Trip Reports

25-26 February 2006 -- Mt Misery Organiser: Uta Purcell

Leader: Dion Pont, Scribe: David Blunt, happy Tramper: Marguerite Verheul

This trip was scheduled in the programme for a climb of Mt Misery on Saturday and a walk out around Lake Rotoroa the following day. The prospect of walking the badly maintained track around the lake must have been a big turnoff as the trip organiser only ended up with 3 starters so instead of going in with the water taxi at $100, it was agreed to start off at the Mt Robert carpark via the Speargrass - Sabine track.

The carpark was left at 9.30am just as the speedboats were preparing for their annual regatta on Lake Rotoiti. Speargrass hut was reached 2 hours later where work was being carried out on the foundations of the new 12 bunk hut. Speedboat noise could even be heard from here! Sabine hut at the head of Lake Rotoroa was reached just after 4pm on a warm sunny afternoon.

An early start was made next morning on the track up to the Sabine gorge bridge then back down the other side of the valley to the lake and around to the DSIR jetty. From here it is a steady pull of nearly 3 hours to the top of Mt Misery which must be one of the best vantage points in the Park with its views right down the lake and around to all the main peaks and up the D'Urville Valley. It was anything but a miserable day with near perfect conditions making it hard to see how Mts Misery & Hopeless could have been given such names.

About 60m below the summit is the Mt Misery bivvy in a grassy basin with nearby tarns -- a delightful spot which we all felt deserved a return visit for an overnight stay.

After nearly 2 hours on top it was back down to the jetty and water taxi pickup at 5pm to end a most enjoyable trip enhanced by not having any wasps to contend with and hearing a lot of bird life most noticeably the kakas.

Unfortunately Uta was unable to take part in the tramp but her willingness to come to Lake Rotoroa on the Sunday to provide the return transport to Lake Rotoiti was appreciated.

Organizer's comment: This tramp went ahead against all the odds and resulted in enjoyment of "Misery" in superb conditions.

4 March 2006 - Northern St Arnaud Range. Organiser: Jocelyn Winn

A good forecast this time. Six of us were to enjoy our morning walk up through the beech forest, not even bothered by wasps at our morning tea spot. All was bliss till we came to a quite extensive patch of pig rooting and no more visible markers. Blue stoat lines generally go up spurs and long the main ridge, pink rat ties generally being side lines, but a DOC trapper marking a spot for some other purpose will use whatever tie he has. However, "up" was our direction, arriving at the bush edge beside more blue markers, some orange ties visible a little further over. Once on the ridge, we had great views in all directions, especially looking over the tarn basins on the eastern side, dropping steeply to the Wairau ski road tucked in by the trees, then the river with the Raglans and other snowy saw-edged ranges beyond. Mark kept a check on our altitutde: was he ensuring we weren't blown out to space?

Further on, we found a lunch spot looking towards the lake and well sheltered from the wind. Dan and Mark entertained with a debate on the definition of "negative birth rate". Back up on the ridge, Pat proved his nimbleness recapturing his blown-away beanie. Despite our dry season, there was water remaining in the tarns: were they lightly frozen? Also, the spring a few minutes below the Parachute Rocks was running, though Borlase Stream was mostly dry. Back at the beach, having arrived in the six hours Grahame predicted, we found the Classic Boat Show was struggling to run events because of the choppy lake. Leaving the others to view the boats, Noel, Pat and I drove back to Alpine Meadows. Pat made a dash up to the beginning of the bush track to be relieved on being reunited with his missing camera. Noel drove back to collect the crew. Thanks to all for a lovely day and to Noel for driving and counting heads in town.

On the trip were: Dan McGuire, Mark Graesser, Patrick Holland, Noel File, and our visitor from the muddy, claggy Tararuas - Michele Cunningham.

5 March 2006 - Anchorage. Organiser: Carl Horn

It was another beautiful Nelson day, with lots of sun. The temperature was warm, but not hot, just right for tramping. Well, calling it tramping is probably a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like a very pleasant amble in a park. We gathered at the shelter at the south end of the Abel Tasman National Park at Marahau at about 10am. Soon after we were on our way across the causeway at a steady pace.

All tracks should be like the Abel Tasman. Along much of the route the track is wide enough to walk two abreast. It's easy to carry on a conversation comfortably. Also much of the route is flat and covered in a sun-baked clay, with no roots or rocks to stub the toes, so it's like walking along a footpath in a city street, without having to concentrate on where to put one's next step. Makes for easy walking at a brisk pace.

