Great Barrier island - Kaiaraara track
The steps, ok going up but knee wreckers going down

Christmas day has traditionally been spent sitting around with family indulging a little more that you should.

However, we decided to break the mould and trek to the top of Mt Hobson on Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Rather than turkey and ham with champagne it would be rather stale sandwiches in a 30knot wind spent on the highest spot on the Island.

We had walked part of the way on a previous visit on Agnes but the weather was a little foul and we decided to turn back. This time the weather was dry and thankfully a little cooler for the time of the year.

The walk up was pretty good, steep in parts with a fairly long slog up a lot of steps to finish the ascent off. For seasoned hikers it would probably be a doddle but for us anything with a slight incline is a challenge, let alone something that requires me to have both hands and feet on the ground at the same time to make some progress.

The view from the top was spectacular with 360 degree views across the Hauraki Gulf to Little Barrier to the Coromandel. Unfortunately the wind meant that it was a little hazy and not clear enough to see back across to Auckland.

After our refreshing Christmas lunch on the top we decided on another route back to the boat, down the ridge line on the opposite side of the valley.  The start, again required a descent on what seemed like thousands of wooden steps and our heavier tramping boots quickly took their toll on our knees with Ruth suffering particularly badly to the point where the only way we could get her comfortably down the steep slopes was backwards and very slowly.

What should have taken a little over an hour turned into a four hour crawl down the mountain. We have never been so happy to see Agnes floating around in Kaiaraara Bay on our return with a welcome cold beer and wine in the fridge.

Never again we thought, well not quite; that trip was Christmas 2010, plenty of adventures since then and a few more planned.


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