All we wanted for Christmas was a fine weekend and the wishes of eight trampers were granted with glorious weather. From high up a forestry road in Lee Valley we traversed a pleasant bush ridge then we continued up through rocky scrubland to Starveall Hut taking less than two hours. After a stop here it was a slog up a rugged ridge towards Mt Starveall. From our highpoint on the Bryant Range we were able to view our way ahead – a bush ridge below us leading up to the open tops of Slaty Peak in the distance but with Slaty Hut tucked away in a basin out of sight. After we dropped down into the bush the ridgeline undulated, then climbed and then sidled, emerging onto tussock slopes and a short distance to the hut, totalling 5¼ hours from the start.
The four people tenting found a few small flattish sites near the hut to set up camp, while the others claimed their bunks. After a good two hour rest we explored further along from the hut for one hour, traversing the ridgeline to Ada Peak - pt 1538. Here we soaked up the delightful vistas in every direction – from the Wairau Valley in the east to Tasman Bay in the west and Mt Taranaki just visible away in the north.
On Sunday we enjoyed another fine sunny day but with a cloud layer below us in Tasman Bay. On our return we met three lots of other trampers including two Te Araroa trail walkers when we were at Staveall Hut. The two young Yorkshire men were travelling from north to south and had been on the trail for 86 days and had 55 days to go. They were doing a nine day stretch from Havelock to St Arnaud but didn't want to stop there and weren't planning to stay in civilisation until reaching Hanmer Springs. Quite humbling considering our mere weekend trip.
A splendid weekend relished by Robert Wopereis, Nigel Jones, Jill Sheppard, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Herta Eger, Joy Bryant and Pat Taylor.
Author :Robert Wopereis
Hori Bay – 9 December 2012
We had near perfect conditions for this trip in contrast with a previous visit when it was wild and windy.
On the way in, near the highest part of the road we made a short detour on foot to a logging site which afforded a great view over Delaware Bay and down into Hori Bay. Then it was on to the parking area at the junction of Tawa Road where it was decided to tramp the final 2.3 km of the road to the beach. There was no one else at the beach when we arrived and after a stop for morning tea, a pleasant scramble on the rocks around the headland took us to the caves for a bit of exploration followed by some discussion about the rock formations and geology. Following the return to the beach a start was made on the cliff top walk by heading up the hill in long grass. Previously this had been a well defined route but now it is badly overgrown and barely discernable and would appear that it is no longer on DoC's list for maintenance. Perhaps we should not be too critical as their annual budget of $338 million equates to about $3761 per sq km or about $38 per hectare. For such little cost they have to manage a third of NZ and cannot do it effectively on such a meagre budget.
Some remnant coastal bush provided welcome shade for lunch at the far end and after that an alternative loop on an easier grade was followed back to the road with the only obstacle being a washout on the track at a stream crossing. Back at the beach there were some other arrivals who were in swimming and three of our party followed suit. The climb back up the road to the vehicles was not particularly pleasant under a hot sun but everyone made it and all were happy with the day's achievement and what they had seen.
Those on the trip were: David Blunt, Katie Greer, Guilda Pegg, Jill Dickinson, Christine Burn, Joy Bryant, Sarah De Cent, Cara Morel, Mike Locke and newcomer Margaret Jones.
Author: David Blunt
Asbestos Cottage – 2 December 2012
We met at the usual meeting place in Richmond at 7.30am and started the two hour journey to the start of the track. The weather didn’t look terribly promising with the first sight of the Takaka Valley and hills beyond being really misted up with very low cloud. There was a slight dampness in the air as the 13 keen trampers started out, but not actually enough to need a raincoat. About 30 minutes into the walk, a perfect morning tea spot was found; soft ground underneath and a thick canopy of trees overhead keeping the ground dry - the only problem being none of us felt we had actually exerted ourselves enough to warrant stopping. So after a quick break we started off towards the old Asbestos Quarry. Walking through the bush was delightful, everything was green and lush, and the smell of the nectar on the trees was amazing.
By the time we reached the quarry, the weather had completely changed and the sun was out and it became really hot. After a quick look from the top of the quarry to the old workings below, we started on the path up to the Asbestos Cottage. This section of the track is so different from the first part; it is almost like two separate trips. Here the vegetation is low, sparse and quite scrubby and the heat of the sun was reflected fiercely back off the rocks. However, two valleys over and the vegetation changed again and was tall, green and lush once more.
We arrived at Asbestos Cottage at 12.30pm and after a quick look around, we settled down in the shade for lunch. A print out from the internet of Jack Bowrey’s recollections of his friendship and time with the Chaffeys at the cottage was passed around with everyone reading a paragraph out aloud.
The trip back was very relaxing and from the sound of great hoots of laughter that was heard from time to time, obviously very social as well. One of our group had a nasty fall just five minutes from the cars, a reminder that even the most experienced trampers can come to grief with a slight lapse in concentration. After a quick clean up and plasters they were OK to make the trip home; no doubt a wicked headache the next day.
On the trip were Katie Greer, Pat Taylor, Guilda Pegg, Sarah de Cent, Jill Dickinson, Geoff Walker, Graham Soppit, Pauline Manley, Christine Burn, Jill Parish, Julian Edmonds, Debbie Hampson and visitor Margaret Jones.
Author: Katie Greer
Brook Sanctuary – 11 November 2012
A bunch of 14 trampers assembled beside the old Brook Dam on an overcast day. We marched up the Koru Track which starts left of the sanctuary building. Soon we turned uphill onto Jacobs Ladder track then turned back up the valley onto D Line - a trapping line now upgraded for public use. The forecast morning showers eventually arrived and coats were put on but we were sheltered from much of the weather by the bush canopy. At the end of D Line we crossed the east branch of Brook Stream and followed a rough and rather steep route to E Line which included some windfall logs which slowed progress. Eventually we reached Totowai Track running down from Third House shelter and followed this steadily down to the valley floor at the Corkscrew Crossing for a well deserved lunch beside a small pool in the Brook Stream.
After lunch it was down to Gable Spur and past an old collapsed hut and then along Totara Traverse. A descent down Falcon Spur saw us heading along the valley floor track and back to the start to complete a good circuit of 5½ hours. Mention must be made of the many hours spent by trapping volunteers upgrading tracks in the sanctuary including some hand stacked rock slabs for track edges and steps. In total a pleasant excursion although some of the group found the rougher sections of the trail rather challenging. Most had not explored these hidden trails right on our backdoor. When the 14km long fence is built around this 715ha sanctuary it will be the South Island's largest pest-free environment and a great asset for Nelson.
The partcipants were Mike Locke, Andrew Tod, Alison Warren, Jocelyn Winn, Chris Ecroyd, Sarah De Cent, Robert Wopereis, Pat Taylor, Guilda Pegg, Ian Sowman, Lou Kolff and newcomers Marion Janke and two friends.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Beebys Knob – 4 November 2012
Simply superb views
A slight frost greeted a good group of 16 trampers on this November morning. From the nice grassy carpark just above the Korere - Tophouse Road we set off along the Beebys Track. We sidled a hill before ascending to a broad saddle and then what followed was a long steady climb. For this trip we were fortunate to have the club's plant expert, Chris, with us again. A highlight for us all was his spotting of three vegetable caterpillers in various places beside the track, especially a three-pronged version. Another good discovery was a tiny spider orchid.
After 2½ hours we emerged out of the bush onto an old vehicle track on the main ridgeline with a view of the Wairau Valley and the Raglan Range in front of us. We followed this vehicle track amongst tussock at an easy gradient up the ridge. An icy wind and a temperature of only 5°C soon forced us to don a windproof layer as we carried on, skirting below Beebys Knob to Beebys Hut. This was 50 minutes from where we had emerged from the bush and 3½ hours from the start. We enjoyed lunch, sheltered out of the wind beside the nice six bunk hut.
On our return most of us slogged on up to Beebys Knob, 20 minutes from the hut, scattered with its communications masts. The view from the summit and on the descent is simply superb - a view I think I will never tire of - with Lake Rotoiti nestled nicely away in the distance, beside the St Arnaud Range and in front of the snow topped Robert Ridge. We picked up our heels for a quick descent down the bush track, but all of us found the steeper section below the saddle a little trickier to negotiate when descending. Altogether a good day's outing, especially for the eleven people who had not walked this track before.
Front row, kneeling, l-r, Geoff Walker, Jo Ecroyd, Alison and Peter Warren, John and Rae Sheridan.
Back row, l-r, Bill Brough, David Glover, Tom Quinn-Gregson, Andrew Henderson, Jill Sheppard, Sara De Cent, Guilda Pegg, Chris Ecroyd, Robert Wopereis. Photographer: Nigel Jones.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Blenheim – 19-22 October 2012 – Labour weekend
Trio of tramps
The following people met at the Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park on Friday night: Andrew Henderson, Robert Wopereis, Val Latimer, Pat Taylor, Katie Greer, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Graham Soppit and Pauline Manley.
On Saturday we parked up at Rarangi, 19 kilometres drive north of Blenheim, and began the walk up the South Loop Track. This track crosses the Port Underwood Road and goes up through regenerating and mature forest to join the Mt Robertson Track at about 700 metres altitude. A well benched track continues to Mt Robertson, which dominates the Scenic Reserve with the summit at 1036m. Situated on top of Mt Robertson is a huge dome with various communication devices. It’s ‘hum’ could be heard as we approached. After lunch we returned via the North Loop Track. Again we crossed the Port Underwood road and descended to Whites Bay and then back to Rarangi. A good 8-9 hour trip.
