Pump your calves on one of NZ's most dramatic coastal tramps.
New Zealand is famous for many things. The epic landscapes are likely on the fore front of any would be traveller to The Land of the Long White Cloud. However, for very good reasons, the South island often covets most of the adventurer's attention. It is true that the Milford and the Routeburn tracks are among the worlds most beautiful walks. But, there are some incredible gems to be explored in the North Island. The Cape Brett walk has got to be one of the best.
The track starts in the sleepy village of Rawhiti. You are immediately engulfed in small town New Zealand peace. The Bay of Islands stretch out into the distance and large forested hills surround you from the South. It is here that the land reaches out with a verdant pointing finger of undulating hills called Cape Brett.
The walk starts off gently enough but as time goes by you must complete some fairly steep ascents through bush and the 2nd half of the walk undulates along the narrow coastal ridges. Here there are spectacular views of the ocean and the tracks along the cliff edges are fantastic.
Unfortunately for me, a little before halfway, both of my boots (an old pair admittedly) fell apart and I had to employ some handy tape to make it the full way. Nevertheless, steep as it is at times, the track was dry on the day and I was able to clamber through and focus on my stinging calves and bursting lungs rather than my crumbly old boots.
The final two hours is pretty tough going. There are some very rough scrambles and although most people will be able for it, you have to take your time.
Finally though, you are rewarded with a beautiful descent towards one of the most iconic lighthouses in New Zealand.
Here we stayed the night and I tried to recover. It had been a long time since I walked that kind of distance with those kind of climbs. It was awesome and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. The hut at the end feels like you are on the edge of the world (hence the name of the linked vlog). The stars popped in an inky black sky as we drank whiskey and let the lactic acid slowly recede from our wobbling legs.
I guess the moral of the story is, don't count out the North Island when planning your NZ adventure. This is likely to be far less crowded and certainly doable in one long, arduous day if you are up for it. Of course the journey back is another story.....