Sub-Antarc­tic trek

New Zealand Fitness - - FROM THE EDITOR - Dis­cov­erer, Gen­eral Grant, Sil­ver Sil­ver Dis­cov­erer

While many of you will have been en­joy­ing Christ­mas and New Year hol­i­days wear­ing shorts and jan­dals at the beach, I was at the South­ern-most end of the coun­try wear­ing a thick padded parka, wa­ter­proof pants and gum­boots – and I can tell you it was one amaz­ing ex­pe­di­tion. I was on­board the ex­plo­ration ship

cruis­ing down to is­lands the av­er­age New Zealan­der will quite pos­si­bly not even know where they are.

There was the Bounty Is­land, An­tipodes Is­lands, Camp­bell Is­land, Auck­land Is­lands and The Snares. Th­ese five is­lands, below Ste­wart Is­land, are home to an abun­dance and di­ver­sity of seabirds and marine mam­mals. They are also World Her­itage sites des­ig­nated by UNESCO.

Some of the is­lands are des­o­late rocky out­crops, in­hab­ited only by bird life and not suited to cruise ship or zodiac land­ings. Oth­ers were more suited with well-es­tab­lished board­walks pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent paths for trekking among the flora and fauna and rare bird life.

It was with much ex­cite­ment, along with fel­low pas­sen­gers, when we were able to scram­ble ashore at Camp­bell Is­land and trek along the Col Lyall Sad­dle Board­walk. The fourhour round trip was mostly on a well-con­structed wooden board­walk. It was graded mod­er­ately dif­fi­cult with steep parts in places and as­cend­ing 260-me­tres. Camp­bell Is­land has the main pop­u­la­tion of South­ern royal al­ba­trosses and it was amaz­ing to come across th­ese mas­sive birds sit­ting in iso­la­tion on their nests.

At the Auck­land Is­lands, it seemed strange vis­it­ing th­ese is­lands as I live in Auck­land, yet th­ese is­lands were about as far away from Auck­land City as you get in New Zealand. The Auck­land Is­lands are also where eight known ships have wrecked on, or around, its shores. The with its hold full of gold was the most fa­mous of th­ese.

On ar­rival at En­derby Is­land [one of the Auck­land Is­lands] I took the op­por­tu­nity to do an­other board­walk trek, this time to the North­ern Cliffs of the is­land. This is where we came across the rare yel­low-eyed pen­guins, New Zealand bell­bird and red-crowned para­keet – as well as the world’s rarest sea lion, the New Zealand hooker.

Th­ese treks were very in­vig­o­rat­ing in pris­tine weather con­di­tions with no pol­lu­tion from ve­hi­cles, in­dus­trial plants or hu­man pop­u­la­tion. Sure the tem­per­a­ture was a lit­tle cooler and there was some wind, but un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally for th­ese is­lands, the sun was out and there was no rain in sight.

The

did have a gym on­board, but I must ad­mit, I only worked out on the car­dio equip­ment on one of the 14 days at sea.

I know you will all have a dif­fer­ent story as to what you got up to over the hol­i­days, al­though I sus­pect this may have in­volved putting on a pair of swim­ming togs, rather than a thick parka.

Lor­raine Thom­son Pub­lisher / Editor

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