Wither Hills Walkway
On our second day with the fine weather continuing, nine of us met up at the 1,100 hectare Wither Hills Farm Park. This track doesn’t look particularly exciting when you start, but after a very short climb the amazing views start to show with great sweeping views of the Wairau Plains and the sea coast. The majority of the vegetation on the track is down in the gullies and we were walking on short grass for most of the day. There are so many tracks to take in at this park, but we selected the Taylor Dam View Track over to Mt Vernon, which is the highest point of the track. We were able to sit on Mt Vernon having lunch looking over to Wellington, down to the Wairau Valley and Cloudy Bay, and over to the hills beyond and see Mt Robertson that we climbed the day before. We probably covered about 15 kilometres and were back at the cars by 3.00pm. The Wither Hills tracks appear to all fit into what we classify as “easy” trips and people who find themselves in Blenheim for the day might like to take a wander around to enjoy the views.
Our third and final day trip was to the Wairau Lagoons. Another fine day, but a rather strong wind. The walk is virtually flat and takes in a loop from the carpark along the shoreline of the upper lagoon and past Budges and Moerepo Islands to the lagoons' main channel. This walk gives an insight into the salt marsh lagoons and the habitat they provide for the bird life and mud crabs. There was some good bird life about with the swans flying overhead looked like mini Pterodactyl.
We stopped for a while to look at the rusting shipwreck near the track. Now, the story of the wreck: The Waverley is only a quasi-shipwreck. It was a steamer built in 1883 and saw its last service in 1928 carrying miners and supplies to the remote West Coast gold fields. In 1928 it was purposely dismantled and towed to the Wairau River mouth in order to be sunk there as part of a breakwater. But the weather fouled the scuttling and the Waverley floated into the lagoon and stranded where it now rests 80 years later.
From the wreck we took a detour to look at the Wairau Bar; 30 minutes each way, then back to the wreck and completed the loop back to the start of the track - approximately 7 kilometres. We were back at the cars by 12 noon, so we parked up in Rob and Maria’s caravan and enjoyed lunch followed by ice cream and conversation. To add a bit of glamour to the trip I need to add that we were parked by the oxidation treatment ponds for lunch.
Authors: Maria Brooks & Katie Greer
Maungatapu Track – 30 September 2012
A good crossover and a little history
A successful crossover relies on an even number of cars, each being fairly full, along with some good organisation. With numbers of 15 fitting into four cars, things fell nicely into place. At Millers Acre carpark we all swapped cars so we could all come home in our own vehicles. We then set off, with two cars heading up the Maitai and the other two travelling over to the Pelorus. We had previously arranged a key from the council for the locked gate at Smiths Ford Bridge and parked by the caretaker's house above the Maitai Dam. On the 4WD road, we dropped to cross a ford then climbed around the side of the dam in pleasant bush. We detoured to see the head of the dam then headed back up the track. In the gorge some plastic netting marked off part of the road that had slipped away, where a fatal vehicle accident occurred some years ago, with subsequent damage to the buried fibre optic cable. The track zigzagged steadily up and we then abruptly emerged out of the bush at the saddle where we enjoyed an early lunch.
We expected to soon meet the group coming from the Pelorus and it was only ten minutes walk down from the saddle where we exchanged pleasantries (and car keys) before carrying on. The eastern side of the saddle has more of an open aspect, giving good views back to the Bryant Range. After a wet-feet-ford we stopped at Murderers Rock consisting of a few innocuous boulders just above the track. While this historic location had been marked with a plaque, sadly this has now been stolen from where it was mounted on a large concrete post, and is not signposted at all. We could only imagine the tragedy that occurred here 146 years ago. After a plod for about another hour we reached the end of the track beside the Pelorus River.
We enjoyed the fine day end especially the opportunity to traverse the whole track in one direction without backtracking. Now that there is a locked gate by the dam and a locked wire at the saddle, it is a much more pleasant walk without being annoyed by any vehicles. The time taken to complete the track by the group from the Maitai was 5¼ hours, while the group from the Pelorus took 6 hours.
The Maitai group was Robert Wopereis, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent, Alison Warren Jenny Symons, Margaret Edwards and newcomer David Glover.
The Pelorus group was Donald Younger, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Merrick Mitchell, Lou Kolff, Andrew Henderson, Katie Greer and Pat Taylor.
The Maungatapu Murders happened in 1866 when a group of four hardened criminals known as the Burgess Gang killed five men in two separate attacks. On June 12 they caught up to a man returning to Nelson and robbed him of three pounds and 16 shillings, then strangled and suffocated him. The following day, after learning that four businessmen were moving all their gold and money from the Wakamarina to the bank in Nelson, the gang hid behind a large rock and ambushed the four men. After being robbed the victims were variously strangled, stabbed and shot. The winnings only amounted to 80 pounds per gang member.
Three of the gang members later became the first and only people to be hanged in Nelson Jail. One of the gang was pardoned after giving information about the murders which allowed the other members of the group to be convicted. The Maungatapu Monument for the five murder victims is located in Wakapuaka Cemetery.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Nydia Track – 22-23 September 2012
An idyllic weekend
With the promise of sunny weather after weeks of wet weekends and the opportunity to walk this track from end to end, it was hardly surprising that 19 people booked in for this trip. Organising crossover transport for everyone was a bit of a logistical nightmare but everything worked out very smoothly and many thanks to Rob and Jo for their efforts.
We met at the usual place in Nelson and, once everyone understood in what direction they were walking the track, with whom, and in which car they had to leave their gear for the end of the trip, we headed towards Rai Valley. Here we swapped cars and drivers, with one group (Chris Ecroyd, Jo Ecroyd, Marie Firth, Merrick Mitchell, Graham Soppit, Pauline Manley, Pat Taylor, Don Morrisey, Nicola Harwood and Thomas Morrisey) heading off to Duncan Bay and the other group (Peter Warren, Alison Warren, Eddie Runge, Joy Bryant, Nigel Jones, Robert Wopereis and Andrew Henderson) heading off to Kaiuma Bay. Rob Merrilees and Maria Brooks were walking in from Kaiuma after their grandparent duties.
The group starting from Duncan Bay enjoyed a leisurely walk to Ngawhakawhiti Bay for morning tea and then stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot near Nydia Saddle where we soaked up the sun’s rays. The southern side of the saddle was a bit cooler. We hoped that the large tame eel would be waiting expectantly in the pool in the creek and we weren’t disappointed, but it wasn’t impressed with the bread offered and just spat it out, hopefully to the advantage of the hovering kokopu. Meat is obviously the eels preferred food.
We arrived at the Nydia Lodge at 4.30pm about 1.5 hours after the group coming from Kaiuma. Rob and Maria made it to the lodge in the very fast time of 3 hours and 5 minutes arriving just before 5.30pm. Nydia Lodge is cheap and very good accommodation with hot showers, a fully equipped kitchen, large common room and comfortable bunks in rooms sleeping 6 to 8. Andrew collected a large number of mussels and a few oysters which provided an enjoyable supplement to the evening meal.
Sunday was another beautiful day and the Morrisey family were up and away by 8am in order to get back to town for family commitments. The rest of us enjoyed a more leisurely departure around 9am. After a group photograph on the edge of Nydia Bay the group split into two and went their separate ways. We enjoyed stunning views back over the bay and a leisurely walk out. Fortunately the track wasn’t so slippery this time and no one actually slipped off the track, but there were a few minor cases of people losing traction. There was considerable interest when I found another vegetable caterpillar on the edge of the track. These unfortunate large ground dwelling caterpillars become mummified after swallowing spores of the Cordyceps fungus which then take over their bodies and send a small twig-like fruiting body out of the ground. I also explained the differences between the male and female Coprosma flowers and how to sex the plants. With Pat’s helpful descriptions of the flowers, no-one in the group will ever forget that biology lesson!
Our group made it out to the road end by 3pm and rounded off the trip with well-deserved ice-creams at Rai Valley. The other group also had a leisurely trip out, and made it to the Rai Valley shop just after we left.
Author: Chris Ecroyd
Rabbit Island BBQ – 16 September 2012
Mad dogs, an Englishman, and a bit of navigation
This time the mad dogs didn’t go out to the midday sun, but stood in the pouring rain cooking on the BBQ. For the 7th weekend in a row the district woke to the sound of rain on the roof. Damn was this going to mean yet another cancelled club event - actually NO, it didn’t.
Nine hardy folks met at Rabbit Island to have the planned BBQ and bike ride (the bike ride didn’t happen as we would have needed aqua bikes we really aren’t quite that mad). We all stood around in the rain chatting about life and important things like “is this rain ever going to stop”. The rain continued, so we all decide to keep the umbrellas up and have the BBQ. Shame no one had a camera because it was a really funny sight and would have made a great entry in the photo competition. The rain hitting the BBQ gave off a lovely sizzle sound, but the food cooked without getting too soggy, and everyone had a good laugh at the weird situation we were in. No sooner had we finished our lunch in the rain - the sun came out, the sky was blue and we were off for a long walk along Rabbit Island.
