Castle Rock has been that mountain in the distance I just wanted to get closer too and so the day walk became a Must Do for us. Could we climb this beautiful challenging landmark and are we confident. Let's be honest here neither of us are afraid of heights although I have issues with edges and Graeme doesn't enjoy falling — therefore things to consider.
I'm excited, tramping boots are on — wet weather gear packed as we are climbing fairly high and the weather could change. The walk itself is a short distance nevertheless safety first as we are heading somewhere new and a healthy respect for the forest is a must in the Coromandel. There is a sign posted entrance just past 'Waterworks' we parked and walked from here. Later on, discovering we could have driven the 2 km through the pine forest to the start of our Castle Rock walk.
My energy levels are high, the air is fresh and this huge mountainous set of rock is directly above us. Pine forest gives way to gorgeous native sub-tropical New Zealand forest and at last, we locate the narrow pathway entrance to begin our walk. Thank goodness for the tramping boots, it's really slushy underfoot and sneakers just won't cut it today. This is the real Coromandel, there is no groomed walkway and the forest is dense yet stunningly beautiful with tall Nikau Palms filtering the sunshine through to the forest floor. Our track winds upwards, the spaces between huge tree roots become the steps that many before us have walked. I'm in awe with the natural beauty as we emerge from the forest and nearing the top.
Steep pillars of rock stand before us protruding out of the earth, we are insignificant compared to their size. Even on a winter's day, the vista is fabulous, we can see both sides of the Coromandel Peninsula coastline and layers of mountainous ridge lines covered in native forest. The beauty is breath-taking, however, clouds are moving quickly and closing in on Castle Rock. We have further to climb to reach the true top, however, safety tells us this is enough for today. The remaining trees near us indicate damage from high wind, therefore, this is not a place to disrespect and soon it will rain.
Truth be told, I see edges, my knees are a little shaky and that's ok. As we descend Graeme and I are planning when to return. What a day, what an awesome experience on the remarkable Castle Rock and I can't wait to come back. We finished off the day with a snack fresh oysters just down the road at our local Oyster Farm.... brilliant.