Trip Reports, October-December 2010



  1. Mount Arthur Hut, Kahurangi NP
  2. Barnicoat Walkway, Stoke
  3. Wakapuaka Sand Flats, The Glen
  4. Akerston Bay, Abel Tasman NP
  5. Big Bush, Glenhope
  6. Mount Fell Hut, Mt Richmond FP
  7. Cowin Spur, Kahurangi NP
  8. Dew Lakes, Bryant Range
  9. Mole Saddle & Tiraumea Valley
  10. Hailes Knob
  11. Hori Bay

10 October 2010 – Mount Arthur Hut – Kahurangi NP
Leader: David Rae

The twelve participants on this tramp were: David Rae (leader), Sean Rae (11), Michael Cotton (12), Hazel Rae (9), Amber Blommaart (visitor), Robyn Walsh, Sara Vickerman, Christine Hoy, Kirsten, Tom, Maya (9) & Ethan (6) Speers (visitors).

It was a cloudy day with a forecast of a southerly change and some showers. When we arrived at the Flora car park the showers had already started and there was a cold wind blowing so we donned coats and travelled along the Flora track. We soon encountered a large patch of snow around Whisky Falls and after we had turned off the track and reached the “Dr Seuss” dracophyllum trees, it began to snow on us.

As we ascended we came across thick, fresh snow. If we wandered off the footprints our fore-walkers had made we could put our feet into hip-high snow. It was magical.

The younger ones began to slow down as we climbed higher into this thick snow so were glad when we arrived at the hut which had the most snow I have ever seen around it. The sign showing other locations was almost covered!

We had lunch during which the faster ones headed back. At this stage we were joined by Beverly Muirhead and David Blunt who were doing a private trip hoping to catch us up.

The youngest children had to be carried back over the snow as they had cold feet or were tired while others carried the packs. We all returned safely after a memorable trip.

The importance of keeping a group together, and the fitter ones being available to help the less fit , were lessons learnt.

>>> David Blunt's trip photos

24 October 2010 – Barnicoat Walkway
Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

The morning trip started with a discussion concerning the route. Democracy ruled and away we went on the alternative track up The Barnicoat – namely, the recently-constructed mountain bike track.  This pleasant zig zag wends its way for one hour and 20 minutes upwards through bush, luxuriant patches of ferns, past a waterfall (useful for those who happen to leave their drink bottle on the kitchen bench) and then out into the more open tracts of the windfall-strewn hillside, crisscrossing the somewhat forlorn-looking and log-strewn Scout Track.

Further enjoyment was the sight of a white cascade of native clematis glowing in the low cloud covered bush, the loud quacking of a duck, the sound of a stream and the skilful evasion of friendly and cheerful mountain bikers

At the summit, the track emerges from the manuka and beech and a suitable place for morning tea was located, but we didn’t linger too long in the cool and damp air.

A brisk walk along the crest of the hill brought us to the windy slope where – depending on one’s sense of adventure or degree of stupidity – para gliders run at top speed and then fling themselves into space. Yes, I know – they look very pretty fluttering and floating like butterflies downwards to Ngawhatu Park.

By now, the cloud had cleared and we were rewarded with a regional view of all four compass points.

One keen member of the group headed home to Richmond along the hilltops and the rest of us continued downhill along the service road – encountering more mountain bikers – back to our starting point and the anticipated pleasures of lunch and a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Thank you for your company: David Blunt, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Marguerite Verheul, WTC member Georgina Rayner, plus visitors Christine Speirs & Deb Fish.   

31 October 2010 – Wakapuaka Sandflats to The Glen
Leader: Robyn Walsh 

A perfectly sunny morning gave us a pleasant start from Ted’s van. The five of us meandered across the sandflats heading for the Boulder Bank. The track was easy to follow despite the overgrown foliage in places. Along the way, three tidal channels crossed our path. Each one had a concrete floodgate, wide enough to carefully walk across the tops of, enabling us to get straigh out to the Bank

Once on the Boulder Bank, a crude pathway to follow did not make walking any easier. A strong easterly wind that had sprung up was tiresome

After we had passed the Cawthron’s Mussel Spat Hatchery, a line of flax bushes was an ideal spot for a snack stop, giving us good shelter from the wind.

A gravelled road was much easier to walk on. We arrived at The Glen, when Ted decided to retrieve the van. He and John strode out along The Glen Road while we sorted out lunch. We enjoyed the sun, scenery and having a chat. We were nearly finished eating when the men appeared, an hour later. (4:00 hrs).

