I hope everyone has had a fabulous Christmas and New Year’s! We’ve been enjoying two weeks off work, taking walks with the dogs and soaking in the sunshine, which can sometimes be rare in Wellington. We’ve still got a week left, so plenty more adventures on the way. And speaking of adventures, let’s get back to the epic Kawakawa Station.
The first morning waking up off the grid, I caught a beautiful sunrise over Jakeb’s Cabins and had to nip out to get photos, before snuggling back into my sleeping bag.
It was truly unreal having this quiet, unbelievably beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere entirely to ourselves.
After some relaxing and reading, it was time for breakfast before packing up and getting on our way.
Here’s our comfy bunk room, especially nice when you only have two people in it.
This additional building is the dining hall and lounge, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner, a fire and some beers the night before.
And here’s a snap of said dinner, just to drive home how “glam” this experience is.
Now, it was goodbye to our private slice of paradise and back on the track. We had an undulating 9 km (5.6 miles) to go on our second day of hiking, with plenty of time for stops along the way. Another beautiful day too!
After emerging from the bush track, we were greeted with fabulous views out over the station from Double Saddle. Time for a group shot!
The landscape was unbelievably green, and we took a snack break on a tree-covered ridge, watching tomtits, fantails and other native birds flit around in the canopy overhead.
As morning turned to afternoon, we found another shaded spot in the forest to have our lunch, which consisted of leftovers from dinner and some extras. No one doing this hike will ever go hungry!
Before the final downhill stretch toward our accommodation, we emerged onto an incredible plateau, with views all around.
I was truly grateful Kate and Gaz had brought walking poles and let me use one for the steep and scree-covered downhill bit that came next. It wasn’t easy on the knees, but luckily we were rewarded at the end with only a brief flat stretch to go before reaching Purple Hut.
No, THAT’s not Purple Hut. That’s the home of Kawakawa Station’s part-time pest control guy. He wasn’t around, and I snapped a photo because I was briefly reminded of our old family camp in Grafton, Vermont with all the greenery and of course a trailer.
Now, THIS is Purple Hut.
Train sign for comedic benefit – no tracks out this way!
We settled in for a laid back evening and insane amounts of food – lamb on the grill this time. Off the grid never looked so good.
The Kawakawa Station website says it best: “Your lodging for the night is Purple Hut, an ex-army hut set amongst native bush with the sound of the Otakaha Stream nearby. Here you will have all the home comforts as well as a delicious dinner, dessert and your drinks waiting for you. Purple Hut is located near the Kawakawa Station boundary which is also at the foot of the Aorangi Forest Park. This sets you amongst some of the most beautiful bush on the property. Full of ancient trees and bird song, it really replenishes the soul.” Indeed!
We all stayed in the two bedrooms in the main house, but there were also beautiful cabins outside when more guests are booked in.
As with Jakeb’s Cabins, you can see solar power plays a big part here. You’d hardly know you were off the grid if you didn’t hike to get here.
On our last day, we radioed in to Bex that we were setting off, which we had to do each morning, and started the shorter 7 km (4.3 mile) trek back to our car.
It was nice having a mostly flat track for a change.
One of the points of interest on this trek was Black Hut, an old logging hut. If you want a blast from the past, you can actually stay here too.
Cool, but not quite the same as Jakeb’s Cabins and Purple Hut.
Since we were hiking through an active station, we came across some cattle in the path, and they began fleeing from us as we advanced. See how threatening Andy is?
Finally, they realized they could head off the path to get away from their terrifying pursuers. You can call us cowherds now.
A couple km into the trek, we came to the first river crossing. Not wanting to get our shoes and socks wet, we took them off and waded across, sitting down to put them back on when we got to the other side. A couple minutes later, we came to another river crossing. Ok, there can’t be too many – we’ll take our shoes off again.
After another couple crossings, we heard a four-wheeler approaching. It was one of the station workers carrying our bags back to the start! Perfect timing, as the woman told us there would be several more crossings, and we were able to grab our sandals out of the bags. We mentioned this is something they should probably tell hikers in advance so people come prepared.
Not long after the last river crossing, we came to the station’s farm buildings.
Bex and her husband were there, along with a lot of cute farm dogs. She asked us if we wanted to meet the two puppies. Um, yes?! Is that even a question? They were so excited and cute.
We thanked them (the humans) for an amazing trip, and walked the few minutes back to Farm Cottage and our bags and car.
This was truly a unique and unforgettable experience. I’d highly recommend Kawakawa Station to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure with lots of added perks. It would be a bit different with other hikers sharing the accommodation, but I’m sure it would be fun to spend time with new people, while still enjoying private rooms. They always make sure you are only booked with your group when it comes to rooms, which is nice. This is a trip we’ll remember forever.
Tomorrow, Emma, Kate and I head off to the Wairarapa for a day of lavender picking and exploring, so photos to come!