Mangarakau Lodge – Golden Bay
31 December 2022-3 January 2023
Settled weather with only light breezes allowed the 11 of us to enjoy five days of tramps from our base at Mangarakau Lodge. On the way to the lodge we walked the Knuckle Hill Track. This is a one hour walk tramp along an old logging road and then a 20 minute climb to the top of Knuckle Hill. The day was clear so we had good views all around.
Day 2 - With permission from the owner of Otuhie Station, we were able to explore some of the tracks in “The Golden Blocks”. We drove on a farm track for about 4km and parked up. From here we went up Long Spur and then onto Baldy (a peak of 324m). Once again clear weather allowed us to have good views of the surrounding area. We then returned to a saddle below and went on across Mutton Flat and along an old mining trail to the junction of Little Slaty and Jimmy Creeks. Here, amongst the regenerating bush, we could see the remains of the Golden Blocks stamping battery. We returned the same way. This was a 7.5 hour day.
Day 3 - We drove to the Paturau River mouth and walked south along the beach or coastline for some 3km. This took us to “the hole in the rock”. We returned the same way and then drove on to Sandhills Creek from where we began our walk in to Lake Otuhie. This is a half hour walk alongside the creek and over farmland to overhanging limestone bluffs alongside the lake. After a relaxing time here we returned to our vehicles and drove back to the lodge. In the evening we wondered along the tracks near the lodge and checked out the Visitor Centre nearby.
Day 4 - We had heard that the Kaituna Track had been rerouted from its present path to “the old Kaituna Track”. This begins on Snake Road. We parked opposite the entry to Wetland Views and walked, through manuka, along a 4WD track and then along an old tramway up alongside the Paturau River. After an hour we crossed the river and continued up along the river, in the bush, for another hour. This took us to the junction of the Paturau and Thompson Creek. The track crosses the Paturau here and continues upward. We had lunch at this crossing and some enjoyed a cool dip in the river before returning the same way.
Day 5 - This was our pack up and clean-up day and on the way home we stopped at Milnthorpe and walked some two hours on the tracks there.
Those participating were: Rob, Maria (scribe), Maureen, Roger, Miang, Val, Lesley G, Ron, Karen, Mary H and David S.