Cecilia Forest Hike, Cape Town

hiking-southafrica-cecilia-forest-01This one’s a great introduction to hiking in the mountains behind Cape Town, is easy, but nevertheless makes for a delightful morning or afternoon’s outing, with much more than expected in the way of views, flora and fauna. Your total walking time there and back won’t be much more than 2.5 – 3 hours along excellent tracks, but with all there is to see, it will take at least twice that long to do it justice. Before you go, download a free Kirstenbosch map from www.themaps.co.za – worth it, as it’s a large place. Remember to take plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen – and don’t forget the camera! Also take some cash or a credit card for any purchases at Kirstenbosch. Continue reading


Ellis Hut Hike

The hike to Ellis hut is an easy but reasonably long one at about 5 hours return, but does offer a few variations and possibilities to make it more interesting. It is also the oldest hut in the Ruahine ranges, with a notorious history, and that alone makes a visit worthwhile!

En route to Ellis Hut, New Zealand. Old mill.To get to the start, turn west off SH50 into Wakarara Road, towards the mountains. It is a good, sealed road, which eventually becomes a good, but narrow, gravel road where it enters Parks Peak Station. Keep going (about 20km from SH50) until you get to a farm gate. Go through, and leave the gate as you found it. From here it might be rutted and pot-holed, so take care. About 500m further you’ll get to another gate – do as for the first gate, and follow the road-now-turned-into-farm-track through a third gate until you get to the car park at an information panel on the bank of the Makaroro River. This area used to be the site of Yeoman’s Mill, and there are some remnants and relics remaining, including an old, rusty boiler and a few chimney remains dotted over the paddocks. Continue reading


Poutaki Hut – a lesser known hiking trail

Most people haven’t heard of Poutaki Hut – as a result it’s not often visited, and is mostly used by hunters. The fact that the track to the hut is not marked on the map may have something to do with that.  It’s the only hut on the Wakarara Range, and is not difficult to get to. It is a hidden gem, however, and well worth visiting. The added bonus is that when the main Ruahine Range is covered in cloud, or inaccessible due to weather, often the Wakarara Range is not! And don’t forget the camera… Continue reading


Hiking to Sunrise Hut

If you love tramping, this is one you can’t miss when visiting Hawke’s Bay. It offers easy hiking, beautiful bush and scenic views, and plenty of photo opportunities. It is also pretty safe under most weather conditions, is family and child-friendly and is therefore the most popular tramp in the eastern Ruahine ranges, for good reason.

The start is at a well-signposted car park near the end of North Block Rd. The easiest way to get there is from SH50 in Central Hawke’s Bay. Turn down Wakarara Rd, towards the mountains, and follow this for about 22km, then turn left into North Block Rd. About 4km further on you’ll get to the intersection with Carsons Rd – keep right, and continue on until you arrive at a farm gate, the first of three. Please leave gates as you find them, as the road passes through a working farm. The car park is about 0.5km after the third gate. Continue reading