A satisfying crossover – Sunday 6 March 2016
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.