A few years ago, I discovered Ngatuhoa Naturally and I wish I had done so many years ago. This is totally different from one of my favorite places, the beach, but that has now moved to second place.
Ngatuhoa Naturally is a once-a-year get together of a group of independent naturists. During the days that there are no hikes arranged, I like to go exploring off the beaten track.
Hiking in the nude means that your preparations suddenly become a lot simpler. Put on your socks and hiking boots, put some food and plenty of drinks in your backpack together with the necessary emergency supplies and off you go.
One of my adventures this year was a continuation of previous explorations of the Ngatuhoa Stream.
At this time of the year (late January) there is often not a large flow and it is quite easy to go bolder hopping, often moving from one side of the stream to the other to find the easiest path. Sometimes it requires wading and while the water is quite cold, it is very refreshing. Sometimes there are nice rock pools that provide a welcome cool down.
In the Ngatuhoa Stream there are at least four canyons that can only be crossed by swimming. Two are relatively easy, but the other two need further exploring as they appear to include rapids or waterfalls. I have scaled these by going over the top, which requires bush-bashing and steep climbs up and down hill. During one of those, I got stopped in my tracks by a sharp pain on my forehead.
A bush lawyer managed to hook into my skin and they don't let go easily. After carefully removing it, I traced it back and found that it was a shoot from a large vine that climbed all the way up to the canopy of the trees. At ground level, it was as thick as my arm. For obvious reasons, I have a huge respect for the bush lawyer.
Building on my experience from the previous years, I managed to reach the junction of the Ngatuhoa Stream with the Opuiaki River in about 4 hrs and this gave me a huge sense of achievement.
After making a number of pictures at the junction, I followed the Opuiaki River upstream to see if it was possible to get back along there to the intake dam for the hydro power scheme, from where a road leads back to Ngatuhoa Lodge. The first part was quite easy, but then it turned into an area with rapids, waterfalls and steep canyons. B
Beautiful, but progress was slow. After scaling some of the canyons and rapids, I had passed the point of no-return and pushed ahead.
Close to the time set for a search party to start looking for me, I reached the dam and sent a text to tell them I was OK, assuming they would need to find a place to get reception when sounding the alarm bells.
Submitted by Willem