A pleasant winter’s walk
Whispering Falls – Saturday 3 August 2019
Despite dire predictions of a southerly blasting its way up from Antarctica a large contingent of trampers headed off to the Hacket carpark where they were pleasantly surprised. Contractors had just finished upgrading the carpark, complete with new toilets.
It was cold walking up the shaded valley but we made good time and were soon faced with the stream crossing of which everyone had been forewarned. (The bridge was washed away in a flood in 2013.) We chose a crossing near the junction of Hacket Creek and Miner Creek. Thanks to some well-placed large boulders and walking poles to aid balance, everyone managed to get across without mishap and most with dry feet. From here the track climbs over water-formed limestone terraces and through lush podocarp forest. As we entered the bush near the falls there is usually a dripping curtain of water coming down the hill but this was dry. Although there were signs of a frost on some of the grass there were no ice crystals to be seen around the falls. The falls seem to be constantly changing but are still well worth a visit. We carried on past the falls to the grassy clearing above, where there are good views across the scrubby hills of the mineral belt and further east to Mount Starveall. However, with the area still in the shade and with a good frost we didn’t linger.
With plenty of sunshine on the southern side of the valley we decided to return via the Chromite Mine Track. After another incident free crossing of the Hacket Creek we took the rocky track through mineral belt scrub taking time to identify the pigmy mistletoes on the manuka along the way. Some of the group entered the shafts of the old mines in search of cave weta. After a leisurely lunch en route we headed up to Serpentine Saddle then followed the circuit track, created in recent years by our club, descending through pine and then dropping steeply into the Hacket Creek valley about 1km upstream from the suspension bridge.
Participants on this pleasant winter walk were: Sue D, Gael, Odette, Robyn, Marie, Sue J, Marian, Julian, Brenda, Jo (scribe), Chris and visitors Doug, Lisa, Gareth, Ross and Pam.