Day 204 on the Road
A Classic New Zealand Bushwalk in Geraldine
Today we are doing the Orari Gorge Track in Geraldine. If you like this video and want more NZ bucket list inspiration from our 365 Days: 365 Activities then head on over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
Today we’re going to be hiking through the dense and dark forest of the Orari Gorge.
Today we’re in Geraldine which is a town in the Canterbury region of the South Island and it’s surrounded by some really awesome hikes only about 20 minutes drive away and the hike that we’re gonna be doing today is the Orari Gorge Track.
The Orari Gorge Track is situated right next to a Department of Conservation campsite and we don’t really know much about this track other than its name so we’re expecting to be walking alongside a river gorge but the deeper we get into the forest we realise that that’s certainly not the case and like you should never judge a book by its cover you should never judge a track by its name.
the Orari Gorge Track is an hour and a half loop track meaning that we’re gonna be finishing our walk right where we started it which is pretty handy. The beginning of the track follows an old bush tramway used to extract logs how did this tramway make it through this really thick bush is just beyond me.
The Orari Gorge Track is a classic kiwi walk it starts really well maintained and then becomes rough really quickly and the bush becomes thicker as we go forward there is a lot of totara kahikatea matai kanuka, it’s a beautiful regenerating forest with heaps of wildlife.
It doesn’t take us long for us to spot one of New Zealand’s iconic native birds. this one is called the fantail or in Maori it’s known as the piwaka or piwakawaka and it’s named after its beautiful fan-like tail which allows it to do all these acrobatic movements in the air to catch some bugs. And this one looks like it has caught something already and the reason why the fantails do so well in New Zealand and the fact that they are the most common native bird is because they produce a large number of young and feed their young up to a 100 times a day. That’s no joke.
We eventuaLLY PULL OURSELVES AWAY FROM WATCHING THat really cute fantail and the further along the track we get the rougher it gets. There’s a lot of muddy patches a lot of roots sticking out but thankfully there are a few bridges to cross the streams which i really didn’t expect on this track the way things are going.
Nevertheless we really do like these sorts of hikes where it is a bit rougher cos it makes it feel more like an adventure and the fact that you feel more like you’re going into the wilderness.
This hike starts getting steeper and steeper as we move forward and it’s really cool because it becomes a real challenge plus the vegetation surrounding us is absolutely amazing and we always take the time to spot a lot of unusual things in New Zealand forests such as this really weird thing.
Laura and I have no idea what that is but if you do know comment below because we really want to know what the hell this thing is we think there is a spider that has cocooned itself inside a little bit of bark and is hanging down the trees and making its way down to the bottom of the forest but we really not sure what that was. Moving on more along the track we are seeing heaps of roots on the floor beautiful ferns everywhere it’s the typical New Zealand forest. And the track is finally getting really rough. There is quite few DOC tracks that are very well signposted and very well marked all along but are a little bit more rough than the classic New Zealand track that you will find in most hot spots for tourists.
And this challenging track is becoming a little bit much for Laura although we are challenging ourselves to tackle 365 activities around in New Zealand in only 365 days we have spent the last 25 days doing all sorts of activities but no hikes which are usually quite physically demanding so right now she’s huffing and puffing.
Looks like there is an opening Laura.
It’s just so relentless. It doesn’t stop.
After being in the forest for almost an hour we finally see a clearing there is daylight ahead of us so we all of a sudden end up on the top of this huge mountain with views of surrounding mountains and forest around us and I’m super happy to find that there is a bench here.
Like I said before, we had no idea what to expect from this track but turns out what we thought was a river gorge track has an epic viewpoint at the top of a mountain so after soaking in the views we’re then heading back into what we assume is now the downhill section of this walk but turns out the downhill section is pretty slippery.
Woo. Ok, Get rid of that now. Stop playing games.
Here’s why I chose the steepest side first or what I thought was the steepest side first so we didn’t have to go downhill like that.
The downhill part of the track is really not for the feint hearted we are slipping a lot on the muddy floor as well as all the leaf that are right on top of it. It feels like the entire forest is working together into making it as slippery as possible so we spend a lot of time hugging trees hoping that they will hold on while we are trying to make our wya downhill. When the gradient of the track is finally becoming flat and it’s a bit more bearable we can start getting some speed and finishing to round up this whole loop track but not before checking out some more new zealand native bird waiting for us among the trees and this time it’s a beautiful bellbird.
The Bellbird or korimako in Maori is really famous in new zealand because it has a really distinct noise and it’s really fun to listen to. The bellbird is also a nectar feeding bird which is quite interesting because that means that they mostly use their tongue which if you look really closely you can actually see the tongue of the bird which is really fascinating.
Laura is spending a good quarter of an hour taking pictures of that beautiful bellbird which is not too shy. for once a bird is willing to be photographed that’s awesome.
Then we hop back onto the campervan toward the little township of Geraldine for tonight.
So it’s been 25 days since we’ve done a hike in New Zealand which is crazy considering there is heaps of hikes and there has been loads of hikes since we have been travelling that we last did a hike at tunnel beach in Dunedin but this just goes to show how varied the activities are in New Zealand and how much there is to do that in 25 days we haven’t even needed to do a hike of course we’d always love to do a hike but when people say hey we have this you can do we go do it.