Trip Reports

12-13 February 2005 - Nydia Walk. Organiser: Marianne Hermsen

After dark, grim looking skies and lots of rain on Friday night we were greeted by a lovely calm and pleasant Saturday morning as the group gathered at the Miyazu Gardens at 7.30am to leave for the Sounds. Two carloads left for Duncan Bay and the other two cars headed to Havelock to pick up the key to the lodge (and have some delicious latte's and goodies from the local bakery).

Northbound group: From Kaiuma Bay carpark, we set off on our first part of the walk which took us gently up hill to the Kaiuma Saddle. And what a lovely spot for lunch it was. From there it was all downhill through bush and farmland to the stunning Nydia Bay. We noticed lots of pig rooting along the track and sure enough a good-sized black pig greeted us on our descent to the bay. After we arrived at the lodge, managed to unlock the doors and made ourselves at home, we all went off to the jetty for swims and sunbathing.

As we left the next morning for the second day of our walk, we met Grahame and Susan who had stayed overnight at the DOC camping ground on the other side of the bay. When our party got to the lovely camping ground most of us couldn't resist the temptation of the water and had a swim. Then back into dry clothes and off to the Nydia Saddle where we had lunch overlooking Nydia Bay for the last time before our view changed to that of Duncan Bay. What beautiful bush it was and as we reached Pipi beach, yes you guessed it, another stop for a swim, before we reached Duncan Bay and headed back home.

The trip was enjoyed by all of us and comes highly recommended for this time of the year.

Southbound group: We had a steady but sometimes hot climb up to the Nydia Saddle. From here three members tried a side trip up the unmaintained track to the right, but soon found it badly overgrown and turned back. Then on down to the Nydia Bay campsite where some members had a swim on the full tide, then two set up camp while the other four continued on to share the night with the Northbound party at the Lodge, 2 hours further on. It was arranged that the campers would meet them at the Lodge by 10 the next morning to continue the shorter tramp to the Kaiuma end. The campers explored the coast before dinner and gathered an entree of cockles. Next morning the campers arrived at the Lodge to find the rest of the party sitting outside, having been evicted by the Northbound party when they left at 9 am. The prospective new members were puzzled at being put out before they needed to leave, and then left with the key. Teamed up again, we made our way up to the Kaiuma Saddle and waved to Tapuaeouenuku knowing that Tony's party was not there to wave back. Some members explored the open ridge up to the left to obtain broader views, before lunching and then descending to the bottom of the valley. But then - horror of horrors - another climb nearly as high as the Saddle that was not evident on the contourless Park Map. Finally down to the farm, feet cooled at the ford, and then into cars for icecreams at Pelorus Bridge before continuing home.

Northbound group: Rosemary Weir, Karen Wardell, Marianne Hermsen, and guests Val Latimer, Helen Inkster, and Marianne Buschmann.

Southbound group: Grahame Harris, Ross Price and guests Sally Kidson, Susan Bolger, Juli Eaddy, and Sheree Milten.

19-20 February 2005 - Lake Chalice/Old Man. Organiser: Ian Pavitt

After a long drive, with a strong tramping belief,
we stretched and yawned to obtain some relief.
Off down the track with forethought but no malice
to explore the region around Lake Chalice.
A brief stop at the first sign of habitation
gave Jim a chance for his blood examination.
Around the lake and across the Goulter
this fine group of individuals didn't falter.
From here the going got decidedly tougher
plus with the heat we all did suffer.
At last our namesake hut came into view
and each "old man" grabbed a pew.
A good night's sleep then we climb to Old Man Peak
for the best views this group has seen all week.
A mean descent before a sharp rise
brings tears of sweat into these old men's eyes.
A lunch spot on top our highest point meant
thoughts of joy of the downward descent.
Soon down to the lake shore once more
with only a "small grunt" left in store.
Yes, with a sweltering afternoon sun
we carried our swag up without much fun.
Four parboiled men arrived at the car and swore
never in this heat to do an encore.

Many thanks to Dan McGuire, Jim Maxwell, Grahame Harris for a very poetic trip.

