There was a nip in the air and a slight early morning frost, but it quickly transformed into a stunning blue sky day. It was too good to waste, so I packed my lunch, donned my hiking boots and headed for the W2K track out of Kinloch. it is part of the Great Lake Trail in Taupo and runs from Whakaipo Bay to Kinloch and on to Kawakawa Bay. I had previously walked to Kawakawa and wanted to try the opposite direction. It was too far to go without transport back from Whakaipo but I could at least reach the Headland Loop.
The colourful rhododendrons around the village were in full bloom as I walked along the lakefront to the other end of the bay from my house. The snow-capped volcanoes were crystal clear in the distance on the opposite side of the lake. The weather could not have been better.
The gradient of the trail was gentle and the track wound through beautiful bush. The only sounds were of birdsong and the occasional distant motor boat. There were few hikers, but it was obviously a popular track for cyclists. I had to keep my eyes and ears alert to fast moving mountain bikers as they came whizzing through!
I reached the Headland Loop and walked down to the Kinloch Lookout where I enjoyed my, by then, late morning tea. I was ready for a sit down and some sustenance! However the view was disappointing. The bush had grown so much I had to stand on the seat to see it.
Feeling re-energised, I retraced my steps back to the main trail and headed a short distance towards Whakaipo until I reached the junction with the other end of the loop track. The whole loop was nearly 10km long which I decided was too far for today. A short distance along was another lookout which I thought would be a good place for lunch. This had a restricted view of Whakaipo Bay with Mt Tauhara in the distance. I could also see a small part of the lake, and Whangamata Bluffs was visible through the trees.
I perched on an old tree stump, ate my sandwich and contemplated. All was quiet. I could hear no voices. No traffic. Just birds and insects. How good for the soul! On my return, I met a family of hikers and stopped for a short chat before continuing back along the trail to Kinloch. It had been hot at both lookouts as there was no shade so the cover of the bush was welcome on my return.
At home once again, the moon was already rising above the hills which looked beautiful in the late afternoon light. What a restorative day!