Saturday, January 08, 2011

Le Bons Bay & Hinewai Reserve

After several days being cocooned at Okains Bay, I was leaving to climb back up to the Summit Rd, and do some exploring en route to Akaroa. The weather this last morning at Okains was a bit cooler, but you can never really tell what weather changes might be coming when you are nestled down low in the valley.

When I arrived up the top onto the Summit Rd, I found there was indeed quite a cool southerly raging, and I quickly had to add some more layers of clothing. But that wasn't going to stop me exploring.

My first deviation was down into Le Bons Bay, a very similar bay to Okains Bay, but there is no camping ground there. The geological history of the rocks seems to jump out at you as you walk onto the beach- and you can easily imagine past volcanic eruptions. As I headed back up the valley, I bought a bag from the village store, which was helping to raise funds for efforts to trap predators of the local white flippered penguins. Le Bons Bay School are actively involved as an EnviroSchool. A lot of the buildings in the bays in this part of Banks Peninsula seem to tell a story of the colonial past, so it was a surprise when I came upon a small, more recent Anglican church in the village.

 Further up the valley, I headed down a side road to see some art by a Dutch couple who have emigrated. Saskia van Voorn has made some exquisite prints of the local area using a woodblock printing technique.

 When I reached the Summit Rd again, I was back into the raging southerly. My friend had told me to go and visit Hinewai, a reserve funded by a Trust.

 The native bush is being allowed to regenerate in this reserve, by natural methods. Trees are being spread over what was farmland by birds dropping seeds.

 There is gorse in this area that is not being eradicated. It acts as a nursery for native seedlings, that eventually outstrip it, and the gorse dies off. 

 My Camino buddies might be interested to know there is a problem here also with tissues being dropped (though perhaps not of the toilet kind.) Maybe if gorse was grown like this along the Camino trails, it might dissuade the pilgs from dropping tissue waste indiscriminately...

 The view down into the nearby bay was beautiful, and you can see quite clear lines between the farmland and the regenerated bush areas. I finished my quick look at the reserve with a climb up Mikimiki Knob, where there were many species of divaricating plants, that were growing low down close to the rocks and substrate. Given the almost alpine conditions this day, it was easy to imagine such a growth form was an advantage against exposure to some strong coastal winds.


  1. The view in the last photo is amazingly beautiful. What is on the little sign?

  2. It's basically a 'no cycling' sign for the track, which is just for walkers. But it uses a stylised 'frog' as the cyclist....

  3. Kia ora KN,
    Looks like a great trip! I like the tent in the first photo, looks like a Macpac Apollo, same as mine. Going strong and holds up well in brisk wind.

  4. It was a great trip Robb, very relaxing. And you are right about the tent: it is indeed a Macpac Apollo- very well designed- easy to erect, and on the one windy night we had on this trip, it barely rippled.