Tag Archives: Hike

New Zealand’s Wild West Coast: Truman Track

Driving south along New Zealand’s famous wild west coast, beautiful natural landscapes surrounded us. On one side, mountains loomed high above. The contrast between their hard, rocky faces and the lush greenery that covered them highlighted how isolated and alone we were out here. It seemed like nature was untouched and untainted by man, and it reminded me again of why so many people love this country.

On the other side of us, waves pounded the shore for miles. Their strength generated a spray that covered the coastline in a foggy haze. The wind whipped the crests of the waves and surging white wash covered the sand. It reminded me of Oahu’s North Shore during the winter, but the oddest thing was that it was completely devoid of people. There weren’t any surfers, casual wave watchers, professional photographers or carloads of tourists making their way up and down the coast to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature. We were completely alone out here except for the rare camper van or tour bus that passed us.

We stopped at Irimahuwhero Viewpoint for a photo opp and the view was incredible. You could hear the surf hitting the sand below us and smell the salty sea air with every breath you took. The light shining off the water created dazzling crystal-like effects.

Farther along, we did a short hike at the Truman Track. At this point, we were racing against the weather as dark clouds were rolling in off the water. The Truman Track was an easy trail that led you from the road through a forested area to a rocky lookout. Here you were able to get an up-close and personal feel for the waves and the power they generated.

Being from Hawaii, I definitely have a healthy respect for the ocean and am more familiar with it than many of people with whom I traveled. It was really interesting to see how people reacted to the swells as they tumbled over rocky outcrops. Many were simply amazed by it all and couldn’t seem to take enough photos.

I, however, was more interested in watching the battle between the storm clouds and the sun. Just like in Australia’s Red Center, the sky here seemed to go on forever. With nothing to obstruct your view, the horizon stretched on for miles and seemed insanely far away. With this backdrop, I stood transfixed and simply watched the storm advance across the sky and prepare its siege against the happy sun.

Before I could really watch the action unfold, it was time to return to the bus and make one last stop before pulling into Greymouth for the night. So, with a heavy heart, I said farewell to ensuing battle between the sun and the storm.

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Filed under Attraction, Hiking, Nature, New Zealand, Travel

Uluru – Walk Around the Rock

After watching an awesome sunrise, we headed to Uluru to walk halfway around the base. Up close, Uluru was massive and its color was extremely vibrant. Perhaps all those postcards I’d seen didn’t use Photoshop after all?

As we walked around the base, several other people joined us. I think they must’ve been another Adventure Tours group. Along the trail, there were certain areas with signs posted forbidding photography of sacred Anangu areas. I found this a little ineffective, but what else could they do? There weren’t any security guards and I assume there were no hidden cameras, so it was a personal choice whether to listen to the signs or not.

The walk around the base was flat but a layer of small red rocks covered the ground making it hard to get a grip. Your feet would slide out or sink so it was actually a good morning workout trying to keep your balance.

As we completed the route, we got to the area that was the beginning of the Uluru climb. It was open now despite being closed due to high winds an hour ago. Many people from around the world come specifically to do the Uluru climb, like Mel from England and Christina from Germany who were on my tour. The local Aboriginal people, the Anangu, discourage the walk because Uluru is sacred to them. Again, it’s a personal choice whether or not you do the climb.

Now that it was open, Mel and Christina wanted to hike up Uluru. Jason wouldn’t let them because he said we didn’t have the time. Instead, they joined us for a guided walk with an Anangu man and an interpreter.

Personally, I wouldn’t have done the climb out of respect for the Anangu culture (and because the route was extremely steep and people have died falling from it). But, I think Jason should have allowed Mel and Christina to hike at least part of the way while we did the cultural walk. Climbing Uluru would’ve meant more to them than going on the guided tour.

On the tour, an Anangu man spoke to us in his language and was very succinctly. Then, the Aussie interpreter would translate what he said and speak forever about Uluru and the Anangu culture. It was as if the native man was just a showpiece to impress the tourists. It was really disgusting.

The Anangu man only spoke in his language, but it was clear he understood English when people asked questions. However, the interpreter would go through the charade of translating the question into the native language and wait for a response. For all we knew, they were talking about rugby teams or a popular TV show.

Slide Album: Uluru Base Walk

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Filed under Attraction, Australia, Culture, Hiking, Nature, Travel