Along the way we came across a photographer setting up her equipment, it's tripod legs at odd angles to suspend the camera inches above a pterostylis alveata on the side of the bank. Without her there to tell us, we would have traveled right by this green orchid hidden in all the other green foliage along the side of the track without knowing we'd passed a plant whose habitat is only the Abel Tasman. This fact caused some of us to reflect on the matter of bio-diversity. It's easy to miss, its stalk being only about 3 centimeters high and its hood being less than a centimeter long - very easy to miss.

We stopped briefly for refreshment at Stillwell Bay and at the top of the ridge overlooking the Anchorage. At the second stop, three of the party turned and returned to Marahau, while the rest of the party descended to Anchorage, arriving at 1:30pm. It had taken about 3 hours of actual walking from Marahau to Anchorage.

We had lunch at a picnic table beside Anchorage Hut and some of us had a swim, enjoying the invigorating dip in the sea. At 2:30pm we embarked on a motor launch which, after a half-hour of high-speed wave hopping and three more stops, brought us back to Marahau.

The rest of the group:

Grahame, Willi and Karen decided to enjoy the return journey to Marahau on foot. We saw the waka below in the water and heard the raucous laughter of some tourists having a wow of a time. A lot of sea kayaks had been beached and people were swimming and enjoying the sun. There was so much more activity in the afternoon both in the water and on the track, and most of the walkers appeared to be day trippers.

We walked back at a moderate pace, stopping once for a drink and snack, arriving back at Marahau around 3pm when Grahame picked up the drivers from the water taxi and took them back to the cars.

The entire group then headed for an enjoyable session at the beachside café at Kaiteriteri.

The trampers: Grahame Harris, Karen Wardell, Gillian Arbuthnott, Ian Pavitt, Lindsay Twiname, Carl Horn, and visitors Christine Cantwell, Willi Stewart, Sue & Bruce McGormand.

11-12 March 2006 - Pelorus River. Cancelled due to insufficient support.

12 March 2006 - North Twin . Cancelled for various reasons.

18-19 March 2006 - Kiwi Saddle/Mt Patriarch. Organiser: Mark Graesser.

Just three signed up, one a day-tripper. Undeterred by the small numbers, our small party set off in good spirits for a lovely sunny walk up the Wangapeka. We enjoyed lunch with a cheeky robin at the junction, then carried on up the Kiwi Stream. This graded track had received recent maintenance, very pleasant. We were impressed by the chorus of birdsong in this beautiful valley, and sited a kaka. Having reached the very commodious Kiwi Saddle Hut by 4:00, and with a dodgy weather forecast for Sunday, we headed up the ridge toward Luna as far as the bushline. There, in evening light, we had brilliant views of the ranges in all directions. Overnight, we heard, almost certainly, a kiwi. (Margot has heard enough kiwis and wekas to know the difference, she avows.) This has been duly reported to DOC. The intended trip on Sunday was to include the summit of Mt Patriarch and then out via the Gibbs Route. However, with mist and drizzle in the morning, this enterprise looked problematic, so we took the easy jaunt back to Rolling Junction. The full Patriarch circuit, which the club has been attempting to complete for some time now, remains for the future. We agreed that Kiwi Saddle warrants more time for wanders in all directions. The prospect of kiwis now in the area adds an appropriate cache.

Party: Mark Graesser, Margot Syms, Barry James (day trip).

19 March 2006 - Akersten Bay. Organiser: Gavin Holmwood.

An 8am start, on a lovely sunny Nelson day, saw 13 people leave from the church steps for Marahau and the ever popular Abel Tasman Park.

While one of our number chose to run, the rest of us gently ambles - we met the runner, who got all the way to Anchorage, on her way back, as we got to Akersten Bay.

6 brave souls tested the water (as photos prove) before a very enjoyable break at the Bay.

Liquid refreshments at the café on the way back prepared us for our journey home.

Trampers: Gavin and Lesley Holmwood, Ross Price, Grahame Harris, Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams, and visitors Maree Grays, Yvonne, Kazamu, Geoff Stevens, Beverly Steven and daughter, and Steve from Mapua.

25-26 March 2006 - Lookout Range. Organiser: David Blunt.

There were 15 starters for this weekend trip which was a first for the Club to a unique area with its giant granite rock outcrops.

A windfallen pine tree near the start of the access road necessitated a return to the Glover bach on the Dry Weather Road for a chainsaw. With that obstacle soon removed it was on down to the carpark above the Hope River dam and then up the ridge for just over 2 hours to the bushedge where water bottles were refilled and lunch taken in pleasant sunny conditions with views back to Tasman Bay and the Nelson Lakes ranges.

Finding a suitable campsite was the next task and after proceeding for a further 30 minutes or so along the route, a good one was found just above a small swampy basin. Here tents were pitched then everyone ascended the ridge above to the giant rocks on the Lookout Range where quite a few photos and wind speed measurements were taken. A further gentle climb to the top brought nearby Mt Owen into view looking directly across the Owen Valley East. It was now about 4pm and time to return to the camping area for everyone except for Anita and Barry who continued on back to their car on the Dry Weather Road.

