Where? Just northwest of Nelson, at the top end of South Island lies Kahurangi National Park. At just over 425,000 hectares, its New Zealand’s second largest national park. On a world scale, it may be small,but for biodiversity and geographical scale, it certainly punches above its weight!
It’s rugged interior of mountain, forest, bush and tablelands have formed an integral part of New Zealand history and local character. From naive gold mining schemes to ambitious hydroelectric dams, commercial forestry, cattle and sheep farming to asbestos mining, it’s all been tried and hard fought for. Fought for against Nature, and usually, Nature won.
Now its a challenging opportunity to tramp/ hike around the trails blazed around the Park, and wonder anew at how courageous (crazy?) the pioneers were. Imagine raising a family in a canvas tent with snow over your knees every time you step outside. Social services would have a field day expressing their opinion today, yet hundreds of families did it into the the late 1940’s!
Not just the forest has thrived. We spotted some baby Weka (Gallirallus australis) and mum as we tramped in the early evening, and in the morning “dad” paid a visit to the hut. Actually, he managed to steal my entire roll of toilet paper from the top of my rucksack before I could stop him! This wasn’t the only experience we had of fearless Weka as a few kms away another one followed us for about 200m along the track, and actually waded through the stream when I was taking photo’s.
It was so fearless, it tried stealing the shoe laces out of my boots!