We got back to the cars and Peter Vella gave a demonstration on map and compass reading. This is certain a skill that all trampers should have, or at least continue to practice those skills they do have. Interestingly as part of his teaching aids Peter produced a woman’s bra; kind of suspicious but he did have a good reason for having it, as it seems that holding a compass close to your body when there is any wire in your clothing can really distort the compass readings. He also gave a demonstration on setting up a GPS
Enjoying this day was Katie Greer, Ian Sowman, George and Eugene Gay, Geoff and Jocelyn Walker, Peter Vella, Jo Ecroyd, and visitor Lauren Brown (the Englishman).
Author: Katie Greer
St Arnaud walks – 26 August 2012
Cabin fever relief
Again the forecast was for a rainy Sunday but cabin fever was setting in, so despite the showery nature of the day, eleven keen folks donned their coats and had a walk at St Arnaud. We parked at the DOC centre so we could use the shelter there to prepare for the walks. The walk along View Road soon had us under tree canopys which lessened that rainy feeling. We linked up with the Peninsula Walk and headed to Kerr Bay. The shelter there was the ideal spot for morning tea. There is even hot water available there. Refreshed and rearing to move on, we walked the Loop Track in a clockwise direction. Shortly before arriving back at Kerr Bay shelter for lunch, I heard and spotted a group of several kaka up in a big old tree.
To get back to the DOC Centre we went via the first bit of the Black Valley Stream Walk which led us onto a roadway that came out opposite the DOC centre. Our afternoon trip was up past the Lodge and over Black Hill, turning left to head towards the Moraine Walk and West Bay. Once at the Buller River we returned via the road and Peninsula Walk back onto View Road and back to the cars. A refreshing day for: Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Julian Edmonds, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent, Nigel Jones, Pat Taylor, Christine Burn and guest Debbie Hampson.
Author: Maria Brooks
Snow Day – 19 August 2012
Five keen trampers left Richmond at 7:30am for Rainbow ski field. Having no chains we took the shuttle bus up the access road to the ski field. The weather was poor - low overcast and snowing lightly. We reported in at ski patrol and helped them with the GPS location of the weather station. Our group took the left hand track to the tarn area. Snow craft of kicking steps, pigeon holing and self-arrest were practiced, also the art of sliding down on small sledges provided by Cathy. We climbed towards the ridge but stopped early as the visibility closed in. A vote was taken and we returned to the skifield for hot coffee and caught the early shuttle back down at 2pm. We still enjoyed a good day out in light snowy conditions. The group was Graham Soppit, Bill Brough, Ross McArthur, Cathy Smith and Georgina Rayner.
Author: Graham Soppit
Whispering Falls and Chromite Mine – 29 July 2012
Easy enjoyable outing
The weather was overcast and showery when we met at the Richmond Badminton Hall, where eight hardy souls turned up. We arrived at the Hacket carpark by 9.30am and wandered up to the Whispering Falls. On the way we met a hunter very proudly carrying a huge black pig over his shoulder. The waterfalls were better than normal owing to the recent rain and we had morning tea here at 11.30am, then Jill gave us a demonstration on how to stop shoelaces coming undone. We continued up to the Chromite Mine where we had soggy sandwiches for lunch. We were back to the cars by 2.15pm to complete an easy but enjoyable tramp. We finished off the afternoon at the new Brightwater "Head Quarters" restaurant for coffee etc.
The trampers were Pat Taylor, Julian Edmonds, Geoff Walker, Eddie Runge, Mike Locke, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent and Jill Dickinson.
Author: Pat Taylor
Cable Bay Walkway – 22 July 2012
A good local walk was wanted for mid-winter and Cable Bay walkway was planned, before its closure from August to October for lambing. A cold cloudy day did not deter 14 people who departed from Glenduan beachfront. Five minutes later we reached the end of the road and started on the walkway, heading up the steady gradient of the inland loop. Several slips from the summer flooding were still evident on the farmland, but only a few had affected the track and had been cleared. From the farm road we emerged onto the grassy airstrip that headed up to the highpoint of the walk at 400m – a beaut spot for a seat with sweeping views of Nelson, Tasman Bay and the Waimea Plains. After refreshments we were into pine plantation then through native forest for half an hour. This attractive mix of beech and podocarp is one of few areas of coastal native forest near Nelson city. Emerging onto farmland we soon reached Sentinel Hill overlooking Cable Bay for lunch.
The bay was originally named Schroders Mistake before its present day name from being the site of New Zealand's first overseas telegraphic cable link laid in 1876. Two cable laying ships, the Hibernia and the Edinburgh took only eleven days to lay the cable from Botany Bay near Sydney to Cable Bay thanks to exceptionally calm weather in the Tasman Sea. As a result a telegram from England took only four days instead of a letter which took up to six months by sailing ship.
After lunch we returned back to the Glen with some warm sunshine breaking through the cloud while we had our stop at the highpoint lookout. Most of us took the alternative loop from the airstrip out toward the coast to complete a satisfactory day's outing. The trip duration was about 2½ hours each way.
The group was Robert Wopereis, Katie Greer, Mike Locke Georgina Rayner, Guilda Pegg, Alison Warren, Geoff Walker, Peter Vella, Sarah De Cent, Cara Morel, Julian Edmonds, and newcomers Lily Tava, and Pam and Brian Meadows.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Mid-Winter Dinner – 23 June 2012
Fun, fellowship, and food
The planned trip to Salisbury Lodge was cancelled because of an extreme weather forecast and an alternative Mid-Winter Dinner was hastily arranged at the Wakefield Hall. Despite the short notice, 28 people (members and their families) enjoyed an evening of excellent food, fantastic company, and good entertainment in the way of card and brain-teaser games, and table tennis; or just sitting around chatting and catching up with old friends. The theme of “wigs or masks” certainly brought out the creative instincts in people and we were a very colourful lot. Guilda Pegg was declared the winner of the competition.
It was a shame that we didn’t make it to Salisbury, but any disappointment was quickly gone when the dinner got underway. The tables were decorated with a Christmas theme and looked really lovely, and were groaning under the weight of the food on offer. We had roast pork, baked potatoes, lots of salads, quiches, pasta and rice dishes, bread stuffed with amazing cooked cheeses, and so much more. Then, as if we hadn’t eaten enough, the desserts came out (funny how there is always room for them). There was a lot of support for doing this every year as it was felt that more people would have the opportunity to attend.
Author: Katie Greer
Barnicoat Hill – 8 July 2012
Stunning views close to home
A group of ten meet at the very leisurely time of 9.00am at the Marsden Quarry. The weather conditions were excellent for this time of the year, a mild temperature and the promise of the sun appearing.
We started the walk by going up via the Involution Track on the chilly side of the hill. As we made our way up we could see through the breaks in the bush a lovely sun-lit hill on the other side of the valley and a few of the party commented on how it would be great to enjoy the sun when we crossed over to that side. However, the sun had other ideas and by the time we got there the weather had clouded over a little. There were also the occasional glimpses of Tasman Bay and the Richmond/Stoke area to be seen through little breaks in the bush as we got nearer the top; with the snow covered hills on the far side of the bay it is great view.
Three of the party decided to take a “short” detour and follow the old Scout’s Track and meet up with us further up the Involution. However, their master plan kind of failed when they found themselves heading towards Jenkins Hill. Fortunately, they had great map reading skills and rejoined us safely after having a little “bonus mini adventure” which as a rule isn’t the most common event on a comparatively easy trip. The old Scout’s Track isn’t as easy to follow now that it is being used less frequently and it could be a good idea for the club to have that as a trip option, even if only to assist in the track not being lost.
We stopped close to the top at the convenient wide, semi-flat area for morning tea and then we continued on to the top of the Barnicoat Hill where we appreciated the views over Tasman Bay to the snow covered hills in the background and the airport and the Waimea Plains below us. There was an icy wind blowing across the hill and it wasn’t long before we had all donned hats, gloves and coats as we settled down in the grass to enjoy lunch and catch up on all the news. No hang gliders to enjoy watching on this trip; although two did arrive as we were leaving. The cold wind was enough to deter us from waiting until they were airborne.
We then came back down to the cars via the four wheel drive track where we were able to see the extent of the repairs that have occurred on the road; it is almost back to the state prior to the December floods. During our previous trip in January it appeared that the road would not be able to be repaired, so it was amazing to see what engineers can do.
The group was Katie Greer, Guilda Pegg, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Jill Sheppard, Julian Edmonds, Mike Locke, Sarah De Cent, Val Latimer, and visitors Hairta Eger and Lilly Tava.
Author: Katie Greer
Pepin Island – 1 July 2012
The day was fine for this ever popular tramp. We left from the causeway and tramped the first leg to Passage Hut and morning tea overlooking the passage of Wakapuaka estuary. Decisions were made to try to incorporate a visit to Nikau Hut, as the tide was low and there was a good prospect of picking up a track from the beach up to the hut. This proved a little more difficult than we thought and a steep scramble up a blackberry infested hill with a difficult barbwire fence had us at the Nikau Hut. It was interesting to view this structure usually observed from afar. From here we climbed up to the top of the ridge line with spectacular views to Delaware Bay and north out to Tasman Bay. A little further on the group split into two with the hardy, brave ones descending down to Rocky Point Hut for lunch while the sensible kept their elevation and views and lunched higher up. From then on it was uphill, more so for those who had descended to Rocky Point, who had to regain altitude, lost in the steep descent. We all made it to the trig on the summit at 401m. There were spectacular views all round. A stunning sight especially towards Cable Bay. From here we descended down a newly erected fence line, which turned into a mission. Very steep and slippery surfaces, but we made it without incident. From then on it was down a farm track and back to the cars. It was a great day out, finished off with a coffee at the café at Happy Valley Adventures.
