- 1 Arthur’s Pass – 31 December 2015 - 4 January 2016
- 2 Wooded Peak, Bryant Range – Sunday 20 December 2015
- 3 Richmond Hill – Sunday 13 December 2015
- 4 Lodestone & Mt Hodder, Kahurangi National Park – Sunday 6 December 2015
- 5 Pyramid Rock, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 22 November 2015
- 6 Jenkins Hill, Bryant Range – Sunday 8 November 2015
- 7 Rameka Track, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 1 November 2015
- 8 Waingaro & Anatoki circuit, Kahurangi National Park – 24-26 October 2015
- 9 Maitai Caves, Nelson – Saturday 24 October 2015
- 10 Nydia Bay, Marlborough Sounds – 17-18 October 2015
- 11 Mt Hope, Kahurangi National Park – Sunday 11 October 2015
- 12 St Arnaud walks, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 3 October 2015
- 13 United Mine, Aniseed Valley – 27 September 2015
- 14 Bushline Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park – 19-20 September 2015
- 15 Ben Nevis, Mt Richmond Forest Park - Saturday 12 September 2015
- 16 Dun Mountain and Little Twin, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 6 September 2015
- 17 Motueka Sandspit, Motueka – Sunday 23 August 2015
- 18 Tahunanui, Nelson – Sunday 9 August 2015
- 19 Richmond Hill ramble – Saturday 8 August 2015
- 20 Centre of NZ, Nelson – Sunday 2 August 2015
- 21 Castle Rock Hut (Canaan to Marahau), Abel Tasman National Park – 1-2 August 2015
- 22 Grampians, Nelson – Saturday 18 July 2015
- 23 Shedwood Bush, Tapawera – Sunday 12 July 2015
- 24 Speargrass Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park – Sunday 5 July 2015
- 25 Kairuru Marble Quarry – Sunday 28 June 2015
- 26 Mt Malita, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 21 June 2015
- 27 Fringed Hill, Nelson – Saturday 20 June 2015
- 28 Holyoake Clearing, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 7 June 2015
- 29 Mt Duppa, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 25 May 2015
- 30 Mt Murchison, Braeburn Range – Sunday 17 May 2015
- 31 Wainui circuit, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 10 May 2015
- 32 Fenella Hut, Kahurangi National Park – 1-3 May 2015
- 33 Billies Knob, Kahurangi National Park - Sunday 19 April 2015
- 34 Bushline Hut circuit, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 18 April 2015
- 35 Takaka Hill walkway – Sunday 29 March 2015
- 36 Parachute Rocks, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 21 March 2015
- 37 Elaine Bay to Penzance Bay, Marlborough Sounds – Sunday 15 March 2015
- 38 Apple Tree Bay, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 8 March 2015
- 39 Anchorage Bay, Abel Tasman National Park – Saturday 21 February 2015
- 40 Beebys Knob to Red Hills Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 15 February 2015
- 41 Nelson social walk – Sunday 8 February 2015
- 42 Lake Stream Hut, Victoria Range – 6-8 February 2015
- 43 Mt Cawte, Moetapu Bay, Marlborough Sounds – Sunday 1 February 2015
- 44 Booths Cottage, Howard Valley – Sunday 25 January 2015
- 45 Lake Rotoiti circuit, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 24 January 2015
- 46 Browning Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park - Sunday 18 January 2015
- 47 Waingaro Forks Hut, Kahurangi National Park – 17-18 January 2015
- 48 Boyle River, Lewis Pass area – 31 December 2014 - 4 January 2015
A great tramping area
Arthur’s Pass – 31 December 2015 - 4 January 2016
Nine trampers travelled down to Arthur’s Pass, conveniently the nearest National Park to a main centre in NZ. At Jacksons the road to Arthur’s Pass was closed because of a serious bus crash in Otira Gorge and the road wasn’t due to reopen for a few hours. We had our lunch under the Taramakau River railway bridge then obtained permission from Jacksons Retreat to go on the Ngarimu Walk. Starting from the back of the campground this was a moderate walk through beautiful podocarp forest to a waterfall then further to an old quartz mine site, taking three hours return. After the road reopened we carried on to Arthur’s Pass village and settled in at the Christchurch Tramping Club house.
New Year's Day we climbed the 1833m Avalanche Peak, a 1000m climb directly from the village. Five headed up the main Avalanche Peak Track and four took the less steep Scotts Track. The main track was a fairly steep rocky scramble at first, easing off higher up and reaching the bushline after 1½ hours. Then we had a steady climb up a tussock and rock ridge. With perfect timing both groups joined up at the start of the narrow summit ridge, then it was a further ten minutes to the peak taking us 3½ hours altogether. Here we were entertained by one very friendly kea with an injured leg while we savoured lunch and enjoyed the grand views of the surrounding peaks. We all descended the less steep Scotts Track but this still included some rugged rocky scrambles, taking us three hours to descend. This peak must be amongst the most popular one day climbs in NZ, as we encountered about 40 other trampers altogether.
Saturday we headed along the Bealey Valley Track, walking from the village. Some rain started when we reached the start of the track itself, but we still carried on. After ten minutes we crossed a bridge over Bealey Chasm, a small rocky gorge. After a tussock clearing it was back into beech forest again before we reached the Bealey River after an hour. A few minutes up the river we decided to return, as we weren’t going to obtain any better views with the rain about. In total it was a four hour return walk from the village.
Sunday morning was spent reading, but the rain stopped at lunchtime, so we soon left to walk the Otira Valley Track. We parked at the Temple Basin carpark, crossed the road and followed the track past Lake Misery and up Otira Valley. This was a pleasant open valley with good views despite occasional drizzle. We reached a small footbridge crossing the river where the official track ended, which had taken us just over an hour. Some carried on up the valley another half hour for better views towards Mt Rolleston, while the others returned. This completed a 3¼ hour return trip.
Monday we quickly packed up and cleaned the house, ready to head home. A few completed the short walk to the impressive 131m high Devil's Punchbowl waterfall, while the others did KC’s walk - a pleasant short walk near the village, between the railway line and Bealey River. On the way home we stretched our legs on the Rakitane Walk at Lake Brunner.
A successful excursion was completed in a great tramping area. With so many different tracks starting at or near the village, it is well worth spending several days here. As well, the new Arthur’s Pass Walking Track provides a link from the village to Arthur’s Pass summit and Otira Valley without the need for any road walking.
The pleased trampers were Robert Wopereis, Val Latimer, Mary Honey, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Jocelyn Winn, David Wheeler and newcomers Ron Mailer and Lesley Gunn.
The nearest mountain
Wooded Peak, Bryant Range – Sunday 20 December 2015
Seven trampers were on this trip up the 1111m Wooded Peak, the nearest mountain to Nelson city. The closure of the Brook Valley section of the Dun Mountain Trail meant a change of plans, so we started from the Maitai Dam instead of the Brook Dam. The cloud concealed the tops until we were close to Coppermine Saddle then pleasingly the cloud cleared. We continued along the Dun Mountain Trail around to Windy Point then turned off onto the track up Wells Ridge. The lower part is tussock and rugged rocky mineral belt terrain then enters forest higher up. The steady climb soon brought us to point 1092 on Wells Ridge in pleasant bush. The section of the ridge to the summit was longer than we realised but we eventually reached the inconspicuous summit in the bush, marked only by a short steel pole. Some of the group hadn’t been told that there was no view from the summit, so they were slightly dissatisfied, although the title “Wooded Peak” should give some indication. After enjoying lunch we returned the same way to complete a pleasant day. The group was Robert Wopereis, Andrew Henderson, Mary Honey, Donell Raharuhi, Jocelyn Winn, Joy Bryant, and Christine Hoy.
Good easy walking
Richmond Hill – Sunday 13 December 2015
Eleven people started off in slightly cloudy but sunny weather from Richmond, and headed along to Wills Gully Walkway from Hill Street. A short stop was made at Grassy Saddle, then it was on up Henry Road to the Vodafone transmission shed. Morning tea was had here in warm sunny conditions. Shortly after starting off again, very black clouds came in and rain caused us to hurriedly put on raincoats. The rain did not last long so then it was off with the coats. We took a slightly shorter route to the Big Skid/Hang Ten site, around Oliver Road to the boundary of Silvan Forest. Partway down the access road from here, we stopped for lunch at a nice sunny grassy area with a lookout over Nelson. Shortly after moving on the black clouds and rain came in again. Another quick raincoat put on, but the rain did not last long either, so it was off with the coats once more.
A good easy walk to the Champion Road exit and back to the Richmond start. It was 5¼ hours in total. The group was Geoff Walker, Andrew Henderson, Pat Taylor, Jill Parish, Val Latimer, Ken Lefever, Noelene Roberts, Georgina Rayner, Lesley Johnstone, Helen Tapper and Christine Walker.
Lodestone & Mt Hodder, Kahurangi National Park – Sunday 6 December 2015
There were showers about, a rather damp cool southwesterly blowing, but a clearance was expected. Flora carpark was a few degrees cooler than Richmond, so we didn’t loiter, leaving there at 9.15am. Some of us barely warmed up on the climb up Lodestone. We had a morning tea break at the last rise before the final ascent, because we expected it to be cold and windy on top. We saw a few ranunculus flowering in the shelter of some rocks. Hebes and mountain beech were also in flower and on top, anisotome and everlasting daisy were also out. The wind was certainly no stronger on the top and we readily found our trap line (pink markers) to guide us down to the saddle. But at this stage we realised it had taken us two hours so far and we had a long way to go. So “less photography and more action” was the order for the day.
Because of the damp track, the steep section with many neinei leaves and few handholds was treacherous. Thankfully, Mary had a good stance as a bundle of humanity slid and crashed into her, accompanied by apologies. We below, were grateful they went no further or we would have been goners too! It was a relief to be down in the saddle without worse mishaps though our shorts were rather dirty.
