Tag Archives: hike

Mercury Island

Mercury Island, also known as The Mercs has been on our destination wish list for over a year!  There are 7 islands that make up the Mercury island group including: Great Mercury, Red Mercury, Korapuki, Green, Atiu/Middle, Kawhitu/Stanley and Moturehu/Double Islands).  

Great Mercury Island, which is where we explored, is the only inhabited island.  The rest of the Mercs are managed by DOC (Department of Conservation) and are preserves.

We see some of the other islands as we sail around Great Mercury.

Coralie Bay

Our first anchorage is on the east side of Great Barrier and it is called Coralie Bay.  We decided to go to this bay because we had really light winds and typically this is not very protected.  This is a pretty large bay with lots of places for anchoring.

We happened to visit Mercury Island during a 4-day weekend so there were lots of local boats out at all of the anchorages.  At dusk we counted 23 boats which is a lot to us, but evidently not very many to others.

We met our friends Mirko and Daniela from Yum Yum and Leigh and Linda from Moon Shadow.  The next morning, Leigh picked us up and we did a quick hike up to the top of one of the many beautiful mountain tops.  

Peachgrove Bay

We decide to continue our exploring while the weather is calm so we head to Peachgrove Bay.  This is another bay that is typically exposed to the weather, but our calm conditions it is perfect.

There is a lovely walk to a set of waterfalls here in Peachgrove Bay.

Sunsets are stunning.

And Sugar Shack is so happy in this beautiful water.

Bumper Bay

This is truly a beautiful bay!  The water colors are stunning, the beach is long and there is only one other boat here, our friends, Yum Yum (Daniela and Mirko).

The winds were predicted to shift so we had leave Mercury Island.  We motored across to Coral Mandel, Matarangi Bay to do some provisioning.  It was not a pleasant anchorage and the dinghy landing was even worse.  We got drenched by waves and almost flipped the dinghy.  Gesh!

Afterwards we had a lovely sail, with lots of tacks, to get to Little Bay where we stayed for the night.  We arrived at 1800 and left in the morning so not much to say other than it was pretty.

Our blogs run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog occurred during the first of February.  Hope you didn’t miss the absolutely gorgeous Rakitu Island in our last blog?

Rakitu Island: The Cove

Matt was looking at the satellite charts and found what looked like the perfect, pristine anchorage called The Cove at Rakitu island (also called Arid island).  This is a relatively small island (329 hectares) and has towering cliffs that rise 180 meters from the sea.  It gives this anchorage a fortress-like feeling as you are protected from many directions.

The island used to be a farm privately owned by the Rope Family.  They raised cattle and had several houses and outposts here.  The Department of Conservation bought it from the Rope family and it has since become a scenic reserve (1994).  It is naturally free from many predators (rats, stokes, cats, rabbits) so the birds and their nests can flourish. 

The Ngati Rehua people cleared and cultivated the central valley where 3 historic sites remain today.  This is a beautiful saying of Rakitu:

You are a guardian, protecting and looking after our land, our family, and our future generations. Behold the breath of life!

The Cove at Rakitu Island

This little piece of Heaven called The Cove is just around some beautiful towering pinnacles.  As we enter the anchorage the water changes to a magnificent blue.  We pass many caves which are just begging to be explored (more on this later).

We drop the hook and settle in to our new favorite place.  

Onshore Rakitu Island

Even though this is an uninhabited island, there are still several buildings left behind from the Rope Family.  Evidently government officials use these facilities when they visit the island to check on things.

There is a short path from The Cove anchorage to the other side of the island.  You walk through some thick grass and across a few muddy rivers, but otherwise it is pretty easy walk.

When we return to the beach we are rewarded with a beautiful view of our boat at anchor.

The Caves

The next day we decide to go explore some of the many caves.  We hop in Sweetie (our dinghy) and head to this stunning arc in the rocks.  On our way in to The Cove, we passed by this as we came in on the big boat and I’ve been wanting to go under in the dinghy.  We posted a video on sv Sugar Shack’s Instagram which is a lot more fun than the photos.

Then we went around the north side of Rakitu and came across several more caves.   Look at the water color!

It was high tide so we could drive in most of them.  We found one in particular that was truly stunning.  There were so many colors in the rocks that it took my breath away!

Just in case you need a closer look to appreciate the beauty.

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post occurred at the end of January.   In our last blog post we enjoy a 2+ mile beach!

Mount Manaia – A Stairway to Heaven

We pull off the Town Basin Marina dock with our friends on Q2 (Lewis, Sara and baby Skye) following us to a new anchorage, Urquharts Bay.  A beautiful, wide bay with lots of moorings and local boats.  This anchorage gave us access to many hikes and is located at the mouth of the Whangarei river. Despite how busy it was we secured a place all by ourselves.

Mount Manaia

Mount Manaia, Mt. Lion, Bream Head, and the Hen and Chickens, are scattered remnants of andesite, volcanic intusions that erupted 16-22 million years ago.  They are part of a 50km 2 (19 sq mi) stratovolcano that extended to the Hen and Chickens.

This is a sacred place for the Maori.  In former times, Maori placed the remains of their important chiefs on the tops of these rocks.  It is believed that the craggy peaks represent an important chief’s family who were turned to stone in a dispute over the infidelity of his wife.

The left arrow shows how high I went and the right arrow shows how high Matt, Rich and Michelle got (they rock climbed the last 20′).

Mt. Manaia is blanketed by native bush and has jagged peaks that jet up into the sky.  The entire area is a protected reserve which has a very well maintained track to the summit.

A Little Bit of Crazy

Our friends on Pogeyan (Rich and Michelle) invited us to go on this crazy steep hike up Mount Manaia.  We dragged Q2 along with us (even 3 month old baby Skye came along).  Matt and I had not been hiking in almost a year and I was a wee bit nervous to say the least.   Rich said it was a short hike (a little over an hour to the top), but it is straight up – a total vertical incline with over 800 steps peppered in to help you get up the super steep parts.  Yikes!

As we begin our journey our little pack slowly starts to split up.  Matt takes off, in flip flops no less, and leads the way, the other two guys are behind him for most of the trail.  Us ladies take it at a “more leisurely pace” and rest periodically as I am totally out of shape!

They installed really nice stairs over the super steep parts of the trail.  Every 100 steps there is a small mark, but I don’t believe it so I count myself.  I was spot on up to 600 steps but then things got wonky and I ended up wit 1226 stairs to the summit whereas the markers had 1136 steps.  Hmmm.  I had 2 other witnesses so I am going with my number of 1226 – which is a lot of stairs!

The Summit

After an hour we reach the platform and hope to find Matt.  And wouldn’t you know he found a crevice to hang out in….can you see him in the far left photo or the top right photo?

Michelle and I at the platform summit – I’m so happy to be sitting down.

The unbelievable views….

I’m guessing these are the children in the fable….

The Pinnacle on the Summit

We continue on around the corner from the platform summit.  Rich says we are not at the top yet.  So, we carry on and do a few rock scrambles.  At this point my legs are burning.  I made it to the 2nd highest point but couldn’t carry on so Matt, Michelle, and Rich did the last 20′.

The views were spectacular.  I wish I had the power to go up the last section but I had to save my reserves for the climb down.

We saw lots of beautiful Kauri trees and this beautiful stone archway.

At the end of the day we hiked up 1226 stairs or 104 floors, 4.1 miles and 9,759 steps.  The numbers don’t seem so impressive when you break it down. But it was a hard earned workout!

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post occurred in late January.  Did you read about our new set of wheels in our last blog post?