Brent & Claire

Category: Walking

29/10/21 Rakaia Gorge Demon

Rakaia Gorge Taniwha sculpture

According to Māori legend, a Taniwha (River Monster) used to live where the Rakaia Gorge now is.  Long story cut short, his efforts to block out the nor’west wind demon led to the narrowing of the river.  Evidence of the Taniwha’s work remain today as the rock island between the two Rakaia Gorge Bridges.

Kind of cool intro to what was then our meander up to the Upper Rakaia Gorge.

In search of the Taniwha.

The third-bedroom at Rakaia Gorge Camping Ground.

Our weekend micro-adventure had the third-bedroom parked up at the Rakaia Gorge Camping Ground.  This is a private set up where permanents make available their plots for weekend nomads like ourselves.

At $15 per night each, a kitchenette (byo cooking stove, pots, plates and kfs) means the smell of lamb steaks didn’t stink out the bedroom.  The ablutions had hot showers with flush toilets – a bargain. There are no powered sites so it is definitely off the grid.

Crossing the two gorge bridges, we hung a left and then followed the sides of the river that had a smorgasbord of topography for a couple of hours.  In amongst it, we were able to get close to the Snowden Coal Mine that was a cave wedged between lower and upper earth.  Caged off so you can’t enter, we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t neither.  Weird that of all places, there is an old coal mine of yesteryear.

A junction on the trail gives you the option of going left and around hugging the hillside, down to the river (optional junction) and then ascend up to the highest point; or right and straight up.  Left is longer, right is shorter, you can do it in a loop and so we stayed left.

Constructed in 1945.
Constructed in 1883.
Snowden Coal Mine entrance.
From way back there to way up here.
Upper Rakaia Gorge.

At the top where we stopped, peeled off apparel, smeared on sunblock and then ate lunch, we were in awe of the view of the Upper Rakaia Gorge and the turquoise coloured river snaking it’s path from west to east.

We retraced our steps in reverse to return back to the bridges. As Bclaire decided to venture off and take a dip at the rock island pool of water, I tracked down the river to try and capture a pic of the third-bedroom on the opposite side of the river, waiting our return.

BClaire heading for a dip.
BClaire talking with the Taniwha at his pool.
Nor’west wind demons’ erosion art. That white dot at the bottom is a 4-wheel drive for perspective.

The cliff faces on the same side further down river showed weathering erosion, more likely because of the nor’west wind demon.  This I believe to be true.

That there is a nor’west wind demon!

It arrived shortly after the camp happy hour – we got invited therefore decided it a lovely way to meet fellow nomads, except they were permanents.  Didn’t take long for conversations to fudge, bs banter to flow, and pickled onions be judged.

And then it blew like forty bastards throughout the night and into much of the day.

Notwithstanding, Rakaia Gorge is worth a visit – whether visiting for a day or overstaying for a couple of days.


Here Taniwha, Taniwha, Taniwha!

29/10/21 Rakaia Gorge Taniwha

One meaning of the word “legend” is: a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.

Over the weekend of 29/10, we went in search of the Rakaia Gorge Taniwha legend.

Don’t listen to what they say.

Go see for yourself.

Upper Rakaia Gorge.

24/10/21 – Kaikoura 33,644!

L to R – mates Randall & Marie; Marie’s sister Liz; BClaire; Marie’s mum Mum.
And so the second loop begins …


They are the number of steps taken to complete the second circle loop – the Kaikoura Peninsula walk.

From the third-bedroom campervan door to door.

Where we retraced the route ridden the day before – through the township, up and over into South Bay.  Then across the top of the topography versus at sea level and around it, reaching the tourist car park on the Kaikoura side, then footed it all the way back around the coastline, township revisited, to arrive back at the NZMCA Park and where the campervan welcomed us back with open arms.

Actually, we had to unlock, slide the door open and fall in!

When you get a stunner of a day, the panoramic views north, west, south and east are breathtaking.

The sound of wildlife was also in surround sound – squealing seals, squawking shags, scavenging sea gulls, singing song from the other birdlife, and the moo of cows and baa’s of sheep, as we crossed paddocks.

South Bay was an old whaling station.  The display board with black and white images with story narrative made for a magnetising read, sending the imagination into yesteryear and what life must have been like.

From north of the town centre, we arrived at You Are Here.
South Bay and an historical whaling view. I mean site.
The beginning of the Kaikoura Peninsula Trail.
From above, looking back down to South Bay.
Further around the Kaikoura Peninsula Trail
Paddocks with cows across the tops. On the other side of the brow that is.
Hate them or love them, the cabbage tree flower is stunning.
Looking back towards the Kaikoura Sea Ranges. And the third-bedroom fudged in somewhere.

There was enough space to share with the hordes of others exploring, and the Sea Food BBQ kiosk where one can order everything edible from beneath the hide tide mark is worth satisfying the palette.  A well deserve resting spot before completing the loop.  No kina though (that’s sea urchin)!

A feed of fnc’s from the local shop nearby rounded out this day and one had to strategically not be seen throwing chips up onto Maree Grenfell and Randall Grenfell campervan for the sea gulls!

A wind down stretch of the legs before retiring for the night to rest the weary legs.

Those steps not counted however, all up, nigh on 20 kms looped when extrapolating out the 33,644.

And so totally worth it.

A game of campsite Boule.
Same sun, different end of the day.

10/10/21 Duvauchelle Part 2 – Jutty Dangly Slice of Peninsula

Find an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.

When you creep over the brow of the Hill Top from Little River to a view of Akaroa Harbour, you see a jutty out bit of land kind of centre of the head of the harbour.

Kinda looks like that dangly thing at the back of your throat if you open up the gob when staring at a mirror.

Well, from the third-bedroom in Duvauchelle, it looked short, simple, certainly local even if across the water and cheap considering we were going to head there on foot to explore.

The landscape forefront is the jutty dangly bit.
Historical significance to our people – both Māori and non-Māori.
Washed up from the deep – it was paper, scissors, rock as to who captured the pic, on zoom!

We were absolutely encouraged with the view from it’s highest point with surround panoramic beauty.

And the historical significance with it being an old site of a former Māori pā (Māori village) Ōnawe.

And furthermore, the fact that it is only accessible at low tide.

Certainly put this on your visit list to explore.

Take the time to sit and absorb what the jutty dangly slice of Peninsula has to offer.

Then, when you creep over the brow each and every time you crest the Hill Top and see it, we are confident a grin will smirk across your face as you reminisce.

Miss the tide, and it’ll be a grimace.

From the jutty dangly slice of paradise, Duvauchelle to the middle right along the coastline.
Low tide micro-adventure a must.

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