The climb up Hodder following yellow markers is a nice easy gradient. Along the ridge, though mostly lightly bushed, we caught glimpses back to Lodestone, the Flora clearing, the limestone bluffs behind Gridiron Rock Shelter, while Mt Arthur looked inhospitable in the cloud. Showers hung over the Tableland and across to Iron Hill and Sylvester. We lunched along there, finally dropping into the headwaters of Saddle Creek. By then we had developed a healthy respect for those dedicated people who trap these lines.
It wasn’t difficult to cross Flora Stream dry-footed, then to find the line up to the “Main Drag” about ½km downstream from Holmwood Creek. Jacqui being the last to leave the stream bed was lucky to see blue ducks swimming towards her. We called a rest at Flora Hut in brilliant sunshine, then arrived at the carpark at 4.45pm. Many thanks to Joy and Julian for providing transport. The weather optimists were: Jocelyn Winn, Julian Edmonds, Joy Bryant, Lesley Gunn, Mary Honey and Jacqui Bozoki (visitor).
Pyramid Rock, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 22 November 2015
A fairly dry November with rivers running low, what a good time to venture beyond Hacket Hut and look for Pyramid Rock. This is a rocky outcrop in the bush about midway between the Hacket and Starveall huts. A 7.30am start in Richmond meant we were walking by 8am. Hacket Hut, 1½ hours on, was our first stop and what a lovely spot for morning tea. Beyond here the track goes into the bush and follows up Hacket Creek. It zigzags back and forth across the creek eight times and then soon the track begins to climb upwards, sidles for a bit and then goes upward again. Beautiful beech forest and lucky for us Chris spotted a vegetable caterpillar, so we had a stop at this point while we learnt about this fungus. Before long we reached a ridge, crossed it and sidled to the west for a while before ascending back onto the ridge. By now we were some two hours from Hacket Hut so I knew to start looking out for Pyramid Rock. I suspected it wasn’t signposted, but I didn’t know we had just passed it. Thanks for gadgets, a GPS indicated it was 40 metres down the ridge. We began to explore in that direction and sure enough there she was, standing large and proud. Most of us climbed up though the vegetation that grew on our side and emerged at the top. From here we had views back across the Hacket and over the Richmond Hills to the Waimea Plains. What a spot for lunch! Those that weren’t so comfortable with heights could stay further back in the kanuka and moss while others perched on the open rock.
The descent from the rock was a little tricky, but soon we were all down and heading back to the Hacket. A calm sunny afternoon invited us to relax at Hacket Hut. By now we had 16 river crossings behind us. Most of us still had dry feet so why not add another three crossings to see how we fare. Yes, we headed to Browning Stream, crossed it and headed back to the Hacket track. We discovered at least four different orchids in flower and saw some interesting yellow clematis.
Those who shared this 8½ hour day with me were; Rob Merrilees, Joy Bryant, Maudie Barron, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Andrew Henderson, David Wheeler, Dale Weeks, Donell Raharuhi, Arif Matthee and Lou Kolff.
A good workout
Jenkins Hill, Bryant Range – Sunday 8 November 2015
Ten walkers assembled at the top of Marsden Valley (mostly) prepared for a bit of respectable leg workout: up the Scout track to where it intersects the Involution Trail, back down that trail (approx. 150m height drop) to where it comes closest to the pine trees on the west; then up the firebreak to the Jenkins Hill trig; along to the highest point; south on the Barnicoat Road, over the fence down to the log site, then straight down the ridge joining onto the road at the bottom.
Coming prepared with extra maps was a good idea as one person (new to the area) chose to go up the Involution rather than the Scout track; and then there were nine. At the intersection of the two trails, three chose to carry on up the Involution/Scout track; and then there were six.
Down the rest of us went and onto the firebreak - this is steep, but grassed and good travelling. Mature pine trees on one side and mature native on the other (with little gorse in evidence until nearing the top) made for pleasant shady conditions. Up to the trig then onto the new pest proof fence. Back to ten again as the others had joined up, arriving at the meeting place about five minutes earlier. A bit of a shock when first seen, the fence and 10m wide scar is ugly with crunched uprooted beech trees very raw and grey on either side of the hard fill/rock road. But being pragmatic we used the fence as a comfy lunchtime back rest and looked ahead ten years when we hoped the grey mud would be green again.
Reversing our steps, then south on the Barnicoat Road and down to the log site, sitting there for a bit just taking in the magnificent views [and what's with the boring 100% dark grey roofs of the new subdivision in Marsden Valley??]. From here three chose to go down via the road, the rest descending rapidly to the cars.
High cloud made for good hill walking, plus the multitude of tracks enabled the differing levels of desire for 'the workout'. A successful day all round with the following participants: Jill Sheppard (scribe), David Wheeler, Joy Bryant, Andrew Henderson, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Julian Edmonds, Eddie Runge, and visitors Christine Grove and Betty Dent.
Gorse of course
Rameka Track, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 1 November 2015
Canaan, just over an hour from Richmond, is always an interesting place to visit. The wide open expanses amid the top of the Takaka Hill, with patches of mature beech trees, is a surprise for first time visitors. From the car park area we set of up to Pages Saddle then headed left along the Rameka Track. This is a popular mountain bike track that leads through to East Takaka. The first couple of hours walk was fairly level and through interesting bush. Once out of the bush we turned left onto a gorse covered track. Fortunately one member had equipped himself with secateurs, so we were able to cut away some of the encroaching gorse and trample our way through. This track took us to a grassy knoll that we had seen as we exited the bush. It was a great spot for lunch with views over Takaka. After lunch we returned to Canaan the same way. This was about a 5½ hour return trip.
Those on the trip were: Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Julian Edmond, Jocelyn Win, Donell Raharuhi, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Katie Greer, Alison Mountfort, Mary Honey, Lou and Chrissy Kolff and visitors Jacqui, Betty and Royden.
Superb three-day circuit
Waingaro & Anatoki circuit, Kahurangi National Park – 24-26 October 2015
Good things take time. The trip report from the last club trip here concluded: “…an area to be revisited again in the not too distant future.” That was in 1982 … finally 23 years later the club has revisited the area!
Three Motueka Tramping Club members left their vehicle at the Uruwhenua carpark and from there drove our two cars to the Anatoki carpark, while the nine of us started up the Kill Devil Track. The lower section of track directly faces the morning sun, so we were feeling the heat, although there was a mixture of bush and clear areas. Higher up the track has some more shade and receives more breeze but continues zigzagging interminably to the top of the Lockett Range. About 15 minutes along the ridge we found the cute little Tin Hut just off the main track. Amongst scrubby manuka, the track continued undulating along the range until we reached a junction. Here we dropped our packs and detoured for 15 minutes to the restored Riordans Hut originally built in 1928. It is well worth taking the extra time to visit this classic mustering hut. We then descended the range with its meagre vegetation on quartz sandstone to the more pleasant beech forest on schist rocks at Skeet Creek and eventually emerged beside the Stanley River. A further 20 minutes up the valley we heard the rumble from a nearby gorge then crossed a short swing bridge high above the impressive Waingaro River and arrived at the Waingaro Forks Hut in a large clearing, after 7½ hours from the start. This old 4-bunk hut built by miners in the 1930s is another hut lovingly restored in recent years. Three of us bunked while six tented.
Sunday we headed up the Stanley River valley, climbing steadily above the river but dropped down to the river flats in places. We emerged from the bush and crossed bare slopes where a gigantic slip occurred during the 1929 Murchison earthquake, breaking away from the slopes of Mt Snowdon, dropping about 600m to the valley floor and forming Lake Stanley. We crossed bouldery earthquake debris to reach the eastern end of Lake Stanley at 770m, 3¼ hours from Waingaro Forks. The lake has somewhat of an eerie appearance with the stumps of many trees still poking up out of the water, the remnants of the forest drowned by the lake. We continued up the lakeside track and then met the group from Motueka TC near the head of the lake and exchanged keys and reports of the track conditions. We headed up the Stanley River valley, passing above a waterfall in a gorgy section of the river. After a wet-feet crossing we reached a clearing then climbed steadily or steeply for an hour to a bush saddle at about 1100m. We descended the Anatoki side involving several creek crossings then down a small ridge then above the Anatoki River, with legs tiring the last hour or so, finally arriving at the 6-bunk Anatoki Forks Hut after 9½ hours. Five of us bunked along with one other tramper, while four tented.
Monday we continued down the Anatoki Valley Track which stayed above the river all the way. The track was originally built as a pack track for supplying the gold workings at Anatoki Forks, so it is well benched in places, but is often narrow and rough also. There are numerous side creek crossings and some of these we found trying because of some very large slippery boulders. From Anatoki Bend was some zigzag ascending then eventually we crossed a ridge then descended for half an hour to the carpark, a total of 7½ hours.
We could not have asked for any better weather for all the long weekend and despite a long middle day, this is a superb three-day circuit, for real trampers, in classic Kahurangi backcountry.
The Waimea trampers were Chris Ecroyd, Robert Wopereis, Pip and Martin Harrison, Joy Bryant, Ester and Eric McPherson, Don Morrissey and Nicola Harwood. The Motueka trampers were Dave Wilson, Marie Firth and Jan Heine.
A slippery grotto
Maitai Caves, Nelson – Saturday 24 October 2015
There were ten in our party including five visitors for a 9am meeting time at the Nelson Rifle Hall. After introductions it was off to Smiths Ford carpark along Maitai Valley Road for the start of the track. But first 10 minutes was spent on some stretching exercises then off along the Smiths Ford track to Maitai Dam. Most people had not done this track but it’s very pleasant as a mountain bike track too and was quite open, so sunblock was needed. It follows the pipeline to the dam and we did notice a few leaks in the pipes but we didn’t have enough tape on us to block them up. After about 50 minutes the group arrived at the dam itself where morning tea was had at a nice picnic table. The dam holds four million cubic metres when full, but it’s mainly used to keep the Maitai River running at an acceptable level flow to the sea. Most of the time the city’s water comes from the river’s south branch through an intake near the dam. So when the river floods and gets discoloured or at peak summer times does the dam get used for the water supply.
