Ōtaki Forks Overnight

I’m finally getting around to covering Andy and my camping trip over the Christmas holidays. We had Kirsty and Jason (Andy’s sister and her husband) with us this past week, so I’ve been much more focused on getting out and exploring with them. Hopefully a blog to come on that too. We had a fabulous time!

Anyway, about a month ago, Andy and I set out north to the town of Otaki for a night away. Since we had two weeks off over Christmas with not a lot planned, we wanted to do a small getaway somewhere we hadn’t been. Kate and I previously took a camping trip last year, planning to stay at Otaki Forks, but a landslip had shut the road down and we ended up at another nearby spot. While the place we ended up was lovely, I still had Otaki Forks on the brain.

Otaki is about an hour from home, and it was an easy enough trip. The unpaved road from town to the campsite was another story, though. Hey, this was what we planned for, though – a campsite in the middle of nowhere (or in this case, the Tararua Ranges). After claiming a nice secluded spot at the campground, we set out on a hike.



Don’t let the looming clouds fool you; it was hot hot hot! It must’ve been in the high 20s (80s in Fahrenheit). We had planned a walk that was steadily uphill into the mountains for a few hours, but less than a half-hour in, we realized we hadn’t planned adequately. We started too late in the day, didn’t have nearly enough water and Higgs had given up and laid down panting on the path. Ok, maybe another time.

At least we still got great views from partway up!



Instead, we made our way back downhill and toward the increasingly inviting Otaki River.




Almost there, Higgs!


After some scrambling downhill with a certain impatient doggo wondering why bipeds take so damn long, we made it to the river.


The boys immediately waded in.


What an incredibly beautiful spot, and we had it mostly to ourselves besides a couple swimmers further downriver.



Sadly, the sandflies were out in full force, which meant Andy was serving as their lunch. In order to eat our own lunch, we decided it best to head further up the path.

Time to dry off!


On the way back, I passed my favorite subject, a lone tree.


What’s the holdup, Mom?



Unfortunately for Higgsy, we had to cross a mildly shaky bridge on the way back. Time to hitch a ride with Dad.

Paws up in complete surrender:



He managed to walk down the steps himself, although tentatively.


Safe on firmer ground, we headed back down the dirt road to our campsite.



Since our hike was shorter than we initially planned, we ended up with quite a bit of time left before the heat of the day dissipated. Luckily, there was just enough shade to set up our picnic blanket and relax with our Kindles.


Not a bad spot to chow down on a bone, either.




Since we were here after New Year’s, the place was far less busy than I imagine it would have otherwise been. A lot of people were packing up as we arrived. The previous residents of our site even told us the best spot to set up the tent to avoid too much early morning sun/heat. Turned out to be great advice!


What better way to while away a lazy afternoon than with a bottle of rosé? Higgs stuck to water…

Camping with Doggo, a Still Life

Cheers to the outdoor life!



When the sun began to sink lower and we’d had some dinner, we retired to our private quarters to escape the onslaught of bugs. Not a bad view from bed, and mostly pretty comfortable aside from an especially gaseous doggo.


Who, me?!

As sunset covered everything in rose gold, I had to venture out for a couple shots.



Can’t beat the great outdoors!

1 thought on “Ōtaki Forks Overnight

  1. A fun outing to read about, but I was getting worried about Higgs. So glad he got to water in time. And what a scenic spot. You were lucky to have it mostly to yourselves.


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