The Rakiura National Park takes up a big part of Stewart Island. There is a short 3-day track, the Rakiura Great Walk, or you can go on longer, 7-12-day tracks that take you through very secluded forest. I decided to do part of the Rakiura Great Walk from Lee Bay to Māori Beach and back into town. Besides the track to the North Arm hut, this part of the walk is the most scenic. I decided against walking from town for the first stretch to Lee Bay as it was going to be along the road only, but walked it back to get the experience and see some more things along the way like a telephone on a tree.
Again, the sky was quite overcast in the morning, but the sun came out around noon allowing me to take some nice photos with blue sky on the way back from Māori Beach. Māori Beach used to be home to a vibrant timber milling community, but has been abandoned for a long time now and all the buildings are gone. There are just a few pieces of machinery left to tell the tale of bygone years. The path from Lee Bay to Māori Beach winds itself through the forest, dips down to Little River, but then stays above the bays. Despite that, there is plenty of ups and downs making this a 1.5-2-hour tramp.
Māori Beach is a very wide and long beach ideal for spending time at during low tide. You can go shelling to your heart’s content and will get some nice finds if you can stay ahead of the sandflies. I also saw a pair of paradise birds walking the beach. A short while into my walk along Māori Beach, I spotted a couple of trampers and a tramping family who had come from Port William further up on the coast on their last stretch of the Rakiura Great Walk. We talked on the way back to Halfmoon Bay and overtook each other from time to time depending on who had fallen behind and caught up again.
The Department of Conservation does a good job signposting the tracks on Stewart Island though sometimes you wonder if it’s been done by different people as the numbers on one end of a track don’t always match the ones given at the other end. 😉
Between Lee Bay and Māori Beach, there isn’t really much signposting needed as there is only one way possible once you left the turn-off to the Garden Mound. That way, you don’t really know how far away you are from your destination if you haven’t been keeping a good eye on time or know the distance. One good way of knowing how much further to go is to count mouse / rat / predator traps I realized on my way to Māori Beach.
Every so often, DOC put out boxes containing poison to trap predators that are not native to this part of the world in order to protect the endangered / local species. Every trap has a number and they count up from Lee Bay to Māori Beach. Māori Beach was at trap 81 (low-tide route). So on my way back, I had a great way of knowing how much further it was to Lee Bay because all I needed to do was to look at the number on the trap. Who needs kilometer markers and such when you have mouse trap markers? 🙂
The afternoon brought out the sun again, but with it also quite strong winds. That was very pleasant and kept pesky sandflies away on the way back into town up and down a few hills.
If you want to read more about my vacation on Stewart Island, check out the following posts:
- Heading to the anchor of New Zealand
- Talkative forest
- 81 mouse traps to Māori Beach
- Albatrosses aplenty
- Of bays and forest around Oban
- Christmas Day: A horseshoe and a dead man
- Catch of the day: Blue Cod
- A word on sandflies
- A Local’s Tail and take-off
- Stewart Island / Rakiura in photos and videos
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