Trip Reports

2 March 2008 Courthouse Flat walks Organiser: Peter Wise Cancelled weather
2 March 2008 Mt Duppa Organiser: Jim Maxwell 

Extensive views over Rai Valley and Cable Bay were hoped for but not achieved because the top of Mt Duppa

was enveloped in cloud. This did not seem to diminish the appetites of the nine participants when it came to lunch in a sheltered spot near the top. The damp weather made the trip down a bit greasy underfoot however we all arrived safely back at our cars for the drive back to Nelson.
9 March 2008 Richmond Hills / Fire Lookout Organiser: Jo Kay 

We started from Washbourn Gardens and walked up the Jimmy Lee Walkway entering the bush after Hill Street. The track became steeper as we continued and on reaching Fowler Road four members of the group decided to turn around. We continued up the Forestry Road to the Fire Lookout and were welcomed by the resident Forestry Fire Warden. He said there had been a number of fires and only yesterday he had spotted one in the Wairoa Gorge and been able to direct the helicopters over there to avert disaster. Jodie and Punga were pleased to jump in the mussel float trough for a drink and cool down. Bronwyn declined! 

We had amazingly clear views in all directions, making a superb vista to eat lunch by. We returned by different forestry roads and alternative loops so that everyone was thoroughly bamboozled about where we were! 

Most were surprised that there was so much native bush to walk through on the Richmond Hills. 

Total time was 4 ½ hours. We think the trip may need to be regraded as easy/moderate due to the steepness. 

The happy trampers were: Gillian Arbuthnott, Susan and Jodie Sinclair, Pat and Punga Holland, Mary Honey, Mark Stevens and visitors Louise Gould, Bronwyn Jones, Lyn Charters and two students, and Helen Edgerton.
8-9 March 2008 Lake Camp Organiser: Grahame Harris 

Party: Uta Purcell, Dion Pont, Gretchen Williams, Alison Nicoll, Ruth Hesselyn, Christine Hoy, Ann Sheridan, Mike Marren, Grahame Harris. 

The long drive to Trilobite Hut saw us start walking late morning. Feeding stops at Chaffey’s Hut (showing further dilapidation) and the Hunters Camp, and then starting up beside Camp Stream on a recently taped track - the work of the dedicated people who have set up an impressive network of stoat-trap lines up this valley including difficult routes above the bushline. Unfortunately this track took us away from where we wanted to go, up on to the spur below point 1623, and we had to sidle around above the bush and drop down to our lake. There was room and to spare for our eight tents at this lovely site, but it was spoilt by drizzle coming in, encouraging early-to-bed. It rained and got rather windy during the night. Sunday dawned cloudy but fairly clear with a brilliant red-cloud sunrise so we continued upward across tussock meadows and up through trees to above the bushline, where we did a slightly uncomfortable sidle across to the main spur of Mt Prospect above Chaffey Stream. Unfortunately some drizzle and strong cold wind punctuated this part of the journey. The new trap lines ran down here so it was an easy route-find down the spur to the drop-off point before the final bluffs. Unfortunately their chosen route down the side differed from the point we had used previously and was very difficult at the start. Once in the gully below it also departed from the previous route and so avoided the spot where Uta was attacked by wasps last time we came that way. Undeterred, she found a nest on the new section and again entertained us with a spirited song and dance. Shortly after, we picked up the Fenella Track and returned to the vehicles and home with no further incident. Despite some adversities, it seemed to be enjoyed by all, especially with the Google Earth like views of the Cobb Valley.
 16 March 2008 Browning and Hacket Huts Organiser: David Nielsen Cancelled 
22-24 March 2008 Cape Foulwind / Charming Creek Organiser: Alison Nicoll 

Day 1 - A quick and early lunch was scoffed down after our arrival at the Westport Holiday Camp at 11.30am. This gave us a good start on our Cape Foulwind tramp. We began at the Tauranga Bay end of the track by chance having missed the turn-off at the north end of the track. This turned out well as the seal colony was only 10 minutes and the Bay House Café awaited our return! The grey skies did not bring forth rain and the bit of mist was very warm. The seals were impressive – feeding their young and lolling about contentedly, but more impressive was the mighty crashing ocean at full tide, the thundering, pounding surf seemed to be trying to wear away the shore and certainly was deafening at times. We continued the walk along the rugged coast to the smallish lighthouse, now fully automated. Ross found a track down to the sea level below and we descended to view more of the ocean with flying spray and to view the area where 1 million tons of rock had been quarried for the groynes and stop banks of the Buller River. Some hot chocolate and an organic beer were enjoyed at the café. Wildlife seen were the seals, gulls and copper butterflies.

Day 2 - Undeterred by rain overnight and a light drizzle we started out driving to the Seddonville end of the Charming Creek Walkway. The drizzle soon cleared ensuring we had some good views of the area and were able to enjoy the historic bits of machinery left from the days of coal mining and native timber milling. The track follows the coal rail line and is therefore reasonably wide with many sleepers and some rails still there. Some shelters have been erected to help preserve the best of the machinery. An early diesel engine with attached coal truck gave us a perspective on the size of the operation. 

