A couple of weekends ago Matt and I thought we would conquer one of the day walks in Mount Peel Forest. We set off with determination, enthusiasm and as it turned out, misguided expectations.


The walk started with a steep walk up this road, and the discovery that we could of actually parked at the top of the hill rather than the bottom. Following that was a nice stroll through native forest and we thought we were in for an enjoyable, easy climb on a stunningly clear, hot day. The thing is, that this part of the walk is deceptive and before you know it you really end up mud-wading and mountain climbing to 1300 m above sea level. The problem is by this point, you are too far to turn back and you may as well just push on.

From about 20 minutes into the walk I had taken off all excess clothing possible, which meant I was burdened with carrying all my garments for the next four hours. About an hour in we hit the mud, and while you try walking around it, inevitably you do slip in and then just stop caring. So by hour one, my nice pink and white sneakers had gone chameleon and blended into the brown of the walking track we plodded along. By hour two you are mountain climbing, wedging your feet in between rocks, stopping every 50 meters for a breather and asking yourself why you did this in the first place.

Then you get to to top! Shock horror, we actually made it! The view was absolutely amazing and made the whole trek worth it. We picked the most gorgeous day for this walk and I came out of it 4.5 hours later feeling like I had really accomplished something that day. This is definitely a track I would recommend to anyone, but not after we have had a lot of rain.

If you are ever in the Canterbury region of New Zealand this is definitely I walk I would recommend. Once you get to the top, along with the strong feeling of accomplishment you will be able to see sweeping views of the Canterbury Plains, pick of the Rangitata River and maybe hear some gunshots fired in the nearby hills and people chase the New Zealand deer and tahr.

Cover image is taken from the Department of Conservation Peel Forest Area pamphlet. See this for more information on this walk, and others in the area.


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