MANUKA AND BEECH FOREST
The first part of the walk is a pleasant mix of bush and forest environments. This part of the walk takes approximately 1.5 - 2 hours and climbs to the vantage point at Totara Saddle, where a picnic lunch is served. Extensive views of the ocean to mountain tops can be enjoyed. After lunch the track begins with a downhill section to the stream below. Climbing gently through a beech and ancient totara forest, you will emerge on to alpine meadows. From here the first view of Shearwater Lodge can be seen. The last hour of the walk traverses several streams before reaching Shearwater Lodge where you will be welcomed by our team. Simply take in the atmosphere and let the cares of the world become a distant memory with a complimentary glass of wine.
After a hearty breakfast, leave behind Shearwater Lodge where the track traverses Happy Valley and you will enjoy the alpine vista of spectacularly rugged mountains which rise steeply from each side of the valley.
A keen eye should be on the alert for red deer, Arapawa sheep and the elusive, and nimble, chamois. Leaving the valley we climb up on to a high ridge arriving at Surveyor's Peak Lookout. The panoramic views from here are simply breathtaking and if the skies are clear, you can see as far south as Banks Peninsula and as far north as the eastern coast of the North Island. You may enjoy a picnic lunch at Surveyor's Peak or return to Shearwater Lodge for a late lunch. The afternoon then allows time to relax, explore, or just savour the delights of this alpine environment from the comfort of Shearwater Lodge.
After breakfast, take a leisurely walk to the beautiful Beverley Falls through the ancient forest. Lunch is served at Shearwater Lodge and after, it is time for the walk out. A different track is taken to that on the way in and much of this is downhill following the ridge line before re-entering the beech forest. Once again, there are plenty of opportunities to see the birdlife and wild animals on the descent. The end of the track, and return to Puhi Peaks Station, is reached at approximately 4.30 pm where your luggage and transport back to Kaikoura will be waiting. Arrival time in Kaikoura is approximately 5.30pm.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALK
You will need to have at least average fitness with good mobility and be able to walk for 4-8 hours over mountain tracks each day. Your guide will ensure a walking pace suitable to the level of fitness of the group. There is an emphasis on interpretation, of the environment, flora and fauna, so the group will stop regularly. The track surface varies from smooth, well-formed paths to uneven terrain with occasional rocks, stones and tree roots. Your personal luggage is transported ahead to the lodge, so you only need to carry a small daypack for wet weather gear, warm sweater, hat and gloves, sunhat and personal items such as camera, drink, sunscreen, and your medication should you require it.
A unique aspect of this trip is that a member of a group unable to walk any or all the distance can be transported by tracked 4WD vehicle to the lodge. This ensures that a person with restricted physical fitness or ability, can join the group in the alpine environment and also enjoy the experience.
You will be transferred from and to your Kaikoura accommodation or the Visitor Centre by comfortable 4WD vehicle.
Shearwater Lodge was purpose-built with comfort and enjoyment in mind. Set in a spectacular alpine valley and serviced by a modern eco-friendly electricity supply, the lodge has six guest-rooms, accommodating up to twelve on a twin-share basis.
Rooms are super-king or twin king-single according to preference, and each room has its own ensuite bathroom, with linen and toiletries provided. On the private deck directly off your room, you'll enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery nature has to offer, anywhere in the world.
The lodge's large guest lounge provides the perfect place to mingle and relax; comfortable leather sofas and a stone fireplace are framed by remarkable views outside, and the outdoor deck surrounding the area is irresistible. Although the scenery is spectacular, be prepared to find your gaze diverted suddenly by resident wildlife. Deer or chamois drifting quietly amongst the golden tussocks, native songbirds in the trees below and inquisitive Kea who love to shuffle along the balcony in search of mischief, all regularly captivate visitors.
All meals are provided. Breakfasts, picnic lunches and fine New Zealand dinners with complimentary pre-dinner wine.
Please take as little as possible into the lodge. Just take what you need for 2/3days. Any remaining luggage will be kept secure, if not left at your Kaikoura accommodation, ie hotel/motel. A suitable sized holdall is provided for your personal belongings and will be dropped off at your accommodation the night before your walk.
Daypacks, waterproof jackets and walking sticks are available for loan.
The micro-hydro system is for essential appliances only. Please do not use hairdryers.
Comfortable walking boots or sturdy walking shoes with good ankle support and suitable for river/stream crossings.
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm sweater (fleece or micro fleece top)
- Hat and gloves (fleece or woollen)
- Sun hat
- Your medication (should you require it)
- Woollen or polypropylene thermal underwear (top & bottom)
- Woollen or thermal socks
- Shorts or trousers for walking NB Jeans are not suitable for walking in
- T shirts or suitable tops, including long sleeve protection from the sun
- Warm socks, slippers or lightweight shoes
- Casual daywear or similar
- Walking pole(s)