Lake Rotoiti Walks – Nelson Lakes National Park
Sunday 9 July 2023
On a mild mid-winter’s day a group of eight trampers set off from West Bay on the Peninsula Track. After five minutes we turned off up the Black Hill Track, but here we briefly lost one person on the other track, showing the need to regroup at turnoffs, even after only five minutes. Altogether again, it was an easy gradient up from Rotoiti Lodge to the summit of Black Hill 126m above Lake Rotoiti. The fun fact for the day is that Black Hill consists of volcanic rock not glacial terminal moraine as some presume.
We continued down the northern side of the hill and crossed SH63 to the Teetotal Campsite for a stop, using the seating provided. The ice skating pond was completely unfrozen as a result of a mild winter so far. On a previous trip six years ago, at nearly the same date, the pond was frozen and people and pets were playing on the ice.
We headed along the Duckpond Loop Trail on the Teetotal Flats and intended to turnoff onto the first track up to Big Bush (the Duck Down Track), but me missed the turnoff so continued along then went up the next track (the Rocky Horror Track). This was a steady climb of 200m up through pleasant bush to the Big Bush Track then along an undulating ridgeline for about 1.5km.
We then turned off at the next junction, down Kaka Track, which is very well graded, zigzagging easily back down to the Teetotal Flats. We cut across the flats beside the rifle range to SH63 again and to our surprise found a small prize of three coins on the roadside.
Next we went down the roadside for 200m to the Buller Bridge and along Anglers Walk. It was a quick walk along the riverbank above the swiftly-flowing Buller River. Finally there was the return along the sealed road to the cars at West Bay.
This completed a 14.6km circuit taking us 6 hours altogether. The day was cloudy and it lowered during the day losing our view of range tops and the reflections we had started with, but it stayed dry. A well worthwhile trip, ideal for winter.
The group was Robert (scribe), Julie, Tony, Diane, Julian, and visitors Felicity, James and Alejandro.