The Charming Creek Coal Mine is at this end of the track and railway lines disappear into the tunnel, but closer inspection showed it has been bricked up a short way inside. A startled swallow flew out as we looked in. The bush is slowly regenerating after milling up until 1935. Manuka is dominant at present but we did see some small Rimu, Beech, Celery Pine and Totara. We went as far as the second swing bridge – about 3/4s of the track before turning back. Taking a shortcut on the way back gave us time to also walk the short Chasm Creek Walkway through yet another tunnel and amazing dripping banks of mosses. The Mohikinui River and the creek views of both tracks were very pleasant and some amazing and huge rock formations impressive. I was impressed by the number of Bell-Birds we heard and saw as well as several Tomtits, Robins and a fearless family of Weka along the track. A stop at Granity at the Drifters Café to enjoy the luxury of carrot cake, coffee and a Good Bastard Beer ended our weekend enjoyed by Ross Price, David and Alison Nicoll [Scribe] We wished more of our members had come along to enjoy this weekend.
19-24 March 2008 The Three Passes Organiser: Marguerite Verheul 

Leaving two days before Easter weekend meant we were ahead of the Easter crowd, although the original intention was to ensure sufficient time if we needed a pit day and a travelling day. The travelling day was no longer required because Lawrie and Mike had offered to take a car to the east end and travel in the opposite direction. Logistically the trip was now easier, and the car swap in Reefton (coffee stop inclusive of course) was the moment of truth, did all those emails and phone calls make sense? Cars, gear and people sorted; coffee, pies and hot x-buns consumed and both cars were off in their relevant directions. From here I can’t tell too many stories for the East to West trip. I know they definitely missed the Easter rush. Confirmed when they had Carrington and Park Morpeth Huts to themselves. And when we met them at the bottom of Browning Pass on day three, their crossing over Harman and Whitehorn Passes the day before, had been excellent. Browning Pass could only have been just as good – especially when they had all of 200m left to climb. 

Day 1: Lake Kaniere to Grassy Flats Hut. Our party left the Lake Kaniere Road end mid afternoon and followed the old pack track (very obvious in parts) up to Grassy Flats Hut. Situated in terrain much suited to its name the hut was a very warm hut and only occupied by two keen hunters, looking to shoot the biggest of whatever they could find. 

Day 2: Grassy Flats to Lake Browning. By the time we had reached Styx Saddle the cloud had disappeared and we could see where we were going and potential future trips. Harman Hut (the most appealing hut to at least the scribe on this trip) made a perfect sun soaked lunch spot while we spied the track to Browning Pass. 

The sunny aspect with alpine views at Lake Browning was too good to pass by and the team set up camp on the north east end of the lake. This is definitely one of those campsites that make photos for the lounge wall. While some lazed and others went off to reminisce over a past trip up Mt Murchison, Bob was left to try and mend his boots. Boots that were in no state to keep travelling over rock, scree and snow for another couple of days. 

Day 3. Lake Browning to Carrington Hut . The drop off Browning Pass could potentially be a challenge and it is very difficult to imagine stock being persuaded that the Pass was a way to get to the West Coast. Our descent timed perfectly with the East to West party. Our short lived party of 10 met at the bottom of the steepest section, where stories, cars keys were swopped and Easter Eggs handed out (thank you Tony). 

We stopped for an early lunch at Park Morpeth and used the time and sun to dry tents, repair walking poles and chat to a couple of guys who had decided to run the three passes in one day!!! Climbing to Whitehorn Pass means crossing a mix of terrain from scrub, large boulders, avalanche debris and rocky scree $#@$%&, showered by the Cronin Glacier at the head of the valley. By the time the Pass was reached the peaks had disappeared into cloud and the Cronin Glacier fell out of the clouds. More rock hopping of sorts and a skate down the residue snow-field on the NE side of Whitehorn Pass before we had a break at Aerial Tarns. Although the cloud hugged the peaks our views into Mary Stream and Taipoiti River were not obstructed. 

Within 15 minutes of dropping off Harman Pass evidence of the Easter rush emerged from below. At least seven trampers were heading up to Aerial Tarns for the night and they promised us a very busy Carrington Hut. By the time the White and Waimakariri Rivers came into view the day was closing and rain felt imminent. 

Carrington Hut as promised was very busy, with parties as large as 17 occupying bunks and kitchen. All of us opted for the solitude of our trusty tents, pleased with the knowledge that we had completed the three passes in relative solitude and that we were heading in the opposite direction to the maddening crowds! 

Day 4: Carrington Hut to the Bealey Pub. Steady rain chased us down the true right of the Waimakariri and out to the Bealey Pub, to the car (of course), for hot coffee before driving back to Nelson. 

