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I decided it was best to rest and take some time out for my leg (which appears to be slowly healing and yet yesterday’s hitchin kinda flared things up a bit but I’ll survive).

Regardless, my time at Rongo Backpackers (Rongo meaning peace in Maori) and the idea behind this is to establish a beautiful artistic community with lots of great ideas including a permaculture farm, more building expansion, and the development of a bigger community. So far they are off to a really great start in this chilled out environment. I think anyone coming off the Heaphy Track would be silly to not stay here for a few days and see what they have to offer honestly.

I managed to spend a bit of time getting to know the woofers and the collective owners of this project (well some at least) and it was worth it. The Rongo backpackers has been focussed on making their hostel as sustainable as they can afford to (read: the more money they make the more they invest in environmental projects to reduce their carbon footprint). Roll the list…

  • They have some pretty amazing things setup such as a huge rain barrel in the backyard that feeds the shower water (possibly the toilets as well). This is the first time that I’ve run across a hostel like this and it makes me pretty happy to have a staggered shower with reused rain water (YAH)!
  • All the water for the showers is heated with solar heating on the roof. I was totally giddy when Paul took me around to show me the heaters. Two different panels were used to heat all the water used by everyone (sizeable hostel really) staying at Rongo. I’ve seen this once before at a sustainable eco-lodge up in northern Alberta called Aurum Lodge (beautiful place to stay too)
  • Composting – This included raw food for the garden and cooked food for local pigs *being a vegan I’d rather see the food go towards something then be chucked out*

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Ahh Rimu

So today marked the last day of the Heaphy Track for me. It’s pretty hard to describe the entire experience in one post but regardless I think that I can slam in a few highlights for peeps to read.

On the first day of the hike I was going up some pretty steep rock pathways and managed to mangle my leg. (read: it really hurts to bend my knee). Now this wasn’t discovered until I rocked into the first hut called Perry Saddle Hut. At the time I had thought that my injury wasn’t as bad as it later appeared to be. I ended up hiking the remainder of the trek (hiking = tramping here in NZ) which was approximately 60 KM through some crazy terrain with my leg. The last day although an amazing experience was probably the hardest for me.
Saxon Hut to myself

Regardless, the amazing scenery was something of a treat for me to take in. All the vegetation, environment, animals and air seemed to change so many times I could hardly keep track. On the second night I spent it sleeping completely on my own in the Saxon hut. I was surrounded by mountains on both sides of me, a kitchen overlooking the mountains, and a relaxing vibe (pic on the left). I woke up at about 5:30 AM in the morning cause I had to use the facilities and upon looking around all the landscape was covered lightly in a beautiful fog, the full moon was bright and in the horizon the sun was rising. I stood there for a little while and took it all in and then headed back to bed for a bit more rest before jetting off.

The day that I hiked to the Heaphy Hut (9 hour hike) was the most special to me. At the end I came across Remu trees (picture above) that were the widest tree I’ve ever seen in my life. I spent a bit of time (until the sandflies tried to carry me off to their layer for an early dinner) standing near one just being in it’s presents thinking about how long it had been there, how many peeps had passed it, and what cool stories it would have to tell if it could talk (no I wasn’t on anything). Read the rest of this entry »

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