Sunday, January 18, 2009

Walking the Paths of the Dead

Sure, it sounds a bit melodramatic - but if you're a Lord of the Rings junkie (like me) you know what I'm talking about. The rather desolate scenery used to create the Paths of the Dead are actually located in a reserve called the Putangirua Pinnacles.
We decided to use Wellington Anniversary weekend to head southeast and explore the Cape Palliser area, which includes the Pinnacles reserve. The entrance to the reserve is also a campground, so we stayed there for the night. Unfortunately, it's a fairly exposed campground, so the wind was gusting like mad! Our tent pegging skills were put to the test. OK, to be honest they were G's tent pegging skills. I helped though. And the tent did managed to stay on the ground at all times!

We spent our afternoon walking in the reserve. There is a loop track along a bush track, up to a lookout over the Pinnacles, and then back to the campground via the stream bed. That was a bit short for us, so we carried on after the turn off to the lookout, and joined up with a 4 wheel drive track in Aorangi Forest Park (or Haurangi Forest Park - it seems to have two spellings.) This track, I believe, is mainly used by hunters. However, the track turns into a foot-only track before you get to the first hut.

We turned around where the track narrowed, and headed back to the lookout. It's a wood platform with a view of the largest section of eroded hoodoos. (There are other little sections visible as you head up the valley.)

For those who have seen these in the LOTR, it's a bit surprising to see that they are so surrounded by green hillsides. The Pinnacles themselves cover quite a small area. It's a landscape you might expect to find in a desert, rather than a forest. I guess the extent of the erosion is a testament to the kinds of winds that whip through the valley! No wonder the campground was so gusty.Despite the wind, we managed to light our stove and make dinner in the shelter of a flax plant. If you're thinking of camping out there, bring lots of water with you. The only water source appears to be the trickle of a stream. Since we were car camping anyway, we just filled up some extra containers at home.

The rest of our trip in Cape Palliser coming soon to this very blog...


The Adventure Channel said...

Nice pictures!

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