A Road to Nowhere (Part Two) – Ahuriri Conservation Area

“On a Mish” #407 A Road to Nowhere (Part Two). Ahuriri Conservation Area. 28.6.2024. When on a mish the location is often subject to change. Ask any climber and they will tell you that a big route up a mountain is very rarely completed without running into dead-ends and having to rethink which way to go to complete the upward mission. During my time out exploring I have had a few situations when I climbed off route or got to a river crossing that stopped me dead in my tracks. For years I wondered where a rough track near Lindis Pass led to, and after finding out it was a road to nowhere, I had to relocate myself, Georgie and my brand-new tent…

After years of speculation and intrigue I was disappointed to be stopped by a gate with signs and a padlock. From here I had two options: Call it a day and drive the remaining four hours to Christchurch. Or look for a plan B on the way. While my mind kept finding good reasons for both plans, I got to the entrance to the Ahuriri Valley. I had read about the valley and seen many excellent pictures, so turning off the highway was an easy choice.

Stepping into the unknown is both exciting and a little unnerving. Not knowing what lies around the corner can provide intrigue, but when light is fading and a campsite needs to be found, it can be a frustrating affair. I had found a massive valley, but many valleys throughout the South Island do not welcome freedom campers, dogs, or in my case both. My mish wasn’t exactly going to plan, but who cares when you are in the wild parts of Aotearoa!?

Home for the Night in the Ahuriri Valley

A thick layer of cloud covered the mountain tops, but the wind was low and what was below the cloud was pleasing to the eyes. I had no idea where I was going to camp and the numerous no camping and private property signs weren’t providing much optimism. I checked the map and saw that the Te Araroa Trail cut through the valley, and it looked like there would be camping spots down by the river. Unfortunately, I got to the trail access and to get to the river I’d have to hike, but more importantly there was a sign which meant Georgie wasn’t able to join me if I followed the trail to the river.

It looked as though plan A (head home) was my only option until I spotted a gate with access to the river for fishers. I carefully scanned the area for ‘no dog’ signs and when none were found I opened the gate (and closed it behind me!) and pushed on towards the Ahuriri River. It didn’t take me long to find a perfect terrace overlooking the river. I had found my spot in paradise for the night…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter