Trip Reports

Middy Hut - 24-25 April 2004
Organiser: Grahame Harris
We left the Maitai Dam around 8.30 on Saturday in overcast weather, but the day proceeded with occasional patches of sun and no rain. We plugged up the stony track to the Dun Saddle with Arthur and Ilona leading and waiting occasionally for Grahame to catch up. It was windy on the Saddle, so after a brief stop for refreshments and identification of mountains we carried on to Rocks Hut for lunch. Then it was down the pleasant track on the Pelorus side. There was a fair bit of birdsong, with two bellbirds inspecting us at close range, and a few fantails following us from time to time. At one stage we thought we heard and saw kakariki. At 2.30 we reached the hut, which has had the old fireplace replaced with a woodburner stove, and a new modern toilet replacing the old one with the fallen-through floor. We did not have to use it - the stove, that is. Grahame took a swim in the nice fresh swimming hole, while the others cleaned up by slower methods. A weka was heard near the hut.
Next morning we left the hut shortly after 8 in a very light drizzle that dried off about halfway up the hill. At the Rocks Hut we revised plans. Ilona and Arthur who were tramping strongly went on over Dun Mountain to Dew Lakes through cloud that cleared when they were part way down, and arrived back at the car at 3.30. Meanwhile Grahame had taken the direct route down from the Saddle. A good trip.
Participants: Arthur Jonas, visitor Ilona Keenan, Grahame Harris.

Crusader - 25 April 2004
Cancelled due to poor weather.

Lake Henderson - 1-2 May 2004
Cancelled due to poor weather.

Akersten Bay - 2 May 2004
Organiser: Carl Horn
The day dawned very grey and very overcast, not raining, but not the kind of day we wanted for an uplifting tramp in a National Park. There was an anxious phone-call from one of the members saying that they’d really prefer not to go. But the weather forecast that morning had said “0% probability of rain”, and so they were persuaded to give it a go, although they seemed to say “yes” somewhat reluctantly. They didn’t regret their decision though because as we drove up that first hill on our way to the Abel Tasman, leaving the Waimea plain behind, the sky changed from a dull grey to a bright sunny blue. It stayed that way for the rest of the day. Lucky us! It was a day not to be a pessimist.
There was some unfortunate confusion at the outset because of an innocent misunderstanding, which resulted in a half-hour delay in getting started. The organiser hadn’t explained his intentions in specific detail, and those in one of the cars assumed usual practice which the organiser hadn’t known about. The result was that one car waited for half an hour in Stoke for the other three cars which were already well on their way to the Park. As it turned out, they finally gave up on the rest of us and headed for the Park too, where they found us waiting for them. After apologies all ‘round, and introductions, we were on our way.
The weather was sunny and warm. It was like a summer day. The organiser did not hear one complaint, not once.
The tramping was easy. No one broke a sweat. For much of the way, the track was like a footpath on Trafalgar Street. There were some ups and downs, but no ascent lasted for more than a few minutes. Calling it a grade 1 tramp was an overstatement. It was more of an amble and a picnic than a tramp.
The company was pleasant, entertaining, and convivial. Because of the width of the track, in many places we were able to walk abreast. Conversations were heard for most of the day.
The scenery was delightful, especially with a lingering sea-fog giving some of the vistas a mysterious feeling. We experienced crossing a bubbling stream in the thick beech forest contrasted with trudging along the golden sand of a broad beach contrasted with hopping across a boulder bank.
We enjoyed lunch at Akersten Bay, with many of us sitting on a piece of driftwood, a rather large tree trunk which had turned white and hard as concrete after countless years under the “noonday sun”.
It was such a delightful day that one of our number decided he had to go for a swim. For some reason he did so at the very end of the beach, as far from our group as he could get. I guess he was counting on us not being astronomers or ornithologists complete with telescopes or binoculars. We’ll have to call him “Polar Pavitt”.
After all the hard physical effort of the day, on the way home some of us rewarded ourselves by stopping at Toad Hall in Motueka for some hard-earned ice cream and coffee. After all, we deserved it.
All of us were home about 6pm, having had a delightful “walk in the Park”.
The trampers (15): Carl Horn, Dan McGuire, David Blunt, David Nielsen, Gillian & Hec Arbuthnott, Grahame Harris, Ian Pavitt, Jim Maxwell, Lindsay Twiname, visitor Mary Cott, Ricky Harris, Shirley Gabrielsen, Trish Bennett, and visitor Vivienne Lightfoot.

