A favourite tramp
Mt Arthur – Saturday 28 November 2020
A poor weather forecast for the Sunday meant the scheduled Balloon Hut weekend trip was cancelled, so Mt Arthur was the substitute. Five trampers left the Flora carpark at a brisk pace on the wide smooth track toward Mt Arthur Hut. This section is all in bush cover and most notable is the fascinating mountain neinei (dracophyllum traversii) that grows here between an altitude of 760m and 1400m and named after politician, explorer and naturalist William Travers.
Reaching the hut in one hour we enjoyed a stop then carried on up towards the summit, all in the open. After a steady ridgeline comes a steeper section where the track is becoming badly eroded. After a small knoll the track sidles the western side of the upward ridge, heading above Horseshoe Basin. Here we spotted two kea just below the track, feeding on the vegetation and unusually they were completely quiet.
Tussock soon gave way more often to large sections of fractured marble rock and a few steep sections. The signposted turnoff to Ellis Basin was passed, then the last 30 minutes the track climbed under the summit ridge. Some clambering is required through some marble rock outcrops then a small pinch to the summit ridge and 5-10 minutes along to the summit at 1795m, taking 3½ hours in total. We sheltered from the ever-present westerly wind on the lee side of the summit enjoying the superb views over Tasman Bay and around to the mountains of Kahurangi.
A fine morning had changed to an increasing cover of high cloud as we headed back down the same route to the carpark, very satisfied with our day.
Always a favourite trip of many trampers and for over 30 other trampers we met on the track. The trampers were Robert (scribe), Maria, Rob, Sue J and Karen.