Participants were Julian Edmonds, Katie Greer, Pat Taylor, Graham Soppit, Pauline Manley, David Blunt, Robert Wopereis, Georgina Rayner, Noelene Roberts, Ian Sowman, Cara Morel, Paul and Sue Henley, Sarah De Cent, Mike Locke, Val Latimer, Hairta Eger, Oliver Steding, and newcomers Hilde Sommerville, Hilary Burbidge, Kate Swenson, Laurel Easton, Jill Weaver and Tammy Ransom.
Author: Julian Edmonds
Motueka Sandspit and Ruby Bay walk – 17 June 2012
Our meeting place was at the Salt Water Baths on the Motueka foreshore. From here we walked north along the foreshore to the old stone wharf. A spoonbill was feeding near the rusting hulk of the Janie Seddon. She was brought from England in 1903. Talley's purchased her around 1936 as their first fishing vessel. During WW2 she was requisitioned back by the Navy but was returned to Talley's after the war. She was towed into the mud flats and abandoned in the 1950's.
We continued north along a well formed walkway to the beginning of the Sandspit. For much of the spit there is just sand but further along there are grassy dunes. Some 25 or more years ago a geo-textile groyne was placed across the spit in an attempt to stop it growing, but the spit continues to build to the south. In about 2004 Talley's helped pay for a channel to be cut through the spit but within a month it had filled in.
It took us just over two hours to get to the end of the spit. A little way back we stopped on the edge of the grassy dunes for lunch. Back at the cars we had an early afternoon tea of birthday cake - thanks Rob! and then it was on to McKee Domain at Ruby Bay minus the Gay family. We crossed the road at the entry of the Domain and followed the track through the bush between the road and the cliffs. There was plenty of evidence of recent slips from heavy rain events but the track was quite walkable. Part of this track follows up a creek bed and then it comes out onto the road above Ruby Bay. After a bit of downhill road walking, we crossed to the beach to walk back to the cars. This was about a 45 minute circuit.
Those on the trip were: Maria Brooks, Guilda Pegg, Rob Merrilees, Julian Edmonds, Eddie Runge, Noelene Roberts, Katie Greer, Pat Taylor, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent, Rebecca, George & Eugene Gay and visitors Laurel Eastern, Sandra McCauley, Geoff Walker & Vivienne Lillie (17).
Author: Maria Brooks
Saxton Hill – 10 June 2012
Slippery slopes for some
We met right in Stoke at the carpark in the Saxton Field sports ground in fine but chilly weather at a very civilised hour of 9.00am. The gateway to the Raine’s property was right next to the carpark so we were very quickly underway. A quick stop to check out the area the family have developed showing the history of the farm (the photo shows one of the monuments). We walked mostly on farm tracks with an easy grade and stopped for a cuppa at one of the watertanks. The views over Stoke and Richmond were excellent, but it did seem strange to have your boots on and still see so much of town. At one time on the track we had a flock of swallows come out to meet us; or perhaps to try and shoo us away.
The trip was graded as easy, and for most of the time it was - with the exception of one detour taken where the final ascent proved to be considerably more than “easy”. However, the extra climb was worth it as we had spectacular views over Richmond and Tasman Bay.
The walk back to the cars gave some of the party the opportunity to test their sliding skills, with descent on one hill being just too much to resist. There was lots of laughter and unfortunately a bit of “cow poo” for the sliders to try and dodge (some were unsuccessful in that). A large irrigation dam was one of the hidden highlights of the area. An interesting trip and one the club hasn’t done before. In essence it is more of a farm ramble than a tramping trip, but well worth doing and gives a lot of local history. The photo of the group shows where we lunched, in the centre at the top, where the forestry block ends. We were back at the cars by 3.00pm.
Front row, from left, kneeling: Mike Locke, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Brian Meadows (visitor), Noelene Roberts.
Back row, from left: Maria Brooks, Pat Taylor, Guilda Pegg, Robert Wopereis, Geoff Walker, Rob Merrilees, Katie Greer, Pam Meadows (visitor), Alan Hart, Georgina Rayner (on camera David Blunt).
Author: Katie Greer
Roebuck Hut-Rocks Hut circuit – 2-4 June 2012 – Queen's Birthday weekend
Great local circuit
Saturday morning saw Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Anya Claus and Nigel Jones meet up at the Hacket carpark. We were surprised by the number of cars there. Some, we supposed, were hunters. In lieu of the numbers of cars and the uncertain weather for the Monday, we all decided to do the trip in reverse, i.e. - Rocks then Roebuck. We set off with moderately heavy packs for the long slog up to Rocks Hut. We had a couple of stops on the way to Totara Saddle - the last being at Browning Hut - where we found the door wide open! Refreshed after our morning tea, we tackled the Totara Saddle, one foot slowly in front of the other! We had a lunch stop at a high point with great views over the valleys. Mid-afternoon found us walking through fairly open bush along the ridge to Rocks. We had some great views at times out towards Brightwater and then Richmond Range. Late afternoon found us at Rocks and we were very relieved to find it empty. We stowed our gear away, made a cuppa and got the fire going. It got colder that night and we were very surprised that nobody joined us.
Sunday morning we were up early and after breakfast we set off on the Middy Track. It starts descending steadily, then more steeply through open bush. About 30 minutes short of Middy Hut, we turned right onto the Roebuck Track. At first the going was good but then things got trickier! Because that area does not get much sun and being very rocky, we had to watch our steps for over three long hours. Some places were very slippery with loose rock on the track. You had to concentrate the whole time. No really good views, but we could hear the Pelorus River down below us on our left. After what seemed a long time, we finally got a glimpse of Roebuck Hut across the river. We descended to the first swingbridge across a tributary then walked upstream about 300 metres to another swingbridge across the Pelorus. Walking back down to the hut, we were again surprised to find it empty. Roebuck Hut sits on a flat high above the Pelorus with great swimming and fishing in good weather! We built up a good fire and boiled the billy. Later on it started to drizzle with rain. Again, nobody joined us that night. We spent a very comfortable night there.
Monday morning found us away early to overcast skies but no rain. Upon recrossing the Pelorus swingbridge, Chris spotted a large trout swimming slowly upstream in the crystal clear water - a great sight! Then came the steep slog up the toe of the range - it is steep!! Lovely bush to walk through. When we got to the top for a breather, we had great views of the mountains. We slowly sidled along the right hand side of the range. Lots of fantails around and no rain! After a long but pleasant walk with refreshment stops, we finally reached the junction back at Totara Saddle. We descended the saddle, had a break at Browning and an easy walk back to the Hacket. We didn’t even get our feet wet crossing the streams!! All in all a great weekend with spectacular views. I will certainly revisit Roebuck in the summer.
Author: Nigel Jones
Shedwood Bush – 27 May 2012
A hardy group
The weather report for the day did not look at all promising, with heavy rain and thunder forecast. Despite that a hardy group of nine ventured out into the heavy wet mist (tramping terminology for rain) heading towards Tapawera. By the time we all met up at the start of the Shedwood Bush Walk there was only light drizzle and lovely warm air temperature. The bush walk is great, about 20 minutes in to the track there is a sign showing a track to the observation point. This track zigzags, and up and down for the next hour and half through thick bush with an amazing range of trees; such as rangiora, rata vine, type of hebe, birch, beech, totara, and ferns everywhere. The track itself is well formed and graded and made for a very pleasant and easy walk despite the rather slippery conditions. We stopped just five minutes short of the summit for morning tea as we found a patch of bush that looked comparatively dry with a great canopy of forest overhead. The view from the top gave a panorama of Tapawera and the mountain ranges beyond; luckily for us the rain had eased and cloud had lifted to allow the view. We descended down to the turn off to the observation point and continued the loop track to the start. One nasty incident occurred when a member of the party was stung on the nose by a wasp; exceedingly painful event for her. Her nose and lip were extremely swollen by the time we got to the bottom of the track.
Lunch was enjoyed at Jeff Lukey’s place with the fire and the coffee machine going, very cosy. By the time lunch was over, the rain had stopped and the sun was out and Jeff gave us a tour of the tracks he has got in the bush beside his place, and explained the plans he has for future work.
On the trip were Katie Greer, Julian Edmonds, Pat Taylor, Annette Gill, Sue Locke, Sarah De Cent, Noelene Roberts, Rebecca Gay and Jeff Lukey.
Author: Katie Greer
Holyoake Clearing Hut – 20 May 2012
It was a bright clear day as we set off from the Richmond carpark at 8 sharp. Because of motor racing on the Marahau Hill road we had to go via Kaiteriteri instead. There was frost on the ground when we started our walk and the air had a bracing invigorating crispness about it. The tide was in so the views across the estuary were sparklingly clear. Out on a sandspit were a vast number of seabirds all huddled together which made an interesting sight. Just after Tinline Bay we followed up the hill track, stopping now and again to take in the beautiful views. Wildling pines were a stand out feature as many had been given a fatal dose of herbicide and they looked as if they belonged to a stand out feature of a North American Fall scene. The track was just moist, providing excellent footing with no dust. The lower sun angle meant there were quite long shadows causing a slow strobe like effect as we strode through the kanuka/manuka regrowth on the way up to the clearing. The clear sky meant there were stunning views of the bay once we got up to the tops. We easily arrived at the new Holyoake Shelter by lunchtime. It’s a brilliant spot with wide sweeping views. We tramped down the way we had come to the bay that by this time had converted itself to the mudflats of low tide. It looked particularly attractive in the low angle crisp light of the late afternoon sun. It was a very good day.
