After a very wet spring and beginning of summer it was great to be greeted with fine weather. We motored off to Marahau and began the well-trodden track to Apple Tree Bay. There is very good scenery looking out over the bay which looked pristine with a high tide and very little wind. The track although in great condition was a little wet in places soft and soggy. We had our morning tea at Tinline then continued to Apple Tree Bay arriving there about 11.30am. We decided it was too early to stop so we continued on to Stillwell Bay. It was difficult to make it over very rocky track that leads to the beach but it was well worth it. It’s a beautiful bay with very fine sand. We had lunch and a couple of brave ones went for a swim. Cold, initially but invigorating. We were plagued with bossy well trained seagulls who demanded a share of our lunch and helped themselves when you weren’t looking.
After lunch we made our way back the way we had come keeping ourselves amused by trying to guess the nationality of the flood of oncoming trampers that occupy this track at this time of the year. They come from everywhere these days: Estonia, Spain, France, Germany, and Argentina to name a few. We arrived back at Marahau about 3.30pm and enjoyed an ice cream at Toad Hall.
The participants were Ian (leader), Julian, Lilly, Annette, Donell, Pat, Val, Graham, Pauline, and Marie.
Friday and Saturday (from the poetic writings of Sweet Pea):
The weather forecast was dubious although the day started out beautifully as you can see in the ‘Reflections of Angelus’ photo. I thought I was erring on the side of caution by choosing to return to the Mt Robert carpark by the Speargrass route. Perhaps I was. This picturesque route is steep in places with a rocky, fast-flowing stream which had a remarkable amount of water in it. I guess it was snow-melt. We needed to cross the stream about ten times. If I’d known it was going to be so many, I’d have officially counted the crossings. Lesley and I were so glad to have Andrew and David with us. They were great at hunting out the best crossing spots and then at helping us across each one. Thanks guys, we so appreciated you. Four hours after leaving Lake Angelus hut we arrived at the Speargrass hut for a well-earned lunch break spent with the couple who had the night before cooked a communal chocolate cake on a modern version of a camp oven which fitted on their primus. Pity they live in Christchurch as they’d be a great asset to the club.
From Speargrass hut it was another three hours out to Mt Robert carpark. Once again the journey was trickier than expected with Andrew saying that in his opinion the word ‘track’ was a misnomer for it and ‘route’ would be a more apt description.
The trip earned its moderate to hard rating. Each of us was proud to have accomplished it. For Andrew and me it was our first time to Lake Angelus (why did we wait so long?) and for Lesley and David it was a re-visit after 20+ years. The party consisted of Alison, leader and Sunday scribe, Andrew, David and Lesley G.
A large group of 16 trampers travelled along the Tadmor Glenhope Road until we reached Tui where we turned onto the Tui Road, then after 1½kms turned off onto Hodgkinsons Road. The rule is to follow this forestry road for about 4km to a skid site at the end, staying left at each intersection. At one junction we turned off in the wrong direction but soon realised our mistake and were soon back in the correct direction. The track started off through pine trees then after ten minutes entered native forest on a good clear track at a steady gradient. We carefully negotiated some muddy sections but this could be expected after a wet spring. After two hours we were rewarded with good views out of the bush up to Conical Hill and the ridgeline of the Hope Range. The last hour was a steeper ascent as we emerged from the bush onto the summit ridgeline, three hours from the start. At the first highpoint we savoured our lunch just as a few light showers fell, but soon the sun emerged again. We continued along the range for another half hour to the second highpoint at 1171m.
Scattered along the range were numerous granite rock outcrops in various shapes and sizes. While many of the rocks were simple mounds or boulders, some were spires and a few more twisted in shape vaguely resembling animals like a horse and a pig. We returned down the same track to complete another good outing with stunning scenery. It is pleasing to see that this track is now shown on the latest maps as part of the Lookout Range Route to Mt Owen. The troop was Robert, Lesley G, Colin, Jacqui, Donell, Marie, Joy, Julian, Christine, Lou and Chrissie, Geoff, Arif and newcomers Kath, Jo and Kathy.
A pleasing circuit
Eight trampers set off from the Canaan carpark to Wainui Saddle via a track through the farm that DOC recently has purchased and added to the Abel Tasman National Park. This meant our tramp was a loop from start to finish.
We enjoyed a chorus of birdsong as we ascended Wainui Saddle –thanks to our local community of trappers. The group stopped for morning tea at the viewpoint on the saddle just before the turn off to Evans Ridge. As the cloud had lifted we looked out toward Waingaro Valley and beyond that the peaks of the Kahurangi National Park. The tramp down Evans Track to Wainui Hut wanders through mature bush. The large rata, New Zealand cedars and generally magnificent bush were admired by all. A quick snack break at the junction of the tracks revived lagging blood sugar levels so we could push on to lunch in the sun at Wainui Hut. As we dropped down to the river, a vibrant weka joined the back of the group, swam across as we crossed and joined us for lunch.
The gentle uphill back to Wainui Saddle and tramp back to the cars was uneventful. The eight happy trampers were Annette, David S, David W, Geoff (visitor), Jacqui, Jocelyn, Lesley G, and Mary (scribe and co-leader). We missed the company of Alison, tramp organiser and leader who clocked in sick on the morning.
A local scramble to immense trees
14 club members and visitors spent a fine day walking from Easby Park to the historic Richmond Reservoir and then up Reservoir Creek to a 500 year old kahikatea tree. Morning tea was had here at the base of the tree. Getting there was a bit of a scramble up the creek, comprised of crossing the creek several times and going from rock to rock. There was a little more water flowing after recent rain so there was no one with dry feet by the time we returned back down to the reservoir. We then went up Cavers Track through Kingsland Forestry, taking a short detour on the way to view a very large 160 year old eucalyptus tree, known as the Barrington Gum, planted as part of a block of trees on Barrington Farm back in 1860 or 1870.
After lunch at the top of Cavers Track the group made their way down a forestry road then climbed again to the top near the Richmond Fire Lookout and then across and down to join up with Jimmy Lee Creek Walkway back out to Hill Street and back to the start at Richmond. There were good views over to Nelson and to the west from a number of locations along the way. The group was Geoff, Andrew, Donell, Pat, Val, Jo & Chris, Julian, Lesley J, Lesley G, and visitors Linda, Missy and Shane.
With a good weather forecast for the first two days but rain predicted for Monday, the four of us set off from Richmond at 7.30am on the Saturday morning. After a 2.5 hour drive we reached the well signposted turn off from the Lower Buller Gorge Road (SH6) to the Buckland Peaks Track. The car park is about 1km up this rather rough track. We were pleased to see no other cars in the carpark when we arrived but a couple with their two-year-old daughter arrived soon after us. We were surprised but relieved to know that their intention was to camp out on the tops. We had just over a one hour walk along a flattish farm road before going over a stile and following the track through manuka shrub land. The track starts to climb steadily uphill following a ridge. We had the odd break to photograph spider orchids or admire the view and stopped for lunch soon after midday. While the air was cool we were soon dripping in sweat with the steady uphill climb.
It was great to reach the bushline with superb views in all directions except for a threatening cloud bank over the distant Tasman Sea. We reached the tussock but soon noticed that there was another bush covered knob to climb before really getting into the open sub-alpine. Up on the ridge the hut was soon visible in the basin well below us and we arrived at the hut around 4.30pm. The hut which was rebuilt in 2002, has six bunks and is double glazed, but with there is no heating and little in the way of insulation, it was quite cool. There is water available from a tank near the door. The ground isn’t flat enough for good campsites around the hut with the best site perhaps being under the picnic table!