East to West: Dion Pont, Gretchen Williams, Lawrie Halkett, Mike Marren & Tony Haddon. West to East: Bob Janssen, Mark Stevens, Marguerite Verheul, Mike Drake and Ruth Hesselyn
 23 March 2008 Brook Sanctuary Organiser: Arthur Jonas 

Our original plans to go into the more remote parts of the sanctuary were cancelled due to the high number of wasp nests. Instead we walked the perimeter, taking a route through the northwestern corner to reach the firebreak and climbing to Jenkins Hill. Despite the ideal conditions we met no other walkers along the ridge to Third House or on the Dun Line. We had a leisurely lunch at the Atmore whare site, with the obligatory Easter Eggs (thanks Yvonne). At the Four Corners we descended the spur to The Brook, walking down the eastern side of the stream to view some of the relics of the waterworks. Participants, Tom Brown, Graham Harris, Pat Holland, Mary Honey, Yvonne Kyle and Arthur Jonas. 
 29 March 2008 Hellfire Creek Organiser: Dion Pont Cancelled 
30 March 2008 Kokorua Organiser: David Blunt 

Under threatening skies twenty two optimists headed over the Whangamoas to Kokorua where we parked our vehicles on the other side of the locked gate at the end of the public road in a paddock of friendly cattle. From there we followed a farm track across private land to the mouth of the Whangamoa River which was still running high after heavy rain the previous day. Stops were made along the way to look at places of interest including the old Baird homestead. Lunch was held on the beach in quite mild conditions despite the overcast sky then it was back to the cars via the same route. A very pleasant outing to a seldom visited location with the rain staying around the hills and allowing us to enjoy the walk and the views.

Participants were Ruth and Skye Hesselyn, Bob Janssen, Colin Duncan, Dan McGuire, Gretchen Williams, Val Latimer, Tony Haddon, Gillian Arbuthnott, Ross Price, Yvonne Kyle, Jenny Revell, Anne Sheridan, Jim Maxwell, Donata Seeyoutomo, Arthur Jonas, Barry and Dion Pont, David Blunt and visitors Lynne Charters, Louise Gould, Martin Rutledge and Miriam Peters. 
 6 April 2008 Sugarloaf Organiser: Christine Hoy See Private Trip report 8 April 2008 
5-6 April 2008 Courthouse Flat to Owen River Organiser: Dion Pont Cancelled 
13 April 2008 Mt Arthur-Flora Hut Organiser: Trish Bennett 

We left Richmond car park at 8.45am and arrived at Flora car park about 10.00am. We did the introductions as we had a few visitors on the trip. Started off up the track towards the Mt Arthur Hut on a beautiful calm day (no wind). Stopped at the first picnic table we saw for morning tea. Several trampers commented on a specific species of trees and took photos. Then we headed on towards the Mt Arthur Hut arriving about 11.30am. We decided to walk up a track which looked like a staircase up to the knob behind the hut for lunch. Had quite an amazing view, with some cloud around. The cameras were out again!  

We then descended on the track to the Flora Hut. Noticed birds like Fantails, Robins, Riflemen, etc.  

A young mountain bike rider took the bank down to the hut and some of our group decided to slide down.  

Stopped at the Flora Hut for another snack to find there were several other people there. Then walked back to the cars to find the car park was very full. Drove back to Nelson after a very pleasant day.  

Participants were:- Gillian Arbuthnott, Jim Maxwell, Beverley Muirhead, Trish Bennett, and visitors Gail Malinowski, Jane Terrell, Carl Storey, Christine Spears, and Louise Gould.
12-13 April 2008 Duffy Lake, Victoria Range Organiser: David Blunt 

David Blunt planned this trip inspired by a picturesque photo of Lake Duffy with mountains in the background. We arrived at the appointed place to find the tide out but a nice camping spot at the north end of the clearing. Tony got a campfire going in the dry riverbed and enlightened us on the law re fires in DoC controlled areas i.e. Fires are allowed to cook on or to provide warmth. 

After lunch we headed up the valley on an unmarked route/track which was a little vague in places so well done to the ‘path finders’. A particularly steep and muddy section had a fixed rope that took us above the tree line. We reached the unnamed peak of 1383m with views to may other unnamed peaks in the Victoria Range as well as Mt Ross and Mt Penneal. Back at camp Tony continued as Master Firemaker ably assisted by Dion to provide continuous hot water. Rosie and I discovered the comfort of hot rocks in our sleeping bags and Pat volunteered his instant choc pudding for an experiment in making hot chocolate mousse augmented with Richfield’s dark chocolate – enjoyed by the chocoholics in the group. We missed the bats but heard loud Morepork screeching and some Kea calls. 

On the trip down Uta damaged her knee on a rock disguised as soft moss. At the cars the majority opted to climb Mt Haast. Tony and Gretchen returned home and Uta rested with our combined reading supply at the Mt Haast car park. The remaining six ascended Mt Haast in picture perfect conditions. The track is steep but straightforward and we reached the 1587m summit in just over two hours. We lunched with spectacular 360 ° views including the Grey River mouth to the SW and views up the Lake Stream and Klondike Valleys. We had a speedy descent of just over one hour and a debriefing at the Rock Snot Cafe at Murchison Campground. 

Members of the Party were: David Blunt, Tony Haddon, Pat Holland, Christine Hoy, Jo Kay (scribe), Dion Pont, Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams and visitor Rosalie Horsfield.
19 April 2008 Map and Compass training Organiser: Grahame Harris 

Cancelled. Lack of support