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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

New Zealand: Catchpool Valley

Wellington from the Butcher Track
The view of distant Wellington from the Catchpool Valley's Butcher Track

After finishing my business in Nelson – five articles in all, not bad for a couple of days' work in paradise – I drove to Picton and hopped on the late-night ferry to Wellington. The only problem with late-night ferries is arriving in a place when most self-respecting citizens are in bed, but 'No worries,' I thought, 'I'll just hit a DOC campsite,' and indeed there was a very convenient camp just 50km from Wellington at the Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park. How on earth I managed to pick the only DOC campsite in the country that has gates that close at dusk, I don't know, so after discovering in the pitch black of night that I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, I drove around until I found a secluded spot, and gratefully fell asleep in the back of Zed, thanking my lucky stars that I'd bought a station wagon.