Climbing Mt Patutu

Slightly pushing our budget isn’t hard here on the south island. As a cost cutting measure, we decided to opt with as many free camp sites as possible. Choosing a free campground across the street from the ocean seemed like a good start. Luckily it calmed our worries about the state of the free sites: clean, well maintained and conveniently located. What we didn’t expect was to find so many great hikes starting from this campground. We had such a great time here, that we stayed here happily for two nights.

Okiwi Bay is positioned beautifully along the pacific coast, with a snow capped mountain range as a dramatic backdrop. From this little park we discovered a weeks worth of trails and climbing sites. What a find for two people wandering rather aimlessly.

In two days time we completed two of the five hikes, about fourteen or so miles by our estimation (New Zealand guides only describe hikes by time to summit), and about 1,200 vertical meters. The epic 4.5 hour climb up to Mt Patutu was the absolute highlight of our time here. Steep beyond our expectations, we considered turning around at the three hour point. Thankfully, we pushed ourselves through the final hour of rock scrambling to make it to the top. With views of the north island in the far distance and not another soul on the mountain, it was thrilling to say the least. The climb back down was a rough slide and we were happy to swim for awhile in the river towards the end, but the view was worth every sore muscle. If this experience sets the bar for what is coming, we had best set our expectations high.


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