The group was: Julian Edmonds, Jocelyn Winn, Val Latimer, Nigel Jones, Alison Warren, Guilda Pegg, David Blunt, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent, Andrew Henderson, Eddie Runge, Jill Sheppard and Robert Wopereis.
Author: Julian Edmonds
Kings Creek Hut – 6 May 2012
Good fauna seen
After a pick up in town, five of us headed out to Wakefield where we met up with another four. We set off for Tapawera and up the Tadmor Valley, stopping to welcome Sue to our ranks. After the winding road across country in the fog, we arrived at the start of the Wangapeka Track. The day promised to be a good one with no wind and clear skies. We all booted up and went over the swingbridge singly. After a quick meeting we all decided on a stop for lunch at 12.30pm, regardless of us reaching Kings Hut. The track is very easy going through a mix of native bush, scrub and rock, with occasional grassy areas. We had the river on our right and were treated to the early sight of a pair of whio-blue duck - it's great to see their slow comeback. A short time later we saw two big trout in a clear pool, but no fishing gear however!! We had morning tea in a sunny spot, then after another 1½ hours we stopped for lunch, with a decision to turn back, due to shorter daylight hours.
On the way back, we were treated to the sight of a single whio swimming in the middle of the river. It was not concerned about our presence and we got some great photos. After an easy but lengthy walk, we arrived back at the swingbridge and carpark. After saying goodbye to Sue - she lives in Tadmor Valley, we set off for the Kohatu Café. We enjoyed a relaxing cuppa and then arrived home just after dark. It was a lovely trip but it was a pity we didn’t see Kings Hut. Maybe we need to set off earlier during winter for the longer day walks? We all enjoyed the day out.
Those on walk were: Nigel Jones, Sarah De Cent, Eddie Runge, Alison Warren, Maria Brooks, Katie Greer, Georgina Rayner, Guilda Pegg, Julian Edmonds, Pat Taylor and visitor Sue Davies.
Author: Nigel Jones
Mt Richmond – 5-6 May 2012
A grand summit
Our group of six set off on a cloudy day and drove up the Wairau River north bank and then 10km up Top Valley to the carpark, two hours from Nelson. The road up Top Valley to the carpark is well signposted all the way, but two fords need to be crossed including the Top Valley Stream, so four-wheel drive vehicles are useful. Starting at an altitude of 500m the track climbs steadily up a pleasant ridge often skirting small rocky crags. We remained in cloud and at one stop one tramper remarked “We'll be in sunshine at the hut”, perhaps being optimistic. The track eventually left the ridge and sidled for half an hour to reach Richmond Saddle Hut at 1200m, taking us three hours. The earlier prediction proved correct with the sun breaking through the murky cloud while we enjoyed lunch.
Feeling reinvigorated we set off up the track for Mt Richmond. As we cleared the bushline, magically we emerged clear of the cloud to brilliant blue skies with the colossal summit ridgeline looming above us. As we scrambled up the loose shattered slabby rock, we viewed the cloud below us flowing spectacularly like a waterfall over the saddle from east to west and then dissipating. Following the poled route up we soon surmounted the steepest section of the climb then it was better progress up the bouldery terrain. After we reached the leading ridge we were rewarded with views north including Johnson Peak and Mt Fishtail. One commented “Wow look at that, 380° views!”. After being corrected, the comment then was “Well, I've got 20° more view than anyone else!”. Up the leading ridge it was a straightforward amble for 15 minutes to reach the 1756m summit of Mt Richmond, 1½ hours from the hut. As we reached the summit another tramper had climbed up from the other side and was planning on bivvying on the summit (the next day he told us he had a cold night out). Although the Marlborough plains were buried in cloud, the panoramas were superb, from the Inland Kaikoura Range in the southeast to Tasman Bay and the Arthur Range in the west. After enjoying the views for half an hour we descended, being careful on the loose rocky section. Back at the saddle we were joined by two more trampers, tenting for the night. We delighted in viewing a special sunset amongst misty cloud before we settled in for some lively fireside discussions for a couple of hours with the other trampers.
After a good long sleep that night of up to ten or eleven hours, we were up at daybreak and soon off down the track on a perfect blue sky day. It was a quicker descent with some good viewpoints appreciated in a few clear places along the ridgeline. On the drive home a stop for lunch was relished at the Wakamarinian Café in Havelock. A very successful weekend was enjoyed by all. The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Sue Henley, Jill Sheppard, Graeme Muir, Jane Wickham and newcomer Kate Krawczyk.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Bike trip – 29 April 2012
On yer bike
We gathered together in Richmond and rode out via the cycleway to Ranzau Road in Hope. Many of us had not experienced this part of the cycleway and we were impressed with the track through the vineyards. At Ranzau Road we followed the new cycling track down Pugh Road all the way to Eden Road then out to the river road. As the new swing bridge that will cross the Wairoa River and connect up to Bryant Road had not been completed, we rode back to the Brightwater bridge then on to Waimea West via Palmer Road and Aldourie Road. We then turned up Challies Road to Golden Hills Road then through the ford and briefly on to the Moutere Highway before turning on to Redwood Road and on to Rabbit Island, where we met up with Peter Vella. We were making good time, as we wanted to make the connection with the Flat Bottomed Fairy before lunch.
The ride through the island was interesting though it turned out to be somewhat hazardous as we came face to face with an event of runners and mountain bikers. We were well in time to wheel our bikes onto the Fairy then after a short ride we landed on the Mapua side for lunch. We returned on the next sailing and cycled the inland track then followed the stopbank along what we envisaged was the route of the new cycleway to Cotterell Road and then along to Pea Viner Corner. From here we rode back to Richmond, a ride all up of some 50 kilometres. The bikers were: Julian Edmonds, Pat Taylor, Nigel Jones, Graham Soppit, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Georgina Rayner and Ken Ridley.
Author: Julian Edmonds
Wharariki Beach – 14-15 April 2012
Settled autumn weather, what a great time to venture to Wharariki. Unbeknown to me, until organizing this trip, there is a great holiday park just short of the Wharariki Beach walk carpark. It has a backpacker lodge and the amenities are very comfortable and spacious. The lodge catered for nine people and the others had their camper and caravan. Arrival time at Wharariki was late in the morning. That day the hilltop walk was done as a crossover. This walk takes you from Puponga across farmland and along ridges to Pillar Point Lighthouse, past Cape Farewell above the sea cliffs to come out at Wharariki Beach and vice versa. Great views all along the way. The meal on Saturday night was a shared one with a Kiwiana theme. Congratulations to Oliver for his 30th. He now knows what it feels like to wear a black woollen singlet and gumboots. The food was very Kiwi, with a wild pork roast, venison sausages, salads, queen pud, pavlova and cakes. A yummy feast.
On Sunday the ‘lodgers’ packed up and moved their vehicles to the carpark from where we did the Greenhill Loop and the short walk to Greenhill Beach where we had lunch. On the return trip we approached Wharariki Beach from the southern end. Amazing rock formations and arches. A cuppa and cake in Maria and Rob's Kiwi caravan at mid-afternoon and then began the drive back home.
Those that participated were: Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Graham Soppit, Christine Burn, Katie Greer, Julian Edmonds, Eddie Runge, Oliver Steding, Chris and Jo Ecroyd and newcomers Pauline Manley and Alison Warren.
Author: Maria Brooks
Mt Jones – 22 April 2012
Wangapeka Valley walk
The Jones Ridge stands imperiously overlooking the Wangapeka plain. Many may wonder how to scale this rugged faced marble range. A group of 17 set out to find out how on a brilliant fine day. Just past the Tapawera Bridge we travelled up the Tapawera-Baton road to a farmhouse at the end of Wangapeka Plain Road. We walked a short distance past the farm buildings and turned right up one zigzag and onto a terrace and crossed two large paddocks. We then gained a farm road climbing up and around the lower end of Jones Ridge. We were glad to have a stop beside some boulders with some shade nearby so we could cool off out of the hot sun. Some goats were nearby and soon left us alone but the big billy goats looked menacing. We carried on around the northwest side of the ridge for a few minutes and dropped slightly. At a junction we turned off and climbed up another farm road starting to overgrow with gorse at the start. After several long zigzags we reached the main ridgeline. The farm road soon ran out and we followed the ridge to a trig. But this was only a small high point and it was a further 15 minutes to a small grassy clearing with marble outcrops. We enjoyed our lunch here with splendid views of the Wangapeka Plain below us and in the distance Tasman Bay, the Richmond Ranges and some of the Nelson Lakes ranges.
Although the original intention was to return from here, all except two of the group were keen to carry on and attempt Mt Jones summit. But from here we were we were into bush with many small windfalls and steeper marble rock outcrops to negotiate. After 15 minutes we struggled up to a highpoint at about 900m but still mostly in bush with not much view. After consulting our maps and GPS we realised the actual 944m summit was still a good distance further along the ridge. We knew it would have needed a long day to reach the true Mt Jones, so we were happy to return from here.
