The land of sheep and chocolate

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More Mountains

It’s six months since we’ve ventured into the Tararuas behind Levin. The forests up there are massive and untouched, but it’s all a bit of an effort to get to them through the miles of ankle deep mud. But there is an alternative, behind the village of Manakau where we were confidently informed by the tourist office that we could drive straight to the walking track and leave the car in a car park. It sounded too good to be true. Was it too good to be true?

Of course it was. You have to be careful of Kiwis. They don’t have the same sense of danger as the rest of us. What we were told was that we could just drive through the gate to the next gate and then to the car park. Here’s a list of things we were not made aware of:

1. The road was a winding, potholed mud track.

2. The track was on the edge of a narrow precipice.

3. The track was several kilometres long.

4. There was nowhere to turn around.

The chances of sliding off the side of the cliff were therefore higher than expected.

Having said that, the views through the valley were pretty good and there were some cute baby cows on the track. And it probably wasn’t as bad as we thought. The most frightening part about it, apart from the fear of skidding to our deaths, was that we had no idea how long the track was; we were under the impression that it was a few hundred yards but it seemed like it was going to go on forever.

The advantage is of course that you get the place to yourself. No-one else was stupid enough to drive down that road this afternoon. There was a lovely bush walk down to a river bend, clear water bubbling through the gravel and jagged forested hills looming in the background. You almost felt like we were the only people ever to have gone there. Perhaps having to put in a huge effort to get to these places makes them all the more special.

My old boss once said that he thought the area didn’t get many tourists because it didn’t make the most of its assets and I have to agree. The mountains are great but you have to be pretty determined to get to them. I just feel that it would be nice if there was easy access to the forest somewhere in the district. It can’t be much too much to ask can it?


Post a Comment

<< Home