I'll let the North Island scenery (or the bits I've climbed at any rate) speak for itself today. The three photos above are:
- Castle Rock towards the top of the Coramandel Peninsula.
- The Pinnacles further south in Coramandel.
- The summit of Mount Maunganui looking south to Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.
The Pinnacles walk in particular has a fantastic path, lots of ladders and rock staircases near the summit. There doesn't seem to be the same sort of focus on bagging peaks in NZ as there is in Scotland, but the popular ones are made as easy as any hiker could reasonably ask.
These walks are full of reminders of how much man has changed the NZ landscape. Not just the Europeans; the Maoris and the rats and dogs they introduced had wiped out Moa and lots of other birds before Europeans got here, but Europeans took destruction onto a new level. Coramandel has a few stands of the huge kauri trees, and used to have whole forests of them, but logging wiped these out in just a few decades. There's still attractive bush on the walk up to the Pinnacles, but the kauris will take centuries to recover their former glory.
The bush is full of interesting fauna and flora, if you like that sort of thing - I can only take so many different types of trees and shrubs. On some hills you hardly ever get out into the open until you reach the summit, and I miss the open hillsides and ridgewalks you get on Munros in Scotland.
Now back in Australia, but seem to have brought the NZ changable weather with me. Though Brisbane was flooded last week so maybe it's the other way round.