Anakiwa to Grove Arm Lookout – Marlborough Sounds20230128 Anakiwa

Saturday 28 January 2023

This 15 km return walk would have been part of a more comprehensive walking weekend had the weather played ball. It refused.

We heartily recommend Smith’s Farm Holiday Park at Linkwater which was our base for two nights.  We’d planned a sunny walk from Anakiwa to Mistletoe Bay with lunch and a swim on one of the Nelson Anniversary weekend 2023 days and to walk from nearby Cullensville up to Waikakaho Saddle on the other.

We arrived at Smith’s late on Friday afternoon with puddly to wet conditions underfoot. We were welcomed with a basket of freshly baked, still warm banana muffins. How is that for the friendliest of kiwi hospitality? Our hosts Chris and Barbara couldn’t have been kinder or more courteous under what turned out to be trying conditions for many of their guests. We put our tents up, then in the evening waited until it was dark before setting out on the camp bush walk. The last 10 minutes of the 20 minutes were over rocky, uneven ground which had a little creek running through it so torches were essential. When we arrived at the glow-worms’ habitat, it looked like a magical glow-worm grotto for children. Our inner children were quickly entranced. It’s easy to forget how magical glowing worms can be, as many of us only get to admire them on rare occasions.

Saturday morning yielded some rain with extremely gusty, swirling NE winds. The forecasts earlier having promised fine, sunny conditions. The windiness put climbing high out of the question so we opted to walk the Queen Charlotte track from Anakiwa and see how far we got. That turned out to be Grove Arm lookout after which one is expected to pay a small fee of $12.50 to walk over the parts of the remainder of the track which cross private land.

We enjoyed our low-level, leisurely coastal bush walk stopping for morning tea at the lovely and lonely Davies Bay, deserted apart from waddling, quacking types. Not us, note. Once at Grove Arm with its beautiful view across Queen Charlotte Sound to Ngakuta Bay we were shown a surprisingly sheltered spot around the corner and up off the track with a picnic table where we ate our lunch. The return journey was similar and nicely timed as the rain began shortly after our arrival back at the camp. Two of us decided to brave a wet and gusty night in tents while the other two were too quickly asleep in a comfortable cabin to hear any of the wild weather which disrupted the sleep and then the travel plans of many of the other camp guests. It only disrupted ours in terms of shortening our walking programme. Sunday was far too misty and wet to even consider climbing to Waikakaho Saddle so we returned to Nelson, stopping for a short walk at Pelorus Bridge.

Those who came, Alison (leader and scribe), Karen, Robyn and Kelly enjoyed a relaxing ‘wild weather’ weekend with good company and a lovely walk on the Saturday.