Jess is a Wanderer decided to take on the challenge of the Cape Brett Track. A 16.3km hike from Oke Bay to the Cape Brett DOC (Department of Conservation) Hut at the end of the peninsula. The weather was forecast to be lovely and the views promised to be amazing. What could possibly go wrong?
The first mistake I made was by getting over-excited at seeing the words ‘Cape Brett Track’ on a sign and immediately pulling over, parking the car and setting off. What I didn’t realise was that I was at the Whangamumu Track which was an extra 5km to the Cape Brett Track…
Nonetheless, it didn’t really matter at the time, what’s an extra few steps. The view was lovely, the trail was challenging and I was having a genuinely enjoyable time.
I decided to stop off at Deep Water Cove for a swim because I was so hot. I had the beach all to myself and it only added on an extra 1.5km to the journey. The uphill climb back to the track from the beach was a bit of a killer but I was in no rush so it really didn’t matter.
Arriving at the Lighthouse, I was suddenly very tired. I had been walking for more than six hours and for more than 20km. I’d booked to stay at the Cape Brett Hut (a serviced hut for $15 a night).
Unfortunately, at this time, the wind also started to get up and I’m not joking, I thought the hut was going to take off and end up in the sea somewhere. The windows didn’t close properly and the doors were banging like crazy. I genuinely felt like I was in a hurricane. I checked the weather report to see that a gale warning had been announced for exactly where I was. Being so exposed, there was no escape. Nor any sleep to be had due to the relentless banging, thumping and general freezing conditions.
I was also completely unprepared because I hadn’t taken any bedding with me – only the recommended food and water. The hut didn’t have electricity but candles would have been useless anyway due to the storm force winds blowing in!!
I managed to stay until 5am when I decided it was light enough to try and venture back. The recommended walking time is eight hours, I crawled, ran, scrambled and eventually made it back in 4 hours and 15 minutes before the storm properly hit and the rain certainly came down! I’m going to pay for that tomorrow.
Do I recommend the trail? Absolutely. Should you double, triple check the weather? Definitely. Does it pay to ask locals about what’s needed for an overnight stay in a DOC hut? 100% yes. Oh well, we live and we learn!