Kai Moana, Sun, Creek and Ocean Swimming, and a Great time

148974098 10221592615422647 9045484027080723386 oLow Tide Reflections

The party gathered at Mangarakau Lodge on Frid 5th the later group of arrivals getting there at 8.30pm. Mindful we needed to be at Big River at about 11am we had a 7.30am departure from the lodge. We contemplated the river crossing at Anatori River and decided all cars could get across and so able to travel onto the Turimawiwi River where we parked on thegrassy flats. From here it was a 2 hour walk along the beach with 2 small rivers to cross to Big river where we arrived at low tide. A small group followed Debbie, who crossed the deep pool near the river mouth using a pack liner to float packs over the river/ lagoon. The other group walked up river approx 200m and waded across in hip deep water. Once across Big river it was a 50 min walk to the Lighthouse keeper's house arriving at approx 12.45. We spent a pleasant early afternoon having lunch, setting up tents before heading off for the walk to the Lighthouse at 3pm. There was no definative track or markers indicating the best route to the Lighthouse so we scrammbled up and down dunes covered in long grass with occasionally finding a quad bike track or evidence of an old track. We sat in the shade of the Lighthouse and contemplated the life of the Lighthouse keepers and their families. We had a slighly better scramble back over the hills initially following an old track with old steel rails that was used to drag the lighthouse up the hill in 1906. Returning at 5 we enjoyed mussels collected by Debbie, and were treated to a whole crayfish caught by 3 young men from Blenheim who were staying at the house with us, and had spent the afternoon diving.

Crossing Big RiverCrossing Big River

On Saturday we set off around the rocks to the South and walked S to Kahurangi River. We realized the 9.30am start was probably 30mins too early on the dropping tide as we made dashes between waves to get around rocky outcrops, but all achieved this and soon we were on the open beack, in beautiful sunshine, enjoying the spectacular scenery of great high cliffs and large pillar rock formations. In 1 hr we reached the mouth of the Kahurangi River - insignificant in size but significant by it's name. After contemplation of the geography we eventually found the waterfall and large cool swimming holes on the right branch of the riverlooking upstream from the beach, 200m from mouth of the river. The swimming holes below the waterfall were deep, shaded and very cold, and  surrounded by wall to wall west coast lush vegetation. Some were brave enough to swim under the waterfall. Trampers drifted back along the beach, the tide now low allowing collection of more kai moana. The afternoon was spent relaxing in the warm shade around the camp site, and swimming in the sea. In the evening a few walked up to the hill for 10mins and enjoyed the views of the setting sun. Again we enjoyed mussels, paua and fish.

Kahurangi Lighthouse, collecting and cooking mussels

Monday we had a relaxing start to the day before leaving in several separate parties to gather at Big river for lunch and then the crossing. A few more trampers joined Debbie at the mouth to float the packs across - proving a very effective technique in the calm conditions that prevailed, the rest wading across as before in waist deep water. This time we were crossing 1hr before low tide. A return along the beach to the cars and a 4pm departure for the long journey home. We met at theTakaka pub at 6pm for food and drinks and arrived home about 8.30pm.

It was a great weekend made special by perfect windless calm West Coast conditions and good company.

Participants were: Rod, Carol, Debbie, Nina, Peter P, Michele, Peter W, Diane, Maaike, Anne, Mary, Kath, (Leader and scribe) and Non members Rob, Della and Donald.

Kahurangi River Waterfall Kahurangi River Waterfall