26-28 February 2005 - Slaty/Roebuck Ridge. Cancelled due to no takers

27 February 2005 - Mt Arthur. Cancelled due to poor weather

6 March 2005 - Fringed Hill. Organiser: Carl Horn

The trampers: Carl Horn, John Lammin, John Olykan, and visitor Val Latimer.

The tramp: The day dawned cloudy, but some clear sky in the distance promised a good day, so by 9:45am the four of us were at the bottom of the hill in the Brook Valley. We climbed the steep access road to the Dun Mountain Walkway and then on to Third House where we had a bit of a rest and some refreshment. It was a pleasant day, sunny and warm, with pleasant company, made all the more pleasant by being able to walk alongside each other and have some interesting chats. After Third House we found ourselves climbing single file uphill towards Fringed Hill through close bush on a track apparently not as well traveled. As we climbed, we began to feel the dampness in the air, and the occasional spot of rain. Eventually we came out into the open at the top of Fringed Hill by the radio masts, only to see that we were in the clouds with visibility measured in a few hundreds of feet, enough to see each other and the open space at the top but not much else. Nevertheless we stopped and had lunch. The return trip was almost straight down the hill on a four-wheeler access track. As we broke through the cloud ceiling, we found ourselves coming out under clear blue sky with a good view of Nelson and the Bay.

Down to the car and back home we went, arriving in the middle of the afternoon. Not what any tramper would call a challenging effort, nor did it provide any great excitement, nor any spectacular views, but it was a pleasant day and the four of us did enjoy our outing together. I for one haven't yet seen the view from Fringed Hill, so it's still on my list to do again, but on a fully sunny day next time.

6 March 2005 - Lyell Walkway. Organiser: Barry Pont

With the weather forecast of "heavy rain looming" (Western Ranges), 17 trampers arrived in Murchison to rain arriving at the Lyell before 10am, the weather started to clear and stayed that way, until 4pm. With an easy graded old Pack Trail Walk (1870) we walked to the Zala Town site (1 hour). Over a thousand miners worked these hills, peaking in the 1880's. From Zala Town Site, we walked on up Zala Track, proceeding to the old Machine Hut (now collapsed), which was 2 hours walking. This site is beside Eight Mile Creek.

On the return trip, the party split with nine fitter trampers walking down the old track to Alpine Mine (20 minutes) where one old hut still exists.

We all returned through the old Lyell Valley Cemetery, arriving at the vehicles at 4pm. 2 hours drive to Nelson.

Party: Ruth & Skye Hesselyn, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Uta Purcell, Margaret Edwards, Grahame Harris, Beverley Muirhead, Mark Stevens, Ross Price, Ian Pavitt, Barry & Dion Pont, Mike Marren, Neil Thomas, Julie Simpson, and visitors Noel & Sheryl File.

12-13 (14) March 2005 - Blue Lake. Organiser: Uta Purcell

Is it worth it to go for just 2 days to Blue Lake? Mary Honey and Uta thought so, but the trip was only made possible by 7 more trampers going for 3 days, joining us and sharing the boat fare. They were: David Blunt, Christine Hoy, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, Mark Graesser, Rosemary Weir, and Mike Daly (visitor). The weather was settled and the group of 7 had a chance to venture beyond Blue Lake. A good level of fitness took us to Blue Lake Hut in 8 1/2 hours. The hut was almost full and the floor had to be bearable for some of us. A big group of well organised trampers came from the Forty Plus Tramping Club in Christchurch. We enjoyed their company. What a surprise we had when we spotted also Harry Hancock, one of New Zealand's legendary and very senior trampers. He and his 3 senior companions had just arrived from a roundtrip over Thompson and Waiau Passes. The tramp up the Sabine River is now bisected by many evident avalanche paths, well signed by DOC. Of interest and stirring up some excitement was the event of walking on and eventually diverting from the rock-solid avalanche, still sitting on both sides of the river, filling the lower part of a ravine, one ice bridge still intact, another opened up, and numerous ice caves visible. The rivers were high, the waterfalls abundant, the scenery spectacular. On our way out on Sunday, Mary and I had a chance to compliment a DOC Ranger on the new exterior and interior paint work and other improvements at Blue Lake Hut. The inside is much lighter now.