We woke reasonably early on Sunday morning and were off to Buckland Peaks by 7.30am. The cloud was building up over the sea so we were keen to reach the peaks while we still had a good view. From the hut we climbed back onto the ridge and along the top to the east. There is a narrow saddle to negotiate to get to the main summit but if you stick to the cairned track rather than the ridge crest the route is straight forward. We followed the track across the tops and soon reached one of the peaks. The views were superb with some low cloud over Murchison but the white peaks showing above the main Paparoa Range undoubtedly included Mt Cook and to the north we could see a long way up the coast. We visited all the small peaks, measuring which was the highest and relaxed in the sunshine. After lunch we made a leisurely trek back to the hut getting there before the low cloud obscured our route.
Just before we retired for the night a young hunter arrived at the hut. His walk up Ohikanui River and Dumpling Creek had proved to be a very cold experience. Next morning we were away by 7.30am trying to get back to the car before the rain started. With only a few brief stops on the downward journey we were at the car by 11.45am and beat the rain. We had lunch and then a stop at Murchison before arriving home by 3.15pm.
With the incredible views from Buckland Peaks this is a trip well worth doing and would be great to do again when the alpine plants are in flower. Trip members were Chris, Jo, Joy and Robert.
An interesting Tableland tour
One carload of five trampers visited the beautiful Tableland for a weekend trip. From Flora carpark it was a quick hop over Flora Saddle to the historic Flora Hut. It is certainly worth a good viewing after being renovated recently by Nelson TC. We tramped further along the wide Flora Track and stopped at Upper Gridiron Hut after a little steep climb up from the main track to under a large limestone rock overhang. We admired the unique little three bunk hut built in 1980 by Forest Service ranger Max Polglase. Further on was a welcome lunch break at the tiny Growler Shelter. Then it was a gradual climb to eventually emerge onto the tussock country and soon to Salisbury Lodge. After this was a climb up Starvation Ridge then a look at Bishops Cave. We tried to imagine the time when the Bishop of Nelson preached here to the gold miners in days gone by. We finally reached Balloon Hut where a couple of other trampers were in residence. We were still keen to climb up Peel Ridge 45 minutes from the hut for some evening views of Lake Peel. That evening we were entertained with Julian giving everyone an insight into the local history and the stories of Billy Lyon from the book No Roll of Drums. Amusingly the novice weekend tramper in our group was looking for a light switch in the hut before realising her mistake! We enjoyed the stay at the hut and although it wasn’t that cold we did light the fire in the new wood burner paid for by the club with good dry wood from the well-stocked woodshed.
On Sunday we left the hut following an old water race which started behind the woodshed and continued just below the bush edge emerging below Balloon Hill. We investigated the Dry Rock Shelter found up above the main track on the edge of the Tableland. A trio of young trampers were only just waking when we arrived having had a long day walking from the Cobb Valley. Our next break was at the Lower Gridiron Rock Shelter – another abode with open air sleeping platforms. We exited back to Flora carpark to round off a very pleasing weekend. There were so many places of interest for a weekend trip on the Tableland especially for those on our trip who were new to the area. The group was Robert, Julian, Anja, Alison and Jacqui.
When one is heading to the town of Murchison, on the left about 20 minutes out you can see a transmission tower up on the hill, so when that happened to me two years ago I found out I could get up there, and well the rest is history. Firstly though you do need permission from the farmer David James, as the start is on his land, but he was pretty good about it. There were four of us at the start just after 10am, but before we got underway there were some basic stretching exercises to complete (about 15 mins) and then the different techniques of climbing over the locked gate. This is a four-wheel-drive track to the top and you’re into the hill almost straight away, but we all stuck together. After fifty minutes it was a welcome morning tea stop, and it was quite warm at this stage and Jacqui quite enjoyed spotting the various flowers on the trail. The road winds round and its steady going, sometimes a sharp incline and then a small one, then about 60 minutes later it opened up and we could see the repeater station. What a difference it makes to one’s confidence – our pace quickened a little, but it was still a way to go. Then at last, the top – what a view – Mt Owen, the St Arnaud Range and the Buller River.
It was colder today on the top than when I did this a month earlier, even when there was snow there then. Although sunny the wind was strong, so we looked for a spot at the back of a large building for shelter. After munchies we had time to explore the surroundings, take photos and work out the points on top of other mountains. On this trip it was back the same way, leaving about 1.45pm. Going down sometimes can be harder on calves and knees but good conversation and future trip ideas soften the blow a bit. In just over two hours we were back at the cars with some final stretching exercises. In conclusion this tramp was not easy, at least a medium, with sweet views and a good sweat. So as my friend Sweet Pea would say:
Those on the trip were: David (leader), Lesley G, Jacqui and Robert.
A short overnighter
It must be a very select group when the whole crew plus packs can fit in my 1300cc shopping trolley. So Nolene, Robert and I left the Maitai dam carpark at 8.45am on a beautiful spring morning. Soon we were reduced to short sleeves – what a lovely day! At 10.15am, we stopped for morning tea at the usual place – a small layby off the track. Then onwards up the cycle track, ready to meet cyclists, all being most considerate. Further up Windtrap Gully, we met a sun-seeking skink that wasn’t in too much hurry to move. After a short rest at the Dun junction, we clambered up the rubbly track to Dun Saddle. We lunched in the shelter of a large rock as the wind was rising. The “interesting” clouds we had noticed earlier were foreboding and some were falling ominously over saddles. Showers were imminent, but would they hold off until tomorrow? The sign said one hour to Rocks Hut. We were glad to be there at 1.25pm as the windblown drizzle was setting in and it was getting cold.
Therefore, instead of exploring further, our afternoon’s project was to gather firewood. There was some good teamwork as Nolene mastered the saw over a rock to score into the tea tree sufficiently for Robert with his man strength to boot it apart. Each party is supposed to add more long branches to store under the hut drying ready for later visitors to manhandle into small enough lengths for the wood burner. The hut has 16 mattresses on platforms, drying rack and reasonable bench space. Water was overflowing the tank outside. Up behind it there are two flush toilets. We spent the remainder of the day brewing up, eating, reading and listening to the rain. It was surprising we had the hut to ourselves as it is more frequently occupied during Sept – May and very busy Nov – Mar with Te Araroa trekkers – many foreigners. Some hut book entries are mountain biking / tramping....inferring a lot of bike carrying?
Heavy showers fell during the night but there was still a light drizzle in the morning. Having cleaned up, we left soon after 9.00am (daylight saving time), well rugged up and pleased to be, in the open windy places. None felt inspired to climb Dun Mtn, so we went down the more direct way, pausing for morning tea, then lunch at the bridge as here there were just flying spits of damp.
We were back at the car park soon after 1.00pm. A short walk, but it was good to be carrying an overnight pack again to prepare for the summer. We left unfinished business up there, so we must return.
A back yard walk
Eleven members and two visitors met near the Brook Visitor Centre just before 9am on a calm sunny morning. We all headed through the new gate in the animal exclusion fence behind the centre and walked up the valley floor to the ridge track. The walk up Falcon Spur soon got us warmed up and before long most of us had to stop to remove a layer or two of clothing. The track up the ridge has been well made by volunteers with many zigzags and plenty of plastic orange markers indicating the way. Every 100m or so a trapping track crosses the ridge track. These tracks are marked with pink plastic markers. A few of them such as “H” and “M” lines have been cut to tramping track standards and are marked with orange markers.
After a morning tea stop we made good progress up the ridge to the “M” line. We turned left onto this new track and followed it across the slope towards Tuatara Spur. At one point the track appeared to cross a wide solid log and only when everyone was across was an alternative route pointed out. We stopped for lunch on the Tuatara Spur where most of us climbed up the extra 100m to look at the new fence line along the ridge crest.
After walking down the Tuatara Track for a while we detoured down the Gable End Spur Track to Ferny Flats Crossing. We certainly enjoyed listening to the birdlife here; at one point a tui kept us all entertained for several minutes. After crossing the river, we walked down the valley on the excellent Koru Track back to the gate and the cars, finishing the walk by 3pm.
