Whangaparapara Harbour & Hot Springs
Posted by yachtcamomile
After a 2 hour motor from Typhena we arrived in Whangaparapara harbour, I’m gradually getting my tongue around these Maori names.
Our position on 10th February 2012
36º 14.5 south
175º 23.6 east
Whangaparapara is a picturesque harbour with the remains of New Zealand’s last whaling station. Whaling began in New Zealand waters in the 1790’s and peaked in 1839 when over 200 whaling ships of differing nations were recorded in the area. Whangaparapara wasn’t established until 1956 by which time stocks had dwindled and it only remained open for 6 years. Thankfully whaling is now banned in NZ waters. Very little of the station exists. There was also the remains of the Kauri Timber sawmill that closed in 1914. The large sawmill processed logs rafted by sea from the Great Kauri dams that we hoped to see further up the island. Although the tramline servicing these industries had long gone the route had now become a walkway, which we joined with Norman and Sara in the afternoon. We planned to do a short walk in the afternoon and the longer walk to the Hot springs the next day but it ended in quite a long walk.
It climbed steadily up to the Pack track before dropping down to the Awana stream and waterfall, the path then climbed steeply to a plauteau, across a ridge and down to the Wairahi stream which we crossed several times. It was a lovely circuit of about 5 miles which took us about 3 hours.
Later that evening we went to the Whangaparapara lodge for a nice meal.
The next day we started walking up the main road because the signpost said the walk to the Hot Springs was 45 minutes. The road deteriorated to an unsealed road that was difficult to walk on because the stones were very loose. I slipped a few times and managed to fall over cutting my knee and tore my trousers but we kept going. After an hour and a half we found the entrance to the Hot springs road with another signpost saying ….. 45 minutes to the springs. Obviously they were expecting us to be in a car.
The walk to the Hot Springs was very easy with a boardwalk that followed the edge of the Kaitoke swamp leading to the sulphurous hot springs. Damning the Kaitoke creek had created a series of pools. Norman was put off getting in by the warning sign advising you not to put your head under the water because of the risk of contracting amoebic meningitis and Bill thought the weed in the water looked a strange luminous green so also decided not to get in. The water was so shallow there was no chance of putting your head under the water so Sara and I decided to brave the waters. The water was really warm and soft although having raised our body temperatures we felt really hot on the walk back.
After our dip we didn’t want to go back down the dusty road so we crossed the stream and climbed steeply up a different part of the tramline track. We found ourselves walking through beautiful bush with lots of little pools with amazing reflections in them. One part of the track descended through the forest and then rose steeply again. We came to the conclusion that there had probably been a bridge over this section that had been taken down when the tram track was dismantled. We crossed the Forest road for a while which was much wider and marked as a mountain bike track on the map. How the boys would have enjoyed that.
Back on the tramline track we crossed more streams which eventually led to the final part of the track we had walked the day before.
We were almost home when we came across a locked gate and had to squeeze through a narrow opening. I was almost through when I could feel a tugging feeling and discovered my t-shirt had been caught on a tiny bit of barbed wire tearing a hole in it.
So I returned to the boat with torn trousers and a hole in my t-shirt.
Sunday was wet and windy so we stayed on board writing blogs and reading all day. Sometimes it’s nice to do that.
Posted on February 11, 2012, in Circumnavigation, Coastal cruising, Port posts, Redgrove, Sailing, sailing adventure, travel, Westerly, Westerly Sealord and tagged Camomile, Great Barrier Island. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.