Darkness seemed to arrive all to quickly with comment being made on how better it would be if daylight saving were to go for a further 2 weeks! A campfire provided some welcome additional warmth and light, and for boiling the billy.

Next morning dawned with a somewhat chilly wind and high cloud which looked a bit threatening so it was decided not to go back up to the top of the range and carry along north as previously planned. Instead, tents were packed up and a leisurely return made back down the ridge to the 4wd vehicles and on to the Glovers bach to enjoy a very pleasant late lunch stop and contemplate returning later in the year to do a through trip to Courthouse Flat via Granity Pass.

Party: Alice Patterson, Nora Flight, Ian Pavitt, Dion Pont, Mark Graesser, Uta Purcell, Mike Daly, Rosemary Weir, Rosalie Horsfield, Anita Robertson, Barry James, Mike, Alice & Wade Glover, and David Blunt.

25-26 March 2006 - Cullifords Hill. Cancelled due to insufficient support.

1-2 April 2006 - Diamond Lake. Cancelled due to insufficient support.

1 April 2006 - Horse Trekking. Organiser: David Nielsen.

A fine, sunny day saw three "trampers" astride their willing steeds and setting forth for a 1 hour trek at Stonehurst Farm. The group headed down the gravel road to and into the river, then along a track on the foothills (great views across the Waimea Plains) and through bush back to the stables area. A very enjoyable circuit. By the end of the hour, Gillian and Trish who were newcomers to riding, were keen to continue on and to "go faster" (reckless things!). David, an old hand at riding and well known to Stonehurst, had been allotted a very tall horse (18.2 hands high) appropriately named "Volvo" (massive and placid) - low hanging branches became a problem and, when the time came to dismount, the ground was a long way down. A relaxing and enjoyable day, and much easier than tramping, especially on the uphill bits.

Party: Gillian Arbuthnott, Trish Bennett, David Nielsen.

9 April 2006 - Lees Creek. Cancelled due to wet weather.

9 April 2006 - Dogface Flat. Cancelled due to insufficient support.

Easter: 14-17 April 2006 - St James Walkway. Organiser: Alison Nicoll

Participants - Mary Honey, Karen Wardell, Dave Familton, Ken Ridley, Alison Nicoll [scribe]

We enjoyed great weather - sunshine and minimal wind as we trekked through the back country valleys, enjoying the great views of other valleys and mountains. Through tussock covered wide river flats with beech intrusions from time to time, we enjoyed the sounds of the paradise duck, the song of the robin and the bell bird and, one morning, the shrieks of a falcon who had just missed his breakfast, all adding to the flavour of this walk. I will remember the tramp for the busy huts, cow pats, open spaces, eroded mountains and screes, the snowy tops lit by moonlight at night, the good company, and the last hut we stayed at, the Magdalen - arriving tired we found this small hut in an open glade beside the river, perfect for tents and offering shelter, what more could one want? Advice to anyone doing this tramp at Easter - carry tents!

16 April 2005 - Kings Hut, Wangapeka. Organiser: Grahame Harris

To start, Gillian and Grahame went to Mapua then Geoff took us up the valley from there in his 4WD, relying on Grahame for directions. There were many vehicles parked at Rolling River but we met only eight trampers and two hunters. The day was overcast and mild and it was a pleasant walk beside the green Wangapeka River to the historic Kings Hut for lunch, and then back. It was rather long for an "easy" trip, but easy going. The only incident was driving home in the dark, when Grahame - the navigator - fell asleep in the back before the Dovedale turnoff and woke up just before the Ngatimoti one. That added a few kilometres.

The party: Grahame Harris, Gillian Arbuthnott and visitor Geoff Stevens.

Easter 14-17 April 2006 - Leslie/Karamea. Organiser: Andy Clark

A classic Easter trip that promised 4 full days of tramping at a good brisk pace. Three of us departed from the Mt Arthur car park at 8.00am and cruised through to Salisbury Lodge on the first leg of this hut bagging exercise. Spludgeons was reached with daylight to burn so as everyone was still feeling frisky, a push was made through to the Karamea Bend arriving about 5.00pm. Trampers and fishermen filled the hut in almost equal numbers which provided a great mix of personalities and stories plus the offerings of fresh oven cooked trout that had been caught a few hours earlier.

Next day was another cracker so with a hiss and roar we ambled up to the Crow Hut saying our farewells to photographer Bob who was staying in the area to get those prize-winning shots for this year's photo competition. I have seen the results and I must say they look the goods. One of many lunches was had at Venus and the decision made that, with another full day, Thor would be our resting spot for the night. On arrival a fire was lit, food was consumed with gusto, the next day was discussed and these weary bods hit the sack.