With many kilometres of new tracks in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary there is plenty of scope for other excellent trips here. Those who enjoyed this “back yard” walk were Chris (scribe), Jo, Julian, Lesley, Andrew, Marie, Geoff, Vanessa, Colin, Jeni, Joy, Alison and visitors Lisa and Anne.
A worthwhile day trip
The Dew Lakes were stunningly gorgeous and a surprise to the eye as the landscape had been consistently dry for quite some time before we arrived.
Fourteen of us walked from the Maitai Dam (the track signpost points left and uphill shortly past the dam itself) towards the Rush Pond and Dew Lakes. I thought the Rush Pond which we came to after an hour could have been more accurately named Rush Bog. However Julian delighted to tell us how the bog would have used to have been a pool – over time it had filled up with plants by the process of eutrophication – nutrients running off the land and settling in the water as sediment. Shortly afterwards we stopped at the site of an old argillite quarry for morning tea. I understand that argillite was used to make adzes in the days that adzes were considered an essential in one’s tool kit.
After three hours we arrived at the lakes. We padded about around the mossy shorelines and went a bit further where we had a magnificent view right through the ranges to Pelorus Sound. It was windy at the view point so we returned to a sheltered dry, rocky spot before the lakes, where we had a leisurely lunch stop. The return trip was at least a half hour shorter, being downhill all the way. People enjoyed each other’s company, the sun and the views – a thoroughly worthwhile day trip for a fine spring day. It would be too hot in mid-summer and unpleasantly slippery on a wet day.
Those who came on the trip were Mary co-leader par excellence, Lesley, Pippa, Sharon, Donell, Jocelyn, Vanessa, Jenni, Dan, Julian, David M, David S, Linda (visitor) and Alison leader and scribe.
A great snow trip
With the original leader ill and poor weather the previous Sunday, it was fortunate that this trip went ahead. Meeting at Richmond Badminton Hall at 8am under a cloudy sky, we loaded up and were on our way. With much chatting, the kilometres passed comfortably and quickly. Around Tophouse patches of blue sky were seen and from Rainbow Road on it was all blue sky with views of snow-clad mountains. We felt lucky to have the flexibility to come on such a day.
Arriving at the ski field, we set off, Chris and Jo with snow shoes and trekking poles, Joy, Madeline and Colin with crampons and ice axes. The only way was upwards and we kept to the right of the main ski slope seeing many skiers and snowboarders speeding downhill. After an hour of steady plodding we reached the top of the T-bar lift. Three people were crouched around what appeared to be an injured person but was actually a mannequin – it was a first aid training session.
A few minutes later we crossed the ridge to gaze on a beautiful view of the snow-clad Robert Ridge with Lake Rotoiti below. A great spot for morning tea Joy decided - handing us a piece of delicious home-made muesli slice. We took in the views and the tremendous feeling of just being here.
Continuing mostly along the ridge (and being overtaken by cheerful snowboarders) we eventually reached the top of Mt McRae at 1878m. Whew! Time for a group photo, to take in more views, identify more peaks….and find a sheltered spot for lunch. We chose a place on some rocks just below the ridge, out of the rising wind and with a view back over the ski field. As we enjoyed lunch, a drone being flown from Mt McRae circled nearby...
After lunch we decided to go on just a few hundred metres more along the ridge to Pt 1880. Here, the ridge fell away and we saw even further to the south, identifying Kehu Peak and taking more photos. At 2.20pm with the wind whistling, we started back. From Mt McRae we dropped down the valley pretty well straight towards the carpark arriving around 3pm. Chris kindly lent me his snowshoes for part of this section and he proceeded in boots. For the conditions encountered, snowshoes and crampons were perhaps on a par in terms of security - but snowshoes took less effort.
Back at the carpark we were asked how far we’d gone. Pointing it out, it seemed quite a distance. We all thought we’d done well as we drove back full of happy memories. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one to sleep deeply that night! Thanks everyone for a great trip.
The group was Joy (leader), Chris (driver), Jo, Madeline (visitor) and Colin (scribe).
As it’s quite a drive to the Waikakaho end of this tramp we decided to leave Nelson at 7.30am. This meant that by 9.15am at the Cullensville end and 10am at the Waikakaho end, trampers were on the track. Cullensville was a thriving gold mining centre in the late 1800s, complete with bakery, bank, stores, blacksmiths and hotels. Interestingly the hotels ran for 24 hours as miners worked 8 hour shifts changing at midnight, 8am and 4pm and the men always wanted a beer at the end of their shift. The gold here was high quality but the rush lasted only a couple of years and then the town was abandoned. All that remains now are some signs indicating what once was. From both ends it was a gradual ascent up an old miners track. Half an hour before the saddle on the south side is a small grassy clearing with the remains of a stone chimney where a hut stood in the 1890 quartz era. Our two groups met near the saddle at 12.30pm, so we had lunch together. Five minutes above the saddle is a lookout point from which one can see Cloudy Bay and Cape Campbell, not to mention the Marlborough plains and the Kaikoura Ranges beyond.
Descending down the Waikakaho side we were soon to detour to the Southern Cross mine shaft and then it was back to the Village Clearing. This terraced clearing was a centre of activity with about 200 miners employed in the mining or the processing of the quartz. The only remains are a stone chimney and some stone walls. A little further down we detoured briefly again to see the entrance of another mineshaft and the site of the cableway that took the rock to the valley below. The lower part of the track, although still in trees, was clay and so one had to tread carefully so as not to slip. It was 3pm when we arrived at the end of the Waikakaho Valley Road. As we had swapped vehicles at Havelock it meant we arrived back at our own vehicles and could then drive home.
Those coming in from the Linkwater end were; Rob, Maria, Alison, Lesley J and David S.
Entering from the Waikakaho Valley were; Julian, Jacqui, Vanessa, Donell and Katie.
Rob and Maria
All seasons in a day
Snowflakes were settling on us as we ate lunch at the picnic tables on Mt Cawte (426m), but being on the lee side, we were out of the bitterly cold wind. Our views to Kaiuma Bay and down the Pelorus Sound were obliterated, however the snow showers soon passed and the sun came out and our view returned. It wasn’t long before the other half of our group, who had come in from the more southern end, met up with us. They experienced the snow near the higher summit (474m). After exchanging car keys, we continued along, reaching the summit some 20 minutes later. Ducked down on the lee side is a viewpoint with a picnic table. A good place to enjoy the sights and sun before descending down the southern end on Mt Cawte.
The variety of weather was phenomenal – with all seasons included. The whole trip took around three hours, and with there being four carloads, we had two carloads starting at either end. Mostly we were walking in regenerating bush dominated by kanuka, but near the summit the track we went through a stand of beech.
Those who braved the elements on this wintery day were: Maria B, Rob, Julian, Jacqui, Maria F, Jocelyn, Chris and Jo, Uta, Alison, Graham and Pauline, Penny, Lesley J, and Vanessa.
Maria and Rob
A grand short walk
Nine trampers started at the lower entrance of the Goat Hill Track near the corner of Wharf Road and the main road in Okiwi Bay (the first side road in the village), but the signpost is not easy to see from the main road. The track climbs at a good gradient on broad zigzags in luxuriant bush, but the track surface was very greasy and slippery in places. We had a welcome stop after 20 minutes at the first lookout point which overlooked Okiwi Bay. The gradient eased off as we traversed the main ridgeline of Goat Hill with some large windfalls (since cleared). The summit at 395m is not marked but has a very convenient bench seat with a view out of the bush to the sparkling waters of Croisilles Harbour and D’Urville Island in the far distance. This had only taken us 1½ hours but we continued on for 15 minutes to Goat Saddle where the track comes out on the main road again.