Too early to go home, we went to the Miyazu Gardens for a stroll along the paths and a visit to the Tui Railway Station. Then, on to Nile Street Dairy for icecream.

Hometime came at 3.15pm for the five, who were: Robyn Walsh, Ted Brooks, Beverley Muirhead, Karen Wardell (past member) & visitor John Tolmie.

7 November 2010 – Akerston Bay
Leader: Ross Price

Four stalwart trampers took off early from Nelson and arrived just after the Motueka Flea Market opened for a look around the stalls.   Without much delay we were off to Marahau for a prompt start on the coastal track, arriving at noon for lunch at Akerston Bay.

Two keen photographers had time for snaps of native plants and flowers, while we had a leisurely lunch on the beach. Then there was a quick dash back to the cars for the drive back to Nelson.

Participants:  Uta Purcell, Ross Price Leader, Karen Batchon, and Dan McGuire.

13–14 November 2010 – Big Bush – Glenhope
Organiser: Mike Glover

We had a quiet weekend exploring around our property in Glenhope. No one felt like walking very far so the option of checking out some of the forestry roads by 4WD was popular. On Saturday evening we had a Barbeque tea together. A very relaxing weekend.
Eager participants were: the Glover family, Dion Pont, Marguerite Verheul & Pete McDonald.

13–14 November 2010 – Mt Fell Hut –  Mount Richmond Forest Park
Organiser: David Blunt

Four of us arrived at the Timms Creek carpark just after 9am to find a van from the Wellington Mountaineering & Tramping Club already there. This meant we had to carry tents on the long climb up to Mount Fell Hut on what turned out to be an uncomfortably-hot, sticky day.

We arrived mid-afternoon to find it duly occupied but managed to secure a couple of bunks and put up two tents alongside.

The days of the hut on its present site appear to be numbered as DOC are concerned about its safety as a result of ground slippage below.

Following a welcome rest and an opportunity to rehydrate, we set off to climb Mount Fell just before 5pm – the forecast for the following day was not too promising. This took about one hour in a strong northerly wind under a blue sky which afforded good conditions for photographs...

Two keas were happy to have themselves snapped at close range by Raymond, but they later proved to be a real nuisance before daybreak next morning by jumping around on the hut roof and taking a fancy to the tent guy ropes. This contributed to an earlier-than-planned start to the day, which was going to include a climb of Johnston Peak on the way out, but this was flagged away because of the strong wind and clouds scudding across.

We were back at the car by midday and proceeded to Havelock for lunch to conclude a largely satisfying weekend.

Those on the trip were: Ruth Hesselyn, Raymond Salisbury, Liam Sullivan and David Blunt (scribe).

Our sympathy and best wishes go to Bob Janssen who was to have led the trip but could not do so following a serious accident to a family member.

>>>Raymond's trip photos
>>>David Blunt's trip photos

27–28 November 2010 – Cowin Spur – Kahurangi National Park
Organiser: Mike Glover

We started walking at 8.15am up the Cowin Spur ridge. It was really hot and steep because it’s in the open. However, after the saddle we were in the bush.

We continued onward up to the bushline where we had lunch then put on our hats and sunscreen to get ready for the tops. We camped on a ridge close to a tarn. However, the tarn was covered in snow. Grant went for a walk to Mount Star while everyone else relaxed at camp and enjoyed the views. It had been an extremely hot day and about tea time it started to rain heavily. Thunder rumbled. Before dark it went clear again and we had a lovely sunset.

We returned the way we came on another fine, hot day.

On the trip were: Mike, Wade (scribe) & Alice Glover, Brian Renwick, Grant Standing, Dion Pont and Nora Flight.

27 November 2010 – Dew Lakes
Leader: Mary Honey

A leisurely 8:30 start did not deter five trampers from quick marching up to the Rush Pools. After a brief morning tea we continued at a brisk pace despite the warm temperature. Lunch in the shade on the other side of Dew Lakes provided nice views of Mount Fishtail,  Baldy and the Pelorus Valley.

Going back down provided the best entertainment, because Uta spotted three kinds of orchids in bloom, including violet-coloured Sun orchids. There were also plenty of native Iris still in bloom.

It was a beautiful day and good company. Participants were: Mary Honey (scribe) Uta Purcell, Val Latimer, Dan McGuire, & Mark Graesser.