Now refreshed it was on to the main track to the caves, a relaxing pace, still open and predominantly beech. We reached a junction and took the right turn, soon after it was the Solanders Creek crossing which can be tricky if the water is up, but today no problems for the team. Onwards and it was noticed that not too many birds were spotted, then we passed two ladies with their young daughters who were heading in our direction. There was more shade now and before we knew it we reached the sign with one way to Third House (track closed) and 15 minutes to the caves. This part of the forest is denser with some magnificent matai and rimu trees and the hardest climb of the day. Puffing and panting the caves were reached at last. Most just poked their noses in to peer into the cave but four brave souls Alison, Julian and Lesley J and I did some exploring. One has to tread very carefully as the caves are steep-sided and very slippery. The first cave is about 15 metres long and has a rope to help you down. We had a flat walk for a few steps then slowly climbed again to the second chamber and had a look down into it. There was another rope to the bottom but it looked more difficult so we left it there and made our way back and as we did the young ladies were making their way down from the start and the young girls as calm as. We joined the others and headed to the junction for lunch.
Revived after 30 minutes it was back the same way but you still notice different things. There seemed to be more swimming holes on our right, and what an important job the tail-ender is (thanks Val), you see I decided to place myself towards the back and in the middle of the group. Letting the visitors know about club night and talking about future trips. Still another 90 minutes to go, no one was in a hurry, with the sun in our faces, we finally did see two mountain bikers going the other way and the last leg to the cars. There was one more calf and back stretch which was appreciated, before we officially finished at 4.20pm. If it would have been hotter there is a nice little swimming pool just down from the cars.
Those on the tramp were: David Wheeler (leader and scribe), Lesley Johnstone, Julian Edmonds, Alison Mountfort, Val Latimer, and newcomers Lesley Gunn, Christine Walker, Roydon Smith, John Chivers and Betty Dent.
Enjoyable, leisurely walking
Nydia Bay, Marlborough Sounds – 17-18 October 2015
Eight trampers (Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Maria Brooks, Julian Edmonds, Ian and Marilyn Morris, Lesley Johnstone and Penny McLeroth) travelled to Duncan Bay while four others (Rob Merrilees, Anja Claus, Mary Honey and Neville West) started from Kaiuma Bay.
From Duncan Bay it took us a bit over six hours of very enjoyable, leisurely walking to get to the Nydia Bay Lodge. Along the way we enjoyed and photographed the scenery, looked at greenhood orchids in flower and fed the pet eels in the creek near the northwest corner of Nydia Bay. Well before we got to the lodge we were met by Rob and Anja who obviously hadn’t had enough walking for the day from the Kaiuma Bay.
At the lodge we enjoyed hot showers and the excellent lodge kitchen facilities and finished the day with all twelve of us participating in an entertaining dice game. It certainly showed who were “conservative” and who were “risk-takers”.
On Sunday morning we were greeted by more rain than expected and headed off in the wet with four going through to Kaiuma Bay and eight going out via Duncan Bay. Our return trip was definitely faster in the wet with little stopping except to feed the eels with somebodies forgotten lunch. After suffering in the rain for long enough it was decided it was time to put on the sun hats and sure enough our positive thinking was soon rewarded with sunshine and blue skies.
A stunning landscape
Mt Hope, Kahurangi National Park – Sunday 11 October 2015
Seven intrepid trampers explored the intriguing sights of the Hope Range on a fine but very windy day. The starting point was at a grassy layby beside Boulder Creek on SH6, 4kms south of the Moonlight Road intersection at Glenhope, or 3kms north of Kawatiri Junction. The old track is unmapped and unmaintained but marked with some permolat markers and requires good tramping skills to follow. First off we climbed over a small embankment then we followed up the true right of the creek and ascended a spur very steeply in good bush cover. After one hour the gradient eased off to a steady climb, eventually emerging out of the bush onto a scrubby plateau of the Hope Range after 2½ hours altogether. We could see the main ridge of the Hope Range tantalisingly nearby but actually over an hour away. It was a further 200m of steady ascent following occasional markers and a faint ground trail up towards Mt Hope. The true summit is a not-so-obvious mound on the western end of the range but we were much more interested in the mammoth granite rocks scattered further east along the range. Some of the group took a more direct route involving mostly scratchy tight bush while the others took a slightly longer course, climbing tussock slopes only pushing through some tight bush higher up. We finally reached our goal of a huge outcrop we dubbed “The Balancing Rock” after 3½ hours from the start. We clambered over and around the rough surface and savoured the spectacular views to the Richmond Range and St Arnaud Range in the east. We consumed our well-deserved lunch behind the rock, trying without success to shelter out of the cool wind.
Some strangely shaped nearby rocks could be animal shaped and there could almost be a zoo up here if you had enough imagination! We returned down the track and we all contributed to some trimming of the trackside vegetation with loppers or secateurs while passing. The unmaintained track just became a little bit more maintained, thanks to everyone’s efforts! The Hope Range is a stunning landscape and well worth the effort of a trip of 7½ hours. The group was Robert Wopereis, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Andrew Henderson, David Wheeler, Julian Edmonds and visitor Ron Maylr.
Perfect Nelson Lakes
St Arnaud walks, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 3 October 2015
Despite the weather forecasters threatening us all week with a wet day on Saturday, it really turned out to be perfect weather. We left West Bay soon after 9.00am admiring the beautifully calm lake. Then up and over Black Hill where the sun shone through the trees to show up the greens of the mosses. We arrived at the skating rink for morning tea.
Next to locate the new Duck Down cycle track – a wasted five minutes till I realized that where I expected it to be was a trapping line. So I changed the plan to go up Rocky Horror where I was confident. As we crossed a grassy flat, Lesley, our visitor, noticed a sign over by the bush possibly worth investigating... it was Duck Down! It is a gentler track than Rocky Horror, which may be worse from all the water erosion. Part way up Duck Down is a good view point. Then onwards up to the ridge of Big Bush, mostly through sunlit beech forest. We saw tyre marks but no cycles. After a short while, we dropped down the new Kaka Track. Near the bottom, we found a pleasant spot for lunch. We crossed the Teetotal flats where people were target shooting at the rifle range. After a short distance along the gravel road, we followed the track out to the Taranaki gate at the main road near the Upper Buller Bridge.
From there we ambled along the Anglers Track beside the Buller rushing its way to Westport. We took the Moraine Walk to the back of the camping ground and the cars. 2.50pm was earlier than I expected to be back, so I offered another short walk to complete the day, but the noisier response was coffee and ice cream at the lake.
Out for the day were: Lesley Johnstone, Vanessa Chapman, Donell Raharuhi, Ken Lefever, Georgina Rayner, Pam Meadows, David Wheeler, Joy Bryant, Julian Edmonds and Lesley Gunn (visitor).
Interesting mining relics
United Mine, Aniseed Valley – 27 September 2015
It was an inauspicious start to this trip. None of us had been there before and we were told that we probably would not be too interested in climbing up that ridge. However the day was fine and we cheerfully set off. First stop was a ten minute diversion to the Roding River Dam. We were pleased that we did this first thing. It’s an interesting structure, perhaps now largely obsolete owing to the massive build-up of gravel within the dam. From here we tramped up to the old smelter site, a couple of river crossings the only difficulty on the way. Industrial archaeology is in abundance, with the old smelter and substantial earthworks taking our attention while we consumed our morning tea. Then it was on up the river and more crossings to the United Mine. Here the going got interesting with a difficult ascent up a series of steep, massive tailings scree slopes. There must have been a large amount of mining activity here in the past, though only one mine entrance was visible. From the mine shaft we struggled on and up to the summit of point 659. We had beautiful views out over the mineral belt to Coppermine Saddle with Dun Mountain on one side and Mount Malita on the other side and with beautiful views out to Mt Arthur and The Twins. A great place to have lunch. From here we dropped down to the Champion Mine site which included a lot of old iron artefacts of past activity, tailings and a very impressive vertical shaft hole full of water. From there we travelled down the old tramway track to a short cut route that took us back to the car park.
It was a great day, a good way to celebrate the first day of daylight saving. The trampers were Julian Edmonds (leader), Val Latimer, Lesley Johnstone, Andrew Henderson, Donell Raharuhi and Lou Kolff.
A great hut for a night
Bushline Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park – 19-20 September 2015
On Saturday morning our small party of four, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Jill and Murray Sheppard, travelled up to the Mount Robert carpark at Lake Rotoiti and a short tramp of 1.5 hours saw us safely at Bushline Hut via the Pinchgut Track. While we started out with patches of blue sky above, we were soon greeted with small flakes of snow falling around us. After lunch, a walk up Mt Robert proved challenging, against a strong cold southerly wind. We played around on some patches of snow for a while, but it was just too cold to stay out for long and we were soon back in the hut with a good fire going, toasting marshmallows and playing dice.
On Sunday morning it was so windy that even going to the rather exposed toilets was an experience. The door of one toilet was frequently being blown open and unused toilet paper festooned the trees outside. Our route back was decided by the weather with the more exposed Paddy’s Track not being a safe option. At first we needed all our gear on, including over trousers, long johns, warm hats, gloves, and parkas, just to keep warm but as soon as we got out of the wind layers of clothing needed to be shed.
This weekend trip was very enjoyable and a good test of our warmest gear that we don’t get to use so often. It is a great hut to visit for a night; good warm shelter, with excellent views. We were back in St Arnaud for a morning coffee and home in time for lunch.