We returned to the Goat Hill lookout for lunch and again enjoy the superb sea views on a fine sunny day. We returned back the same way to the cars without anyone slipping over on the greasy sections. This was only about four hours return, so with time to spare we drove down and parked at the Okiwi Bay beachfront for a short walk. We followed a pleasant bush track up beside Ruataniwha Stream for ten minutes then looped back through the streets of Okiwi Bay village to the cars. The Goat Hill Track is a grand short walk, but it’s a pity there aren’t more of these walks in this area. The pack was Robert, Jocelyn, Colin, Uta, Chris and Jo, Julian, David S, and Val.
Some rain and wind
The day presented a challenge to go or not to go. The forecast was for clearing weather but showers and wind. However we all decided that it was best to go, as we would suffer cabin fever if we stayed home. When we arrived at The Glen, the high tide, a huge swell and strong northerly winds had thrown boulders and driftwood all over the road, so we had some difficulty finding a safe park. We admired the surfboard riders having a great time in the huge and rather violent waves, then we set off. We struggled with wind and rain all day but managed to make the heights above Cable Bay by midday. However our lunch there was short lived as high winds and stinging driving rain forced us to head for the cover of the bush.
We admired the enthusiastic grazing of the heavily pregnant ewes who were oblivious of the conditions. It was a lot better in the cover of the bush and those who could hear were astounded with the loud bangs coming from the distant beaches far below as huge waves smashed rock against rock as the high tide peaked. We faced more driving winds and stinging rain once we made the airstrip so there was no lingering on the way down, though we did stop briefly at the end of the bush track to admire the skills of a very experienced trials motorcycle rider honing his skills on some very greasy farm banks. We made it back to the cars about 3pm, cold and wet but in great spirits. Some of us learnt that cotton clothing was not the best to wear in these conditions.
The participants were Julian, David W, Val, Donell, Colin and Jenni, Leslie J, Linda and Vanessa.
History and scenery
After a cold week it was great to be greeted by a fine day. We arrived at Fry’s Farm at the end of Moss Road at about 9am and after brief introductions our happy party set off up the quarry road. Crossing Holyoake Stream was a slippery ordeal owing to loose slippery rocks. Fortunately only the trip leader fell in. Then it was up the track. It was difficult to spot the beginning of this, as it was overgrown and the usual marker was harder to see, however the going was much easier once on the track. By 10am we had arrived at the top of the gully with a magnificent view of Sandy Bay, where we had our morning tea. We speculated as to the route of the quarry tramway. From here we tramped up the graded track to the base of the quarry site where we marvelled at the huge collection of industrial archaeological remains.
We had an interesting time viewing copies of photos of the quarry site taken in the 1920s. We climbed further up the quarry viewing the numerous sites and the area where recent work has taken place. A lunch stop was made here and then we descended slowly, viewing and photographing the spectacular fluted rocks that are a special feature of this landscape. At the two marble slabs at the top of the gully we turned to the left and descended the ridgeline track. The track had some gorse and though it was a longer route, it made for a much more interesting day.
The participants were Julian, Grant D, Daniel J, Dave J, Viv J, Donell, Dale, Vanessa, David W, Jocelyn, Roger and Maureen.
Steep but short
A party of thirteen departed from Nelson at 8.30am and headed north on SH6. About 7km past the Whangamoa Saddle a large roadside signpost indicated the Mt Duppa track a further 6km up a forestry road. The road has become rougher over the last few years and the roadside vegetation desperately needs cutting back in places.
From the carpark we followed the signposted and marked track that climbed and zigzagged steadily up to a leading ridge. Partway up this ridge we worked our way around some limestone rock outcrops, then the real tramping began with a steeper gradient. We were in bush all the way but there were a couple of places with views down to the road and out to the west. Eventually we broke out of the bush just before the summit which had taken us two hours from the start.
We savoured our lunch, sheltering from the SW wind and enjoying the view across to Mt Fishtail, Mt Richmond and Mt Tappy in the distance. Before returning most of us continued along the range for 5-10 minutes to some large rocks with views down to Rai Valley out to the Marlborough Sounds. But we couldn’t linger long because of the wind gusting up to 35km/hr and a temperature of only 3°C even though it was a sunny day.
We returned in 1½ hours and were back in town by mid-afternoon to complete our challenge for the day. We had met four other small groups of trampers, seeming to indicate that this has become a more popular track. The group was Robert, Grant, Jacqui, David S, Roger and Maureen, Roxanne, David W, Donell, Dale, Joy, Julian and Colin.
The leader earned bonus points for doing research on Mt Duppa, revealing that the mountain was named for George Duppa. He was an early settler in Nelson and one of the first to make a fortune in NZ (from the sale of his Canterbury farm). Mt Duppa is also notorious for two plane crashes. In 1956 a topdressing plane crashed about 3km SW of the summit. The pilot survived and was rescued a day later. In 2011 a microlight on a cross-country flight crashed on the upper northern slope of the mountain, unfortunately killing the pilot.
I decided to call this pleasant outing at midwinter’s weekend a hike as it felt far too close to town to be considered a genuine tramp. Six of us ladies met at Victory Square at 9.30am on a true winter’s day. It was as still as still can be and completely dry with heavy cloud cover to make a change from last year when it rained all the way.
It was only slightly more than a hop, skip and a jump to the top of the railway reserve where we crossed into Bishopdale. We then walked past the quarry to the parking area at the entrance to the Grampian Reserve. From there we climbed Mahoe Track through the bush. Once at the top of that we were certainly going to climb the extra 100 metres to get to the trig. From there we headed down a track on the Brook St side of the Grampians which was new to me. My trusted co-leader Mary knew the way though. It seemed only a little longer before we were out on Van Diemen St and from there we walked along the road and down the Cathedral steps to our lunch reservation at Café d’Affaire. Once there we sat upstairs and told a few real tramping stories while being served lunches which beat any tramping lunch taken from home.
Three of us returned over the Grampians. The others were so relaxed that to climb again could have been too much of a hardship! Mary, Pat, Val and visitors Christine L and Linda, I enjoyed your company. Thanks for joining me – Alison, leader and scribe.
A new track
On a cloudy bleak day, twelve warmly dressed trampers met at the Hacket carpark, where we were joined by Philip from DOC. Philip had a discussion with us on safety factors and the requirements of safely working in the area, as Waimea Tramping Club were to carry out maintenance on the Old Chrome Road, in conjunction with an agreement with DOC. The plan was to cut a new section of track to make a loop track from the Serpentine Road side of the valley back to meet up with an existing track and down to the main Hacket Track. Once we had climbed a steep section of track up from the Hacket Track we turned onto the new section of track, doing some trimming as we went. Further up Philip and Andrew cut a small diversion around some large rocks, making for a better way around. Once at the top, Julian read out some history of the Old Chrome Road and mining in the Aniseed Valley area. From the top it was back along the Chrome Road itself and lunch was had a little further on. The historic Chrome Road section is 1650m long.
After lunch we carried on and worked our way back down the valley where there were two old horizontal mineshafts off the side of the track. One was still quite accessible for several metres into the hillside. Four or five people took the opportunity to venture inside. A swallows’ nest and cave weta were observed on the walls of the mineshaft.
Once back onto the main track it was an easy walk back to the carpark. It started to rain as we reached the swing bridge over the river so people were a bit damp by the time we reached the cars.
Overall a good day was had, even though the weather forecast had been a bit dubious in the morning. The trampers were Geoff, Andrew, Lesley J, Mary, Dale, Donell, Colin, Chris, Jo, David S, Julian and Lillie.
