It’s starting to get light at 6 30 am.

Not long after that a kiwi came hustling up the path. Time for some breakfast, like me, after a night of squawking in the distance. Or maybe that’s just his friend.

Last time I was here I spotted six distinct specimens. One round the hut, four on the track 100 m away, and one I filmed that tapped its beak on my boot before realising it was late for some other appointment, and raced off.

I’ve been to Mason Bay on many an occasion, on all but my first trip, and stayed there overnight, but while I’ve heard kiwis in some numbers have never seen them in that area. Usually by then I’ve seen sufficient to not bother with tramping around in the dark as most do.

Mason Bay is the most famous place in New Zealand to see kiwi in the wild, and many fly in specifically for that reason. Or take a water taxi up to Freshwater Hut, and then back again, only having to walk the very flat 15 km or so from hut to hut. A quick and easy 24-hour experience.

Much brighter today. The last quarter moon is on full display, some stars as well. Sort of clear sky, in part, to the north, but that’s not the direction the weather is coming from.

Today is somewhat of a transition with the forest from memory. The height of trees, rimu and rata, is coming down. One memorable rimu specimen had a girth about 2 m, but due to its exposed location barely reached 3 m in height, around the height of the manuka scrub.

You can’t stand out, or the prevailing forces will soon trim you to conformity. The prevailing winds are fierce around here.

A few months ago I wrote an answer on about my favourite place in the world, that in this instance I nominated as the lookout with a view over East Ruggedy Beach to the Rugged islands immediately offshore.

Why there?

Well, it’s Day 7 of this tour and while I could have done it as many hut jumpers do on Day 4, there is certainly a lot of effort expended to get here. And the view is extraordinary, in part because of the lack of human evidence in the vicinity.

You are a long way from not much.

It turned out to be a showery kind of day, but I was not much interested in that.

My kiwi spotting was poor, only one for the day, but there was certainly evidence of them. Also cats. Not much in the way of deer.

The piles of the old Long Harry Hut were obvious. The new hut site though is way better, with the views to the water.

Had lunch overlooking the rocky beach I needed to traverse. A few big rollers were coming in, but later the sea calmed a bit. I could see big swells further out where there was no shelter as the Southern Ocean could just do its thing.

The rain stopped just as I got to the lookout, but the sun was at an awkward angle.

East Ruggedy Beach looks great, and I went for a walk to the end before heading up to the hut. It’s turned into a late finish for the day considering when I started out. I won’t be able to muck around as much tomorrow.

Early to bed tonight for a change. I might even eat my dinner in my sleeping bag.

Now that’s an idea.

← Day 6 | Long Harry Hut Day 8 | Hellfire Pass Hut →