Peak 16: Mt Bovis

Ah the West Coast. To some this is a rainy place. A place of grey misery, forged out of coal mining pits and historical misdemeanors – reached only be a single track that winds it’s way up the rugged coastline. They’d be totally right… but when the sun does come out, the beauty of the tropical rainforest is released; untouched, ‘un-humanised’, unseen.

The West Coast in it's tropic glory in the rarely seen sunshine - 52 Peaks
The West Coast in it’s tropic glory in the rarely seen sunshine
Tropical Environment - 52 peaks
The awesome display of colour

On the day of my ascent of the 16th Peak, Mt Bovis (1252m)… it was one of those grey days. A damp start and a damper end! Still, the tropical nature of this coastline is a wonder to run through. Kilometres of seemingly untouched wilderness, our route for this peak, a track that may have been walked but only a couple of hundred times in it’s history – only a handful of markers led the way through overgrown fern, beech and vines towards the tussocky summit towering above.

The car park at Bullock Creek is next to the Inland Pack Track – a 26km route from Punakaiki in the south up to Fox River in the north. Here was the start of the journey. From there we (myself and Caralyn) headed due east towards the cloudy summit in the distance.

Me at the "summit" of Mt Bovis - 52 peaks
Me at the “summit” of Mt Bovis

After 4km of open pasture, the route crossed the river and then we started the climb up towards the first mini-peak of 667m. Winding our way through knee high ferns, the route bearing off left, right centre .. thoughts rushed to think “Where are we heading?”. It seemed like an age until we had a first section of downhill – not the right direction!

Still, we persevered until we passed the treeline where the weather, unfortunately, took a turn for the worse. Gloves on and jackets donned, we stumbled through the tussocks to the top. The last part was pretty rocky and technical in the wet, so we took it cautiously (and to be honest, who knows whether we were at the summit or not) – we couldn’t see any higher ground or even a way over the next section… so this was called ‘the summit’!

The descent was much faster than the ascent – strange how this happens… you find the paths and trails all the way down from above, compared to the uphill battle where you were wallowing around in the undergrowth all the way…

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks - 52 Peaks
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Back down, not much footage was taken as it was cold and damp. Still we made it back in good time, enough to see the light descent over Charleston village on our hunt for an evening meal.

If you’re ever around on the West Coast – head to the Bay House nr. Westport – incredible food and great service!

Also a huge thanks to Brendan and the Wharepuni Homestay – what an incredible home away from home for the weekend.  Stunning place.

16 peaks down, only (AGH!) …36 to go!


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