Day 3 and all are holding up to the pace, even with one member bogged in a mud hole for a few minutes. The Karamea was low enough to cross above Moonstone Lake which enabled us to slosh our way to the very nice Trevor Carter Hut. With Helicopter our next port of call, we headed up Lost Valley, only to be slowed by the track being overgrown in places. Still trucking, we hit Helicopter Hut, felt a bit guilty about calling it a day so chased darkness all the way to Stone Hut to have the pleasant company of two ladies from Picton. Today the pace was felt, but it was good to know the last day was to be easier.

Showers and drizzle accompanied us on our homeward leg via Kings Hut out to Bob who met us at the Rolling River car park within 5 minutes of our arrival. Well planned I must say.

My thanks to Bob Janssen and Jocelyn Winn who made this trip what it was.

Easter 14-17 April 2006 - Faerie Queene and Zampa Ridge. Organiser: Mike Drake

Easter and a good weather forecast! Obviously people weren't being fooled, and only three optimists headed towards Lewis Pass for the tops. A St James Rage greeted us at the track start: people were everywhere, cars coming and going. Obviously other people were taking the weather seriously. After a quick mountain bike shuttle we were on our way, heading for a quiet campsite up Camera Gully.

Our subconscious must have registered the low snowline and a leisurely pace ensured that our initial objective of a campsite by the tarn would not be attainable before dark. In CG a NE route took us away from the hurdles (fallen trees) to scrub and tussock and the stream. Some stag spotting and campsite hunting and further ascent up CG eventually brought us to a gentle sloping campsite on the true left of the stream, at approx. 1,100m. Later, leaning against a rock, sipping tea, squeezing another Easter egg down, listening to the roar of a stream, while watching the full moon rise, was reward enough for our toil.

After ascending and descending several metres up the slope overnight, and watching Ian glued to his thermorest, I wondered what I was doing wrong. Had Ian belayed himself to the slope? Friction is the solution. The later model thermorests have a rough surface.

Frost in the morning boded well. At 1500m we found snow conditions that had eluded us throughout last winter. Crampons were donned and the gully was followed to peak 2192. Faerie Queene (2236m) was another kilometre along the ridge. It was eventually decided that to attempt FQ would mean camping another night in CG. We wanted the opportunity to complete the Zampa Ridge in one day in case the questionable forecast for Monday did revert to the Easter tradition. In hindsight this was a good decision.

So, down we went, after a leisurely brew at the campsite, we headed back towards Ada Pass Hut. I convinced the crew that the St James Rage Wave would have passed, and the hut would be deserted. Apart from a possum making its way towards Christopher Hut nobody was to be seen. However, never think you have the monopoly on an original thought. On arrival at the hut a family of three had thought likewise. However, we had a pleasant evening making further inroads into our pile of food.

In the morning, a cairn and a dead-end track enticed us into the bush, we reverted to a compass bearing to navigate the bush and bring us to the tops. A westerly wind and darkening cloud spurred us along the ridge. The wind swept tarns and a mischievous descending cloud base made the decision to exit the ridge without a camp. Our planned exit was down the west face of the SW spur into the Right Branch Maruia River. A compass bearing was set up and we headed down. The river was crossed, and after a steepish northerly diagonal climb the Cannibal Gorge Track was encountered.

Some diplomatic talking by Ruth and chocolate bribes by Ian was enough to arrange transportation to Maruia Springs to pick up the car. Their earnest negotiations were spurred on by the thought of waiting an hour for yours truly to mountain bike back over the Lewis to the car. A brush up and some carbohydrate at Maruia Springs concluded our Lewis Pass experience.

Thanks to Ruth Hesselyn and Ian Pavitt for an enjoyable trip.

PS. If someone on your trip has a new digital camera, add a few minutes to your estimated times. Also wear colourful clothes if you want to be frequently digitised.

Photos: Queene/index.html

Editors note: At the start of the track, some fit-looking young things equipped with alpine gear, came over to our group asking if we were from the Nelson Tramping Club. These folk belonged to the University of Canterbury Tramping Club and had seen details of this NTC trip via our website - and thought they'd also do the trip. However, they'd spotted the volume of snow down the valley and decided they didn't want to attempt the trip, believing the snow would be soft and deep and generally awful, as they had encountered these kinds of conditions before. Well, the snow turned out to be good firm stuff, but as can be seen from the above report, the trip varied from that originally planned.

Good to hear that other tramping clubs are checking out our website - hope the Canterbury University team had an enjoyable alternative trip.