Cold crisp scenery
The weather was magic with the tops decked out in white. What more could we want? Starting from the DOC St Arnaud office just after 8am, six of us ventured out into the frost with a couple of stops to enjoy the views around Lake Rotoiti, while our seventh member went up by boat with her husband - our advanced guard. We made Lakehead Hut before lunch and proceeded up to the end of the flats where we sat in the warm sun to eat lunch. The afternoon was dominated by cold crisp scenery as we continued in the shade to arrive at John Tait Hut just after 4.30pm. Sue, our advanced guard, proved to be advantageous, as the tired group arrived to a warm hut with the fire going. Thanks Sue. The elderly couple who came from West Sabine Hut through snow on the Travers Saddle made us feel a bit humble.
Day 2 saw two parties move out and up. One group went to Upper Travers Hut (Sue and Julian), the others to Cupola Hut. Above the bushline, in the snow, all enjoyed our time in the sun and then returned to John Tait Hut for another night, sharing time with some Aussies. We managed to warm the hut nicely for the evening.
At 8am the next day we left the hut and moved down the valley. We spent time taking photos of the frost which had grown bigger over the weekend. We maintained a good pace to have lunch at Lakehead Hut, leaving a comfortable walk out, to finish just before 4pm. It must be noted that Julian tramped the greatest distance of all the participants.
The trampers were Joy, Marie, Sue, Maria, Rob, Colin, and Julian.
An extra tiki tour
After a week of somewhat variable weather, Saturday dawned beautifully clear and stayed that way. Expecting a fairly long day, we left the Maitai carpark at 8am heading towards the Coppermine Saddle. Chris pointed out the miniature mistletoe, which is not readily noticed. The mineral belt gentian was still flowering well. We had our first break about 9.30 at the “official” sunny morning tea spot.
Mineral belt geology occupied our thoughts as we approached the saddle in the expected three hours. There, our snack time was limited by the cool breeze. Down the Dun railway we saw more interesting plants till we came to the track to the Fringed Hill. Up there, we found a partly sunny spot for lunch about 12.45.
Not much further on WAS the expected turn off to Sunrise Ridge, but with a fallen log and track clearing litter....it didn’t look right! Here the leader goofed and led the group on a fitness exercise till well up the Fringed, when I got out the map and with a very pink face declared a retreat. Once back on the track amongst the prunings, we plugged along Sunrise Ridge with no further problems. I suspect that the mountain bikers realign their tracks at times, leaving the old markers in place, which can be distracting. We met quite a few intrepid bikers apparently undaunted by roots and rocks. One group were about to head down Peaking which is very steep and crazy (in my eyes).
No problem finding Bob Taylor Road and we were out at the cars by 4.40, having been delayed by our extra tiki tour.
Those trusting (?) characters accompanying me were: Alison, Colin, Don, Chris, Marie and Lesley.
A complete circuit
Thirteen trampers in fine fettle departed from Flora carpark taking one hour to reach Mt Arthur Hut. The track was being beautifully resurfaced and had barely any roots visible, making for very easy going. Directly in front of the veranda was a two metre high mountain of dirt ready for spreading on the track. From the hut we headed up the open ridge amongst the magnificent tawny tussock. At a junction part-way up the Mt Arthur Track we diverted onto the Gordons Pyramid Track. A steep descent was followed by a meander through the marble jumble of Horseshoe Basin with its tomos and outcrops. We emerged from the basin and climbed a ridgeline including some unwanted dips. Cloud from the west had built up and slowly covered the summit and a cool wind was blowing. We didn’t linger long at the summit because of few views and little shelter so we descended to Clouston’s Mine just below the bushline.
Some valiant ones with torches explored into the horizontal shaft with some old wooden tram rails still intact. The mine was excavated for over 100m by Mr RE Clouston in an unsuccessful search for gold. We descended below the mine along the well-benched track, cut in 1911 for the mine access, eventually joining up with the Flora Track above Flora Stream. It was steady going on this wide track for one hour to Flora Hut. Recent renovations to the hut by Nelson Tramping Club volunteers include complete lining of the interior, installing fire bricks, a fire surround and a water pipe to an outside tap. This all makes for a much more pleasant place for those that stay here overnight. From the hut it was a short half-hour amble over Flora Saddle back to the cars for a full eight hour day and a complete circuit. The group was Robert, Maria, Rob, Andrew, Joy, Mary, Jill D, Chris, Jo and newcomers Dave, Viv, Daniel and Jennie.
A super weekend away
Over the long Anzac weekend, eight walkers took the opportunity of joining Jeff at his bach at Wakaretu Bay, 12km from Havelock. With a choice of a two or three night stay, people either arrived on the Friday afternoon or the Saturday morning. On Saturday, the early birds took time out on Wakaretu Bay with some early morning kayaking or rowing. Then, once everyone had arrived, we undertook our first walk: a 4½ hour looped ascent up to the local high spot of Mt Parkinson (576m). The bush track we used had been cut by Jeff and friends after many hours of toil, and though it was still a work-in-progress in places, it was well worthwhile for the views we gained. This included a silver and grey view of Havelock under the threatening dark rain clouds. We eventually made it back to our warm and cosy bach as drizzle started to set in.
After a lot of overnight rain, Sunday dawned fine with fast clearing morning cloud, so we decided to go up Mt Cawte (474m) for some viewing opportunities of the inner Pelorus Sound. The track to the summit is well maintained by the local community and starts at Moetapu Bay. It is mainly through regenerating native bush reserve, and has many steps to assist walkers on the steeper parts. There are two outstanding viewpoints, including one with picnic tables, which we utilized for a lunch stop in the warm sun. It was here we met up with Jeff and Rob, who had driven further round to the western side and come up from another car park. So we were able to follow the ridge down rather than having to backtrack the same way, thus making for a more rewarding four hours. Before returning to the bach we stopped at Cullen Point to check out the lookout, and do the easy one hour looped bush walk. On Monday, the plan was to do part of the Nydia track from Kaiuma Bay up to the Kaiuma Saddle (387m). However, Rob and Jeff preferred more excitement and decided to cut down some rather large trees around the bach. For the rest of us, it was 2½ hours of steady but easy climbing on a well maintained 6km of track. At the saddle, we had lunch. Unfortunately haze and misty cloud detracted somewhat from the views down to Nydia Bay. Then it was back down. After checking out the recent extensive and uninspiring section development activity on the northern side of Kaiuma Bay, we were back at the bach for afternoon tea and a clean-up and then finally, the hour and a half drive back to Nelson.
Overall, thanks to Jeff’s hospitality, this was a super weekend away. He knew the area, its tracks and what best to do through the day... and he even got up early to prepare porridge and a fry up for us at breakfast each morning. And, we enjoyed the company of the participants: Jeff (our host), Rob, Maria, Joy, Pat, Lesley, David W, David S (a visitor from the Auckland Tramping Club) and Ron (the scribe).
A great place to hang out
On a nice pleasant sunny day seven of us met at Richmond Badminton carpark for the drive to Lake Rotoiti I was apprehensive about two things: first,there was supposed to be the Loop-the-Lake Race on the same day and the carpark would be full, second, Helen wanted to get back by 5.30pm so she could go to the movies and I couldn’t guarantee we’d get back on time. But Julian was not worried and at Kerr Bay there was hardly anyone there and he said to Helen “We’ll get you back on time.”
Before we even got going Helen handed out choc afghan biscuits and off we went at speed. As one is climbing through the forest it is dominated by large red beech and they are quite high, and noticed very few wasps around. We found a nice spot after 40 mins on a soft log for morning tea. After coffee and muffins a gradual uphill, the lead changed several times and further up the mountain beech becomes more stunted. Above the bushline at 1400m trees give way to snow tussock and sub-alpine shrubs and then a short walk to Parachute Rocks which got its name from a parachute-shaped gravel scree located just to the north. What a great place to hang out. There you get fantastic views and it is worth stopping for photos.
