After a few days of wining and dining we headed for the more remote regions of the South Island’s east coast. A quick highway drive and twelve kilometers of bumpy, gravel roads later we found ourselves at the ‘Blue Mountain’ home of Mr. and Mrs. Buick – private land owners in the middle of beautiful nowhere! The Buick residence is both the carpark for and the beginning of the Sawcut Gorge Streambed Route – a trek to NZ’s most impressive slot canyon. Mrs. Buick welcomed us to their slice of hillside heaven Kiwi-style by providing us with some history of the area, as well as a detailed trail map, and a sneak peak at the newest addition to the Buick farm family – a two-day old alpaca!
The 45 minute route to the slot canyon required sneaker-soaking splashing up the Waima River and some occasional boulder hopping. As we rounded the final corner, Sawcut Canyon, a 50-meter high wall of limestone that has been eroded by Isolation Creek, stood before us. Making our way up stream a bit further, we were able to explore the canyon, which is higher than it is long, and take advantage of some fun photo opps!
This hike marked exactly one month of NZ adventuring and as such, we felt it needed a WOLOtude-worthy celebration. There were inviting swimming holes along much of the route and on our way back we couldn’t resist – we found the perfect pool, busted out the birthday suits, and took a baptismal dip in the refreshing NZ river water!
Next stop: Kaikoura
– Go. Change your state of mind.