 4–5 December 2010 – Mole Saddle & Tiraumea Valley
Leader: Dion Pont

To escape the madding crowds of the Christmas rush, six hardy souls ventured forth into the wilderness south-east of Murchison.

On arrival at Mataki Lodge in Raymond’s roomy CRV, it was apparent that a member was missing. Their car was empty – they’d gone on ahead – but which way? They decided to split into two search parties. Dion would lead one up the Jameson Ridge Track, a ‘relentlessly nice’ climb through forest.

Raymond and Liam would commit to the harder route up Mole Stream. This followed on old logging road, but quickly became an adventurous boulder-hop up the open riverbed. A marked track eventually led up to the tiny Mole Hut, which is set on prime real estate at the bushline. The duo continued sidling along a tussock gully to Mole Saddle, rendezvousing with the rest, who had caught the missing member. (3:00 hrs) Our thermometer read over 28 degrees in the sun.

After ascending the grassy, albeit boggy, slopes of Pt. 1340, the party headed due north down a tongue of tussock into the beech forest. This valley route proved tedious going, as windfall and a few gnarly scrambles impeded progress. Thus, it was after 6pm when the six darkened the door of Tiraumea Hut, which was inhabited by three men.

So, dinner was eaten outside in a clearing, where a swathe of sandflies feasted and drank to delirium on exposed flesh.

On Sunday, to avoid the 800m climb back up the track to Mole Saddle, Dion led his party down the pleasant Tiraumea River to the road, crossing the creek about 40 times. (4:30 hrs)

Liam and Raymond did the hard yards, returning to Mole Saddle, then dropping down the Jameson track to retrieve the vehicles. (5:30 hrs).

All in all, despite the delays and blistering hot weather, the hut-baggers now have two more huts to add to their growing collections – it was a worthwhile weekend away.

Escapees were: Dion Pont, Liam Sullivan, Carole Crocker, Kristi du Bois, Wade Glover & Raymond Salisbury (scribe.)

5 December 2010 –Hailes Knob
Leader: Gretchen Williams

After walking a couple kilometres on the 4WD track to the saddle at the base of Knob, 13 mad trampers made their way directly up the sun baked, steep and grassy slope to meet the track just below the forested crown of the Knob. The group re-gathered on top of the Knob for lunch in the shade of the beech growing through the limestone coppice.  Views of the Kahurangi peak country and large bunches of ranunculus hanging from the cliffs were enjoyed through the branches.

Some of the group, ready for more, descended about 100 metres down the ‘other’ side of the Knob to an exposed saddle just below the bush line. The views were outstanding.  So, kindly, they returned to fetch those of us still in recovery mode.  360 degrees views of the top of the south featuring a full frontal of Hoary Head, Crusader, both Bays and a snow-topped Tapuae-o-uenuku in the distance were enjoyed by all.

To return, we retraced our steps to the cars. The direct descent down the slopes was considered the quickest way for mad trampers to get out of the afternoon sun.

On the drive back, a short detour to the nearby Blue (swimming) Hole was voted a must. The cool dip in this Takaka River hole just off the Cobb Valley road was appreciated by all.

If repeated, following the zig zag pack track up to the ridge and then the goat track along the ridge to just below the forested crown may make for a more pleasant walk and give the option of a loop tramp. Us trampers were: Gretchen Williams (leader), Tony Haddon, Kelvin Drew, Marie Lenting, Christine Hoy, Sue Locke, Lou Kolff, Mary Honey (scribe), Visitors David Sissons, Kevin McCutcheon, Claire Marshall,  John Tolme & Jean-Philip.

12 December 2010– Hori Bay
Organiser: David Blunt

The road into Hori Bay is 14km long and in dry conditions cars can be driven all the way to the beach where there is a small carpark. However we chose to walk the last 2km down the hill instead. After a stop for morning tea on the small sandy beach an inspection was made of the nearby rock cave and tunnels before heading up the hill on the 30 minute clifftop walk mostly through native bush to a point looking southwards across Delaware Bay to Pepin Island. An excellent spot for lunch where some Xmas goodies were exchanged with Kaye Halkett's Xmas cake adding to the occasion. Then it was back the same way stopping again at the beach for a swim.

The trip was held in ideal conditions and enjoyed by Katie & Maurice Cloughly, Pat Holland, Beverley Muirhead and Dion Pont. It was a shame that the turnout was so poor.

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