Alison Pask shares a short overview from walking the dramatic coastline of the Banks Peninsula Track, a hidden treasure in Aotearoa.
Starting in Akaroa, a 90-minute drive from Christchurch, this 3-day walk covers a 30 km journey reaching heights of up to 699m.
The track takes you through scenic bays, cliffs overhanging the rugged coast, farmland, established and regenerating forests, streams, over the rim of an extinct volcano and through a penguin colony.
The diverse scenery is both beautiful and dramatic and there is an abundance of vibrant wildlife, including many native birds such as kereru as well as an array of flora and fauna.
As a way to diversify their farming income, a number of local families collaborated by utilising old farm buildings and sheep tracks to open the first private walking track in 1989. The track is still run by local farming families and must be booked in advance as there is a maximum of 16 walkers each day which ensures this paradise remains authentic and unspoilt.
Delicious homegrown produce can be purchased at the hut on the last night to supplement your own supplies.
We visited in October, during the penguin breeding season, so took advantage of joining a tour to learn about the dedicated conservation efforts to ensure the penguins long term survival at Flea Bay.
- When planning a tramping trip plan for all seasons. Despite being October, we walked through snow, rain, fierce winds, fog and sunshine.
- Stay hydrated and carry plenty of water. I usually carry about 2.5 litres/water/day; however, this does depend on the distance, temperature and level of difficulty.
- Training is helpful. Walking for one or two days is fine but limbs start to hurt on the third day and despite decreasing quantities of food to carry my pack always seems to appear heavier as the days go on.
- Invest in good quality shoes and socks.
- A head torch is useful for moving about in the dark when there is no electricity.
- Read the instructions clearly. An “aha” moment for one of our party occurred when they rehydrated dinner with 5 cups of water when the instructions called for 4/5th of a cup of water! This unplanned soup meal was memorable for all the wrong reasons!
- I love my walking poles! Others in our party made fun of me with my poles but I find they really help my short legs make the distance.
- Take it slowly, stop often to savor the views and remember the tortoise won the race!
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To find out more about booking this walk click here