Thames, New Zealand (Aotearoa)
37° 8' S 175° 32' E
Jun 17, 2008 09:43
Distance 149km

Text written in: English

Nothing Like a Good Hike

Thames. Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17th and 18th

Left Rotorua on a wet Autumn, rainy day. Traveled by bus for a good part of the day. It just rained and rained so it was a good day to move along. I headed to a town called Thames for no other reason than it was between Rotorua and Auckland, and a fellow I met at the Brisbane airport recommended it.

As I was getting near Thames, the rain lifted and the sun came out. Why does this keep happening to me, such abundant good fortune??!!

Wednesday was another “let's do a hike” day. The weather had finished its raining and the sun was out, sky was blue and the temperature in the mid teens, perfect weather for a good walk about. Near the hostel was a beach walk, leading to a path to the top of a low mountain. The hike up the “mountain” itself was supposed to take 3 ½ hours, so with the walk in and out it  looked like a full day. The hike up was challenging, going from essentially sea level to 365 metres (1200 feet). As I was going up the steep grade, I pondered going down the same slope but deferred carrying the thought to any conclusion. After 90 minutes I was at the top - a grand view - and ate the food I bought at the deli. Well, the descent was all I had hoped it would not be. As it had rained hard the day before, the path was very slippery and muddy. Within minutes, I was on my behind for the first of several tumbles. I was genuinely concerned about breaking a limb and being stuck on the trail, which was empty and desolate as it was the off-season, so no one was on it for most of the time. Made it out in one piece, but would not do that hike again when it is so wet. Got back to the hostel mid afternoon, exhausted and sore. By the end of the day, I had walked 22 Km overall. Not bad, even if I say so myself.

Getting used to the hostel scene. Sharing a wash room and common space works for me as they are materially less expensive than hotels - about $30/night for my own room in NZ.  I am not going to sleep in a dorm, I'm sorry to say. Only thing I cannot wrap my head around is doing my own cooking. As I move around too much and do not have a car, carrying surplus food around would be such a hassle. But this is rationalizing, not being rational. I also believe in division of duties, going with your strengths and managing your weaknesses.

Last night in NZ - Fiji here I come. Very ready to get back to summer and Vancouver.


Photos / videos of "Nothing Like a Good Hike":

More NZ countryside; not sure why I love it, but I do.  The green is so soothing. NZ is not always hilly.  This is one side of the road, level and ...... on the other side it is hilly. Birdwatching.  It feels like I am at Riffle Island bird sanctuary (I was there last October).  Thames and the Coromandel area is well known for birding. Sat around for a long time - I have so much time, so why not? - to catch this combination of seagulls on the top of poles and other birds flying overhead. Beaches of Thames.  And yesterday it was raining; I am so fortunate. Lava flow beaches.  NZ is such a volcanic showcase. Start of my 10 K hike.  It is near the end of NZ's autumn/start of winter (June 18) and these flowers are in bloom.  In Vancouver I have these flowers, but they only come out in July.  The climate here is so mild, like northern California.  The south island is much colder to be sure. 365 metres (about 1200 ft) and 90 minutes later at the top of the hill/mountain.  I thought going up was difficult but going down and not getting injured was much more challenging.  I slipped and fell on my sit-upon at least five times, not a relaxing experience. View of the Coromandel Valley and ocean delta from the top of the “mountain”. Lush green vegetation on the way down.  At times it felt like jungle, the vegetation was so thick and fern like. Vacated gold mine shaft.  Thames was the centre of a gold rush in the 1860's.  At least 67 tonnes of gold was extracted during the rush. Curious waterfall.  Unusual to see an orange coloured (iron rich) waterfall formation. Hibiscus plant in bloom at the winter solstice (three days from today).