Yesterday we decided to walk the Pineapple trail to Flagstaff Summit. This was a beautiful trek which consisted of a big up, a big down, and a whole lotta’ bush. We picked this trail mainly due to its name, but also because we were in need of an uplift by the spectacular Dunedin skyline.
The trail leads up about 660 meters to Flagstaff summit, where the track got its name. In the 1920s a local grocer had acted as a guide and had given out tinned pineapple as refreshment at the top. Flagstaff, along with Mount Cargill, makes up the majority of the Dunedin city Skyline, and offers a perfect view of the city.
As we set off up the trail, we were quickly engrossed by the native bush. We soon felt like Cook himself as we traversed through and searched on like a couple of keen explorers. My girlfriend had noted that it reminded her of the film Fern Gully. As someone who has not seen this, maybe someone who has seen it can confirm from the picture below. However, it looks like I will probably be watching it against my will soon anyway.
After about 40 minutes of trekking you will reach the end of the bush, and come out into the openness of the Flagstaff hillside. As you gradually climb to the summit the view of the city will become more and more amazing. We noticed that when the sunlight touched the houses they all seemed to turn white and combine together to make Dunedin look like one giant stone. You can maybe get the idea from the pictures we had taken.
The further you go up you will notice the odd large stone which can offer even better views of the city. However, to reach these you will need to stray from the path and walk through the knee-high (for me)/ waist high (for my girlfriend) bush. While wholly worth it at the start, we may have got slightly lost on the way back, and we may have joined the path from a completely different point. The problem with this was that the same woman passed us three times. It was like de-javu. I wasn’t sure whether we’d gone the wrong way, she’d just decided to turn around and we’d coincidentally ran into her a few times, or she was a bush witch. Personally, the latter explanation makes the most sense. If anyone else sees a lady with rad sunglasses and a pale blue T-shirt multiple times, you’ve probably just ran into the bush witch.
The top of the summit is by far the best part of the trail. The views there are tremendous. I have never been at a point where you can see such a contrast of environment all at once. At one side you have the city and the harbour, then you have Mount Cargill and the native bush, and behind those you have some snow-topped mountains. Most of all, though, there are these incredible green hills that look very much like the Shire. As a LOTR fan this was a nice bonus. But it didn’t just remind me of the Shire, it reminded me of home. Of Yorkshire. I’ve heard a lot of people describe New Zealand as Yorkshire on steroids, but it was not until that moment that I really believed it. The rolling green hills are strikingly similar here, if not simply on a much more grand scale.
The steep decline down the track was probably harder on my legs than the way up, but it was all well worth it.Furthermore, we found running through the bush, both up and down, to be extremely enjoyable, and we have already noted our desire to go back for a jog there.
For anyone that enjoys a good hike, an exploration, and incredible views to top it off, I would advise to walk this trail.With a distance time of around 2 and a half hours, it would make for a great morning or afternoon adventure, and you may even encounter the fabled bush witch.
Walking Difficulty: 4/5