From here it is a steep climb to the ridge line which doesn’t look too far away but is very deceptive and took most of us a good 30 mins to the St Arnaud range at 1650m. The effort was worth it and the party were rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding area, east down the Wairau Valley and Lake Rotoiti the other way. We ducked down a bit on the east side out the wind for lunch. One could go further to another lookout point 30 mins away but would be very windy and the views would not be much better. A week earlier when I did a dummy run we were buzzed several times by a glider up here and I reckon it was Ritchie McCaw but very quiet up here today.
Thirty minutes later our group headed down with caution except Lesley J who showed great confidence on the downhill stretch, another pause at Parachute Rocks and into the bush again. Visitor Ian was a little sad as would be his last tramp with us (the guy had been on three others), he would be heading back to Scotland the following week. Finally about 4.10pm we were at the finish satisfied we had done an honest day. So we were able to get our member back in time to go to the 6pm movie “Sherpa.” Those on the tramp were: Donell Raharuhi, Helen Tapper, Julian Edmonds, Lesley Gunn, Lesley Johnstone, visitors Ian Urquhart, Rita Elgert (picked up at Wakefield), and me (leader and scribe).
The pleasure and the pain
Five hardy trampers enjoyed a weekend trip to John Reid Hut on the Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park. We parked the vehicle beside the Wangapeka Road a few kilometres past the Dart Ford. We put on old shoes and crossed the Wangapeka River at about knee or thigh height then strapped on our dry boots and left the wet shoes for our return. We climbed steeply up Chummies Track for the first half hour then zigzagged to reach a leading ridge after one hour. Then we continued climbing a steady ridgeline including some steep parts and a deviation around a steep high point. We were delighted with the display of autumn fungi with numerous stunning sky-blue umbrella shaped toadstools on the trackside. The colour blue is rare in nature and this fungi Entoloma hochstetterri is that special it is shown on the back corner of the NZ $50 banknote. At the top of the climb we then sidled for 40 minutes across steep slopes on a narrow rough track through tussock and flax to eventually reach the six-bunk hut taking five hours altogether. The hut is splendidly sited just above the bushline with grand panoramic views across the Wangapeka Valley to Mt Owen and beyond.
After a cuppa we headed up to the crest of the Arthur Range, 20 minutes up through long tussock, then along the range a short distance to a high point to soak up the views west towards the rugged peaks of the Kahurangi interior. John Reid Hut is one of the few huts that have an open fireplace and we made good use of it on a cool night but finding much good firewood was hard. The next morning we left the hut and were on the track before the sun had even risen over the nearby ridge. Chummies Track was bellbird central and surely should be on the shortlist of “See More Bellbirds”. But this pleasure was tempered by the pain of a wasp sting to each of the two tail-enders. We were back down to the car by lunchtime so we still had time for an easy short bushwalk at Jeff’s place at Sherry River. Another good weekend trip was enjoyed by Robert Wopereis, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Arif Matthee and Joy Bryant.
A splendid circuit
Eight keen trampers left our meeting point at the junction of Schultz Road and SH6 at 8am and headed off to Windy Point in the Lewis Pass. After a quick bite to eat most of us were off up the lower Hope Valley while the drivers took advantage of the secure parking and shuttle service offered by the staff at the Boyle Lodge. This was a reassuring decision since three cars left in the Windy Point carpark had apparently been done over just a few weeks previously. The two drivers managed to catch up to the rest of the party having lunch on the side of the pleasant walking track through beech forest up the lower Hope Valley. We reached our proposed destination, Hope Halfway Hut by 2.30pm, found it full of hunters and all decided to proceed on to St Jacobs Hut, another three hours walk up the valley. St Jacobs Hut had a couple of spare bunks which two of our party used while the others found good tent sites under the nearby beech trees.
On Saturday morning we moved camp an hour further upstream to the junction of the Hope River with Pussy Stream. With just our day packs we continued up the Hope Valley, past the Top Hope Hut to Hot Spring Stream. The hot springs are about a half hour walk up the stream. Partway up the stream we met a party of young Americans from the National Outdoor Leadership School. They had just received nine days food for the next stage of their 24 day tramp and were heading off-track up to the Nelson Tops with heavy packs. We easily found the hot springs (GR:1529746E, 5284489N) with two young Americans already enjoying their spa bath. The springs are about 320 m further upstream than marked on most maps. We managed to fit most of the party into this very hot and pleasant spa bath. Extra cold water can be added if you have the time and patience to alter the water flows. After our spa we headed back to camp arriving back around 5 30pm.
Sunday morning and we had broken camp by 8.30am. We climbed up and over logs in Pussy Stream counting the number of side streams along the way to make sure that we didn’t miss our ridge track out of the stream. There was some debate over what was marked as a stream on the map and soon it was proven that only the larger ones actually mattered. The first track up a ridge proved to be bypassing a small gorge and we found the correct ridge well marked with a large orange DOC track marker. DOC track markers are spaced very economically up the stream! The track up the ridge proved steep and slow going but not as bad as was described by two hunters we met at Halfway Hut, who seemed to delight in trying to put us off even attempting this track. By midday we were near the saddle and we sheltered from the cold and damp westerly wind on the southern and more sheltered side of the saddle for a lunch break. After lunch we headed down through the sub-alpine scrub to the Lake Man Biv. We were pleasantly surprised to find no one else there and even more surprised to find flat enough spaces for six of us to camp nearby. By the time we had set up camp the weather had cleared and we set off up to Lake Man. The route chosen was unfortunately through a bit of sub-alpine scrub. Lake Man is a very attractive small lake in an alpine setting. We were able to find a much easier way down by via a strip of swampy tussock to the beech forest and through to the Biv.
Monday saw us away again at 8.30 am and down to the Doubtful Hut by lunchtime. This old hut is certainly one which could benefit from some renovation, but according to the hut book someone seems to be planning to repair the collapsed chimney in the future. Around 3pm we were across the Doubtful River and had picked up the new Tui Trail which is part of the Te Araroa Trail. Our volunteer runner changed his mind and we all walked back along this new track to the Boyle Lodge arriving 4.30pm. The last 1.2 km of this track is along the road edge, rather disappointing, when it could go through the forest.
A stop in Murchison saw us all replenished and we arrived home safely around 8 30pm. On the trip were Chris, Jo, Rob, Maria, Robert, Anja, Joy and Ken.
At 1330 metres high and visible from Motueka, Mt Campbell with its communications tower stands out indeed. Julian and I did a recce a week before in perfect weather, no wind and warm conditions. Alas on this trip it was not to be, but we didn’t have to put on our raincoats and frankly the cooler weather and mist made the trip more comfortable. Eleven hardy souls turned up at Richmond Badminton carpark and in three cars we were at the start in less than 90 minutes. Rocky River Road is a little rough but our vehicles had top drivers and so no problems. We had to park about 400 metres from the gate as no room further on. It is basically a four-wheel-drive road to the top. Introductions done it was straight up, steep and it wasn’t long before we were spread out so as it was nicely pointed out to me I had to keep us together. Upon reaching the gate some of us climbed over it but a few of our ladies showed great flexibility in going through the bars. A little further on morning tea was had beside an old tin hut and the group had a brief view of Motueka and the sea. The wind started to pick up and we soldiered on at a steady pace but in the mist we couldn’t see the tower. The track levels off for about a kilometre before the last climb to the tower. It was here I let people go at their own pace. Anja and Ian (a visitor from Scotland) powered up and left everyone in their wake. All were at the top by about 12.20pm but unfortunately no view. There’s a wooden table with seats at one end, and plenty of flat rocks by the trig which is where we had lunch. Ian looked onwards and wondered if there was a trail to Flora Hut (I believe there is), as he was planning another challenge. The two young lads (if you’re under 30) were loving this and may join Ian on his next venture.