An enjoyable full day
Ben Nevis, Mt Richmond Forest Park - Saturday 12 September 2015
The day was simply the best we could have had to do this challenging tramp. I say challenging because parts of it are steep and as well some parts of it are very exposed. The weather was picture-perfect, it was sunny, warm, and calm with just a little of the chilly, white stuff left near the top. I’d last done this tramp two years ago and remember there being no windfalls blocking the track. I guess the significant number of windfalls that are on the middle section now most likely came about as a result of the Easter 2014 storm. They were tricky to get around. However we had a team of 13 excellent scramblers who all made it to the top of Ben Nevis at 1619 metres and said they very much enjoyed their full day out. We left Richmond at 7.45am and were back by 5.15pm. Those who came were Alison Mountfort (leader and scribe), David Wheeler, Jocelyn Winn, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Lou and Chrissie Kolff, Rob Merrilees, Maria Brooks, Joy Bryant, Dale Weeks, Donell Raharui and Julian Edmonds.
A great tramp
Dun Mountain and Little Twin, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 6 September 2015
With the promise of a brilliant, though cool day, ten trampers set out just before 8am heading towards Dun Saddle. The wind made its snow chill felt and more clothing was adorned, the higher we got with full gear on before leaving the saddle for the top of Dun.
Chris with his keen eyes pointed out the miniature mistletoe growing on the manuka on the way up. A magnifying glass in fact would be useful for the rest of us - they weren't something that we would see casually in passing, being tiny clumps of pale green 2-3mm growths nestled between the leaves. We stopped briefly to take photos at the armchair on the top, but lunch was calling and the wind very sharp, so we hurried down to the saddle to find a sheltered spot among the boulders. Then it was up and over Little Twin to Dew Lakes - where a few went to look at - then down, stopping at the Argillite Quarry. There the party split into two - one having to meet a dinner appointment, the remainder ambling on, curing the world of its ills, arriving back about 8¾ hours after leaving.
Another great tramp in good conditions with the track dry (apart from boggy bits) and great views from Dun, enjoyed by Christine Hoy, Joy Bryant, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Julian Edmonds, Arif Matthee, Jocelyn Winn and Jill Sheppard (scribe).
Motueka Sandspit, Motueka – Sunday 23 August 2015
It was a 9am start from the saltwater baths in Motueka for Pat Taylor, Georgina Rayner, Jan Winter, Christine Winter, Ian Sowman and Rob Merrilees.
The day was perfect and we were soon up to the start of the spit where our first view along the beach showed two mussel buoys about 300m away. Rob was over the moon – not a long haul for him today. Walking was good and the weather fine and clear with great vistas of the snow-capped mountains to the southeast and west. The routine morning tea stop was at the first of the main dunes on the spit where Christine demonstrated her new take on a mug – a two-litre ice cream container. We then pressed on toward the end of the sandspit. Ian took time out to rest a sore ankle while the rest reached the goal.
On our return we picked up Ian and before leaving the main dunes we discovered another two mussel buoys in the maram grass, but they were too much for Rob to recover on this trip. We had our lunch stop about 400m from the start of the spit where Gran Maria Brooks was playing with the grandchildren and daughter-in-law Marianne. It was a quick clean of one of the buoys, then we set off for the saltwater baths with a mussel buoy in tow behind Rob. We rounded off the day at Toad Hall.
A social stroll
Tahunanui, Nelson – Sunday 9 August 2015
The morning dawned a beautiful day for members to meet at Rawhiti Street by 10am, just the right time to have a cuppa tea and get to know one another. We left Rawhiti Street by 10.20am heading towards Annesbrook then turned into Norgates Reserve and linked onto the cycleway over Bishopdale. The party made quick time into Nelson where we had a short break at Victory Square. Then it was time to enjoy going around the waterfront and a walk onto Tahuna Beach (I did suggest a swim but no takers) and onwards to the Beach Café. We finished off with a walk around the Modellers Pond and back to the cars. The trip finished at 3pm. Those on the trip were Georgina Rayner, Lesley Johnstone, Alan Hart, Paul Fisher, Gail and Ken Lefever, Brenda and daughter Shelley Sinclair. (Shelley is going to make a great leader one day).
A leisurely day
Richmond Hill ramble – Saturday 8 August 2015
There being a good covering of snow on the roads at the lake on Friday afternoon and more forecast overnight, road conditions were doubtful, so the scheduled walks at St Arnaud were changed to a leisurely day on Richmond Hill for three people. We left Easby Park soon after 9.00am for the old reservoir, pausing to appreciate all the clearing and new plantings on our way. Having read all about it, we made our way along tracks and a firebreak to a sunny skid site where we had morning tea. It was amazing how many were out walking their dogs and I was envious of the young guys who were running up! We went along until we were above Champion Road area, then up a fire break on to the ridge where there were snowy patches. We had a grandstand view of the low snow on the surrounding ranges. Further along, we passed the fire lookout and dropped lower for lunch. From there, down to Jimmy Lee Creek, then a higher track where we saw about three different types of fungi. We arrived back at Easby Park towards 3.00pm without any road walking, thanks to Georgina’s local knowledge. I enjoyed the company of Joy Bryant and Georgina Rayner.
Short half day walk
Centre of NZ, Nelson – Sunday 2 August 2015
Today was the foggiest day of the winter to date, still and cold. It worked well to have planned a short walk with lunch to look forward to afterwards. We left Founders Park at 9.30 am, headed up the zigzag track across Milton St and onto the plateau of the Sir Stanley Whitehead track. We could see two cranes from the city sticking out over the top of the fog and apart from that just the mountains to the northwest. We were a cheerful party, all out for that bit of exercise to feel we’d achieved something physical for the day instead of sticking around inside. From the Centre of NZ we walked down to the Maitai Valley where it was very cold indeed. So we scooted along the track beside the stream and back to Founders. The café there was warm and welcoming. On checking around we were all pleased we’d ventured out especially knowing there was still half the day left for other activities.
Those on the walk were Alison Mountfort (leader and scribe), Donell Raharuhi, Julian Edmonds, Pat Taylor, Vanessa Chapman and visitors Christine Walker, Jill Weaver and Lesley Johnstone.
Castle Rock Hut (Canaan to Marahau), Abel Tasman National Park – 1-2 August 2015
Six trampers, swapping cars at the Marahau turnoff, said farewell to each other until meeting again at Castle Rock Hut for the night. The three beginning at Canaan carpark had met light drizzle on the way up the Takaka Hill, so on with the raincoats and on they remained till reaching the hut. Track conditions were wet and slippery but no rush as we (yes I was in this group) had a very leisurely walk. We stopped at Moa Park Shelter for a very welcome brew up, glad that the shelter was watertight and windproof. On towards Porter Rock we diverted to another lookout – a very short glimpse of the tussock below before the mist/drizzle closed in again, so we gave Porter Rock a miss. We arrived at Castle Rock about a half hour before the other group, just in time to get the fire going and the room mostly de-smoked! Jamming wood between the back of the stove and wall stops most of the smoke escaping and open windows sorts out the rest. The uphill group had an uneventful climb with only having to don raincoats for the last half hour. We were all happy to be sleeping inside the hut for the night, with a bedraggled tramper arriving about 5ish, making it almost full.
After an evening of word, number or dice games plus promising signs of clearing skies, we awoke to a heavy frost. We were all rather glad that we'd all been to the Castle Rocks on previous trips as the track looked icy and very slippery. Each group departed for their respective journeys back to the vehicles, taking it slowly over wet tree roots and mossy rocks. Stopping for an early lunch at Holyoake Clearing we were joined by a pair of pig hunters and three dogs, in search of an elusive one that had been rooting by the track in the last day - they looked a competent lot. Down to the car and onto Motueka for coffee and cake. Great company and country – always good to do a crossover - thanks to those who did the hard hill work that made the crossover possible. The uphill trampers were Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Robert Wopereis, and the downhill trampers were Jo & Chris Ecroyd, and Jill Sheppard (scribe).
A quick trip in the rain
Grampians, Nelson – Saturday 18 July 2015
The forecast was for rain and it rained - end of planned tramp - no way! Before leaving home on foot I could see from my lounge window to where we would be walking and reckoned it’d be at least okay to do the trip and likely better than that. Six of us intrepid ladies met under the verandah of the Victory shop and then set off up the railway reserve. We crossed the main road at Bishopdale and walked along Market St to the Kahikatea track entrance to the Grampians. I’d been reading in one of the club Wilderness magazines how useful it can be to have an umbrella with you while tramping in wet weather. That author was so right for this trip. Blow the walking poles - an umbrella was much more useful!
There was a break in the cloud when we’d climbed up to the viewing platform. The sea seemed to be as flat as flat can be - like an enormous millpond. The terrain changed to becoming more open and a little slippery, nothing too dreadful though. We knew we had a lunch booking at Melrose House so we just kept walking down the Tawa track to van Diemen St and along to the café. The hostesses were most obliging and unconcerned about our tramping attire. We enjoyed leisurely lunches from the menu and afterwards walked the short distance across Hampden St and down the steps to where the remainder of the party had left their cars. It was a quick trip which we all agreed was well worth the effort regardless of the weather. Those who came were Alison Mountfort (leader and scribe), Brenda Sinclair, Georgina Rayner, Lesley Johnstone, Pam Meadows and Val Latimer.