The Waiau Pass Team: It was a perfect morning when we headed up the terminal moraine beyond the hut to view Lake Constance with its wonderful reflections of the mountain peaks. Lots of gentians were in flower in the valley as we walked up to the base of the pass route. A not difficult climb up over the more stable grass (the downhill trip was predominantly a scree slide). At the top it was a bit breezy so we dropped over the other side to admire Lake Thompson in the distance. Very bleak and rugged territory up top, but great views. We were back quite early at the hut, so many took advantage of the still sunny day to wander around and photograph Blue Lake with its beautiful colour and varied backdrops: definitely a photographers paradise.

13 March 2005 - Mt Gomorrah. Organiser: Andy Clark

A fine day was ordered and that was what we got. On arriving at the Dart Ford it was over the bank and across a slippery Wangapeka River to the other side. We headed up stream, getting to Prospect Creek while only a few times losing the route. Prospect Creek provided a couple of members with wasp stings and then it was on and up the unmaintained ridge track. The track took a bit of locating at times but most of the markers were still on the trees which helped. Regenerating bush proved tiring to push through but in due course views of our goal were gained as was the bush edge. A short scramble over an easy ridge had six of us on the top at 2pm. Mt Sodom beckoned but not too many others were keen on a return trip on this rough bush covered track. The return to the cars went well, arriving back at 6.45pm. Ice creams etc at Tapawera rounded out this trip to a seldom visited peak of the Mt Arthur range.

Fellow bush bashers were Ruth Hesselyn, Jocelyn Win, Mark Stevens, Dion Pont, Dan McGuire, Carol Crocker and Grahame Harris.

19-20 March 2005 - Lake Henderson. Organiser: Nora Flight

Six of us departed the Richmond rendezvous at 7am (before sunrise), and started walking from Trilobite in the Cobb Valley at 9.45am. Lunch was in stages between the tent camp and Lake Cobb. A refreshing cup of tea beside Round Lake at 2.30 revved up any tired bodies for the last climb over the saddle just to the west of Mt Cobb. Cloud came and went as we travelled up the easy tussock slopes, but we still got good views into Henderson and the way for tomorrow.

Perhaps an hour was spent getting down from the saddle to our camping place at the outlet of the lake, on a semi-open mound of smooth rock with stunted forest pocketed around. Lots of space for the 4 tents, bivy bag, and fly. A large roll of fairly new polythene and string was found just in the trees. It is very beautiful here, and no doubt a favourite place for a few.

Sunday's climb up to the base of Mt Prospect was not difficult, just a steady grind for 1.5 hours. Gentians and other botanical delights abounded in rocky crevasses. We climbed over fairly close to the top of Prospect and down a chute on the eastern side for the interesting sidle around to Chaffeys Spur. Lunch, and then homeward bound down the easy spur, only being momentarily slowed by the scrubby steep toe of the Spur.

Trip participants were: Dion Pont, Uta Purcell, Dan McGuire, Grahame Harris, Mark Graesser, and Nora Flight.

20 March 2005 - Watering Cove. Cancelled to due weather

25-28 March 2005 - East of Arthurs Pass. Cancelled to due weather

25-28 March 2005 - Balloon Hut etc. Cancelled to due weather

2 April 2005 - Whispering Falls/Malita. Organiser: Anita Robertson

Eight Mt. Malita-bound trampers departed from the Hackett carpark on a dull overcast Saturday morning and after mumblings about the unreliability of the weather forecast, set off along the well travelled path to Whispering Falls. On reaching the grassy clearing above the Falls it was decided a morning tea break would be welcome. Then it was into the bush where the start of the track was identified with ease owing to the good work of the Tuesday tramping group who had been in a week before, clearing and marking the track. Grahame took the lead as we clambered up the gully. Several stops were made to admire the stands of the magnificent towering Matai while Dan helped identify various trees and berries. Emerging from the bush after a steep and slippery climb, views of Starveall, Rintoul, Bishops Cap and beyond were admired before ascending again through bush to an area of forestry roads. A short detour was made to avoid a clump of impenetrable gorse and the ever resourceful Jim produced some bright pink tape to mark our exit point and continued to do so where deemed necessary.

