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No end in sight for logistical nightmare track repair

Photo: Birdbabe, Creative Commons

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

The Paekākāriki Escarpment Track is a beautiful stretch of Te Araroa Trail in the lower North Island offering stunning views over to Kapiti Island.

But since 2020 it’s been blighted by a slip that trampers need to bypass via a temporary diversion.

A combination of very tricky access, a steep slope, and a railway line and main road beneath it makes fixing the track a logistical nightmare, and those trying to do so have told Kapiti News that they’re only a third of the way through with no end date.

“The slip area is smack bang in the middle of the escarpment track,” said Charles Loader from Abseil Access. “We basically have to walk from the road, over the railway tunnel, to access the site.

“We’re basically drilling into the slope and anchoring in, as far as practical, the loose material that is there.”

Should a lake have legal rights?

That’s the question being put to the courts in Florida, USA, as a body of water called Lake Mary Jane is sueing due to pressure from developers.

The lake is claiming that turning 1900ha of wetlands and forest into homes would “adversely impact the lakes and marsh who are parties to this action,” causing injuries that are “concrete, distinct, and palpable.”

Individual animals and species have sued in the past, but this is the first time a part of nature that isn’t alive (though it does of course support life) has gone to court.

“It is long past time to recognise that we are dependent on nature, and the continued destruction of nature needs to stop,” said Mari Margil, the executive director of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights. Read more here

Kaikōura could become an International Dark Sky Reserve

With the huge expanse of the Kaikoura Range to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, there’s not much to interfere with the night sky around Kaikōura.

And astronomer Larry Field wants to keep it that way by achieving International Dark Sky Reserve status for the area. Only Aoraki-Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve currently has such a status in New Zealand.

“It’s absolutely fabulous night sky wilderness,” Field told 1News. “The dark sky quality is just as good, if not better than Aoraki Mackenzie’s dark sky reserve.”

Such a status might also benefit the rare Hutton shearwater that calls the region home, but has a tendency to fly into wet roads, mistaking them for the sea.

(Read our feature on the best tramping in NZ’s three Dark Sky Reserves in the May 2022 issue – out tomorrow.)

Just a few days left to drive Rainbow Road

It takes you into the classic Marlborough high country of Rainbow and Molesworth stations and to the likes of Hell’s Gate gorge and Lake Tennyson.

Rainbow Road is normally open in the warmer months, but this hasn’t been possible this summer due to repeated washouts. However, a 10-day window began on Good Friday, meaning there are now just a few days left (and one weekend) to take advantage.

The 112km unsealed road runs from Nelson Lakes to Hanmer Springs and although 4WDs are recommended, many complete it in 2WD vehicles. Read more at Stuff.

It’ll take six hours to walk off an Easter egg and three chocolate bars

That’s according to Amanda Daley from Loughborough University in the UK, who’s worked out the calorie count for the most popular Easter treats and how much exercise will burn them off.

She’s determined that a large Easter egg with three chocolate bars would take just over six hours of walking to remove the weight gained.

A large chocolate bunny would take three hours 40 minutes, while a chocolate nest would require a 35-minute stroll to neutralise the calories. Read more here.