Watching the world awaken at dawn from a spot high on Maunga Hikurangi, surrounded by nine enormous carvings and listening to the fascinating stories about them, is an all-consuming experience. When you ascend Maunga Hikurangi by starlight with our local Ngati Porou guides to do just that, there are a few things to bring that will make the tour even better or more comfortable.
Here’s our list of 7 things we recommend packing:
Picture this: the golden hour of sunrise and magnificently carved pillars in the foreground. The sun rises, the clouds slowly brighten from a rosy pink to a fiery red, and the clear sky gets that pinky-orange blush fading up to a vibrant blue. There’s no photo opportunity quite like it. And once the sun is up, it casts a warm glow over the magnificent farmland, forest, and other peaks around you. All this combined with good friends, the carvings and the stories from the guides makes for some photos with seriously amazing vibes!
Whether it’s a proper DSLR that you have, or simply the camera on your phone, you’ll want to capture these moments forever.
When exploring New Zealand’s stunning high country, be prepared for the ground not being perfectly level. A solid, stable pair of shoes will go a long way. The site has a lot of loose rock especially when clambering up to the higher plateau to take photos, so boot-type footwear with a heel is recommended; think of it as your brake when descending. The site can also be quite wet if there has been recent rain, so reliable footwear is a must. Also, because you will be riding an all-terrain quad to reach the plateau, open-toed shoes are not permitted.
Layers of Clothing
Even if you’re doing the sunrise experience in summer, that pre-dawn mountainside chill while you’re waiting for the sun to come up can really bite. So make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. The weather can also be highly changeable in a mountain environment – that perfect clear-sky weather forecast can turn grey in an instant.
Wearing a warm base layer with a jacket on top makes all the difference, and a warm hat and gloves keep those extremities cosy. Pack a raincoat into a backpack too, just in case!
We provide headlamps, but you may wish to bring your own if you have one that fits you well and that you prefer using on outdoor adventures. It makes for a smoother ascent with a light source strapped to your forehead rather than having to carry one by hand!
At sunrise, the sun is obviously much closer to eye level than it is during the day. On a clear morning, keep those peepers comfortable with some good UVA/UVB-screening sunglasses.
These are not compulsory, but for those with more sensitive hands it may be preferable to bring a preferred pair of gardening gloves; you will have the opportunity to plant a seedling as part of the eco-project on the maunga, which is fantastic for the environment and also for the soul.
We provide some delicious kai (food) on the mountain after your sunrise experience. Locally sourced and presented in a harakeke (flax) basket, we endeavour to be sustainable in all that we do. We also strive to deliver some delicious local East Coast hospitality!
We hope you enjoy your Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience. Take the right gear, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy this sunrise journey through Ngati Porou culture and history.