Two short walks
Shedwood Bush, Tapawera – Sunday 12 July 2015
With the temperature just below zero we arrived at the usual Richmond meeting place at 8.30am. The cosy trip to Tapawera in beautifully heated cars made getting out into the cold and putting boots on in the crisp grass a bit of a challenge. The area at the start of Shedwood Bush walk was absolutely white with the thick frost and that made getting over the stiles a bit of fun. The trip was very quiet bird-wise, they must have all been huddled in their nests. We made good time to the summit despite a scramble through a fallen tree and had a morning tea break while looking out over to the snow covered hills and down to a sleepy looking Tapawera with most of chimneys puffing out smoke. You could just imagine all the residents relaxing in front of a nice warm fire. We warmed ourselves up by climbing over a fence and going to the top of a hill to get an even better view of the area. We arrived back at the cars at 11.30am and made our way out to Jeff Lukey’s in the Sherry Valley and had lunch with him, taking advantage of his very sunny decking. Jeff took us on a tour of the bush area beside his house and we checked out the thick ice on the ponds and the huge icicles hanging down from the water race. Jeff said it had been minus 70 in the area that morning. Several of us tried to break the ice in the pond by throwing large rocks in, but the rocks just bounced off and the ice stayed in place. We did a 3.7km trip around the bush area, arrived back at the house and had another cuppa, then headed home. On the trip were Katie Greer (Leader), Annette Gill, Georgina Rayner, Val Latimer, Julian Edmonds, Alison Mountfort and visitors Lesley Johnstone and Helen Tapper.
A day of two halves
Speargrass Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park – Sunday 5 July 2015
A wintery St Arnaud was visited by 14 trampers for a day trip. The new Buller Bridge at West Bay looked all finished but was not yet open, so we carried on across the old bridge and up to the Mt Robert carpark and set off along the Speargrass Track. The downhill section to Speargrass Creek consists of many tree roots with a few small side streams for variety. Beside the creek the track is mostly easier going except where the creek is eroding into the hillside necessitating a bit of a scramble between the creek and the steep bank above. By the time we arrived at Speargrass Hut the sunny weather had changed to showers. We savoured our lunch inside then donned our raingear and ventured back along the track again including the steepish slog back uphill to the carpark.
A bit of a day of two halves weather-wise but the showers were not too much of a nuisance in the bush. On our way home some of us diverted to Kerr Bay to observe the unusual Mandarin duck and the giant eels congregating around the jetty.
The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Don Clementson, Graham Soppit, Pauline Manley, Jill Sheppard, Jocelyn Winn, Georgina Rayner, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Donell Raharuhi, Julian Edmonds, and newcomers Alan and Ester Fern, and Lesley Johnstone.
Great views and interesting history
Kairuru Marble Quarry – Sunday 28 June 2015
On a perfect winter day, 18 keen trampers travelled towards Marahau and parked their cars at end of Moss Road near the farm house. We followed the farm track up the valley, choosing to use the bridge, rather than getting wet feet at the first ford. At each fork in the track the leader had plenty of advice, both good and bad, about which option to choose. Learning from the past experiences, written up in our Newsletters e.g. Vol 40 No 3 September 2012, about false starts, river crossings and getting stuck in lots of gorse we managed to negotiate our way along a pleasant rough farm track to a very good morning tea spot on large marble slabs with good views across the sea towards Taranaki. (Note for future leaders: these slabs mark an important fork in the track.) We fossicked around the old relics along the way trying to work out what the equipment would have been used for. There were a pile of old wheels, relics of a tram and yes, the marble blocks were transported via a tramline to Marahau, probably along the route we walked. At Marahau, the marble blocks were loaded onto scows (flat-bottomed boats) and taken to Wellington for cutting.
Further up the hill we explored the old quarry sites and you could clearly see the old drilling lines on the marble faces. Apparently a method known as 'plugs and feathers' was used to extract the marble slabs. After drilling to the run of the marble grain, plugs and feathers were used to wedge the rock free from the marble face. No blasting was involved. The Takaka Hill marble is at least four times as strong as that of limestone and has strength similar to most granite and was used in many significant buildings around New Zealand. The Nelson Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Church in Motueka are constructed of Takaka marble and it was most notably used for the reconstruction of Parliament Buildings in Wellington from 1915 to 1922. These days Kairuru marble is mainly used for sculpturing.
Our lunch spot was on a nearby ridge with great views of Tasman Bay and the company of a very tame cow. We returned to the cars taking a left turn at the marble slabs and keeping higher along the ridge, making a very pleasant round trip for some of the walk with no gorse bashing or river crossing. Our thanks to Georgina Rayner for the very good advice on which route to take and to the farmers, Mike Fry (Moss Road) and Dave Henderson (Kairuru) for permission to walk over their farms.
On the trip were: Chris Ecroyd, Rob Merrilees, Maria Brooks, Eric McPherson, Esther McPherson, Anja Claus, Brenda Sinclair, Jill Sheppard, Robert Wopereis, Katie Greer, Christine Walker, Vanessa Chapman, Donell Raharuhi, Julian Edmonds, Uta Purcell, Georgina Rayner, Lesley Johnstone and Joy Bryant.
Mt Malita, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 21 June 2015
On the shortest day on the year, a group of 14 trampers drove up the very end of the Aniseed Valley Road to start our trip. We crossed the footbridge and signed the City Council intentions book in a small cupboard attached to the information panel, then followed the signposted forestry road and at the first junction veered left up Summit Road. The lower section ascends fairly steadily but eases off further up. The recent logging activity has changed the look of the area for the better with more views available out to Tasman Bay and towards the summit. Some three-way junctions higher up are not signposted, but if in doubt don’t veer left or right but take the centre direction, which leads to the final zigzag below the summit. Here there was an appearance of an unusual item new to club trips, the selfie-stick, which was worth using to record the splendid view. How times have changed with the advent of the social media age! From the end of the vehicle track it was only about another 100 metre climb up a muddy foot track to the summit ridge and then the grassy mountain top only marked by a short pole, which had taken us 2½ hours altogether. Interesting limestone outcrops on the ridgeline make this area a worthy day trip along with the mighty panorama of Tasman Bay.
Just below the summit a concrete platform apparently marks the site where a telescope was mounted to investigate the mountain being used as an astronomical research observatory. The University of Pennsylvania and Canterbury University scouted out a few sites around the South Island, including Black Birch. The Americans were looking to establish a southern hemisphere station from which they could view parts of the southern sky that were hidden from their view in the northern hemisphere. In the end Mt John at Lake Tekapo won out and was opened in 1965. Thanks to the astronomer in our group for the story.
We then visited Mt Malita Hut, located five or ten minutes south-east down the ridgeline, almost tucked out of sight on the edge of the bush. This cute little two-bunk hut owned by the Nelson City Council was unlocked so we had a quick peek inside and then headed off back downhill again. We deviated down an alternative forestry road - Old Malita Road - which included some nice native bush and two corners each had two handily-placed plastic chairs for those that need a rest. Also there was one old battered metal trig station, obviously missing from its mountain-top home somewhere. This road looped back to the start to complete another enjoyable outing on a fine day. The troop was Robert Wopereis, Don Clementson, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Jill Dickinson, Eddie Runge, Donell Raharuhi, Dale Weeks, Hairta Eger, Anja Claus, Julian Edmonds, David Wheeler and newcomers Lesley Johnstone and Robert Rea.
A good day’s tramping
Fringed Hill, Nelson – Saturday 20 June 2015
On a coolish morning 13 of us (two men, eleven woman) (where were the men?) set off from Paru Paru Road at 9.30am to walk the Dun Mountain Walkway to Third House and back via Fringed Hill. We left the cars by the Community Gardens, then up the Dun Track we climbed with quite a number of bikers slogging up the hill in anticipation of the ride down, no doubt. A couple of the girls found it hard going up the Dun, so Jocelyn and Val walked with them while the others went on to Third House for lunch. We split up for the return walk – three returned via the Dun and the rest clambered up the Fringed Hill Track with its tree roots and fallen trees. A brief stop was had at the seat donated by the 50+ Walking Group in 1991, celebrating Nelson’s 150 years. We then returned by the road which was longer but easier, meeting up with the others on the last section – very well timed. We were back at the cars by 4pm for a good day’s tramping and thank you leader Alison. Participants were Alison Mountfort, Jocelyn Winn, Jan Winter, Diane Jones, Val Latimer, Uta Purcell, Merrick Mitchell, Georgina Rayner, Pam Meadows, Marie Firth, Christine Hoy and visitors Colin Bell and Abby Grasham.
New trip for some
Holyoake Clearing, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 7 June 2015
With promising weather thirteen keen starters took off from Marahau at precisely 9am. About four in the group hadn’t been up there before, so when stopping briefly at Tinline clearing to re-group the front walkers were reminded about the - YOU CAN’T MISS IT - sign pointing to Holyoake Clearing. But the shine on their boots must have momentarily dazzled their eyes at the crucial point and on they walked! Don kept us entertained with his cerebral penmanship regarding late morning tea stops, downhill bits, dead wood and so on.
The track was in very good condition despite recent heavy rain. After a few stops to take in the view, photos (watching Julian practicing with his selfie stick) and refreshments, we reached the clearing at midday. Gorse had been cut back a couple of months previously on the flat part, leaving some quite fierce stubble. Made it tricky finding a spot for the bot!
A leisurely lunch and a quiet trip down. No spectacular coloured fungi this trip but the white basket fungi (Ileodictyon cibarium) were common along one part coming back from Tinline – how come I didn’t see them on the way up?? Back at the vehicles by 3.30pm, some left but eight people remained for coffees at the cafe [open for one more weekend before closing for winter]. A beautiful day with no wind and flat seascape made a very enjoyable trip for the following: Don Clementson, Val Latimer, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Jocelyn Winn, Julian Edmonds, Donell Raharuhi, Dale Weeks, Jo Ecroyd, David Wheeler, Mary Stebbings, Heather McKenzie (visitor) and Jill Sheppard (scribe).
Short but rewarding
Mt Duppa, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 25 May 2015
Although temperatures were low with the polar blast predicted to arrive from the south during the day, the chance to get a really good view from Mt Duppa on a clear sunny day was sufficient enticement to get 15 trampers gathering at Millers Acre car park at 8am.
