We had a big plan for our last free weekend before Christmas. After a few evenings, spent by looking for a right track, we finally decided to drive up north to Lake Taupo and do a multi-day track in the Kaimanawa Forest.
In the sunny afternoon, our journey easily went by and we also managed to avoid to the usual Friday’s traffic jam when everybody tries to escape from Wellington. After a short dinner break, which we ate with a company of calm sheep, we arrived at our camping spot when it was already dark.
The next day morning brought a disappointment. The hills were covered in dense clouds and showered by the persistent rain, there was no point to climb up to the hills with no chance of any good views. Time to change our plans.
The first replacement - Pillars of Hercules track - was not a big success. After a few meters, the path of the track got overgrown and as we were struggling through vegetation we got totally wet. Eventually, we lost the path completely. The highlight of this track was a view from swing bridge.
On the contrary, the Tree Trunk Gorge track was a much better choice. It was a nice easy walk through the native bush with a few crossings over the streams and it ended with an amazing view of pure water rushing through a narrow gorge.
While looking for a place where we’d stay over the night, we found a little lake Rotopounamu At the beginning of the loop around the lake, we met a Polish guy, who had been travelling in New Zealand for a couple of months and we made the loop together.
The place for overnight stay we found near the Okupata Cave - in the middle of nowhere. The road there was in terrible conditions. The rain had created deep gullies across the unsealed road and our poor old car could hardly cope with it. No signal and more constant rain made up ideal conditions for Jakub’s tragical scenarios of being stuck there and never get back again.
The situation escalated when suddenly, in the middle of the night, a funny noise started to coming out from the car engine. A naughty possum biting our car cables! The possum would have really laughed seeing Jakub with a torch, running around the car in the middle of the night, during heavy rain and trying to frighten it off by knocking and banging on the bonnet of our car.
Luckily, the possum probably found something better to eat then our cables because the next day morning we easily started up and drove away right after we’d had a quick look at near cave entrance.
Therefore, all that panic was for nothing. However, the next time we’ll try to find a place closer to civilisation. Or at least, closer to cell phone signal. Just in case.