I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon Alastair Humphreys’blog but it’s an interesting read with a really great message. After years spent doing amazing adventures like cycling around the world he has spent a lot of his time recently on micro adventures. These focus on the 5-9, the time between work. The idea is to get out in nature and have some adventure even if it is close to home.
While Alastair likes sleeping wild with a bivi sack, I quite like staying in huts and campsites. I don’t yet have a bivi sack but I have slept under a tarpaulin and really enjoyed it. So in the spirit of microadventures I thought I would share a few of the campsites I’ve stayed in, or hiked past in the Hunua ranges.
The Hunua Ranges are within an hour’s drive of central Auckland, so are more than easy enough for most people in Auckland to get to after work on Friday, or first thing Saturday morning. Most tracks have campsites right at the start or within about 2-3 hours hike of the car park. This works quite well for someone like me who likes to create a challenge and cover some distance because I can plan a route that takes me past 1, 2 or 3 sites before I get to my final destination. I have walked side to side with someone dropping me off and picking me up, and I have also walked some loops in the Ranges.
To stay at these campsites there is a fee of $5NZ payable in honesty boxes or with pre bought DoC hut passes. I really hope everyone using these sites pays as it helps fund the upkeep of the sites and the Ranges.
This campsite has one of two huts in the park but they’re not listed on the DoC website. The hut is a small 4 person but it’s beautiful mansion after a long days hike from the other side of the Ranges. From the Hunua side the site is only 2 hours walk from the carpark on a gravel road so it’s easily walk-able at night after work. This site is meant to be good for seeing New Zealand native bats so I hope to go back one day soon to try and spot them. This can also be done as part of a loop (I hate to walk out the same way I came in).
The trig K hut
Located at the highest point in the Ranges is the trig K hut. There are only 2 bunks with no mattresses and its more of an emergency hut now, but it would be really cool to say the night in. I’ve only walked past it and its 3-5 hours hike depending on the route you take.
This site could be done as a bit of a loop walk from the far side of the ranges with a walk along the road or coastline linking the two parts of the park. This would make for a good weekend walk with a lot of varied terrain.
Thousand acres campsite
This is another campsite which could be done as a small 2-3 hour walk in, with a different track out the next day, or as a larger loop with 6-7 hours on the first day and 2 on the way out (I really like this type of walk, hard one day, easy the second).
For those living in or near Auckland I have given you 4 campsite within a few hours walk of a carpark, with several other campsites right next to a car park. That’s 4 weekends worth of microadventures.
The point of this post wasn’t about the Hunua Ranges, they’re just the example. My point is every city should have an area like this, it may only have one site but that’s one adventure to have. If you really don’t have anywhere in nature to go Alastair Humphreys does have an urban adventure suggestion.