The forestry road leading up to the start of the walking track up Mt Duppa is just a few kilometres past the Whangamoa Saddle. It is clearly sign-posted and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for the 6km journey. You park at an altitude of about 520 metres, so it's about a 620-metre climb to Mt Duppa's summit at 1,143m. The track is fairly steep and having to negotiate roots and rocks means you have to concentrate on where you put your feet. On the way up there are occasional views but you are mostly in native forest. Once we got above the bush-line we enjoyed wonderful views of Cable Bay and Pepin Island. Most of the group wandered over to the rocky outcrop further along the summit where there were excellent views of Dun Mountain, the Richmond Range and all the way to Tapuae-o-Uenuku. We all made it to the summit well within the two hours suggested by DOC and that included our 20 minute stop for morning tea.
We found a sheltered and sunny spot for a very early and extended lunch after which we carefully picked our way back down to the cars. Although short, this was a very pleasant and rewarding trip. Those on the trip were: Maria Brooks. Anja Claus, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Val Latimer, Rob Merrilees, Georgina Rayner, Jill Sheppard, Donell Raharuhi and visitors Joe and Sharon Bretherton, Christine Grove, Eric and Esther McPherson, and Dale Weeks.
Chris & Jo Ecroyd
All round views
Mt Murchison, Braeburn Range – Sunday 17 May 2015
In perfect weather, fifteen trampers had arrived at the locked gate on private property ready to get walking soon after 9.00am. The first and only obstacle for the day was finding a way appropriate for our leg length, girth... to either climb over the gate or negotiate an electric fence, which I don’t think was alive, or through a Heath Robinson sheep barrier involving loose barbed wire and a squeeze between the gate post, Taranaki fence and Hayes strainers top and bottom of a narrow gap. That overcome, it was just straightforward walk up the 4WD road through pleasant beech forest listening to the birdsong. Part way up, we regrouped and paused for morning tea. As we gained height, we emerged into the blue sky and looked down on the clag hanging in the valleys. After about 2½ hours, the first arrivals were at the 1470m trig and towers. The lee side of the ridge made a perfect lunch spot. Further along, the Braeburn Range looked interesting to explore – another day. Fresh snow adorned the Nelson Lakes tops. We could see up the Buller, across to the Owen, along to Murchison and up the Tutaki.
Descending was much quicker. The road surface was damp which held the gravel firm. We were back and over the gate or its surrounds before 3.00pm, which allowed us time to indulge in coffee or ice cream at the Flat Rock Café at Kohatu. I enjoyed the company of Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Katie Greer, Rob Merrilees, Maria Brooks, Ken Lefever, Chris Louth, Donell Raharuhi, Pat Taylor, Geoff Walker, Joy Bryant, Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds and newcomer Mary Stebbings.
Wainui circuit, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 10 May 2015
With the promise of a beautiful day, ten of us headed up the Takaka Hill to Canaan Downs. We left the carpark just on 9.30am and headed up the fairly gentle climb to Wainui Saddle, a convenient spot for a morning cuppa. With a clear sky there were great views of the surrounding peaks and everyone enjoyed soaking up the warmth of the sun before heading into the bush for the rest of the trip.
A well-formed track through native bush led us up onto Evans Ridge where we met up with the Inland Track coming from Moa Park. We were able to make very good time along the ridge and stopped for lunch at the turn off to Wainui Hut.
The track from here descended through dense forest down to Wainui Stream. Although quite steep in places it could hardly be called difficult. Everyone enjoyed the display of colourful fungi – red, yellow, orange, purple, blue-green, black and white. A few people endeavoured to keep their feet dry crossing the main stream and succeeded; others chose to play-it-safe and waded through. The typical four bunk Forest Service style hut provided another photo opportunity and after a brief stop we climbed back up to Wainui Saddle and down to the carpark. The whole walk took us just on six and a half hours, including stops.
Those on the trip were: Joy Bryant, Chris and Jo Ecroyd, Maudie Barron, Anja Claus, Ken Lefever, Chris Louth, Jill Sheppard, Robert Wopereis and visitor Emily King.
Chris & Jo Ecroyd
A special valley
Fenella Hut, Kahurangi National Park – 1-3 May 2015
Arriving at Trilobite Hut in the dark on Friday night to see two school vans and trailers plus five other vehicles – uh-oh, is there going to be room at the inn? But no, only the first car load were present, the fire was going and the hut was cosy – thanks guys. There were a number of noisy four-legged guests scurrying round to make the night interesting for some (Anja mentioned that she got her hair nibbled!), despite the ‘mouse-proofing’ as recommended by the hut book. An almost full moon made the scattering of snow on the tops glow, and the light breeze throughout the night kept the frost at bay.
We left Trilobite at 8.15am with a leisurely walk up the valley in perfect sunshine (or cool shade) stopping at Chaffeys and the rebuilt Tent Camp. A brilliant job on these two structures – may that foresight, desire and funding still be there when they come again to the end of this new lifespan. After lunch at Fenella (the school party had only stayed one night before moving onto the Lockett Range) we departed up to Cobb and Round lakes. Arriving at the top of Lake Cobb we decided that the afternoon was going to be too short to get up to Round Lake and onto the ridge (always irresistible), so we turned back and went up the track heading to Mt Gibbs and the tarns, arriving back at the hut about 4.30pm. The evening was spent chatting and gaming with the four other occupants, with the promise of another glorious day on Sunday. No mice were heard.
After breakfast we departed for Waingaro Peak. A steady plod plus stops to look at alpine flora saw us at the top in 90 minutes. The lightest of breezes and pure sunshine made for extreme appreciation of the mountains around us and the odd photo was taken! Back down after a snow fight, for a cuppa and to pack up for the walk out, reaching our vehicles about 3.30pm.
Absolutely perfect tramping conditions in this special valley – a favourite for so many people including Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Anja Claus, Tim Tyler (Nelson TC), Mary Stebbings (newcomer) and Jill Sheppard (scribe).
Billies Knob, Kahurangi National Park - Sunday 19 April 2015
A fine autumn day welcomed seven trampers who ventured from Courthouse Flat at the end of the Wangapeka River Road and up Billies Knob. Firstly there was a steady climb up a ridge track in scrubby bush to the junction of the Blue Creek track for our first welcome stop after 1¼ hours. Then the steady gradient continued up through the bush to emerge amongst tussock at Billies Saddle after a further hour. The colossus of Billies Knob loomed up above as we contemplated our best route amongst the marble outcrops and torturous spaniard. Everyone found their own best route as we steadily scrambled up the steep slopes to a rocky ridge. The actual highpoint at 1648m was still further back along the ridge, which was one hour up from the saddle, altogether 3¾ hours from the start. Grand panoramas were enjoyed of Tasman Bay and the nearby Kahurangi mountains. We could even pick up the tiny sight of John Reid Hut, with the sun reflecting off it, across on the Arthur Range. On our descent a few of the group detoured down the Blue Creek track, although this was a few minutes longer than the ridge track.
We all had enjoyed another satisfying and successful day tramp. The group was Robert Wopereis, Jill Shepperd, Andrew Henderson, Sue Davies, Chris Louth, Andrea Cockerton (Nelson TC) and newcomer Sally Ward.
Billies Knob was named after William Flanagan, who was a stable keeper and gold digger living at the township of Gladstone at Courthouse Flat in the1870s, who later took up farming and grazed sheep on the grassy tops of the mountain.
Very satisfying tramping
Bushline Hut circuit, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 18 April 2015
Twelve of us set off on this lovely day in three cars to the Mt Robert carpark. Just before the start there seemed to be a running or walking event on, with numbered participants with small backpacks, but they seemed to be finishing at Kerr Bay, so there was plenty of room at the carpark. Since it was about 10.15am we decided to have morning tea before we started, which was a first for some people, but I was in favour, as I had skipped breakfast. Refreshed, it was up Paddys Track with Alison as the tail-ender. There were only three guys with all the ladies and Julian was one of them, always spinning a yarn and giving you facts. The track cuts across the mountain’s open face and crossed a few scree gullies with spectacular views of Lake Rotoiti. The water seemed choppy and not too many boats were out there. It was a steady climb, with quite a few stops for photos, with only a little breeze blowing and before we knew it we had arrived at Bushline Hut. We had four new folks with us and they loved this - lunch on the porch in the sun, very relaxing.
Heading onwards, a little more uphill, we passed Kea Hut which was all locked up, and across the tops with a little more bite to the wind, but bearable. Everyone kept together and then we reached the junction to Angelus and then the new shelter that we checked out. We came across some parties that were heading to Angelus Hut, so it would have been pretty full that night. Then the downhill started and we dropped into some beech forest on the Pinchgut Track. Someone asked how did the track get its name and straight away Julian reckons they named it that, because when you go up it, one works so hard, it pinches your gut. The track now opens up and we continue to zigzag down the last steep section, noticing the lake was a little calmer and the wind had dropped. Back at the cars we all agreed to go to Tophouse to see New Zealand’s smallest bar and have coffee or tea with scones. What a great place to finish up and take in the ambience. A very satisfying day and it was appreciated to have the advice from Pat and Katie and the help from Alison.
Those on the tramp were David Wheeler, Alison Mountfort, Ken Lefever, Pat Taylor, Katie Greer, Jocelyn Winn, Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds and newcomers Julie Jar, Emily King, Annette Le Cren and Sally Ward.
View through the clouds
Takaka Hill walkway – Sunday 29 March 2015
Despite a terrible weather forecast we met at Richmond at 8.30am in reasonable weather and headed off towards the Takaka Hill Walkway. The visibility at the car park when we arrived was limited due to the low clouds, but within 10 minutes the cloud had lifted and the hills could be seen. It was Vanessa’s birthday and she had to endure us singing Happy Birthday to her.
