Steep but short – Sunday 3 July 2016
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.