54 Days on the Road
Some things just don’t look real in New Zealand. The Blue Springs at Putaruru looked too clear to be natural, the stalactites of the Ruakuri Caves looked too pearly white… Today, we are going to wander a forest that will add to that list of New Zealand playing tricks with our eyes!
So yesterday, we had a bit of a fail on Mt Taranaki when the weather basically forced us back down the mountain. It’s a little windy again today, but we are going to tackle a hike lower down the mountain, within the sheltered forests of the Egmont National Park. More specifically, along the Enchanted Track (yes, that’s really the name of it)!
Overwhelmed with signposts
The drive into the national park from Stratford is pretty enchanted among the tall mossy trees. Who knows where this road will take us?!?! (Actually, we do know. We took it yesterday). It takes us to the Stratford Mountain Lodge where we check out the incredible list of hikes all signposted on a Department of Conservation sign. Admittedly, this did cause a little confusion as to how to get to the Enchanted Track, but we finally figured out that the start is on the Kamahi Loop Track, which we take to go into the forest.
An overwhelming description of the Enchanted Forest
Wow. We can see where this track got its name from. Tree branches covered in moss, mushrooms, other trees and flax leaves, make an arch above the walking track. Instead of growing straight, these tree branches look like they’ve taken a few detours on their way up to the top of the forest canopy, saying hi to a few other tree branches here, saying whatup to a few branches there. To add to that enchanted effect, these are not the most stable trees, so they are dramatically swaying in the wind. There is a huge crack when tree trunks collide!
Looking up, there are heaps of patterns to be made from the tree branches above in contrast to the sky. It is impossible to get a bad photo of this wild forest. We feel like Snow White right now going through that dodgy forest in the movie – a dream of Robins. But Laura certainly doesn’t look like snow white in a ski jackets and some appallingly baggy waterproof overpants.
An overwhelming 360 image of an Enchanted Forest
Pigeons on steroids
We only bump into one other couple on this whole hike. Otherwise, it’s just us, the trees, the native birds, and Instagram. (Man, these trees pull a lot of likes in). But back to the native birds, there’s some pretty crazy-looking birds endemic to New Zealand. For instance, we see a wood pigeon, which looks like your normal street pigeon but on steroids. They are larger, fatter and green. Then there’s the tui with two white feathery balls under its neck, which doesn’t look as weird as it sounds. Speaking of sound, the tui’s birdsong is pretty bizarre, sounding like C3PO from Star Wars or the birds from The Hunger Games.
We hike to various different streams and guess what the rocks are covered in? Moss! So much moss! It’s even growing on tiny plants that shouldn’t hold moss. What is going on here?
An enchanted sandwich and a lazy evening
Our enchanted hike ends with a not-so-enchanted sandwich back at the campervan in the Stratford Holiday Park. Although that was a super pretty hike, we are kind of thankful to get out of the wind and rain. Plus, that tiredness hits us. Partly from the hike and partly from having such an epic New Zealand gap year. We drive back to the holiday park and just chill out for the rest of the day. We’re talking TV shows on the laptop, we’re talking boardgames, we’re talking food, we’re talking sleeping! What a crazy night!
Which way should we go? (To be fair, we don
Tomorrow we are leaving Stratford to explore more of the Taranaki region. Next stop: Opunaki. Join us then! But don’t leave without liking us on Facebook and feasting your eyes on these articles:
- 6 Hikes You Have to do in Egmont National Park!
- 5 Walks You Have to do in Stratford, Taranaki
- 11 Animals and Birds Unique to New Zealand
See you tomorrow, travel tramps!