Walking along the ridgetop we took in the views over Tasman Bay, Mt.Arthur and Farewell Spit until drops of rain began to fall which saw some of us make a mad dash for the pines. Fortunately the rain was short lived and we heeded the call of Grahame who had discovered the track returning to the shelter of the bush.

We proceeded to climb a well marked track and we soon reached the slopes of Mt.Malita. Trudging to the top a search was made for a sheltered lunch spot out of the cold wind. We huddled down above the bush edge, not lingering over lunch as the group was feeling the effects of the cold despite adding a few layers. A hurried descent was made to the bush edge where Jim's pink ribbon guided us to the track down. As we progressed the sound of boots sliding followed by the occasional thud accompanied us, produced by a group member who claimed it reduced the number of steps one had to take on the way down. Most of the party opted to avoid this form of descent.

Out in the open again, on surveying the large clump of gorse, Grahame was keen to try and find the old track which would avoid the descent down to the forestry road and a climb back up to the bush edge. Following his lead the party plunged into the bush and cries of "I've found a track" could be heard from all directions as the group scrambled amongst pig fern and undergrowth. It appeared the many tracks were made by animals as pig sign was abundant. We did spot an orange marker but the bush beyond was so dense we rejected that idea and pushed on, eventually emerging beyond the gorse. The final downhill section back to Whispering Falls was uneventful as everyone carefully picked their way over the slippery ground underfoot.

At the swing bridge, three of the party decided to cross the ford to avoid the traffic jam. Unintentionally one of the group elected to cross at the deepest point and managed to slip and become submerged up to the neck more than once until footing was regained, much to the hilarity of those who witnessed this display.

By 5pm all had returned to the Hackett picnic ground, goodbyes were said all around and it was agreed that a fun day had been had by all. A welcome to Richard, a recent migrant to Nelson who joined us on this trip.

Our tramping group included: Mike Grasser, Dan McGuire, Grahame Harris, Uta Purcell, Jim Maxwell, Jocelyn Winn, Richard Straw, Anita Robertson.

3 April 2005 - Cable Walkway. Organiser: Trish Bennett

We met at the Glen, twelve people in our group. David suggested we did a loop on the walkway (which worked out really well) so we walked up the gravel road and kept walking to the lookout seats where we had morning tea, looking out over Nelson. Continuing on, and after a lot of uphill walking, we arrived at a point where we got through a fence to climb to the top of Mt Drum Duan. Here it was very calm and we had lovely sea views. We then moved on to a knob where we had lunch and a great view of Cable & Delaware Bays and Peppin Island. We walked back over farmland through bush, up and down dale, and nearing the end of the walk the sun decided to finally shine. We met only a few other people on the walkway. The day's trip was enjoyed by all.

In our group were: David Blunt, Andy Clark & Nicola, Beverley Muirhead, Trish Bennett, and visitors Wayne Feutz, Mary Stebbings & friend Gina, Joe Carson, Jeanette King, Amy & Lucy.

9-10 April 2005 - Hacket Hut Cancelled due to forecast bad weather

10 April 2005 - South Twin Organiser: Ian Pavitt

It was very pleasant listening to the water passing under Mike's 4WD as we crossed the Baton River on our way to the Baton swingbridge: this vehicle saved us a total of 8km of road walking. A couple of minutes walk upstream from the bridge, we turned off at the "Twins"-marked tree, and started our ascent. Climbing steadily for 3 hours got us on to Paddy Ridge. Once on the main ridge, the grade was much easier and a 20 minute lunch was taken just above the bushline. From here it took an hour to get to the summit where, in glorious sunshine, we had 360 degree views. It was a quick return from whence we came, arriving at the car just on dark, perfect timing, after 10 hours of walking.

Trip positives: great company, great weather, great country, Mike's 4WD. Trip negatives: wasps.

Many thanks to the South Twin socialites: Mike Marren, Uta Purcell, Ruth Hesselyn, and visitor Lawrie Halkett.

