are not proud of their history when it comes to peace time commemorations about war.  They needn’t be.  The couple who joined us at the service were there of their own volition.  Although it was hard to imagine their emotions that they were feeling as the service was being given, we were pleased to be standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

The young fella had also walked the length of New Zealand, completing the Te Araroa Trail.  Little did he know that his presence had inspired us.  We now shift our focus to visit all our Face Book friends in person where ever they are located on the planet.

Karamea – a place where new konnections were made.

And the place where we celebrated the 100th year ANZAC Day commemorations.


The Cook & the Hooker

Have you ever met a cook who has never ever prepared one single meal and, lives with a hooker?

T4 - Uncle B, Deagan, Jayla, Auntie CWaitangi weekend had us pointing our noses south to again spend time with whanau-in-laws at Twizel.



T8 - On the road to Mt CookAn opportunity in tune with our pursued habits to venture out onto the landscape was one not to be missed notching up.  Aoraki / Mount Cook, where at its base to the west, is the Hooker Glacier.


T9 - Lavendar Farm











T22The 90 minute walk was easy and certainly popular.  Finding a solitude spot to eat the fuel carried and view the 3,724 metre mountain was unanimous – noise from the glacier headwaters muffled human chit chat.




T50Activity of late has been restricted to that of which accommodates the healing of the shoulder.  Making memories of this type, was something welcomed with open arms.  Okay, with one good arm in my situation.


The cook and the hooker – a co-habitation relationship you have just got to meet.

Mounting Mount Herbert

At 919 metres, Mount Herbert is the highest point on Banks Peninsula.  The Maori name is Te Ahu Pātiki.

A nice day climb to view Pantagonia from.  Accessed from Orton Bradley Park – watch out for rocks that are crusted cow shit pads, and the sea of yellow is very prickly.

Stunning views of mountains, plains and water … right on our back door step.

MH2Walking through a plantation after leaving Orton Bradley Park.

MH3What is it?

MH15Now that looks like fun at height!

MH18A dream can always be realised if you keep going, no matter the obstacle :0)

MH19Apartment living, insect style.

MH22Too much sun for this lazy cow!

MH25Which is the rock and which is the foot print thinking a cow shit pad was a rock … clever photography though, same finger used twice!

MH26Must get some walking shoes/boots as the toe nails were stink.

MH28View from Mt Herbert shelter toward Christchurch.

MH29The hills are alive with the sound of ‘yeeooowwww’ as this is gorse in full bloom. And it’s prickly so bloomin hurts!

MH31An extinct volcano of Lyttelton harbour.

MH35Looking south toward Lake Forsyth where big eels live!

MH36Cuddle at 919 metres :0)

MH38Last glimpse of awe – some – awe.

MH39Reflection of the top.


Jaunt, Jaundice and Joints

Bell Hill Walk1Jaunt, jaundice and joints – that is what you get when you do a 12km walking jaunt and there is a 1000 metre  ascent straight up at the start … tripping up and landing on your left butt cheek (BClaire) to have a jaundice patch appear the size of ya hand … and both not moving the best having sore joints the day after because we are old.

Jeez, stupidity is no joke!

Bell Hill Walk2Bell Hill Walk4 Bell Hill Walk3



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