Kaitoke Regional Park (7th September 2008)

It was such a gorgeous day and I was not going to put it to waste so texted my walking buddy, Claus, to see if he was keen to do that circuit walk in Brooklyn we had been putting off. Ended up joining him and his friend, Andre, who was visiting from Australia to a LOTR walk in the Hutt. I've not done the walk and was more than happy to join the boys!

Hmm, all three of us weren't sure if we were at the right place. We arrived at Kaitoke Regional Park, about a 45-minute drive from Wellington. The LOTR walk is supposed to be here somewhere...

Had a short stop by a nearby the river that leads to the Hutt River, where the boys were being boys, throwing flat pebbles to see who could throw the furthest. I was minding my own business, taking photos of the gorgeous scenery when Claus ran and grabbed me by my legs, nearly dropping me head first into the water. Claus!! NOOOOOOOO!

After the boys had enough stone-throwing, we hopped back into Claus' car where he drove like an F1 racer in the rubble towards the road. Was so much fun (heck, it wasn't my car hehe...)!

Claus is insane! He stopped the car and dragged me along to the muddy field to chase a random cow!! He gave my camera to Andre who videoed the whole event. Oh my god, it was so funny - the poor cow literally ran for its life when Claus ran towards it. And then Claus decided to run towards me and carried me over his shoulder all the way back to the car! Claus, put me down!! Urgh, sometimes I wish I was taller or bigger in size - he towers over me and there was no way I could free myself :/

There was a dodgy van driving round and round the area so we had to park the car at the lower carpark where there were people around and walked uphill towards the Ridge Track. The 9km track was 3 hours one way and passes through beech forest and offers superb views of the water storage lakes and Upper Hutt Valley. It was quite a slippery, long and at times, steep track. You will need to be reasonably fit to do this walk and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Andre led the pack while Claus trailed behind as he was still recovering from his sprained ankle so had to take it slow.

Stopped at lookout and we could see Kaikoura Ranges. Wow...The view up here was spectacular! Continued on our walk and I got to know Andre a bit better. He's a Brazilian who currently lives in Sydney and is married to an Israeli woman. How interesting!

Came up to a flat clearing and the 3 of us took a break by the bench. Luckily I brought along some muesli bars and fruit because the boys didn't pack anything besides water! Tsk, tsk...

Claus headed back to the car slowly as he wasn't feeling so good while Andre and I continued on and came out the other end at Pakuratahi River where Rivendale was located. We did a 3-hour walk just to get to Rivendale when we could have driven a bit further north and did the river walk in 30 minutes! It didn't bother me that we had to walk for 3 hours - it was a nice day and good exercise but boy, oh, boy, would Claus be mad when he found out...Claus should have followed us because the rest of the walk was less steep and rocky. The poor fella was still making his way to the car when Andre and I finished our walk.

Oh my god, you wouldn't believe this - Andre and I had just hitchhiked with some random couple who stopped to give us a lift! Andre and I were planning to walk on the main road back to the car but the kind Israeli tourists dropped us off. Israelis - how random is that, even more so when Andre is married to one and speaks Hebrew! Life can be full of surprises and amazes me some days.

Andre and I got to the car before Claus...

It was such a beautiful day and I was glad to have joined them for the walk. Pleasure meeting you, Andre - save travels for the rest of your time in NZ. Photos and video taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157607722790881/detail/


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