On the first sunny Saturday in December, I expected the Shine Falls track to be full of families trekking their way down to the falls for a swim - this walk is along a relatively flat track, safe, and with barely any uphill. Hence, you could imagine my surprise when we made it all 2km to the falls without passing another person!
If you're afraid of heights, cliffs, rocks, or being out of cellphone coverage - stay away from this walk. If those four things excite you greatly, then this walk is for you. Well, at least until the fun police turn up and fence everything off.
Mt Kaukau - the big mountain in Wellington with the giant transmitter on top. It' s the one place that you can see from pretty much anywhere in Wellington, and one of the places that makes most people say 'oh Mt Kaukau, I keep meaning to walk to the top but I haven't done it yet' (seriously, say to five people you've walked Mt Kaukau and that response will be one of the five).
If ever there was a day where I wish a drone would deliver me red bull into the middle of nowhere, and a host of other things to give me energy, today would have been it. A night in a hut with 25 others, rustling sleeping bags, and a body covered in sandfly bites meant my energy levels today were non existent - less than ideal for a full on day of hiking.
If you'd told me before starting this walk that I'd eventually reach the point that upon coming across another beautiful secluded beach I'd take a quick glance and keep walking I would have said you're crazy. But there's just so many stunning beaches on this walk that after a while you become quite picky about what ones you actually want to spend time at.
Field Hut is one of the oldest huts in New Zealand. It's had some work done to it over its nearly 100 year life span, but it still holds up remarkably well. There's lots of old photos on the wall of the guys that cleared the area and built the Hut, along with their stories. It makes for interesting reading and provides a neat point of difference for the Hut. It also has a helicopter pad attached to it if you want to save your thighs from burning and just fly on in!
The research says that New Zealand's environment is the number one reason visitors come here, and one of the most popular places has got to be Milford Sound - and after my first visit, I understand why. This place is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and you will spend most of your time here either taking in your surroundings in silenced awe, or exclaiming to the person next to you 'oh. my. god, it's just SO beautiful'.