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East Coast Holiday: Panekire Bluffs

We didn’t have time to do the full Lake Waikaremoana great walk but I still convinced Keryn that we should do a section of the track. The Panekire Bluff rises high above the southern shoreline and promised great views, if only the weather would play along. It didn’t look good as we drove to the starting point, the top of the bluff shrouded in cloud.

The intention was to walk to a point called the Bald Knob and then turn back, 3 hours one way. We shared the track with a family who were starting the great walk, planning on taking 6 days to complete the circuit. There was plenty of motivation in seeing three kids (the youngest would have been about 8?) walking with their parents up the relentless slope that was the first hour, everyone loaded up with gear (Mum and Dad having far more than the kids).

We huffed and puffed out way uphill and then along the ridge which meandered up and down with viewpoints appearing regularly. One attraction for me was the so called goblin forest found on the back of the ridgeline, the trees draped with moss and fading into a white distance when the clouds were low.

IMG 2345Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking along the rising bluff

IMG 2370Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Keryn stands in the goblin forest

IMG 2366Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Clouds claim the forest

We walked for about 3 and a half hours before finally taking an extended break for lunch. Along the way we stopped often to look for birds and were rewarded with sightings of whitehead (popokotea) and tiny rifleman (titipounamu). I’m not sure if we ended up at the Bald Knob, the area we found was just off the main track in an area of eroded clay and rock and there were a couple of trampers there who had come from the hut a few hours further on. The views were very good, though I got nervous every time I looked at the edge of the cliff a few feet from where we sat.

IMG 2397Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A lunchtime view

IMG 2409Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Its a long way down

The return journey was faster, we stopped less and had more down than up to contend with. The sun even came out a few times and the cicadas were in full chorus as we walked down to where the car was parked.

IMG 2412Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A mountain cabbage tree spotted on the bluff

IMG 2416Photo by Brendon & Keryn

More interesting trees (you do like trees don’t you?)

IMG 2424Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Taking in the view

IMG 2430Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The cloud now higher

Showers were taken and food cooked while we avoided the crowds of kids being served their dinner. One more night and then we’d be off towards Gisborne.

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