On our descent from the clearing some of the group became geographically challenged for a few minutes before we all regathered at a small saddle. Here we turned off onto a different track, descending steadily on an extremely rocky old farm road on the southeast side of the ridge. Then we mostly followed a fenceline down to the river flats with one group going directly down the fenceline while the others preferred going across a gully and a couple of paddocks. Then it was all flat going across several paddocks, along a farm road and back to the farmhouses and the cars. The time taken was 2 ¾ hours up to the clearing and about 6 hours in total. We thanked the friendly farmer before making our way home, with most of the group stopping at the nice Flat Rock Café (ex Kohatu pub) for a coffee.
This may not have been your classic kiwi tramp but we found it still a worthwhile day out to a place not often visited. The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Donald Younger, Sarah De Cent, Jill Sheppard, Graeme Muir, Jane Wickham, Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds, Paul and Sue Henley, Christine Burn, Katie Greer, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, and newcomers Kate Krawczyk, Phil Chisnall and Bob Hughes.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Lake Christabel Track – 6-9 April 2012 - Easter
An Easter Treat
Eight of us met at Springs Junction on Friday morning at 10am and after introductions over morning tea at the café, travelled to the end of Palmers Road. On the way we left one car at the start of the Christabel Track for our return transport. We followed the new track starting at a locked gate near Newcombes. It goes around the edge of the farm through native bush and adds perhaps 30 minutes to the old track times. After climbing unnecessarily high to avoid crossing the river we were reminded the hard way that the track up the true left of the Robinson to the Mid-Robinson Hut is designed for use when the river is high. It was much easier to keep to the river bed and carefully select the best places to cross. The river was low but the boulders were covered in algae making them extremely slippery. Consequently the crossings were not without incident. Fortunately the water was not cold and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We passed a couple of fishermen and two hunters and were pleased to find only one other tramper in the 6 bunk Mid-Robinson Hut. This tramper from Greymouth joined us for the rest of the trip.
The weather on Saturday was once again perfect and we had a leisurely 9am start. This track was easier to follow than the previous day but kept us within the bush for most of the way. We knew we were getting close to the next hut when we crossed the first of the 3-wire bridges and arrived at the Top Robinson Hut about 3pm. The sun already was already well up the hill so sunbathing wasn’t an option. With two very wide bunks this 8 bunk hut easily sleeps 10.
Knowing we had a long day climbing over the pass into the Blue Grey Valley, we were away by 7.30am on Sunday morning. With cloud hiding the mountains it didn’t look promising for good views but as soon as we climbed above the bushline the clouds disappeared and the views were amazing. We passed another tramping party who had seen us at the end of the road and wisely chose to do the trip in the opposite direction, avoiding overcrowding the huts. After having lunch near the saddle we started a slow descent into the Blue Grey. The track had been recently cleared but the newly-cut dry grass made it very slippery and slow going down the steep slopes. We arrived at the Lake Christabel Hut at 5.30pm. This hut will also at least sleep 10.
On Monday morning we had an even earlier start (7.15 am) and were soon at the lake. Lake Christabel is a deep lake formed by an avalanche damming the valley. It has a natural underground outlet and is reputed to be the largest lake in New Zealand without any exotic fish species. We just hope it was a native fish that one member of our party saw in the lake. A falcon perched on top of a tree and watched us for a while. With a good stop for lunch and a number of other “breathers” the group took just over 8 hours to walk out to the road.
In view of the two long days, the steepness of the track in places and the nature of some obstacles that needed to be negotiated, this trip was challenging but very satisfying.
On the trip were Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Arif Matthee (Ch-Ch Over 40’s TC), Pat Taylor, Marie Firth (Motueka and Nelson TC), Don and Thomas Morrisey, and Nicola Harwood.
Author: Chris and Jo Ecroyd
Takaka Hill Walkway and Harwoods Hole – 1 April 2012
Twin hill top walks
It was a wonderful day as we departed from Richmond at 8am and motored to the top of the Takaka Hill to tramp the hill top walkway. Our first port of call was to the old army hut with the decayed dead cow inside - a sad sight, but one that is a must see. From then on we went up the ridge to the quite large communication installations at the summit. A noisy group of kea spotted our arrival but were nowhere to be seen when we got there. There were stunning views from the top out over Golden and Tasman bays, brilliant on such a crisp, clear day. From there we tramped around the rest of the track. The landscape was littered with the stunning fluted rocks that characterises this environment. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the massive summer growth, this track was quite overgrown with gorse and we had to just grit our teeth and bash our way through, though the young growth was relatively soft so it was not as uncomfortable as it looked. We all hoped that there would be track work done here before long. We noted with some interest some dangerous looking tomos and we spotted powelliphanta snails.
We then drove down the hill to the Canaan turnoff, only to be stopped by security guards informing us that the road, while not closed was very busy owing to a “private function”. After a short wait they let us proceed but warned us that there was a lot of traffic and to be aware. At Canaan Downs it soon became obvious that the “private function” was a very large film shoot with a large number of semi trailers enclosed in a fenced off security guarded area. Continuing on past this we were hassled by an irate driver who thought we were going too slowly. One of our party had words with this particular driver while we finished off our lunch. Next we had a very enjoyable walk through the eerie forest track that leads to Harwoods Hole. A scramble over rocks by the unafraid revealed the brink of the edge of the vast drop into the hole itself. From there we made our way up the ridge track to scramble again over rocks to look out over the valley, a stunning sight on such a clear day. From then we returned to our transport and back home. A very interesting day. The group was Julian Edmonds (leader), Katie Greer (leader), Guilda Pegg, Christine Burn, Sarah De Cent, Georgina Rayner and newcomers Paul Fisher and Christine Grove.
Author: Julian Edmonds
Mt Hope – 25 March 2012
Two tough troops
Combined with Motueka Tramping Club
The scheduled tramp to Giant Rocks was relocated because recent arsons meant forest access was denied by Nelson Forests. We decided that nearby Mt Hope was a good substitute.
Eight Waimea and six Motueka Tramping Club members gathered at Kohatu then travelled over Hope Saddle and parked beside Boulder Stream, 4km past Glenhope (3km before Kawatiri Junction). As we prepared to set off we were in sunshine, but as we made our introductions showers quickly set in and it remained showery all day. The track is unmaintained but had recently been recut at the start, thanks to the sterling efforts by a club member. We followed a mixture of markers up a steep grade for about the first hour in good forest. The showers cleared as we enjoyed an easier gradient in more open forest with occasional views. The rain during the week meant a few large puddles had to be negotiated amongst overgrowing track side vegetation. We soon emerged out of the bush onto a plateau on the flanks of the Hope Range with the rocky granite outcrops on the summit ridge away in the distance. We climbed up the leading ridge as more showers fell. After ascending through some scrubby bush to the final summit ridge, conditions became quite unpleasant with rain and a cold wind. We reached a large rock, but there was not enough shelter here, and with no signs of improvement we descended into some bush for some refuge from the weather to savour our lunch, with the trip to here taking us 3½ hours altogether. Most of us were rather wet but there was some upturn in the weather conditions on the push down the track to the cars.
We enjoyed the genial company of a neighbouring tramping club and it was a well worthwhile tramp to view the fascinating landscapes of the Hope Range.
The Waimea group was Maria Brooks, Robert Wopereis, Rob Merrilees, Nigel Jones, Julian Edmonds and newcomers Sue and Paul Henley, and Paul Fischer.
The Motueka group was Christine, Barbara, Helen, Ann, Joy and Ross.
Author: Robert Wopereis
John Tait Hut – 17-18 March 2012
Tranquil Travers Valley
Our pick up time from Richmond was 7.30am to meet other members at Wakefield and from here we drove to Kerr Bay, Lake Rotoiti to take the water taxi which made two trips to Coldwater Hut. The first boat load of trampers left the hut at 9.30am and the rest of the party caught us up at morning tea time. We then wandered up the beautiful Travers Valley arriving at John Tait Hut at 3pm. After a cuppa some members went for a walk to the Travers Falls about 1½ hours further up the valley.
Sunday we left John Tait Hut at 7.45am for our return down the valley. When we were going across the Travers swingbridge towards Lakehead Hut, Guilda lost the bottom piece off her walking stick, but luckily with a bit of semaphore, Katie, who was next on the bridge picked it up. After a break for lunch at Lakehead Hut we were back to the cars by 4pm.
The happy wanderers were Graham Soppit, Pat Taylor, Guilda Pegg, Katie Greer, Jill Sheppard, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees and newcomers Pauline Manley and Alison Warren.
Author: Pat Taylor
Sylvester Hut, Cobb Valley – 3-4 March 2012
Cobb Valley classic
With fresh snow on the mountains the group left Tahuna at 7.30am to pick up Katie at Stoke and we arrived at the carpark at the start of the track to Lake Sylvester just before 10am. After we had morning tea we set off on the good track arriving at the twelve bunk hut in exactly two hours. There were only a few patches of snow on the upper part of the track, but the tops were well covered. After a break for lunch we wandered around Lake Sylvester and various tarns, also the track to the old hut site. A group of other trampers visited the hut but no one else stayed the night. Sunday dawned a lovely day as we cleaned up the hut and the toilet. Away we went at 10am for a leisurely 1½ hour trip back to the carpark. On the way home we detoured to the Riwaka resurgence for lunch and a walk. Then it was another stop at Toad Hall in Motueka for a great ice cream. The group was Nigel Jones, Pat Taylor, Christine Burn and Katie Greer.
