30th Birthday Bash

Find me a better place to celebrate one’s impending old age than in a New Zealand tramping hut with a bunch of friends. That was the idea behind the weekend away to the Hurunui Hut near Lake Sumner.

So on Saturday Gina, Tane, Katie, Kerry, Chris, Emily, Al, Amber, Greig, Clare, and I piled into cars and drove up to Lake Taylor where we met Ed, Abbie, Simon, Anita, and William. We were armed with a collection of bikes ranging from fully rigid steel beasts with panniers to full suspension mountain bikes. The plan was to take the Hurunui hut by storm and to celebrate Katie’s recent lapse into old age and my impending dhoom.

There is a rough unsealed four-wheel-drive road that runs around the side of Lake Taylor, past Loch Katrine, and beside the Hurunui river to the Hurunui hut. The route is approximately 25 km. The Hurunui hut is a 15 bunk hut tucked in amongst beach forest above the Hurunui river.

We bumped our way into the hut. I had my trusty Ortlieb panniers (the Germans don’t just know how to make cars) on the old rigid steel bike that Gina used for cycle touring in 2008. We rode at differing speeds and the 16 of us spread out a lot over the length of the ride. I bumped in on my laden bike with Katie and Gina around 6 pm. The others were milling around the hut when we arrived. We dumped our copious amounts of food on the tables and took over the place. Luckily there weren’t any unsuspecting trampers there.

We cooked a yummy pot luck dinner and began sampling some of the 5-6 Litres of wine we had brought in. The drink of the vines was left over after Ed and Abbie’s wedding last weekend and needed to be drunk. Gina and Kerry spent some time finding bits and pieces for a fire down in the riverbed and we all trekked down there as darkness fell. We had a fantastic bonfire and toasted marshmallows. We even had music provided by smart phones and Emily and Chris’ little travel speakers.

After the mallows were eaten and the remainder of the wine drunk we made our way back up to the hut through the bush. Some of us slept in the hut and others in tents scattered around near the hut.

Some of the party (the party-poopers) left early the next day to do various domestic duties at home or go kayaking on the Hurunui. The rest of us headed down to the hot pools about 45 mins by bike and foot from the hut. The pools were rather warm and the sand flies hungry so we didn’t spend too much time lazing around. Instead we ate lunch by the river and splashed around for a bit before returning.

We rode out slowly and cleaned our bikes off in Lake Taylor before having a dip at Jollie Brook and driving home, stopping to get some fish and chips in Amberly.

Keen beans (Lake Taylor) resize Chris riding his bike (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: The keen beans and their cars. We parked the cars at Lake Taylor and got our assortment of bikes ready. Above right: Chris had brought a suitable hat for the trip.

Above: I was eager to test out my GoPro and had it strapped to my head as we started the ride.

Above: Passing Katie and Clare on the ride in.

Above: Pestering Gina about the trip so far…

Hurunui Hut (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above: The Hurunui hut near Lake Sumner where we stayed the night.

Muddy bike backside (30th Birthday Bash) resize Abbie at Hurunui Hut (30th Birthday Bash) resize Tent beside the hut (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: Cris’ bike with his trusty Ortlieb panniers. Above middle: Abbie surveys the scene from the deck of the Hurunui hut. Above right: Katie’s tent with the hut through the trees in the background.

Dirty bikes (30th Birthday Bash) resize Bikes for Africa (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: Muddy bikes at the hut. Above right: An assortment of some of the bikes we used to ride into the hut.

Inside the hut 2 (30th Birthday Bash) resize Playing with the squid (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: We hauled a lot of food into the hut as you can see. Above right: After a little wine had been drunk we amused ourselves with the squiddy thing hanging from the roof of the hut. We’re not entirely sure what it’s purpose was but it had lots of funny tentacle things that were fun to flick at each other.

Walking along the riverbed (30th Birthday Bash) resize Ed and his large stick (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: In the evening we went down to the riverbed to make a bonfire. Above right: Ed carrying wood to the fire.

Standing around the fire (30th Birthday Bash) resize Katie, Cris, Simon, and Gina (30th Birthday Bash) 1 resize

Above left: Lighting the fire. Above right: Katie, Cris, Simon, and Gina.

Preparing the fire 4 (30th Birthday Bash) resize Pots and pans (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: Tending to the fire. Above right: Pots and pans after breakfast.

Kerry sleeping on the deck (30th Birthday Bash) resize Clare making pancakes (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: Kerry tried sleeping on the deck outside the hut between the bikes. Above right: Clare makes pancakes for breakfast. William did the same. Yum, yum.

William jumps into the river (30th Birthday Bash) resize Burrying bobina 2 (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: William jumps into the Hurunui near the hot pools. Above right: Cris and Simon revived an age-old tradition and buried Gina.

William and Simon eating crackers (30th Birthday Bash) resize In the Hurunui hot pools (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: William and Simon devour lunch. Above right: The Hurunui hot pools. The pools are fed by a waterfall of hot water. On the left there is a little black pipe that brings cool water from a little stream to the left. The pools are big enough to fit perhaps 8 people at a squeeze.

A great end to a great trip (Lake Taylor) resize Simon dives into Jollie Brook (30th Birthday Bash) resize

Above left: A great end to a great trip. We cleaned our bikes in Lake Taylor. Above right: Simon, William, and I had a dip in Jollie Brook on the way back.

Above: Jumping into Jollie Brook.

And a larger collection of photos from the trip: