West Coast classic
Croesus Track – 28-31 January 2017
Seven of us left Wakefield at 8.15am on Saturday morning in perfect weather and drove the 3.5 hours to Barrytown with a refuelling stop at Berlins. We arrived at Jill and Murray’s home in time for lunch and settled in to their luxurious accommodation. The afternoon was filled with a very steep, but pleasant climb up Mt George. The track was one only known to the locals and even equipped with ropes for the steepest sections. The views along the coast from this exposed mountain top were superb. It was just so fortunate to admire the coast in perfect weather and hard to imagine all the rain they have been getting in January. We finished the walk with fresh scones back at Jill’s home and then headed up the creek behind their property to inspect the changing creek and admire the nikau palms very near their southern limit. An excellent pot-luck dinner was followed by games of Scrabble and pool.
Next morning the eight of us we travelled around past Blackball to the Croesus carpark. Our transport was simple with Jill having organised two extra drivers to return our cars to her place near Barrytown. The Croesus Track uses old benched mining tracks of very good gradient to gradually climb up Blackball Creek. Chris managed to find some vegetable caterpillars along the track edge. We had lunch at Garden Gully Historic Hut where the youngest member of our party nursed a rather sore ankle injured getting off the swing bridge.
We arrived at the Ces Clark Hut just as the weather was starting to deteriorate with a bit of wind and very light rain. We were joined later by two bikers but had plenty of room in this 16 bunk hut. A game of dice testing how conservative we were finished the day. A kiwi was heard during the night. Next morning we were above the low cloud with views of Mt Cook in the far distance. The short side trip up the Croesus Knob was well worth the effort. Small yellow flowering eyebrights and other alpine plants side-tracked some of us. We all enjoyed the walk across the top of the Paparoa Range in sunshine and then had an early lunch above the bushline, before starting the descent to the coast and into the cloud. The very green and mossy elfin-forest near the treeline was rather special.
The track down into Barrytown is steep in places but not difficult and eventually joins onto an old mining track which winds down gently to the road. After a short walk along the road we were back at Jill’s home. Jill’s offer of another night’s rest at her place before driving back was accepted and we enjoyed a social evening sharing photos of the trip. Next morning we had a very sedate drive back with stops for refreshments. The trip finished in style with tea and cream-sponge at Rob and Maria’s new home in Bridge Valley.
The trip participants were: Rob, Maria, Chris, Jo, David, Joy, Jill S. and Jill D.
Chris and Jo