Author: Pat Taylor
Bushline Hut circuit, Mt Robert – 26 February 2012
It was a great day at the lake with high cloud cover which enabled great views, but was not too hot for tramping.
The tramp started at the Paddys Track car park and we tramped up Paddys Track, reaching Bushline Hut about 11.30am where we had an early lunch break. The climb was really easy with stunning views. From Bushline Hut we tramped up to the Mt Robert shelter. The tops were spectacular with lots of alpine flowers and very lush green growth. There were a number of others out enjoying the day. A second lunch break was held at the top with a great view over the lake. The only thing missing was the Classic Boat Show, was the comment. Perhaps in some future year we could combine this trip with the Classic Boat Show, which might make interesting viewing from this vantage point. Our descent was via the Pinchgut Track aptly named for ascending, but a joy to tramp down.
It was an easy day, perhaps a little short, but it was most enjoyable.
Participants were Rob Merrilees (leader) , Julian Edmonds (co-leader), Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Nigel Jones, Andrew Henderson, Christine Burn, Pat Taylor, Katie Greer, Eddie Runge, Maria Brooks (Mother Duck), Emily Gee, Sarah De Cent, newcomers Sue Lindsay, Alice Patterson, and Alison Warren.
Author: Julian Edmonds
Goat Hill, Okiwi Bay – 19 February 2012
Cool little track
Mention the words “new track” and most trampers will have their tramping boots on quick smart. A good group of 20 trampers were keen to try out this new track, constructed three years ago by the local Okiwi Bay community. Starting from Wharf Road the gentle track gradient has long zigzags up through regenerating forest. Some tall nikau palms and luxuriant tree ferns give this coastal forest here a distinctly subtropical appearance. After 20 minutes we reached a good lookout, overlooking the village for our first stop. The ubiquitous cicadas around here were making a cacophony and there was some good birdlife as well. Further up we entered mature forest including some tall totaras. The gradient flattened as we traversed the ridgeline before we arrived at another beautiful lookout with a seat, overlooking Croisilles Harbour and beyond to D'Urville Island. Then it was only ten minutes further to Goat Saddle at the other track entrance, beside the road to Okiwi Bay, taking 1¾ hours altogether.
We returned to the Goat Hill viewpoint for a leisurely lunch and some sunshine after having a cloudy start. The return down the track was much quicker, so we had time to visit a bach nearby, that Graham has use of. There wasn't any cooking gas here for a cuppa, so instead we decided to head off to Rai Valley for a welcome ice cream. Overall, a beautiful track, wish there were more around here.
The group was Robert Wopereis, Juilian Edmonds, Andrew Henderson, Katie Greer, Sarah De Cent, Noelene Roberts, Val Latimer, Mike Locke, Georgina Rayner, Guilda Pegg, Graham Soppit, Pat Taylor, Ken Ridley, Cara Morel, James Mayer and newcomers Herta Eger, Rebecca and Martin Gay and boys Eugene and George.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Pelorus Trig – 12 February 2012
A refreshing frolic
We left Nelson at 8.30am and started walking uphill to the trig at 9.40am. We made pretty good time, and it wasn't all that long after morning tea that we made it to the top. We decided we would have another bite to eat and sit and admire the view for a while, before heading down the other side of the hill towards the river. We had quite a pleasant stop by the first waterfall and ate the rest of our lunch, while Eugene and George climbed round the top of the waterfall and had a competition to see who could drop the heaviest boulder into the river. After this we headed back down the track and had a brief look at the next waterfall, before arriving at the cars at 2pm. We then had a most enjoyable frolic in a very refreshing river, after which we adjourned to the cafe for ice creams and coffee, and then headed home.
On the trip were Christine Burn, Julian Edmonds (leaders), Cara Morel, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Georgina Rayner, Guilda Pegg, Sarah De Cent, newcomers Paul and Sue Henley, Rebecca, George, and Eugene Gay, Denise Griffiths, Digby and Lorraine Klenner, and Alison Warren.
Author: Christine Burn
Braeburn Walk – 5 February 2012
An enjoyable adventure
We left Richmond at 7.30am and were met at Lake Rotoroa by a welcoming party consisting of thousands of sandflies. Out came the insect repellent, and then 17 intrepid trampers set off on the Lake Rotoroa Nature Walk. This was deemed to be a bit tame, so off we went up the Porika Track, which we soon realised was rather steep and tedious. However, Julian who was more familiar with the area than the leaders (!!) knew of an interesting side track we could take, so after morning tea we set off on a track through the bush, which led us uphill at a much more gradual rate. This track had not been used for quite some time, so it turned out to be a bush bash, albeit with nice views of surrounding hills. We finally came out on the Porika Track proper, and all agreed that it had been a most worthwhile and enjoyable adventure, especially Eugene and George, the two young boys who were on the trip. After a somewhat less challenging walk downhill to the lake, we got in the cars and had lunch near the beginning of the Braeburn Track. We then walked up a loop track to a pretty waterfall, before heading back to the cars and on to Kohatu for a welcome cup of coffee. On the trip were Christine Burn and Katie Greer (leaders), Julian Edmonds (co-opted leader for the bush bash), Pat Taylor, Sarah De Cent, Andrew Henderson, Annette Gill, Jo Ecroyd, Cara Morel, Noelene Roberts, Mike Locke, Georgina Rayner, newcomers Rebecca, Martin, George and Eugene Gay, and Lorraine Klenner.
Author: Christine Burn
Boulder Lake – 4-6 February 2012
Misty, moody Kahurangi
The northern South Island's most scenic alpine lake could arguably be Boulder Lake, but not so much this weekend because of the mist and cloud we encountered.
Nine trampers arrived at Bainham two days after the opening ceremony for the new James Road Bridge. The solid new bridge is built a metre higher than its predecessor, swept away by floods in 2010. From a farmhouse the very stoney farm road climbs up above the Aorere River. We continued four kilometres past the intentions shelter on a very rough old logging road, best only for serious four-wheel drive vehicles. From a signpost we set off on a wide track climbing gradually through open forest. The track surface was sometimes bare rock, slippery for anyone not careful. The first section of the Brown Cow Ridge is called The Castles, characterised by some limestone rock faces, at one place several metres high dropping away just beside the track. The track is also dissected by dramatic rock crevices in several places. These crevices range from two to ten metres deep and the width that needs a big, but careful step to cross. After passing a clearing we re-entered forest and up the gruntiest section of the track – a true tramper's test. Just after a second clearing the ridge dog-legs and the track dropped down the right side of the ridge. Then followed a long sidle and climb up the left side of the ridge under The Pulpit. Eventually we emerged out of the forest at Brown Cow Saddle in cloud and mist with very little view. But we still had a 100m climb across to a ridge and a sidle under Brown Cow before descending 300m to the lake at 985m. Then it was an easy walk around the lake shore to the hut at the head of the lake taking us 7½ hours altogether. Some of us then tried a magnificent swimming hole beneath a beautiful waterfall close to the hut.
Sunday the cloud and mist was partway down the surrounding peaks but we were still keen to head up to Lake Clara, 350m higher than Boulder Lake. We found an easy crossing of Arena Creek, across the valley from the hut and ascended a broad gully then a ridgeline amongst a scrubby bouldery landscape. From the ridge we sidled across to a basin to be rewarded by the sight of a good sized lake nestled tightly beneath steep rocky faces. After this 1¾ hour climb we deserved a good rest to recharge our batteries, but one keen tramper tried a swim in the lake to cool off. With mist still hovering on the tops and rising up the valley below, we scampered back down the same route to the hut for lunch.
In the afternoon, despite some light rain a few of our group showed their fortitude and headed up toward Green Saddle at the head of the valley. The lush tussock in the valley floor near the hut is up to two metres high, obscuring most signs of any worn trail until an easier to follow route up grassy slopes. Worth noting is that this area was last grazed in 1933 and the cattle were mustered in and out going around the tops of the Haupiri Range to Puramahoi – a two or three day journey.
On Monday we exited down the Brown Cow track with the cloud only just high enough for some views as we climbed steadily back over the saddle. We made good time back to the cars and stopped at the historic Langfords Store in Bainham for refreshments and a viewing of the many old items on display. Thanks must go to Chris and Nigel for taking their vehicles up the road saving us about an hour's walking. We enjoyed the magnificent location despite not seeing any sun at the lake over the weekend.
The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Nigel Jones, Jocelyn Winn, Christine Hoy, Oliver Steding, Chris Ecroyd, Merrick Mitchell and newcomers Sebastian Klees and Lisa Harkness.
Author: Robert Wopereis
Mt Hodder – 28 January 2012
A pair of peaks enjoyed
As we departed from Flora carpark in our warm clothing, we were really questioning what time of the year it was. In fact, as we climbed Lodestone, hats and gloves were needed in the cold wind. But surprisingly the wind wasn't as strong on top, so we enjoyed our morning tea in the lee of a rock. Pleasant as it was, we had to move on – down the northern spur to the bush edge, where we picked up on the pink markers of a trapping line. Down we went, encountering no problems on the steeper drop through neineis. Thankfully the track was dry. We certainly didn't need the rope which Donald has so faithfully carried over many miles.
