A walk in the forest… Or how to follow the trail NZ style.

Recently we were tramping through parts of the Coromandel Forest Park. In the evening, around the coals fires ( sheer luxury!) we got round to discussing how New Zealand differs from the usual trails where the other visitors to the hut came from. First up was the fact that no animal was about to eat them, bite them or trample them (bears, snakes and elephants were mentioned in that order). Next came the unexpected variety and density of the vegetation. Bush bashing is a term often used by kiwi trampers to describe having to force their way through the scrub and plants and creeping vines. And then there was appreciation for the trail markers, placed by Rangers and volunteers along the trails to show the route, and how we all relied and trusted the orange triangle. And a bit of lively discussion about the “natural” state of the trail through the forest rather than carefully manicured paths. There are a few such paths around, but not many.

These points were also made by a young American who cheerfully stumbled into a hut after nightfall. Despite not being able to see more than a metre or so in front of him in the gloom under the tree canopy due to torch problems, repeatedly plodding  through ankle-deep mud pools and ruts and stumbling on tree roots, he was just so relieved not to have to worry about bears as well. And spotting an occasional orange triangle as he came along re-assured him that he wasn’t wandering around lost. Sort of puts it into perspective really.

So, we thought, tongue in cheek, why not take you on a walk through some forest, New Zealand style. The following is an imaginary trail through our North Island forest using real photographs we’ve taken.

First thing is to find the entrance notice board.
First thing is to find the entrance notice board.
Then keep an eye out for the orange triangles marking the route...
Then keep an eye out for the orange triangles marking the route…
Check and see which direction its pointing...
Check and see which direction its pointing…
And there might even be a signpost. Still very rare sight on most trails.
And there might even be a signpost. Still very rare sight on most trails.
We start off walking along the Forestry Service access road.
We start off walking along the Forestry Service access road.
Which changes into a footpath, and the plants start to make their presence felt...
Which changes into a footpath, and the plants start to make their presence felt…
And we soon meet our first water hazard...
And we soon meet our first water hazard…
And here's how we cross...
And here’s how we cross…
As demonstrated by Sharlene.
As demonstrated by Sharlene.
Kauri trees stand like guardians throughout the forest.
Kauri trees stand like guardians throughout the forest.
And one starts to get a sense of scale within the forest.
And one starts to get a sense of scale within the forest.
Gradually the trail becomes more basic.
Gradually the trail becomes more basic.
But orange triangles offer re-assurance.
But orange triangles offer re-assurance.
And from time to time, signposts helpfully point the way.
And from time to time, signposts helpfully point the way.
Although the path may take surprising routes...
Although the path may take surprising routes…
Just keep following the triangle..
Just keep following the triangle..
And take advantage of any equipment put in place. This guide rope is here to assist in times of flooding...
And take advantage of any equipment put in place. This guide rope is here to assist in times of flooding…
Sometimes it gets a little steep.
Sometimes it gets a little steep.
Check where you've come from from time to time. It helps boost your sense of achievement.
Check where you’ve come from from time to time. It helps boost your sense of achievement.
Remember, take advantage of all equipment available, including stairs.
Remember, take advantage of all equipment available, including stairs.
Yes, the stairs.
Yes, the stairs.
Or rungs...
Or rungs…
They are there for your safety.
They are there for your safety.
Follow instructions.
Follow instructions.
And at the top, sit for a moment and take in the view...
And at the top, sit for a moment and take in the view…
And appreciate where you'll be staying the night.
And appreciate where you’ll be staying the night.

Why not compare it with your local area/ experience and let us know what you think?

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