We are now in lockdown, the highest level of response to Covid-19. We arrived back in Takaka yesterday and are coming to terms with the situation. Our flights home near the end of April are via Singapore which is currently shut to transiting visitors and then via Dubai to Dublin, a route suspended by Emirates. We will just sit tight until we get information from the airlines but we can stay here for as long as necessary, at least until our 6 month visas expire. It is next to impossible to contact airlines right now.
‘Lockdown’ requires the closure of all non-essential businesses and services and strict physical distancing from everyone outside the family unit. But it is still OK to get out so I took myself off to the Rameka Track.
Lower Rameka Track
This historic track is a reclaimed 19th century route that was originally part of a stock trail over the Takaka Hill. It passes through the Rameka Carbon Forest which is a project to re-forest the area as a carbon sink. The history of the Rameka is HERE if you are interested.
The Rameka is a set of joined mountain bike trails of various grades but this section is eminently walkable and I saw only a few tyre tracks suggesting that it is seldom used. I passed not a soul on my short hike.
The section starts by crossing the Rameka Creek, dry today but not recommended if flowing, before crossing a fenced field and then climbing up multiple hairpins, following the contours through forest. Underfoot is yellow clay soil, soft but rutted by water in places. Fantails flit about. They are extraordinary little acrobats able to do 180 degree turns in mid flight and have no fear of people. The forest opens out in places revealing stunning views across the Takaka valley plain as far as the coast.
As the forest deepens the temperature drops until a sunny patch breaks the chill before the path plunges back into the shade. Tui birds chatter and make their strange resonating calls, at times sounding like approaching voices. Wooden traps are set along the path every few hundred metres. New Zealand has a programme to remove introduced mammals such as possums that devastate bird life and habitats; there are no indigenous mammals here except a species of bat.
I walk for 80 minutes and then turn back after reaching an open area with views over nearby hills. Perhaps I will explore further on another day but it looks as if this track may reach a summit after another 2 kilometres or so but it is not marked on the OS map so I can’t be sure.
I can’t make maps at the moment but here is an image of the route from the information board at the start of the route. I began at the Totara car park and walked to just before the ‘Forks’. RAMEKA LOWER TRACK