From the saddle we had to regain most of our lost height – now following yellow markers. Any other colour led away to side trap lines. From the clearings amongst the low scrub on top of Hodder, we looked back across at Lodestone as well as a different perspective on many other familiar landmarks. Further along we lunched before following a descending ridge. Partway along we diverted through open bush down a side spur until we came to a low saddle. From there we descended into Saddle Creek headwaters. One kaka was heard and later we saw some brilliant yellow slime mould, which Chris informed us was capable of moving.
Near the confluence of Saddle Creek, we crossed Flora Stream with dry feet. Along the main drag back to Flora, we met some of Friends of Flora returning from their good work. After tarrying at Flora Hut in the sunshine, we were back at the cars within about 6½ hours.
On the tramp were Jocelyn Winn, Donald Younger, Bob Renshaw, Andrew Henderson, Ruth Henry, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Christine Hoy.
Author: Jocelyn Winn
Marsden Valley to Brook Valley – 22 January 2012
MTB near miss
Because access to Aniseed Valley was limited to residents only after the Nelson floods, it was decided in advance to change our tramp from the scheduled Browning Hut trip to a through-trip from the top of the Marsden Valley to the bottom of the Tantragee in the Brook Valley.
Having been warned (jinxed?) about hot, dry conditions we left sharp at 8am, climbing up the Involution Trail leading to the ridge-top of the Barnicoat Range. Anticipating descending mountain bikers on our way up, our leader carried (and sounded frequently!) a three-tone train whistle. We did meet several bikers but fortunately without mishap. It’s a good idea to make plenty of noise on this track to give them warning of your presence.
From the ridge-top we tramped on to the junction leading to Jenkins Hill but we did not divert there as the weather was closing in and we had a distance to go, so we scrambled on through a heavy windfall-marred track to Third House Shelter for lunch.
After a short lunch break and a blast on the train whistle much to the amusement of a band of mountain bikers, we headed up the track in showers to the top of Fringed Hill, suddenly emerging out of the bush to a spectacular view. After a rest, considerable discussion was had on the best way down the Tantragee where Diana Robilliard would be waiting to return us to our cars. We chose the Brook track but it was difficult with patches of uncleared windfall. We eventually came to a clearing and opted for what looked like a well worn track. Once we started on the descent of this track we became increasingly aware that our track was a high speed downhill bike racing track with spectacular death defying drops. Unfortunately it was difficult to get off this track (also difficult to stay on it too in places) but fortunately there were no daredevil racers until we came across an intersecting service track to a power line. Just in time, as our tail ender Andrew managed to scramble out of the way of the first of a group of daredevil downhillers going at breathtaking speed.
We considered ourselves very lucky to have avoided this hazard. If we had encountered them earlier there could have been bad consequences.
Our trip down the access power line was very steep but we eventually made it to the Tantragee water treatment station road where we came face to face with a 4X4 pulling a trailer of downhill racing bikes. We got a hostile reception from the driver who stated that we should not have been on their track and inquiring why we didn’t carry maps. We told him that there should have been signage at the top of the track. A bit further down we were met by Diana who returned our drivers to the cars while the rest of the party walked out down to the Brook Street dairy for a well earned ice cream. On the way, they studied the council sign which made no mention of a downhill track. We all thought this should be well signposted and warnings should be placed at the top of this track.
The leader of the party was taken to task for a number of things, including the non-performance of his smart phone and his lack of knowledge of the origins of the name Tantragee . He now knows that the Tantragee was named by the early settler John Kidson after a place in Ireland. The word means turn your backside to the wind.
Our party consisted of Andrew Tod, Julian Edmonds, Eddie Runge, Georgina Rayner, Mike Locke, Sarah De Cent, Cara Morel, Oliver Steding and two very welcome visitors: Marion Janke and Suzanne Gilbert.
Author: Julian Edmonds
St James Walkway – 12-16 January 2012
Five days of beautiful scenery
After an early start at 7am from Wakefield we arrived at the start of the track about 10am and Nigel received a text on the way to tell him he was about to become a grandfather within a few hours. After arranging for the car to be left at the at the Boyle Outdoor Education Centre, we regrouped at the Lewis Pass end of the track, and the trip started out in perfect weather for the four of us. We began the zigzag decent into Cannibal Gorge, across the swing bridge and then followed the Maruia River through beech forest to Cannibal Gorge Hut. It was a short stop at that hut, then on to Ada Pass Hut, a smaller but nicer hut with views of the mountains and waterfall. Tents were erected by some and others just dived into the river to cool off.
Day 2 started with light drizzle, which we optimistically decided was going to clear. However, the weather gods didn’t seem to have heard our optimistic forecast plea and the weather became steadily worse. The track went through beech forest over the Ada Pass and into Ada Valley and then we were walking in tussock country. By the time we had reached the historic deer cullers hut about one kilometre from the Christopher Hut we were in torrential rain and had to make a mad dash to Christopher Hut where we spent the rest of the day drying out - no tenting that night. We were lucky enough to see quite a large number of the St James horses and foals close to the hut. There was a rescue mission at the hut also; a small bird flew into the window with a huge thump and Rob went outside and picked it up. After 15 minutes or so in the warmth of the hut (and Rob’s hands) the wee bird was let go outside and it flew high up into the trees totally recovered.
Day 3 and the weather was looking good although the wind was blowing us about a bit. The scenery was truly beautiful with rays of sunshine coming through the morning mist with a mountain background.
The day was spent amongst open rolling ground then large areas covered in matagouri. The new Anne Hut is magnificent, placed on the plateau above the river. The air temperature had dropped quite a bit and a fire seemed liked a good idea. Seems that the firewood wasn’t so keen on coming inside as a piece decided to break free and bite Nigel on the nose while he and Rob were cutting it. The result was lots, really lots, of blood and Nigel now has a pirate look of a large cut on the end of his nose - still without being too callous it was good entertainment really. With the hut being up on the plateau the wind never really eased off, but Rob and Maria found a good tenting site not too far off where they were in relatively calm conditions. Again we were fortunate to have a herd of horses and their foals very close to the Anne Hut and a lot of time was spent watching them.
Day 4 was again started in light drizzle as we made our way to Boyle Flats Hut. We passed by the site of the old Anne Hut. All the debris from the fire has been removed, but it is still a sad sight. The track continued on through the long grass, with lots of detours needing to be made to bypass where the track had fallen into the river. Despite the fact that the weather was getting worse by the hour the scenery was worth it. We stopped at Rokeby Hut just an hour short of Boyle Flats Hut as the air temperature had dropped so much we needed to get out of the rain and get some warm soup. Fortified, we carried on to the hut. Rob and Nigel braved the weather and got dry wood into the hut and once again we spend a bit of time drying out. When the weather cleared it was no surprise to see that the hills around us were covered in snow; think we were about 100 to 150 metres below the snow line.
Day 5 and at last we were tramping in dry, warm conditions. We had a very pleasant walk out, again with great scenery. We arrived at the Boyle Outdoor Education Centre about 1pm, took our soggy boots off; and unwillingly offered our feet to thousands of sandflies. The drive home of course had a stop at Murchison for ice creams.
The trampers were Katie Greer, Nigel Jones, Maria Brooks and Rob Merrilees.
Author: Katie Greer
Barnicoat Hill – 8 January 2012
Ideal close to town walk
A group of eight met at the very leisurely time of 9.30 am in front of the Marsden Quarry. The weather conditions were excellent and we walked up Involution Trail for about an hour and stopped close to the top at a rather convenient wide, semi-flat area for morning tea. The track is an ideal “in town” easy walk as it is graded to allow a walk where you can enjoy the scenery as you go but still get your heart rate raised a little bit.
We continued on to the top of the Barnicoat Hill for lunch where enjoyed the views over Tasman Bay, the airport and the Waimea Plains, we then came back down the four-wheel drive track where we were able to see how much damage had been done during the recent rain event. Vehicle access is no longer possible as large parts of the road have fallen away leaving only walking access of about one metre width. Other parts of the road look quite compromised and could also slip further in heavy rain.
The group was Katie Greer, Donald Younger, Christine Burn, Georgina Rayner, Mike Locke, Pat Taylor, Julian Edmonds, Noelene Roberts and visitor Denise Griffith.
Author: Katie Greer
Brook Sanctuary – 15 January 2012
Tracks and trails galore
The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is good bush, on our door step, and now that trapping line tracks have been cut access is quite easy. And mostly the tracks go round contours, so they avoid the worst of the precipitously steep hills.
At an early stage a visitor wasn’t up to the necessary fitness and headed back. But the remaining six of us started up the Koru Track and took 50 minutes to reach the creek at Ferny Flat. We made a short diversion across the creek to look at Corkscrew Junction – a pleasant spot where we had morning tea. From there we went down the delightful creek with three further creek crossings and some impressive totaras to Falcon Ridge.
We were all still in pretty good shape at that stage, so we headed up the ridge to the next trap line, and followed WC (on a much inferior track) to the western fire-break. Also a lack of good lunch spots. We went up the fire-break to the parallel WD line and then back to Falcon Ridge. From there, there is now a zigzag track down the steep hill to the familiar twin waterfalls. From there, home. Total time; more than six hours, far more than the four hours I had guessed it might take.
Trampers: Andrew Tod (leader), Ken Ridley, Donald Younger, Georgina Rayner, Sarah De Cent and newcomer Hillary Pearson.