On the first part of this walk most of us will remember the old shed with the mummified cow stuck in the door, the shed has now succumbed to time and collapsed. We stopped at the highest point of the walk by the towers and enjoyed the view down through the clouds as we had a short break for a cuppa. The track was easy and well-marked and we made good time getting around. The lunch break was cut short as we were invaded by a large number of wasps, they didn’t seem to be out to sting us - but not the best lunch companions to have. There was a lot of powelliphanta snail of all sizes on the track, so there was a bit of a wait as keen photographers stood poised with camera to get a shot as they emerged from their shells. We took a detour on the way back and went down the alternative track that takes you out to the carpark - that is well worth checking out.
We had been lucky with the weather right up to when we arrived back at the cars, when the rain started. A quick show of hands as to who wanted to go to Harwood’s Hole or hide out from the weather at the Woolshed Café - and a lone hand went up for Harwood’s Hole; so we finished our walk in the dry café enjoying a chat. On the trip were Katie Greer (Leader), Julian Edmonds (Co-leader), Georgina Rayner, Brenda Sinclair, Noelene Roberts, Annette Gill, Vanessa Chapman, Val Latimer and visitors David Greer and Julie Jar.
Parachute Rocks, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 21 March 2015
Nine club members all of whom are very experienced trampers had a quick and pleasant trip on a beautifully clear, sunny Saturday. Geoff decided to take a long, leisurely lunch break at Parachute Rocks so he became the official pack minder while the rest of us scrambled up the open track to the top of the St Arnaud Range. The view down the other side into the Wairau Valley was impressive. I thought so anyway, as it was the first time I’d climbed the extra distance up from Parachute Rocks.
We were back at the cars with plenty of time for a relaxed and extended afternoon tea stop. Some might say this was the highlight of the day – licking delicious boysenberry gelato from our choice of cup or cone at the Tophouse pub. The setting was delightful. The hostess was pleased that we stopped to partake of her hospitality and the experience left us all feeling we’d happily go there again as we’ll recommend it to others for a snack, a meal or even a night or two’s stay in the beautifully restored accommodation from yesteryear.
The trip participants were Alison Mountfort (leader and scribe, because I forgot to ask anyone else to), Jocelyn Winn (co-leader and ex-St Arnaud resident), Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Jo and Chris Ecroyd, Geoff Walker, Jill Sheppard and Joy Bryant.
Picturesque Marlborough Sounds
Elaine Bay to Penzance Bay, Marlborough Sounds – Sunday 15 March 2015
Ten members left from the Paru Paru Road carpark in Nelson at 8am and headed for Elaine Bay on the French Pass Road. In fine weather we left the carpark at Elaine Bay wharf and followed the four-wheel-drive track around the side of Tennyson Inlet. We all stopped for a late morning tea in Deep Bay and met the bach owners who produced chairs for some of the party. The trip though the lowland beach forest to Penzance Bay was picturesque with the deep bush and views of the sounds though the trees. Lunch was had in the picnic ground in Penzance and a walk through the area. After lunch we returned the way we came.
A pleasant and uneventful trip was had by all. The trampers were Graham Soppit, Pauline Manley, Pat Taylor, Alison Mountfort, David Wheeler, Donell Raharuhi, Georgina Rainer, Julian Edmonds, Vanessa Chapman and newcomer Dale Weeks.
A sunny day by the sea
Apple Tree Bay, Abel Tasman National Park – Sunday 8 March 2015
Four of us met in Richmond at 9.00am and caught up with the other three at the Marahau carpark at 9.45am. The weather was perfect as we set off towards the Abel Tasman track. After a pleasant stroll of about 30 minutes we stopped in Tinline Bay and enjoyed a cuppa and pleasant conversation in the sun (the real “easy” trip stuff). You certainly see some sights on the Abel Tasman that are not common to tramping trips elsewhere, I saw a couple wearing shorts and jandals and each carrying a can of Speights.
We arrived at Apple Tree Bay around lunchtime and enjoyed a swim, or in some cases a bit of a paddle, had lunch then packed up and headed back to the cars. A stop at TOAD Hall in Motueka for a coffee on the way home was obviously required after such a hard day.
On the trip were Katie Greer (Leader), Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds, Ian Sowman, Brenda Sinclair, Steve Markham and Erica Short.
A long day
Anchorage Bay, Abel Tasman National Park – Saturday 21 February 2015
This trip was fun at the time, particularly for the two of us who didn’t get sore feet out of it. For the record, the hard clay surface underfoot on the Abel Tasman Coast Track bakes very hard towards the end of a long, hot summer. It felt like walking on a concrete footpath although the scenery is spectacular compared to anywhere that I’ve walked on a concrete footpath. Apple Tree Bay was new to two of our small party so we had a morning tea stop there. They admired it, but for the sake of time, knowing we had the rest of a long day ahead of us, we delayed swimming until Anchorage where we also had lunch.
As the total distance of this trip was 25 km, half the length of the entire track, it was too long. Being a learner from what could be seen as a mistake, I propose a spring trip at Abel Tasman National Park where the trip members take the water taxi further north than Anchorage, perhaps to Torrent Bay or Bark Bay and walk back to Marahau from there.
Even though we were a small party comprising Alison and David Mountfort, Pam Meadows and David Wheeler, we enjoyed each other’s company and the stunning views we saw on the journey.
New track with excellent views
Beebys Knob to Red Hills Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park – Sunday 15 February 2015
After shuttling some cars the ten minute drive between the carparks, an extra-large group of 19 trampers left from Beebys carpark on the Korere-Tophouse Road. A couple of trampers were unfortunate to suffer wasp stings a short distance from the start, with some discomfort. We climbed steadily up a bush track to emerge on the 4WD road on Beebys Ridge. About five minutes up the 4WD road, a large orange triangle marker at the bushline showed us where to turn-off onto the new Maitland Ridge Track. This track is marked with a mixture of orange triangle markers and flagging tape and is surprisingly good going, following an undulating ridge. On a couple of climbs the track zigzagged quite widely which is where we could often cut corners.
We reached a large clearing about halfway along the ridge and stopped for lunch and enjoyed the excellent views along the Wairau Valley. Further along the ridge the track turned down to Red Hills Hut, taking us three hours on this new section of track. We then followed the 4WD track down to the Red Hills carpark in the Wairau Valley. This completed a seven hour day and a well-worthwhile trip and especially being able to do a through trip. Although the track is not yet signposted, it is worth noting that since this trip, the track marking has been completed.
The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Peter Vella, Anja Claus, Jocelyn Winn, Jill Sheppard, Sue Davies, Joy Bryant, Marie Firth, Don Morrisey, Nicola Harwood, Georgina Rayner, Lou & Chrissie & Willie Kolff, Julian Edmonds, David Wheeler, and newcomers Eric and Ester McPherson, and Arif Matthee.
Nelson social walk – Sunday 8 February 2015
Nine experienced walkers met at Hathaway Court next to Trafalgar Park at 10:30am to find Nelson's new cycle and walkway near the library. It’s a very wide path with plenty of room for cyclists and walkers with the Maitai River flowing by. It was then back to town to continue to follow the Maitai River up to Branford Park where we started to climb up to the Centre of NZ. On reaching the top it was time for a lunch break and to admire the views. From here it was a short walk to find the start of the Sir Stanley Whitehead Track which leads down to Founders Park where we continued back to town and a gentle walk to Queens Garden and a coffee at the River Kitchen Café by the Maitai River. Those taking part were Pat Taylor, Brenda Sinclair, Alan Hart, Noelene Roberts, Hilary Sixtus, Val Latimer, Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds and Jill Parish.
Lake Stream Hut, Victoria Range – 6-8 February 2015
Seven spritely trampers were highly satisfied with a fine long weekend's tramp to Lake Stream Hut in the Victoria Range. We started from the roadside on SH7, 11km west of Springs Junction, immediately crossing the headwaters of the Inangahua River and then a total of nine crossings of Lake Stream. The previous day’s rain had made the crossings more difficult, especially with some large boulders to step over on the third crossing, where we all linked arms in two groups. We all gained confidence and experience negotiating these obstacles. Before we could reach the two bunk hut we had to cross the flooded lake edge which was up to waist deep. This had taken us a longer than expected 5 hours and 20 minutes. Two of us bunked and the other five tented on the long grass beside the hut. We marked the lake edge with a stick and every time we looked it showed the lake level had dropped, so we must have encountered the maximum water levels on our way up.
We had a coldish night with frost on the tents the next morning, despite this being mid-summer!
We climbed up to a saddle at the head of the Lake Stream valley, heading through bush, then tussock and then more steeply up a chute of boulders, taking two hours. From the saddle we climbed up for 15 minutes to point 1568 and then a further 20 minutes north along Victoria Range to overlook a large inviting tarn, draining into Shaw Stream. Here we had spectacular all-encompassing views of the majestic Victoria Range and east to the Lewis Tops, Spenser Mountains and Ella Range.
On our return on Sunday the water levels had dropped massively. The lake edge which previously was up to waist deep was now only ankle deep and the stream crossings were no problem and we made a quicker return to the cars. Before attempting this trip it is best to check the rainfall figures for the weather station at Springs Junction. This is listed under “Past Weather” on the Reefton page at metservice.com.
The Victoria Range is not so well known, but is a hugely attractive area of NZ backcountry and well deserving of a return trip. The trampers were Robert Wopereis, Jill Sheppard, Anja Claus, Joy Bryant, Jocelyn Winn, Sue Davies and Mary Honey (Nelson TC).
Mt Cawte, Moetapu Bay, Marlborough Sounds – Sunday 1 February 2015
15 members of Waimea TC and Nelson TC left at 8am from Millers Acre, Nelson in the rain and travelled to Havelock where a stop was made for a coffee and snacks. At 10am we arrived at Moetapu Bay at the start of the track to Mt Cawte, 474m. There was minimum space for vehicle parking but we squeezed in four vehicles on the side of the road. The weather was fine but with low cloud. The first section of track had many steps formed for some length on a steady upward climb. By the time we stopped for our first view of the Pelorus and Mahau Sounds we were in cloud and had no view at all. The track was a little overgrown with regenerating fern and other foliage but was pretty to walk through. The top of the track was reached in 1½ hours where lunch and a delayed morning drink were had in lightly falling rain. Again the lookout was obscured by cloud so no photos were possible of any views. On the way down the rain became a bit more consistent, with everyone in raincoats. Back at the vehicles, wet gear was discarded and we headed back to Slip Inn at Havelock for a coffee and food.