16-17 April 2005 - Buckland Peaks Organiser: Mark Stevens

"Buckland Peaks, shrouded in mystery and cloud..with stupendous views of the coast and surrounding areas and with the view of Mt Cook Massif in the south." This is what the guide books promise, but it was not to be. Buckland Peaks did not reveal their mystery. As we ventured forth from sunny Nelson to the "Wet" Coast (picking up Mike on his bike at the Kohatu Hotel), there was alternating cloud then clear skies. Having reached the carpark destination with cloud looming above the peaks, we set off for an hour walk across rather dull farmland. Upon entering the bush, we stopped for lunch with some nice tannin-coloured water, then ventured higher up. The going was easy and we reached the Half Way sign in another hour. Then the going became steeper and the forest became stunted and twisted, until we reached the bushline. Still the peaks were shrouded in cloud. Another short stint through the scrub to the ridgetop and then down into the basin to Venturers Hut where there were cries of "oh no, there's no fire". The hut is modern (erected 2002): double-glazing, fully insulated, and comfortable bunks - no need for a fire.

As it was 3.30pm, and with a slight break in the cloud, three stunted twisted trampers ventured forth to the ridge for vistas unknown, but were to be thwarted once again by the mist. So with bottom lips a-quiver it was back down to the hut for dinner. With Ian with his chef's hat on as usual, bags of goodies were placed upon the cooker, and five hungry trampers placed their bowls in a row and were served up a cuisine delight. With bellies afull, chocolate liquers and hot choccie drinks consumed, it was little wonder there were snoring sounds later.

Then it was up at the crack of Ian's dawn, hoping for the mystic mountain scene, only to see yet more cloud. The navigators discussed the unmaintained track we were to take down the ridge. We headed off with the skies clearing slightly, Ruth with her compass, Mike with his GPS, and the rest of us unaware. Mike with "a little bit left" and "a little bit right", and Ruth right up the front again, we carried on and on and on, and down the ridge we went. And slowly but slowly we were out of the cloud and looking for route markers, the permalap variety. The forest became twisted and stunted again and the track definitely unmaintained, we made our way down the ridge, lower and lower. Lunch was had at a suitable spot as we watched the disappearing dot on the railway line on the far side of the Buller River. Then it was further down, again looking for markers - the book had said that this would be hard. But with five sets of eagle eyes, we sniffed them out, those faded white permalap markers. As we were going down, we thought with relief of how the West Coast holds few wasps, so on we went until about 100m from the road when someone yells "I thought I heard a little buzzy sound" and someone else yelled "ouch, I've been stung - run like hell". But alas it was too late, the stinging was done.

Then at last we emerged on State Highway 6 after 7.5 hours of bushbashing to find Mike's bike, well hidden across the road in the bush. He rode with vigour, he rode with intentness, to get our chariot to return us to sunny Nelson.

Many thanks to my fellow "Wet" Coast wanderers: Mike Drake, Ruth Hesselyn, Ian Pavitt, and visitor Marguerite.

17 April 2005 - Sharlands Creek Organiser: Carl Horn

It was the usual early start at the Cathedral steps, on a mild Sunday morning. A short drive part way up the Maitai Valley took us to the start of our tramp (you really don't have to drive far to tramp - Nelson is so fortunate to have mountains on our doorstep). We set off up a logging road towards the Kaka Hill summit (OK, it's only 300m but it is the top of the hill). An optimistic turn on to the Kaka Left Branch Road led us to a 300m expanse of gorse. We scrambled up a rockface hoping to find a track around the gorse but all we could see was more gorse. We retreated with various degrees of wounds. We returned to the fork in the road and took the other tine, which led us faithfully and steadily up an unrelenting grade towards the trig. However, on reaching Kaka ridge with its fabulous views over Tasman Bay and Nelson city, we decided not to go to the trig (and Grahame assured us there was nothing much there anyway) but headed for the enticing seats at the lookout point which we could see in the near distance.

It was only 11.30am but it was a good time for lunch and to sit admiring the view. After lunch, Grahame headed directly down to this home in Atawhai whilst the rest of us turned east and descended via the Maitai, Rimu, and Supplejack tracks to the valley floor. This was a delightful amble through native bush and we took pleasure listening to the birds instead of the sound of trailbikes. A number of fantails accompanied us along the way. 2kms of logging road and we were back at our cars at 1.30pm, with the rest of a beautiful clear Sunday to enjoy.

Many thanks to my fellow trampers for a most pleasant day: Sharan Foga, John Lammin, Grahame Harris, Lindsay Twiname, and visitors Val Latimer and John Liell.