Tararua Tramping

We’ve sadly come to the last blog from the Christmas holidays, but luckily my parents are visiting in a month, so there’ll be much more to come! In the meantime, I’ll be taking some pictures closer to home.

After Jayne, Ian, Andy and I toured the wineries in Martinborough and went on our wonderful Christmas excursion to Cape Palliser, we decided to venture somewhere entirely new to all of us. What could be better than a good hike (or “tramp,” as they say here) to work off some of the feasting we’d done? We set out early on our last full day in Martinborough, headed toward the Tararua Mountains. At 450 square miles (116,535 hectares), the Tararua Forest Park is a massive swath of wilderness stretching across the lower North Island.

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The park has an extensive network of trails and huts, which I’d love to explore further. For now, we were just doing a relatively gentle uphill hike (the trail was called Gentle Annie, after all) to a spot known as Rocky Lookout, on the way up the trail to Mount Holdsworth.

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Any trail that starts off with a great bridge like this gets an automatic thumbs up from me.

Higgs was a fan, since he got to cool his belly in the river.

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After crossing the bridge, the trail began to slope uphill through the forest.

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There were countless Vallhund photo ops around every turn.

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What a majestic beast.

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Despite his short stature, Higgs had much more energy for bounding up the stairs than his human companions.

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“What’s the hold up?”

Lush ferns covered the forest floor, bathed in dappled sunlight.

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Apparently, they’re also part of a Vallhund’s balanced breakfast.

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Yum, salad!

Other creatures flitted about, too.

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After about an hour, we began to near the lookout.

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We emerged from the forest to a breathtakingly epic view.

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We took a small side trail to reach Rocky Lookout. Wow!

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I’d love to come back here sometime and go further, staying at at one of the huts overnight.

Time for a group shot. Thanks for taking this one, Ian!

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Just look at Higgs. Could a dog get any happier?

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He obviously forgot about the Australian guy who called him a “funny little dog.”

After all five of us soaked up the view, we made our way back down into the valley.

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When we got back to our house in Martinborough, it was barbecue time! We still had lots of food left over from Christmas.

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I had to get some photos of the lovely property before we left. Fruit trees and flowers were everywhere.

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This street view is pretty typical of Martinborough, very quiet and quaint.

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Farewell, little slice of paradise.

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The next morning, we made the drive back over the Rimutakas to Wellington. We had a couple days to relax with Ian and Jayne before they were due to fly back to England. Of course, those days flew by and we all had to say our goodbyes before long. In true Wellington style, an earthquake rolled through and shook the airport while they waited for their flight. Just NZ saying farewell the only way it knows how.

All said and done, this was surely a Christmas to remember!

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