The track was constructed by Outward Bound students taking 2000 hours over two years and was opened in 2010 and continues to be looked after by the students under a service agreement with DOC. A good easy track with views which would have been great without the cloud I am sure.
The group was David Blunt, Jeff Lukey, Geoff Walker, Georgina Rayner, Brenda Rogers, Sally Ward, Pat Taylor, Val Latimer, Arif Matthee, Ian Morris (Nelson TC), Chris Louth (Nelson TC), and visitors Joe& Sharon Bretherton, Helen Tapper and Sophie Barclay.
Historic miners shack
Booths Cottage, Howard Valley – Sunday 25 January 2015
A big group of 13 people arrived at the Louis Creek picnic area about seven kilometres up the Howard Valley Road in clear sunny conditions. We set off across Louis Creek, without wet feet, and followed the four wheel drive track on Monument Road to the Miners Memorial, pausing for photos and reading the information on past miners who lived in the valley searching for gold. Further on we stopped for morning drinks, looking for shade from the hot sun. From here it was a steady climb through native bush, shaded from the sun, to historic Booths Cottage, situated in a small clearing above Louis Creek. This was built in 1933 by Sid Booth and Ray Clarke during the depression while on the Government Gold Prospecting Subsidy Scheme. It was the home for Sid and Eva and son Teddy Booth for over ten years. The long rectangular building has four rooms, mainly built of lapped beech slab over pole beech framing with a corrugated iron roof.
From here we continued through the bush, eventually coming out onto the Porika four wheel drive road, then a short distance further on up the road the group stopped at a clearing with views down the valley. This had taken us three hours altogether. Here we had lunch then returned back down the road, along the bush track retracing our steps, arriving back at the vehicles about 3.15 pm.
A great day’s walk mostly sheltered from the hot sun, and a pleasant drive home through St Arnaud village.
The group was Robert Wopereis, Geoff Walker Katie Greer, Pat Taylor, Anja Claus, Donnell Raharuhi, Georgina Rayner, Mary Honey (Nelson TC), Jo & Chris Ecroyd, Julian Edmonds, Arif Matthee (Over 40s TC) and newcomers Ron Mailer, Vanessa Chapman and Jacqui Bozoky.
An honest day’s tramping
Lake Rotoiti circuit, Nelson Lakes National Park – Saturday 24 January 2015
The Nelson Lakes National Park is one of the most popular in New Zealand. High mountain peaks which reflect in the waters of Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa. With boating, fishing, swimming and walking what more could you want? Our group of eight was doing the Rotoiti circuit - although not too steep, it is quite a long day. Going down in two cars we arrived at Kerr Bay, leaving one car there and another at Mt Robert carpark where we would finish. The track to Lakehead Hut is mostly in bush and this was welcome on this warm day, at a nice steady pace with Alison doing a splendid job as the tail-end Charlie. Wasps have become a nuisance here and Chris turned out to be a top wasp-nest spotter, he saved our bacon on several occasions, apart from that his expertise on flora and fauna is second to none, educating us on the different types of beech leaves. Jo chose a top spot by the water for our morning tea. Ducks came out of nowhere; scrounging for tit-bits, out of a group of eight there will be one softie. Heading along the nice track, with everyone keeping together we arrived at Lakehead Hut for lunch. Two hunters welcomed us, they may have done some scouting this morning but were not going anywhere anytime soon, downing some cold tinnies and spinning some yarns, they were indeed good value. There weren’t many staying at the hut Friday, but Saturday would have been full and the hunters would set up their tent further down.
Another twenty minutes and the crossing of the river was straightforward. Then on the other side the next brief stop was Coldwater Hut. I like this one, cosy, with the jetty right out in front, with evening swims. It was tempting to jump in there and then. We heard tui and bellbird and noticed rimu trees on this section, the day was getting warm. Next was the side track to Whiskey Falls. This takes about ten minutes and is well worth it. You get to the end of the track, and then one has to scramble around and over some rocks to get to the pool at the bottom. They are a sight, nearly 40 metres high. It got the name because the remains of an illicit whiskey still were found here in the 1880s.
The last part of the track opened up a little and the sun was in our faces, we were pushing hard and working up a good sweat. We reached the cars at last and then a swim for most at Kerr Bay. How refreshing is that water, you cool down and don’t realise how hot it is out there. A change of clothes and an ice cream finished off the day. It was an honest day and I really enjoyed the company and humour of everyone, thanks for taking part. Those on the trip were: Alison Mountfort, David Wheeler (leaders), Mary Stebbings, Abby Grassham, Anja Claus, Brenda Sinclair, Jo Ecroyd and Chris Ecroyd.
Browning Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park - Sunday 18 January 2015
We met at Richmond at 8.00am and with the air temperature already at 17°C we knew we were in for an extremely hot day. A quick drive to the Hacket carpark and we were underway by 8.40am. The heat wasn’t obvious as we did the first part of the walk up to the bridge, but from then on it climbed steadily all day (so did we). We took a break at the turn off to Browning Hut just after 9.30am, then continued up to the hut enjoying all the interesting tracks that detour around the slips and arrived at the hut just before 11.30am. The hut area was in full sunshine, but below and across the creek was a very welcome shady area we used for an early lunch break. The thought of continuing up to Totara Saddle in the heat wasn’t very appealing, so the return trip was via Hacket Hut. On way back the noise of hundreds of cicadas was almost deafening, occasionally a lone bird could be heard amongst them. We arrived back at the cars by 3.00pm. On the trip were Katie Greer (leader), Donell Raharuhi, Georgina Rayner, Julian Edmonds, and visitors Anja Scholz and Royden Smith.
Awesome foursome conquer Kill Devil
Waingaro Forks Hut, Kahurangi National Park – 17-18 January 2015
The tramp began at the base of Kill Devil Spur with two creek crossings before zigzagging up the historic pack track onto the Lockett Range. This is a well graded track that has been open for mountain bikers for the last few years. Not that we encountered a single bike on this rocky gruelling bike path. After three hours we reached Tin Hut, set just below the track on a grassy clearing. With lunch in our tums and restocked with somewhat brackish water from a swampy creek below the hut we ventured on across the rocky range. Remains of fence lines from the days of stock grazing these tops could be seen amongst the scrubby manuka, particularly the one leading towards the historic Riordan’s Hut. By now we’d come some five hours and with the promise of fresh water at Skeet Creek we sidled downward. From Skeet Creek it was a pleasant grade through bush to the Waingaro River. Some half hour on, we crossed the Waingaro Gorge swing bridge and a couple of minutes later we were at the hut. We set up our tents amidst the wasps and sandflies and saw to our tea. An American couple stayed the night in the hut and a couple of local lads, who had come in from the Anatoki end, tented nearby. It was great to hear morepork calling at night.
It was about 7.30am when we left Waingaro Hut the following morning. We did the 40 minute return walk into the historic Riordan’s Hut before continuing on in very light drizzle to Tin Hut for lunch. The drizzle stopped and we had a pleasant downhill walk, with expansive views of the Takaka Valley, arriving at the ute just after 3.30pm. Those on the trip were; Jocelyn Winn, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees and Jill Sheppard.
Classic tramping country
Boyle River, Lewis Pass area – 31 December 2014 - 4 January 2015
Based at the spacious Outdoor Education Centre, a large group of 16 trampers enjoyed day trips over five days of our extended New Year weekend. The centre consists of 65 bunks in several rooms and costs $29 per night. The weather played its part, with only rain on the first day then mainly fine for the remainder of our stay.Wednesday 31st December - Boyle River
In the afternoon we donned raincoats for a one hour walk, up the track above Boyle River, along the St James Walkway, getting caught in some steady rain.Thursday 1st January - Lewis Tops Route
From Lewis Pass, the group undertook a steady climb to a beautiful large tarn nestled in a small hollow amongst tussock, just below the main ridgeline, taking 2½ hours. This track is easily accessible and gives great alpine views of the Lewis Tops and Maruia Valley from the ridgeline.
Friday 2nd January - Travers Peak
From opposite the Deer Valley campsite we climbed steeply up Foleys Track, out of the bush and along a long tussock ridge to the rocky summit of Travers Peak in 3 hours. This was a well worthwhile climb with great vistas and deserves to be better known.
An alternative trip walked up the Nina Valley to Nina Hut, taking 3½ hours.
Saturday 3rd January - Mt Faust
From the Boyle River Bridge we climbed steadily up this lesser-known track. Emerging from the bush we followed snow poles to a highpoint, taking us 3 hours. While at the top, the mist and cloud magically lifted to give us a sweeping spectacle including some nearby tarns. Half the group returned down the same way while the others followed a poled route down a ridge into the Boyle River. We had not known about this alternative route but from being a good descent on a bush ridge it became more difficult when it turned down some steep shingle scree and down a rocky creek bed to the valley. An alternative trip headed up Boyle River to Magdalen Hut, taking 3½ hours.
Sunday 4th January - Klondyke Valley Route
From Rahu Saddle near Springs Junction we relished a pleasant valley tramp, which steepened near the end and emerged from the bush to a swampy tarn, taking 2 hours. The tarn is nestled in a beautiful basin fed by a tall waterfall and ringed by rugged rocky peaks.
A highly satisfying five days in classic tramping country.
The group was Robert Wopereis, Katie Greer, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Val & Christine Latimer, Marie Firth, Joy Bryant, Ken Ridley, Graeme Muir, Jane Wickham, Diane Jones, Mary Honey (Nelson TC), Lou& Chrissy Kolff and Peter Vella.