Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury
Kings Birthday Weekend, 3-4 June 2023
On Saturday morning eight of us made the 3.5 hour journey from Richmond over the Lewis Pass to leave our marks on Hanmer for the long weekend.
Our original intention was to spend 3 days / 2 nights at the Forest Camp just outside of town, but a heinous forecast for Monday (113mm of rain in Hanmer and 65mm of snow in the Lewis) meant that on Friday evening we cancelled the second night’s accommodation - it was very dubious that we’d do any tramping on Monday and the Lewis Pass would probably close and oh no! we’d get stuck in Canterbury until Tuesday.
So that really only left us with Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to do our walks. Because of the short winter daylight hours, sadly Mt Dunblane was crossed off the list, and inclement weather in the Lewis ruled out any plans for the Lewis Tops or Lake Daniell hikes too.
Therefore Saturday afternoon saw us knocking off Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass. We had absolutely terrific weather - beautiful clear blue skies and no wind - just perfect. We set off at 12 noon, and were back at the cars four hours later, that time including lunch on the track and about 30 minutes at the summit (1319m) trig. A steep section of clay, sparsely covered with pebbles, was the hardest and slowest bit of the journey, both going up and coming down. But expansive views definitely compensated for that.
We then drove to the Forest Camp, dumped our belongings, and headed straight out again to the Forest Amble / Sculpture Walk. This short flat walk through the pine forest is just delightful, despite most of the sculptures being of decidedly non-NZ critters and creatures. Sunset was at 5pm so we arrived back at camp after dark for hot showers and dinner, before retiring to our cabins for the night.
Sunday morning dawned with an absolutely spectacular pink sunrise. But what do they say: ‘Red sky in the morning …’ The new forecasts for Sunday and Monday however weren’t a fraction of the earlier rainfall and snowfall, but our decision to head home had already been made.
Our Sunday walk was Dogstream Waterfall. From the carpark on Mullans Road at 9am we made our way up through lush bush to the very lovely 41m falls - it had a nice clearing around the bottom of it and we spent about half an hour hanging out there. Then back to the cars via the Spur Track followed by a short road bash, and we were back at 12 noon.
We then drove home, having lunch en route. The weather served us an absolute deluge from Boyle Village onwards (but as mentioned above, the actuality on Monday was quite acceptable).
We had a wonderful social weekend, with lots of laughs. Next time hopefully we’ll get to conquer Mt Dunblane and the Lewis Tops. And we’ll choose a weekend that’s not a public holiday, as we wouldn’t’ve been able to get within cooey of the hot pools (our original Sunday evening plan had we stayed) - the village was heaving.
We were: Diane (Leader and Scribe), Robyn, Karen, Lynley, Gael, Penny, Mary and Karthi. Girls rule!