Adventure doesn’t always need to be hardcore and Aotea is the perfect place to switch off, explore and enjoy New Zealands nature at it’s finest. Beautiful stretches of white sand ocean beaches surround the shoreline on the east coast while sheltered bays boarder the west.
A mere 19 kilometers separate the Coromandel Peninsular from the Southern tip of Barrier. Dramatic peaks pierce the sky, especially the summit of Hirakimata (Mt Hobson) a pointy rocky outcrop 621m above sea level.
We were instantly at home, time almost stood still as we rolled into Harataonga beach, set up camp before heading out on the water. First stop exploring Rakitu Island (Arid Island). The 4 km paddle out from the main island seems somewhat remote with very little between this island and South America. Blue seas and dramatic cliffs surround the island as we paddle around just taking it in. Seals swimming around the boats and countless caves cut into the rugged cliffs overtime, to explore. This was paradise.
From here we headed North for the Northern Tip of Barrier, into the open ocean. Passing by the pristine white sand of Whangapoua beach, with Dolphins swimming and out into one of NZ’s unsung wilderness areas, an absolute paradise of Mother Nature. Rugged cliffs crashed into the Ocean ahead, as we left the beaches behind us. Countless birds soared above us – As well as epic scenery Great Barrier is also home to a wide range of endangered species particularly birds including the North Island Kaka, Banded Rail, Black Petrel, NZ Dotterel and Oyster Catchers. Countless Tui keep you alert in the bush with endless song.
With over 60% of the island under Department of Conservation ownership, Great Barrier also has incredible hiking through conservation land. Leaving the kayaks at the beach it’s possible to head out for countless walks. From visiting local hot pools in the Kiatoke Valley climbing Mt Hobson or exploring the coastal Harataonga Walkway there was endless exploring to do.
We headed West across the island to explore Blind Bay and Whangaparapara Harbour. Here the scenery changes from stunning beaches to sheltered inlets and historic sites showcasing New Zealand’s past and the first European settlers here in the mid 1800’s as the whaling, forestry and mining industries were established.
As we beached our boats for the last time. Our 7 day mini adventure was over. Exploring this epic place before loading up and heading back to the mainland. All I can say is GO.
Side Note: Captain James Cook named NZ’s 4th largest landmass “Great Barrier” on his exploration of the Southern Ocean as the 245 km2 island acted as a formidable barrier protecting the Hauraki Gulf from the Pacific Ocean.
Side Note: Kauri Dieback is a disease that is threatening Kauri with extinction. First found in 1972 on Great Barrier Island it has spread throughout the upper North Island. While there is no cure there’s plenty we can do to slow the spread. Visit www.kauridieback.co.nz
Shot on assignment for NRS.
The food Ordeal.
Getting to the Olivine is as much of the challenge as getting across it. Its’ sheer remoteness & with access only permitted by foot our expedition was faced with a real problem – Weight. On a trip like this the bare minimum of equipment required to stay safe and energized is phenomenal. We needed a product that could provide high quality, high performing nutrition to function in an exposed, remote and energy sapping environment. Radix was the perfect addition. The highest of quality nutrients combined with an incredible weight: calorie equation. We needed performance out of our food and the expedition range provided. 30+ meals were packed into the bottom of our packs bringing our total pack weight to just over 33kgs – It was going to be tough going.
On a trip of this magnitude, surrounded by high exposure situation constantly, safety is no accident. It’s important to be prepared for whatever can happen. You’re remote and isolated traversing through some of the most rugged and wild big country of the New Zealand wilderness. Our journey saw us traveling by water, over ice, abseiling through rivers, using a roadmap of alpine creeks and fighting our way through the bush.
It’s vital to carry the right equipment, keep hydrated and constantly fuelled. Our daily routine included ensuring we broke for a Radix lunch to keep the energy up but make sure we didn’t become clumsy or make mistakes late in the day. An Inreach or Spot is a must if you’re heading out on the mission. It’s also important to make sure you have a first aid kit, emergency blanket and sleeping bag. Weather adds to the mix. Any travel in the NZ Alpine is constantly battling the ever-changing weather situations and this trip was no different. Crossing the Ice Plateau our eyes were constantly watching the changing skyline to beat the encroaching front. To battle the weather it’s important to have the right gear especially when you’re heading out into the bush.
This trip was multiple days of beautiful but tough trekking, enjoying the best NZ has on off, miles from anywhere. Just getting out there and being in nature. In the end we solved the puzzle of the plateau with a solid plan, a very lucky weather window, some stamina and supplies, and it was all time.
This trip was supported by Radix Nutrition, Pivotel Satellite, Ortlieb, Queenstown Packrafting, Hillary Collection & Canon.