Devil & Doom Creeks - Mt Richmond Forest Park
Saturday April 2, 2022
Maybe it was eerie names like Butchers Flat, Doom Creek and Devils Creek that had put leaders off taking trips into the Wakamarina Valley area of Mt Richmond Forest Park in recent years. Few in our party had been before. Some were heard making comments like “How come this is the first opportunity we’ve had to come into this beautiful area with WTC?” and others “This is amazing, let’s do more here.”
We left Nelson at 8 am taking an hour to get to Canvastown and another half hour to drive to the carpark at the end of the Wakamarina Rd. The road is metal and rutted near the end though nowhere near as difficult as the Graham Valley Rd up to Flora carpark in Kahurangi NP.
While we had a warm, sunny day for our tramp, the Wakamarina area can get very cold. It’s a downwards walk from the carpark deep into a valley then back up again. I reckon it’s a tramp best undertaken during daylight saving. We made it by a day!
We started walking at 9.45 am and arrived at Devil’s Creek hut at 2 pm for a second lunch stop. In between times we’d enjoyed the varied terrain around the Doom Creek loop track including a couple of stream crossings which two in our party went to too greater lengths to try to keep their boots dry resulting in getting more than just their feet wet.
We had first lunch where the Doom Creek loop track joins the direct track to Devils Creek hut. The podocarp forest was a refreshing change from the beech forests where we tramp much more often.
Near Devil’s Creek hut, we noticed two other tracks providing further tramping possibilities in the Wakamarina area. One offered a three hour climb to the summit of Mt Royal which we could see because it was such a clear day. The other is the continuation of the Wakamarina track which climbs over a saddle and down the other side taking 7 hours from Devils Creek hut to get to Kiwi Rd, near the Onamalutu camping ground. The whole Wakamarina track is open to mountain bikers. Those we met had been helicoptered with their bikes to the Wakamarina Saddle then rode out the same way as we walked, back to the carpark at the Canvastown end. Maybe they did this because Kiwi Rd is currently closed to allow for pine harvesting.
Back to our tramp. We left Devils Creek hut at 2.30 pm. Returning to the carpark by the direct route meant we were back at the cars by 4.30 pm and in Nelson 90 mins later.
An enjoyable day out was had by Alison (leader and scribe), Anne, David M, Dale, Donell, Jenny, Julian, Julie, Merrick, Pauline with visitors Beth, David L, Gabrielle, Jiwan and Lorna.