At 1pm we made our way down and suddenly it was quite cold but only lasted about 40 minutes. All of us together now and Katie had a good idea for a trip I could lead in the Blenheim area. And soon enough that gate again and I tried to go through the bars this time but Marion was not impressed with my technique (too stiff), Donell however was so graceful. Back at the cars by 2.45pm most of went back to Toad Hall for hot drink and muffins. Ian and the lads however had worked up a thirst so a bevvie or two was on their agenda. The group would have done nearly 11km today on what could be described as a decent workout.
The participants were: David Wheeler, Pat Taylor, Katie Greer, Julian Edmonds, Lesley Johnstone, Donell Raharuhi, Anja Claus and visitors Ian Urquhart, Tim Horne, Daniel Jackson and Marion McIntosh.
An interesting crossover trip
This was run as a crossover trip. While the walk into Lake Daniell from the Marble Hill campsite is familiar to most people, no one had tried the northern route via Station Creek. We met and swopped vehicles at start of the road to Diggers Creek, which is nearly opposite the bridge over the Maruia River to Woolley Road. There are no signs and we just had to trust our maps that we had the correct road. One car load continued around to the Marble Hill campsite while the other drove up this farm track until they reached a ford which looked questionable to cross. Leaving the car parked on the road edge they continued along the old forest road, choosing a fork which took them south and up Station Creek. This pleasant two hour walk up to Thompsons Flat involves a few stream crossings and negotiation of the occasional muddy spot churned up by 4WD enthusiasts some time ago.
When you first arrive at Thompsons Flat you come across a locked private hut which belongs to a Four Wheel Drive Club. The Thompsons Flat Hut is an old Forest Service Hut across the south-west side of this marshy clearing. This hut is in near original condition with the old orange paint showing under the cream. It is now privately owned but is open for public use. It's a very basic hut, with four bunks, five mattresses and a fireplace. We all met up at this hut, with one person camping outside and another on the floor.
Next morning we went in our different directions. The track to Lake Daniell from the clearing is very easy to follow but from the head of the lake to the Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut it is less well-formed and with no markers. It takes about an hour to get from one hut to the other. It was fortuitous that our party had decided to rendezvous at the Thompsons Flat Hut as the hut at Lake Daniell was overcrowded. From Lake Daniell out to the Marble Hill campsite the track is an easy 2½-3 hour walk.
After a few text messages we changed plans and instead of meeting up in Murchison we had tea and freshly baked muffins at Rob and Maria’s place.
This through trip makes a much more interesting tramp than the usual in and out trip to Lake Daniell. It is a very suitable trip for those wishing to start overnight tramping.
The six members on this trip were: Chris, Jo and Joy in the northern group and Rob, Maria and Jocelyn starting from the south.
Chris and Jo
A superb summer day
Nine of us had a delightful tramp on a superb Indian summer day. It was just a little cool to be tempted to jump from the bridge at the start of the track into the pool and swim out. We admired the teenagers’ brave attempts instead; they liked the recognition.
We left Richmond at 8.30am and the cars at the car park by 9.15am. We were so prompt that I decided we’d definitely bypass Hacket Hut on the way in, just in case the party relaxed so much they were unwilling to go any further. The water was so low in the Hacket Stream that while we crossed it a few times it would have been a challenge to get truly wet feet unless one was determined to. Once we arrived at Browning Hut it was much nicer outside than in. Some of our party chose the hour sleep under a tree option while the rest of us chose between the sun or the shade to chat and eat our lunch.
It was fun having two visitors on our trip. A number of us quizzed Ian on the way back about how well he knew British politics especially with regard to his native Scotland. He was enthusiastic to talk and like him we were left wondering what the outcome will be of the vote in June on whether Britain will remain part of the European Community. The time seemed to fly by as we walked gently downhill and back to the cars where we arrived at 4pm.
Those who came were Alison Mountfort, Lesley Johnstone, Jacqui Bozoky, Jill and Bob Dickinson, Val Latimer, Lesley Gunn and visitors Tim Horne from Nelson and Ian Urquhart from Scotland.
A satisfying crossover
This trip was done as a crossover working in with Motueka Tramping Club. Our meeting point was the Beebys Knob carpark above the Tophouse-Korere Road where the Waimea team dropped off their two cars, picked up two cars from the Motueka members and drove them ten minutes around to the carpark at the start of the Red Hills track. Having done this we were on our way up the Red Hills track by 9.30am.
The first part of the walk through beech forest was pleasantly cool and fresh. We made a short stop when we hit the farm paddocks to visit the old cob cottage, then it was following the 4WD track up to Red Hills Hut. The track to the hut is an easy climb with superb views down into the Wairau Valley and over to the St Arnaud Hills. When we hit the ultramafic vegetation Chris pointed out numerous, minute, pygmy mistletoe plants growing as a hemi-parasite on the manuka and kanuka.
From the hut we walked up the new Maitland cycle/walking track to meet with the 4WD track on Beebys Knob. This three hour walk climbs gently through interesting, stunted beech forest and we certainly appreciated being in the shade of the trees as temperatures soared. The forest was rich in bird-life with tuis, bellbirds, robins and tomtits. We even heard some kaka in the distance. There are a number of large clearings where one can soak up the spectacular views. The track is well marked and it was halfway along this section where we met team Motueka and returned their car keys.
On reaching the track to Beebys Knob most of us enjoyed a long afternoon tea stop while a couple of party members headed nearly to the summit for a great view of Lake Rotoiti and the surrounding area. Back on our way it was only a five minute walk down to where the Beebys Knob bush track leads off the 4WD track down to the carpark. Chris endeavoured to relocate the three vegetable caterpillars he had GPS’d from an earlier trip but to no avail. The track is quite steep in places and requires quite a bit of concentration at the end of a day but we all made it down without incident.
This is a very satisfying walk, although I think walking it in the opposite direction would be preferable. Thank you Lesley, Chris and Andrew, together with visitors Ian and Tim for your great company.
Six short walks
There were nine of us including four visitors on this pleasant relaxing day. We would start and finish from the West Bay carpark as the power boat races were on at Kerr Bay. We started on the Brunner Peninsula Walk which has a good variety of native plants and twice crosses the Alpine Fault. After 40 minutes we arrived at Kerr Bay for morning tea and watched the power boats. A good crowd and very noisy. Next it was on to the Honeydew Walk which one could probably walk in jandals. Bellbirds and tui are common in this area, and you may see robins and fantails. There are several information panels on the track too. Then it was on to the Black Valley Walk which follows the Black Valley Stream through majestic beech forest, very nice. It was noted that some trees had metal strips which are there to prevent possums from climbing them. We ended up on the main road and our only major road bash today, but hardly any cars coming and going, as everyone is watching the power boats. We walked past Rotoiti Lodge to start the Black Hill Walk which was the only major hill of the day. Near the top we found a clearing and had lunch, visitor Colin got out his cooker and started preparing pumpkin soup and handing it around.
As the group dropped towards the road there was a good view of St Arnaud Village. We looped round to join the Moraine Walk and noticed that there was predominately manuka and kanuka as we passed the back of West Bay campground. Getting as far as the Buller River on the Anglers Track all of us made it to the Buller Bridge and from there we retraced our steps to West Bay finishing around 3pm. Some brave souls had a swim but it was not over yet. A visit to Tophouse for a tour, tea and scones only for a gold coin donation to wrap up a successful day. Those on the tramp were: David Wheeler, Noelene Roberts, Pat Taylor, Lesley Johnstone, Helen Tapper and visitors Tim Horne, Kim Mundy, Ian Urquhart and Colin Bell.
A memorable trip
Looming above the Matiri Valley are the fortress-like bluffs of the 1000 Acre Plateau, the oldest land form in New Zealand and the destination on this long weekend.
