Over the weekend I went on a tramping trip with a group of fourteen friends and friends-of-friends at Cape Brett. We drove up from Auckland to Russell on Friday night, then on Saturday morning caught a water taxi to the end of the Cape where the DOC hut is, just below the Cape Brett Lighthouse.
After stowing our gear at the hut, most of us walked to Deep Water Cove for a swim. That proved to be a bit more work than it sounds --- it was over two hours walking each way, over arduous up-and-down terrain, in the midday sun! The swim was very much appreciated :-). When we finally got back to the hut, some of us went for another swim off the rocks. Swimming there is tricky because there's no real landing and waves surge in through a channel. You have to plunge in and swim away from the rocks, and stay away. To get out you have to wait for a calm patch and time your approach carefully. But the swim was amazing --- the water is fantastically clear and the setting is magnificent.
We had wonderful food and a great evening, but I found sleeping at the hut rather difficult. I was on a top bunk and it was incredibly hot and stuffy. Around 2:30am I just gave up and went outside to sleep on the grass. The night sky was amazing and surprisingly I wasn't troubled by any mosquitoes, but I had to go back inside when it suddenly got cold around 4am --- if I'd brought a sleeping-bag, I would have happily stayed out there!
On Sunday most of us walked out to Rawhiti while the rest took a water taxi. The first part of the walk is the track to Deep Water Cove, and as I mentioned is quite tough. The rest is easier, but still has a number of relatively steep climbs. We took seven and a half hours (including plenty of stops), and it's definitely one of the hardest walks I've done --- harder than the Tongariro Crossing, I'd say. If I'd been carrying a full pack I would have found it really challenging. I'd definitely like to do that someday, though! So I heartily recommend the trip, but don't underestimate the difficulty.
Despite the fact that things didn't always go to plan, I think everyone had a great time. It was a great way to meet new people and get to know other people better.