Now that I’m back from my South Island trip with my friend Melissa, I’ll get back to my previous trip. Way behind at this point!
We left off mid-hike in Akaroa. After climbing Stony Bay Peak, I decided to do some more exploring on the other side of the ridge before heading back to town. The path to get there was clearly marked on the map, but less obvious in reality.
There were a few spots where I wondered if I was going the right way, but luckily there were markers in sight.
Swimming in a sea of grass, I had to just hope the trail was relatively even, since I couldn’t see my feet or where I was stepping.
After finding a good rock to have lunch on, I finally made it back out into the open. I took the trail towards the Hinewai Reserve, which looked promising.
On New Zealand trails, you often find steps like this when you encounter a fence. The sheep can’t escape and there’s no need for a gate each time you cross into a pasture.
The path quickly became forested soon after. It was nice to be in the shade on such a warm day, and the trees were amazing.
I should’ve been a bit wary when the path kept going downhill, knowing I’d have to climb back over the ridge to get to Akaroa, but I was too busy enjoying the scenery.
My map showed a waterfall nearby, so I took a small detour to explore.
The path descended steeply at this point, but I decided to push onwards regardless, hoping the ascent would be more gradual to get back over the ridge.
I passed another waterfall, but couldn’t get any closer because of the steep banks.
This must have been the lowest point of the reserve. Right away, the trail began to climb steeply – so steeply, in fact, that part of it consisted of a ladder.
It didn’t get much better after that, with a series of very short hills that seemed like they might end around the next corner, but no!
Finally, I got to a point where the trail leveled out and there was a small information center where I could refill my now empty water bottles.
Here’s the view of the valley I had just descended into and climbed out of.
I headed back towards the ridge and the point where I had originally left the Skyline Circuit.
On the way, I saw signs for FERN GULLY. My childhood dream come true!
Sadly, I only saw ferns, but still pretty cool.
I passed many of these amazing webs and had to stop to take a picture.
At last, I came to the saddle of the ridge and saw Akaroa and the harbor below me.
The rest of the hike was easy going with wonderful views the whole way down.
I disrupted a sheep gathering and got some angry glares.
No, that sheep doesn’t have a tree growing out of its back.
Finally, I got back to the road and stopped to admire the foliage before heading back into town, ready for a giant meal and some relaxation back at my hostel. My hike ended up being around eight hours long, but it was a great way to spend my day.