Day 1: Two carloads travelled to the Matiri Valley on the Friday night to meet up at Lake Matiri Hut around 6pm. Some tented in front of the hut but others slept inside. The place was abuzz with wasps and there were plenty of sandflies too. Lovely to hear a morepork.
Day 2: We set off around 7.30am knowing the day could get hot and wanting to do the steep climb to the plateau in the cool of the morning. The day was misty so we didn’t get any views back into the valley. We were at Poor Pete’s Hut around 10.40am and after a short stop to fill water bottles we continued on to Larrikin Creek Hut. Around halfway we headed off to the right into the edge of a finger of bush to have a shady lunch break. Some of the creeks were dry and others had small amounts of water in them. The ground was generally dry with many small tarns dried up. We reached Larrikin Creek Hut shortly after 2pm and spent the rest of the day trying to keep cool in the shade.
Day 3: Another early start to beat the heat of the day. We were on The Needle at 8.45am, having come up a ridge and sidling onto the saddle between The Needle and The Haystack. Then we climbed up a grassy area to the top. Awesome views in all directions. On the descent we went down the south ridge to a notch and then headed down a grassy spur towards the tarns. The vegetation was easy to walk through until we reached some scrubby stuff, but we could get into a gut to the right and come down that. At the bottom we picked our path to avoid the prickly Spaniards, crossed the dry creek and walked up to the tarns. One tarn had tadpoles and a couple of people that had camped there the previous night said they had heard frogs. The trip from Larrikin to The Needle and back took just over three hours. After a break and dips into the pools on Larrikin Creek we set off back to Poor Pete’s Hut where we all camped for the night. Once again we heard a morepork.
Day 4: Another clear warm day, so this time, we got the views down into the valley as we descended. Once down at the lake one person cooled off by going for a swim. The rest of us waited for our swim until we got to the Matiri River, where we were joined by a huge eel.
Once at the West Matiri we swam again in the Matiri. The water below where the West Matiri joined the Matiri was notably cooler.
We all had lunch together in the first shady spot along the 4WD track before the 4WD carload departed and the rest of us walked on out, picking blackberries all the way back.
Thanks to Nicola Harwood, Don Morrisey, Jeannie Gregory, Arif Matthee, Andrew Henderson and Rob Merrilees for your company.
An attractive bushwalk
This lovely bush walk is also part of the Te Araroa. The other trampers we talked with were walking the track as part of the trail as was the case with the people David Wheeler and I talked with when we’d reccied the trip a month previously. Because he and I had left town too late, at 8.30am, to actually get to the hut and back in reasonable time, today this group set out at 7.30am with me and some of the others very keen indeed to get all the way to Captains Creek Hut. It's a surprisingly long drive to the start of the track, turning right just before Pelorus Bridge and driving down the Maungatapu Road all the way to the end. It takes 1½ hours to get to the actual entrance to the Richmond Forest Park and be ready to actually start tramping. It feels as though it should be much closer to town than it is. The views of the Pelorus River from the Maungatapu Road are stunning as the water swishes and swirls along its rocky journey.
The first hour of the track is easy with a gentle walk through attractive bush beside the river. We then arrived at the beautiful Emerald Pool for morning tea. After that the track rises above the river significantly and must stay high until shortly before the hut as the hut itself is beside the river. It was hard to know how long it was going to take although the DOC sign at Emerald Pool said three hours. I’d hoped our tramping party would be quicker than that and there were no other signs further along the track to tell us how we were doing. Alas getting to Captains Creek hut eluded me again!
We were 2½ hours beyond Emerald Pool and still high above the river when one party member who had noticeably been a bit shaky on his pins, slipped on a wet rock, disorientated himself and thoroughly wet his clothes. The rest of the party were supportive, provided many helpful bits and pieces like a one square meal bar and a sachet of electrolyte powder to add to his drink bottle. Fortunately he had a swimming shirt to change into.
What would you do as trip leader do in a situation like that? There were eight of us in total, one of whom really wanted to be allowed to carry on to the hut. I suggested we have lunch a few metres along the track and was glad I’d reminded everyone to fill their water bottles down at Emerald Pool, as it was unlikely there would be any further water while we were up high (apart from slippery rocks). I felt distressed when I learnt this party member has high blood pressure and diabetes. It is important to let your trip leader know when you phone in, of any medical conditions which could cause a problem. I know scarcely anything about either of those and had I known, I would have swotted up or asked for some advice before setting out. My decision was for us all to return to the cars and forfeit getting to the hut. My reasoning was that a trip is only successful when all party members are out, as well as can be and all accounted for.
On the way back a number of our party enjoyed a swim in the refreshing green waters of the Emerald Pool and said the swim had made the trip for them. It was 6.30pm by the time we all arrived back in Nelson CBD – quite long enough, even on a pleasant and long summer day. I recommend this trip, when offered again, be as an overnighter. It's a lovely area and well worth that amount of time being spent there. For the purposes of anonymity I’ll omit the names of those who came on the trip. You know who you are, thanks for your support and company.
Alison Mountfort, leader and scribe.
An ideal summer trip
Leaving Richmond at 8am our group of 17 parked about 15 minutes short of the end of Pearse Valley Road. Walking was preferable to negotiating our vehicles through the last part of the road which is eroded and lined with large rocks. The bridge at the end of the road no longer exists, so a knee or thigh deep crossing (depending on leg length and actual route) gave us a good opportunity to brush up on our river crossing techniques.
Once across, an old benched track sidled along the true right bank high above the Pearse River. After about 45 minutes the track dropped back down to where it crisscrossed the river another ten times before opening out into a large grassy clearing some two hours later. It is here that the Pearse rises from an artesian spring. The water is very clear and icy cold. One intrepid younger member of our party who decided to go for a dip can vouch for this. As well as the numerous river crossings over very slippery rocks, this trip will be remembered by many for the numerous sightings of whio.
Participants on this great summer trip were: Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Rob Merrilees, Maria Brooks, Julian Edmonds, Jacqui Bozoky, Vanessa Chapman, Uta Purcell, Donell Raharuhi, Royden Smith, Arif Matthee, Georgina Rayner, Andrew Henderson, Eric and Esther McPherson and visitors Simon Coates and Lesley Gunn.
A commanding panorama
A small group of three keen trampers travelled 11km past Takaka, then 2km to the end of Ward-Holmes Road to a small car park, to climb the 1249m Parapara Peak. We crossed the small Pariwhakaoho River then walked along the track between the river and farmland. We soon entered Copperstain Creek, a narrow rugged creek bed, lush with tutu, with the track pushing through some patches well above head-height. After ten minutes the track left the creek and continued through the bush along an old logging road. This soon ran out and the track then steadily climbed a ridge through pleasant forest with an understory of ferns, a few matai and some rugged marble outcrops. There were some breaks in the woods but no views could be seen with a cover of cloud and mist. The steady climb was interspersed with a couple of short steep pinches but we soon emerged from the bush and reached the highpoint after 4½ hours. We continued west along the summit ridge for a couple of minutes to the small two-bunk Parapara Bivvy. This hut is locked and is used by DOC staff but we did make use of the convenient water tank.
There was partial clearance of the cloud and mist giving us some good views of the nearby ranges, but as we were having lunch some showers started. On our descent we spotted an unusual small white wooden cross on a rock outcrop away from the track which we went over to investigate. We later learnt that it marks where the ashes of Jack North, who died of cancer, were scattered in 1957, by his son Nelson North and friend Darcy McPherson. Jack and Darcy lived locally at Puramahoi and were keen trampers in the area, looking for the Lost Reef, a lode of rich gold-bearing quartz.
After two hours the showers stopped, as we were partway down the return journey. It was a full day of 9½ hours return and a steady and steep climb but the reward can be a commanding panorama of Golden Bay. The tired but well-satisfied trampers were Robert Wopereis, Andrew Henderson and Esther McPherson.
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