23 June 2014

Going For A Walk: Urupukapuka Island {Or The Metric System Is Way Too Complicated}

Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands is pretty good size - 207 hectares. Confession. I just googled "hectare" as I really don't know what it means. And now I know why - it is part of the metric system. Once upon a time, I remember when they tried to go metric in the States. It never really caught on. Which is a shame as I was a kid at the time and my brain was a lot more flexible back then. It probably would have made sense to me. Now, it just sounds like gobbledygook. Now there is a word I understand - gobbledygook. My whole blog is dedicated to the art of gobbledygook. 

But back to hectares, if you're interested. A hectare is 10,000 square meters. If you're American, that still may not help you. One hectare is about 2.47 acres. Now it is all starting to make sense. But whether you think in acres or hectares, Urupukapuka is still a pretty big island. And we had one of the best walks we've ever had in New Zealand there. It is full of archaeology, lots of varied scenery and great views. What's not to love.

Our starting point was Paradise Bay. We were the only boat in the anchorage that day - this rarely happens to us in New Zealand. And it's one of the reasons why I chose Paradise Bay as one of my favorite anchorages in New Zealand in this post here. Solitude can be a lovely thing.

    From Paradise Bay, we picked up the southern side of the Paradise Bay loop. You can see it on the map below. The trails are color coded so that you know what you're getting into - green is easier, red is medium and yellow is steeper. If you do the whole thing, it is supposed to take around five hours. We concentrated on the northern part of the island and were mostly yellow walkers, with a touch of red.

    Via Department of Conservation
    Then we walked along the Urupukapuka trail over to the Patake Loop trail. Scott claims that I tried to lose him along the way. Which is completely ridiculous. He is the skipper of the boat and I really can't sail the thing without him. Highly unlikely that I would try to lose him on an island in the middle of the Bay of Islands. The far more reasonable explanation is that he walks slowly and stops often to take pictures.

    There I am - way in the distance. I'm going to have to start wearing brightly colored clothing so Scott can keep track of me. 

    On the northern side of the island, you get more rugged cliffs. I'm always happy when they have stairs. It makes things so much easier. 

    It is a long way up. When I get cranky about walking up hills, I like to remind myself that I've managed to make it up Mt Hobson and do the Tongariro Crossing. This was nothing compared to those walks.

    Scott likes to take pictures looking down from cliffs. Which is fine except he gets right to the edge of the cliff. This makes me very nervous and I keep telling him to move back. This of course causes him to inch forward. You can see why I race ahead of him on our walks. I can't stand watching him almost tumble down the side of a cliff just for the sake of a picture. 

    Next we picked up the Pa Loop track. This is where a lot of the 66 archaeological sites on the island can be found. The Maori occupied the island long before the Europeans showed up. The island is chock full of history - you can read more about it at the Department of Conservation website here. There are a lot of signs which explain what you're seeing.

    The signs are helpful because otherwise, you might not realize that you're walking past an archaeological site. Would you know what this depression was if the sign didn't tell you? 

    This is the Akeake Peninsula. We walked along it and checked out the beach. 

    And some random trivia before I leave you with a final photo - Zane Gray used the Otehei Bay as a base for game fishing which made it popular with the rich and famous. 

    Walk on Sunday, 2 March 2014


    1. Pretty pictures Ellen! I learned via the metric system, and now inches and feet and races are all very confusing to me :)

    2. Thanks Sarah - you're young and have one of those flexible brains that can learn things like metric :-) Do your parents still think in terms of inches and feet or are they more clever than me and have adapted to metric?

    3. Oh interesting! That looks like a great workout with awesome views! Thanks for teaching us about hectares! Haha I never knew about that. Hope to visit New Zealand one day!

      1. Thanks for stopping by the blog! That is one think I like about hiking in NZ - you get some exercise and great views!

    4. Absolutely gorgeous. I would love to walk on an island like this - or even sail to one!

      1. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sail and visit islands like this. Urupukapuka was truly spectacular!


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