Below on right is Rod Stuart as he would like us to picture him hard at work. His job must be almost as good as mine?…
Usually he is a trout angler fishing the Tongariro as more of a challenge to get away from fhunting marlin up north. So you could say he is what used to be described as a ‘good keen man’.
Both are from bonnie Scotland so the challenge of hunting wild beasts in the hills reasonated with their birthright trying to perform as highlanders?
They were determined to hunt in the wild NZ bush – just like Barry Crump. To them, real hunting is not in one of those farmed blocks that are used by some guides for pansy tourists! That would be too easy.
So early last Wednesday morning I drove them up to the Umukarikari track.
(Wisely they did not like the idea of leaving their new 4WD parked overnight in such a remote place where the hobbits might find it)
The photo at top was at the start of their marathon when they were still revved up looking so pleased to be in the great outdoors.
When I picked them up the next day they were both about a foot shorter and looking very soggy.
Our brave hunters were going to tramp up and over Sharp Cone 1481m peak to the Waipakihi Hut. The first surprise was just past the peak they came across a team of mountain bikers. I can only assume they had hauled their bikes up the Urchin Track to bike the loop down the Umukarikari Track. They would have spooked any deer in that area so hunting was postponed for that day.
The next day was supposed to be fine for hunting. Unfortunately it rained all day and night and weather continued to deteriorate so they wisely called it off and had to tramp 6 hours all the way back again, instead of hunting along the tops. I picked them up about 4 pm – they were completely shagged – and drove back to the Desert Road.
About 100m from the SH1 just as we slowed down for the intersection a hind broke cover and ran across in front of us, followed by a fawn, followed by another hind. They could have been shot from out of the car (but as you know, we would never stoop so low).
What a wonderful sight. The worn out hunters cracked up completely. We laughed all the way back to Turangi. I think they will stick to trout fishing next time.
Crowding in National Parks?
Just by the way, at the time mid week in February, we were astonished at the queue of vans leaving this remote area off the Desert Road. I thought some event was happening. No – it was just all the camper vans sneaking out after using the Park camping grounds. The public never see this abuse of so many remote camping spots that were never proposed or built for so many campers. Very few vehicles were ‘self contained’. Sad. We can understand the protests and objections about undisciplined campers. There is no excuse when there are two large camping ground with all toilet facilities in Turangi for less than $20/night.
But that is another story…
Pressure on National parks need action
“Last year NZ welcomed a record 3.5 million visitors… international arrivals growing at 12 per cent per year…. 2017 should set new records….By 2022 one million more tourists will enter NZ and tip $16billion into the economy.
On current trends this forecast, made just last year, will be eclipsed well before then, with as many as seven million travellers having their passports stamped on arrival by 2023.
The flood of visitors is placing stress on may destinations. Small towns which benefit from tourist dollars are struggling to to meet demands on their facilities such as toilets, car parks and transport.
Environmentally sensitive locations are bearing a burden that was never anticipated… The lines of hikers making the day journey across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing… etc.
Exciting New Bike Trail proposed
As indicated in the NZ Herald Editorial, new walking/biking trails are desperately needed to take the pressure of these other trails.
TRM have been promoting the T2T – a trail from Taupo to Turangi along the lake edge for several years – ever since the Tongariro River Trail was started. Obviously, they should link up. Eventually an “independent” (?) feasibility study was published in 2016 which was so ridiculous it has since been ignored. The estimated costs were hugely excessive to discourage any investment. The biggest handicap was claimed to be permission to access multiple owned Maori land. Yet the local Iwi had not been consulted or even discussed the trail route options. In fact they are keen to support it. What a ridiculous situation!
So local iwi have given up waiting for local government and DOC. They are now forced to organise their own trail through all the little settlements along the eastern shore of Lake Taupo. The likely success of such a bike trail is a no-brainer. It will soon be the most popular trail in NZ.
Watch this space.