Kaikoura Coastal Track

The lure of hills and sea is quite powerful and this little jaunt combines this with the luxury of carrying only a day pack. Its a private walk, wandering over farmland for three days and utilising some farm buildings for overnight shelter.

It is more luxurious than the traditional tramp, hot water and flush toilets, decent beds and of course your luggage is move from one place to another. One group with us when we walked the track took this to extremes with mammoth chilly bins moving each day to provide a gourmet meal and lots of alcohol. We looked a bit cheap in comparison.

They have changed to organisation since the map above.was published. These days you start at the northern end, on the coast and walk along the beach for several km. Keep you eye open for dolphins ( a pod wandered alongside us) and whales.

Then  head inland and sit down with a glass of wine at the first cottage. The views are superlative: sea, gentle hills to walk over and the imposing snowcapped Kaikoura range in the distance.

Day two sees you climbing to a high point on the ridge where a shelter proves rather useful. There is a stove and tea and biscuits are tucked in tins behind the wall.

It is a great place to sit in the sun and relax. Nothin more to do except walk down the hill to find a shower, more wine and more food. The days are not long, perhaps 12km each at most, and the height gain is around 750m. This is gentle peaceful stuff.

The final day needs a bus drive down the road to the old start. Then there is a fairly stiff climb onto the tops before a lovely track wanders down through the paddocks and ocasional section of native bush, back to the starting point.

The only fly in the ointment was a wasp, which stung my foot as i removed my socks at the end of the day.

I am not sure this is tramping, but for a gentle bit of exercise, lots of comfort and beautiful scenery you wont do much better. It can be busy so it is obviously working. Ring before you set off t make sure there is room for you.

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