Most of the rain that starts at 7am Monday will be the biggest on the West Coast of the South Island. Image / weatherwatch.co.nz
A storm that is likely to bring destructive winds and swells is centered on New Zealand’s West Coast, prompting warnings for those camping, on foot or on the water.
Weatherwatch.co.nz estimates strong winds “damaging” more than 150 km / h, waves of up to 13 meters, and one meter of snow in the Southern Alps.
There may also be over 200 mm of rain for parts of the West Coast.
Police say they have not issued a specific warning for the storm, but they always urge motorists to drive according to the conditions.
“In wet and windy weather that means slowing down and increasing the distance to follow,” said a spokesman.
Philip Duncan at weatherwatch.co.nz said the storm would be significant.
“The stormy Southern Ocean weather pattern is temporarily putting the La Nina pattern to one side with two significant lows – one today and the other around Tuesday, Wednesday.
“Sunday’s low, which still hasn’t suppressed some thunderstorms, rain and winds for parts of New Zealand, will actually be tracing out of the country today. So we don’t expect anything too serious today, although it remains up-to-date with possible MetService severe warning no matter where you are. “
But the ensuing storm worries Duncan, especially for those venturing outdoors.
“The Tuesday / Wednesday event appears to be the most intense with the epicenter of this hurricane potentially crossing Southland and Otago.”
As a hurricane hits the country with its strong northwest strong winds, it will then be followed by a cool southern turn with heavy rains that will hit the West Coast.
Auckland is expected to cool down but will not experience as violent a storm as the South Island one.
MetService meteorologist Peter Little said southwestern changes that begin on Wednesday through Thursday will bring temperatures down to 10C on the South Island.
Dunedin will drop from 25C today to 15C.
Few say that temperature changes won’t be as dramatic as on the North Island, but people will definitely feel the impact from the southwest.
Auckland will drop from 27C today to 21C on Wednesday, and 20C on Thursday.
Until then, the hot weather will continue. Whangārei and Gisborne can expect temperatures of 30C, Auckland and Tauranga 27C and Hamilton 26C.
In today’s South Island, Kaikoura is a hot spot of 28C. Christchurch and Ashburton are set at 27C.
The front exerts its energies on the South Island, and central New Zealand – Wellington, Wairarapa – is bearing the brunt of strong winds. Bad weather warning has been issued.
Meanwhile, warnings were in place tonight for the Canterbury Plains and North Otago, where it is expected to see more than 25 mm of rain, along with hail.
MetService has warned people to be prepared for flash floods around low-lying areas such as rivers, streams or narrow valleys, which can cause slipping.
Driving conditions will also be dangerous, with surface flooding and poor visibility during heavy rain.
Heavy hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, greenhouses and vehicles.
Laura Waters, pictured at Masons Hut, the last shack on the South Island on the Te Araroa Trail. Photo / Laura Waters
My eyes cloud as I think about the time I walked from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Here it is again, my friends must be thinking as I talk about the joys, tribulations, and amazing sights encountered during a 3000 km journey through this country. As far as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, setting foot in Te Araroa has been transformative, and its long-term effects on my life have only made it even more memorable. With the challenges of today’s world, fleeing into the wild is again a tantalizing choice.
Long-distance lines are gaining popularity around the world and in 2011 New Zealand launched its own line, a linear route connecting many pre-existing lines with several new links. In the north it winds from the west coast to the east and back again, via secluded beaches, mossy forest, the volcanic desert of Tongariro National Park, and knife-tipped ridges across the Tararua Mountains. To the south, a more direct route up and along the dramatic Southern Alps is required. About once a week, sometimes more often, the walkway intersects the city where hot showers and general stores offer the opportunity to refresh and recharge.
When I left in 2013, Te Araroa was an unknown quantity, a trail that few people have managed to complete. Even though I had walked a dozen or more days under my belt, none were even more than 65 km so it was an experiment with fire on body and mind. I need it. After the closure of toxic relationships and the stress of city life, my world has been taken over by crippling anxiety and depression, the symptoms miraculously and magically disappearing within weeks of being immersed in the peace and simplicity of nature.
Then I fixed a problem I wasn’t even aware of. Walking the trails, I face countless challenges: steep, open mountains, sudden blizzards, a number of unobstructed river crossings, dubious trail signs, shoulder dislocations and, not least, loss of hiking companions. I got injured on the second day. But in overcoming this challenge I found a hitherto untapped inner intellect and courage. I learned to adapt to the environment, listen to my heart’s content and overcome fear. I found I was able to do more than I realized and I noticed how little you need to be happy – food, shelter, and a bag of belongings is enough. It is clear that life can be fun if you simplify it and eliminate the “noise.” The insights gained during those five months changed my life forever, leading to a career change and a substantial re-establishment of personal beliefs and worldviews.
Taking the entire route will give you an experience like no other, but if you can’t spare the time or energy to wade the 3000 km, consider climbing the section, taking bite-sized stages over a long period of time. Alternatively, choose an interesting part of the cherry. The stretch from St Arnaud to Boyle Village, across from Nelson’s Lake National Park on the South Island, really evokes a few tears from me as I see its beautiful snow-capped mountains, fast-flowing rivers and vast boulder fields.
If you’re curious to know what it’s like to have the beach all to yourself for four days, the first 100 kilometers south of Cape Reinga follows the secluded golden trail of Ninety Mile Beach. Mount Pirongia, in Waikato, marks the first true mountain range for hikers to the south and a two-day portion of its steep green mossy cliffs. Real delights are lesser-known finds such as the stunning jungle on North Island Hakarimata Road or Telford Tops on the Takitimu Trail to the south. The four-day Mavora Walkway, south of Queenstown, is also renowned for its lakes, mountains, beech forest and amazing sense of isolation.
The highlight of the trail – which incidentally doesn’t involve walking – is the 200 kilometers paddling up the Whanganui River. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at Taumarunui for a six-day paddle out to sea in Whanganui. About 200 rapids are scattered along the route, light enough for beginners to traverse yet foamy enough to get their heart racing. In some places, the river carves its way through steep-sided canyon walls dotted with ferns and gushing waterfalls, and campsites overlooking snaking water are some of the most beautiful places I have ever come across.
Most of the nights on the North Island are spent in tents, but on the South Island, hikers can make use of many DoC huts on their way, especially when the weather turns challenging. Buying an inland cottage entry ticket will give you access to all the huts on the trail and while some have all the sophistication and comfort of a garden shed, others are double-layered masterpieces with cozy wood-burning stoves and five-star views.
I’m not going to cover it with sugar, walk all day, every day, need a little energy. I made it past the 10kg Whittakers in the five months it took me to complete the trail and I’m still losing weight (ah, those were the days). Te Araroa is also not for the faint of heart. The terrain is quite challenging at times and can be exposed to bad weather, but nothing compares to the feeling of being completely connected to the mainland as you peer through your flying tent as the moon rises over the remote Ahuriri River Valley. Or the shadow of a killer whale’s dorsal fin slicing through the surface of Queen Charlotte Sound as you follow the ridge trail above. Or a softer owl chirp in the dark northern forest night. Moments like magic make the trouble worth it.
Laura Waters is the author of Bewildered’s memoir, about her 3,000km hike along New Zealand.
ROAD WAY The Te Araroa Trail stretches 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff and takes between 4-6 months to complete. Topographic maps, track records and further information can be downloaded from teararoa.org.nz
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com
This story was first published in the New Zealand Herald Travel on October 1