Reefton Base Camp
24-26 June 2022 - Matariki Weekend
On our first Matariki weekend ever, seven trampers joined the long weekend trip to Reefton despite the weather forecast. Prepared for the worst and hoping for the best!
On Friday we drove to Reefton and settled in the two cabins at the Reefton Motorcamp. They were well-equipped, comfortable and well-priced; a good choice for club accommodation. We had an early lunch before starting our walk.
Drizzle and low clouds hung over Reefton but we bravely put on our wet weather gear to start the Konini Pack Track which climbs up to the Translator Hill. Our efforts were rewarded when the rain stopped and we even got the occasional view over the valley and the snow-peaked Paparoa range. The track carried on, undulating over a ridge to meet the Machine Track (Ajax Track). We continued this track to the Ajax Battery site, giving us a glimpse of what life was like in the early mining days. Considering the time and short daylight we returned the same way, walking a total distance of 10km approximately.
In the evening Rob worked hard to get the fire going at the freezing camp kitchen and we huddled around the wood burner with our home made dinners. No Matariki stars to watch that night, but an early good night sleep instead.
On Saturday it was overcast with some drizzle again and we decided to drive to Marble Hill to walk to Lake Daniell. This is a good all-weather track following the Alfred River upstream. The beech forest was lush green and mysterious with the low hanging clouds. Rain jackets were not really needed and we all enjoyed the fresh air. There is a good morning tea spot by the river-side on the way. At the lake we checked out the new Manson Nicholls Memorial Hut, which is a big upgrade from the previous one. There is a hut warden’s quarters and also a very good shelter for campers The hut was fully booked for the weekend and it was nice to see so many families out tramping. Bookings are required all year round.
We had an early lunch at the shelter and continued on a well-marked track to the head of the lake. There are lots of great camping spots by the lake along this track. The head of the lake was our point of return. It was a 21km half-a-marathon day on pleasant undulating terrain.
Saturday evening, we went out for a meal at the buzzing Dawson Hotel. We enjoyed the warm atmosphere, the good food and were impressed with the service.
Sunday was our cultural day, learning a bit more about Reefton’s history. We combined two local walks: the Reservoir Walk, Swing Bridge and Powerhouse Walk. This got us nicely back in the town for morning tea time. We finished the weekend with the Black Point Historic Museum, where an enthusiastic young man made the items come alive with his stories.
The weather cleared and we had a sunny picnic lunch in Murchison on our way home.
Glad we went!
Those on the trip: Robyn, Donnell, Ash (visitor), Maria, Rob, Eric, Esther (leader & scribe)