Over the weekend we loaded up the ute(-erus – Jase’s wonderful nickname for his vehicle) with all our camping gear and headed over the Wainui hill to Catchpool Valley.

I am a camping addict – I love sleeping in a tent and cooking on a portable cooker. I feel like camping is the only time I truly relax – there are no cellphones/ internet because generally you are in areas out of service (or you turn it off because you just don’t care); and there is no time – you get out of bed when you wake up, you go to bed when you are tired, you eat when you are hungry – not because the clock tells you to. You read, you relax, you tramp, you wander around in the sun, you breathe fresh air – I love it all.

Peaceful Catchpool Valley

Over the last couple of years Jase and I have camped our way around New Zealand – and we both love staying at DOC campgrounds. We have built up our camping cupboard and now have pretty much anything and everything you might need – even a camping kitchen sink!

Back to Catchpool. We headed over on Saturday morning, quickly got the tents up and headed off on our walk. I am a 4 hour maximum tramper – and definitely was hurting by hour 3. It was a beautiful flat walk in along the Orongorongo track, and we reached the valley quickly. We had a quick fuel stop there, and chatted to the DOC ranger before setting off on a steep climb up the Cattle Ridge track. Quite a toughy, and my left calf started seizing up quite a bit (have been having problems with this for a while). Once we were up on the ridge it flattened out & was quite enjoyable. After 2 hours we finally hit the Butcher track which led us steeply back down for 45 minutes to the campground.

Orongoronga Valley

Happy Trampers

Well deserved beers & wines followed, and we rugged up for a night of nacho’s and fondue. YUM.

On Sunday the rest of our camping buddies headed back to town, and left Jase & I to relax in the sun, read the paper, have an afternoon snooze, cook up some burgers for dinner, play lot’s of card games (which of course I won) and have an early night and a big sleep in. Nothing beats listening to a river, the rustle of the trees, and being snuggled away in your tent.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to get the tent out again! The next time will be New Years – we are heading to Otaki Forks for a few nights, Castlepoint for New Years and then to Waiohine Gorge to end up our holiday. LOVE IT!

I wanted to say how saddening and shocking it was to come home and hear the news about Rose Ives. Rose was shot dead by a hunter while brushing her teeth at a DOC campground in Turangi on Saturday. Such a freak accident, but one that shouldn’t of happened. Many of our friends and colleagues were concerned when they heard the news that the girl was me – 25 year old female, from Wellington, camping with her partner and four friends at a DOC campground. I fit the bill (almost) perfectly – except we never planned to go to Turangi. So tragic – and my heart goes out to her family and partner.

The incident did make me think a lot about taking extra precautions when camping, and here are a few of my tips:

A couple of camping tips:

  • ALWAYS tell someone where you are planning on going camping – and don’t change your mind. If you do – let people know!
  • When you go tramping – even for a day walk – leave a ‘note of intention’ in your tent, or sign the intentions book if there is one. We wrote a quick note with our names, our planned route, our time of departure and our expected time of return, and left it inside the tent. If someone is looking for you – it’s likely they will check your tent.
  • Talk to people you see on the track – say hello, stop for a chat and talk about your planned route, or mention where you are off to. Often DOC Rangers are out on the trails and they can give you good advice on the track conditions etc.
  • Be prepared. Take the right clothing, have the right gear, take food and water – and be sensible.
  • Finally – respect the wonderful country we live in. Pick up any litter you see and carry it out of the parks. We need to keep these beautiful places in pristine condition so we can use them for years to come.

Talking to the DOC Ranger about our planned route


All in all – Catchpool was beautiful. And only 45mins from Wellington – go check it out!

Catchpool Valley