Northern News : January 5th 2011
13 NORTHERN NEWS, JANUARY 5, 2011 NEWS Time to refuel: A bite to eat on the path to Cape Brett. Photos: MATTHEW GRAY Landmark: The Cape Brett Lighthouse is in good shape after a major revamp in 2008. 16.5km tramp well worth the effort Historic cottage: The only surviving house at Cape Brett is now used as a hut for trampers. By MATTHEW GRAY TREK FACT FILE Five tips for the trek to Cape Brett. 1. Give yourself at least eight hours of daylight to get there and leave early in the day. The last two and a half hours are particularly tough and you might want to allow for a few extra breathers along the way. 2.Take plenty of water for the trip. There is a tank at the hut but there's no guarantees it'll be full at the height of summer. Check with DOC staff when booking the hut on (09) 407-0300. Boil the cape offerings well before you drink them. 3. Think carefully about any extras you might like to pack in your kit. That extra weight is a killer and you'll feel every kilogram as you struggle up and over the last ridge on your way to the hut. If in doubt leave it out. 4. The hut fee is $12 a night and an extra $30 is required for track maintenance. Don't forget to get the code for the padlock. An unplanned night under the stars isn't everyone's cup of tea. 5. Take a camera. You might not see views quite like this ever again. Comments in the visitor book at the Cape Brett Hut are fairly consistent. Most contributors agree the walk out from Oke Bay at Rawhiti is tough and a quick glance shows the water taxi business from Paihia does a roaring trade picking up those who can't face the 16.5km trek back. A hardy few do manage the return journey. And, with a pack lightened after a couple of nights rest, it's not as bad as you'd think. The views either side of the peninsula are just as spec- tacular the second time around and vertical challenges faced along the way seem less imposing with the promise of a hot shower and your own bed just eight hours or so ahead. But it's still a relief to get the boots off at trail's end. Cape Brett is an experience to be savoured. It was once home to a small settlement established to ser- vice a lighthouse that was restored in 2008 after being retired from use in October 1978. Construction of the three keepers' homes, a school, workshop and various service buildings started in 1907 and was largely complete by the time the iron tower and its kerosene powered lantern were hauled up the hill in segments three years later. Electricity provided through a diesel generator was used to fire up the light from 1955 though a power cable didn't stretch its way out to the cape and its residents until 1968. Those who lived on the grassy slopes maintained links to the larger population by telegram and shared a phone line. Supplies mostly arrived by sea. The keepers and their people were largely self suf- ficient growing their own vegetables, milking cows, keeping poultry and putting down the occasional batch of homebrew. Fish was in abun- dant supply and easily caught at the water's edge where a large lifting crane was used to offload materials from visiting boats and barges. Everyone was at the mercy of the elements. Records still kept in the one surviving house now used by trampers document waves of unbelievable height that once battered the landscape. One rolled in from an angry ocean to crash down on a cot- tage roof approximately 41 metres above sea level in 1951. Mighty winds frequently hammered the area, flattening outhouses, ripping spouting from its mounts, lifting roofs and blowing chicken coops away out of sight. What nature failed to remove was eventually dis- mantled or burnt as the cape's lighthouse was made redundant and its minders moved away. A few foundations and disused con- crete water tanks remain as do portions of the landing facilities. Sightseers are common on land but generally arrive by sea. Some on their way to the nearby hole in the rock don't even bother to set foot ashore, instead getting a first class view of the cape and the occasional seal basking in the sun from the comfort of vari- ous tourist craft. Either way it's all good stuff and a reminder of just how beautiful a country New Zealand is. Take care when buying your children's toys Take care buying your children's toys, especially with kids under three. Littlies are going to shove everything in their gob. That means the only toys you should let them play with are giant super-safe ones. New toys are less risky than older ones which might not meet modern safety standards. This means you should keep your heirloom lead- painted soldiers out of reach. The main things to look out for are: Size: Make sure the toy is too big for the child's mouth and that the toy can't break down into smaller pieces. Surface: Don't have any bits and pieces that can come off like sparkles, but- tons, knobs or even stuffing that could come out. Your child could put these in their mouth and choke. Any sharp or rough edges could cut your child. Battery covers should be secured with a screw so children can't get them out. Strings: Yo-yos and the like are for older children. Younger children can get tangled up in them risking cutting of blood supply or worse, strangulation. Sound: Beeping banging toys may drive you crazy but they could also damage your child's hearing. Choose toys that are the same sound level as a conversation or quieter. Space: Is there enough space for the child to use the toy? Flying objects can go anywhere so if it needs to be used outside, make sure there is space and that your children use it safely. Supervision: Some toys need a parent supervising, so don't buy the toy if you can't be there. Remember water toys don't replace adult supervis- ion near water. Keep pretty much every- thing else out of reach. This includes mobiles and toys that belong to older chil- dren in the house. Also, be careful where you put toys. A child might not be able to reach a confiscated toy on the top shelf but in trying they could pull the whole thing down on themselves. See www.consumer affairs.govt.nz for more tips on buying safe products for children. .
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