Yesterday 18th January 2015 Andre and Alison had an epic trip with Outwest Tours http://www.outwest.co.nz/johnnysjourney.html up the nearby Awakari Valley, Charleston
There we were introduced to local legend John Albert Currie aka Johhny. Johnny and his son Curtis are the only residents apart that is from a large number of wild deer! Johnny has farmed a small number of cattle in the beautiful valley for several decades.
We started at the first lookout post high above the valley from where we were able to spot a number of grazing wild deer. Up to 40 can be seen at any one time when the deer feel like it!
We descended in the comfortable Toyota Landcruiser to Johnny’s home and work shop – lots of interesting sights welcomed us & he told us about his life in this Deer Utopia. He owns a large area of the Awakari valley and has banned shooting of deer here for many years – consequently the deer are hanging around in large numbers, breeding and making this their home.
Johnny jumped into the landcruiser with us for the next leg of the tour. Using a microphone he talked to us telling us ALOT of the history of the area. When butterfat prices were high the area was farmed for dairy production – the cream was transported along the river bed on horseback to the butter factory several times per week. There was poetry and even a song!
Then we parked up and were escorted on foot to a large limestone cave that has previously been occupied by a Maori Tribe many moons ago. We saw the area where clothes were washed and the women showered in a freshwater waterfall.
Back in the landcruiser we moved along the valley to Johnny’s son’s home where we had a picnic lunch and Billy Tea! Who would have thought the pancake rocks would reach this far from Punakaiki!(40KM away!) But they do as we could see.
Onwards and upwards we drove up to the very back of Johnny’s property and onto DOC land where Johnny told us the names of all of the peaks and some more of the local history. Mountains and forest as far as the eye can see in every direction. Oh and the odd wild goat! We had driven over an area of swampy type land called Pakihi which in Maori means sour land – the soil is acidic due to high rainfall and poor drainage and not much grows on it – it the same type of land that surrounds Birds Ferry Lodge on Birds Ferry Road.
Upon returning to Johnny’s yards we fed hungry wild Eels and Johnny was relieved to see that his two dogs had decided to return home – they had been gone bush for 4 days!!!!
And for us the highlight of the epic day was as we were leaving three large Stags stood still JUST long enough for me to get a picture!
Now if this has got you interested be sure to book our Johhny’s Journey Package here : https://www.birdsferrylodge.co.nz/packages/