Nardoo Bivvy - 8-9 May 2004
Organiser: Mark Stevens
A little-visited part of the Nelson Lakes and for good reason, but that still did not deter eleven trampers, wishing to partake in the wonders that the Nardoo could bestow on them. We left Friday night to get an early start on the Saturday, the lodgings to be at the Mataki Lodge just a stone’s throw from the start of the track.
One driver thought we could save some time by going over the Braeburn Road, this road was known to be fraught with danger but on we travelled. As we rounded a corner we came across one of our vehicles in a precarious position: well and truly stuck in a very deep culvert. With much heaving, pushing and puffing we managed to get the back wheels out and attach a rope and towed the vehicle out. We continued on at a much subdued pace to the lodge, only to find it locked. But a quick drive up the road to the nearest farmhouse found the keys to the kingdom, and what a kingdom it was: heated floors, microwave, and soft beds. There were cries of “let us stay here the weekend” but these fell on deaf ears, the Nardoo was our destination.
There is a bridge over the Matakitaki River which we wanted to use, for all trampers love dry boots and also the river would be up after heavy rain. I had been trying to get hold of the local landowner for permission to cross, and had been asked to phone him in the morning at 7am. So with all the well-rested and breakfasted trampers at the ready, I phoned the landowner and with some trepidation asked for permission to cross the bridge. There was a hush then a wee cheer as I gave the news we had permission. The adventure of the Nardoo had begun.
We drove to the start of the track and set off for the bridge. With a stiff climb up a four wheel drive track, with bad bovine damage, we reached the saddle for the first rest and photos of the new dawn. The low cloud was lifting to reveal the Matakitaki Valley and Mt Ella. We then headed down to the Nardoo Creek and followed it upstream. The track is well marked until you get to open river flats then it was every man and his dog, finding the route turned out like a treasure hunt. The dry boots of the bridge were a long lost memory, for river crossing was in full swing - if we had needed the practice, we got it up the Nardoo. Lunch saw cups of tea brewed and GPS’s looked at.
After lunch it was debated about a deviation to the trip, there was talk of returning to the lodgings at Mataki Lodge but it was all agreed that we should carry on our preset course of the Nardoo. So with more track marker finding fun we came to the climb up from valley floor to bushline. This climb was to prove to be arduous though as we were out of the bushline, the views did help to improve one’s wellbeing. At this stage I would like to mention visitor Mike, to whom I’d given the third degree about this being a grade 4-plus tramp: he was already at the top of the ridge waiting for us less fit trampers to reach him!
The Nardoo Bivvy Hut is a small affair sitting next to a tarn at the foot of the Nardoo basin. Winter had left a nice dusting of snow and with it plummeting temperatures. With the impending dark, tents were erected and billies boiled. Being leader, I and two of my minions commandeered the hut. Being a party of 11 and a hut of very small size, most retired after supper to the comfort of the tents at the gracious hour of 6.30pm.
We had a 9am departure time and headed up the ridge to the valley head, only to encounter slippery rock so four continued on and the rest headed down to find a safer route up to the top. One was found and vistas were taken in as well as cups of tea, as the two groups re-grouped on the top. It is an excellent walk down the ridge to the bush line, to an old unmaintained track to the valley floor. On the way breaks were taken and cups of tea with lashings of whipped cream were drunk, the weather was super and the scenery was seen. After a short look for the track start it was deemed that we should stay together on the track in case of lossage. The downhill was hard going to the valley but we all made it down. Then it was out on the well marked track but the shorter daylight hours caught us and head lamps were donned for the slog out across the bovine wasteland. A quick wash in the Nardoo Creek to clean bovine wastage was called for. Arrival at the vehices was at 7.30pm and, with warm dry clothes on, our convoy headed toward Nelson leaving the Nardoo to its peaceful slumber.
The Nardoo’ers: Dion Pont, Gretchen Williams, Roger Bruce, Alice Patterson, Nora Flight, Tony Haddon, Ruth Hesselyn, Ian Pavitt, Hisa Matsuo, visitor Mike Marren, and Mark Stevens.

NB: Alice wants to say a huge thank you to the team of blokes that helped carry her pack out from this tramp.
I owe you all smoko – ring with your order! Happy tramping.

Lookout Point - 9 May 2004
Organiser: Jim Maxwell
Eleven starters for this trip including five new faces. The day was fine but cool. Undergrowth on the route had not advanced much since we were last up there. It was a bit scratchy but dry. At the Nydia Bay lookout we did not have enough space for the group to have lunch in the sun so we backtracked to a rocky spot overlooking Duncan Bay where we sat for a long lunch break. The walk back was uneventful except for me walking off after a rest break without my pack and then falling off the track. Being the only person in the club with a good excuse for doing this sort of thing it did not worry me. Back at the cars we sat in the sun for a while and then home. On the trip:- Grahame Harris, Jenny Revell, Mikiyo, Fumi, Rosemary McCallum, David Nielsen, Gail, David Blunt, Hec & Gillian Arbuthnott.

Mt Duppa - 16 May 2004
Organiser: Gretchen Williams
Party: Gavin Holmwood, Leslie Spedding, Grahame Harris, Alison Nicoll, Holly Paine (aged 10), David Nielsen, Jeannie Kuhajek, Bob Janssen, Gillian and Hec Arbuthnott, Royden Smith, Rosemary McCallum, Gretchen Williams.
We rendezvoused successfully with Rosemary (from Canvastown) at the turn off from the main road and were amazed at the number of vehicles already parked at the start of the track. There was a biting southerly but we soon warmed up with the immediate and constant ascent. Numerous breathers allowed us to botanise, admire the rock formations and get to know each other.
At the top, trees on the southern side were still white with frost so we had lunch in the sun admiring the wonderful views to the north (and conversing with the numerous families who were also up there).
The last time I did this tramp Tony turned it in to a round trip by heading south through the bush along the ridge and then down another ridge and coming out just up the road from the car park. We took a vote and decided to do the same today. It's funny how memories differ and I suppose we took a marginally different route from before, but this day the bush seemed thicker, the bush lawyer seemed clingier and the bush bash seemed longer. Holly was convinced (or hopeful, I'm not sure which) we were lost and Bob did a great job navigating and coming out exactly where we were supposed to be. Thanks to Bob and to everyone else for sharing in the wee adventure.

Wooded Peak/Windy Point - 16 May 2004
Organiser: Dan McGuire
A beautiful day saw seven early birds at Brook Camp for a fitness effort. We climbed from the Brook Stream up to the Dun Line and stopped at Third House for morning tea. Then a steady climb up Wooded Peak revealed good views of Mt Richmond and other peaks. Over the top and through the bush from there, we came into the open for more splendid views of Fringe Hill right over to Nelson City. From Windy Point it was a race back to Brook Camp where we arrived in record time.
Participants: Uta Purcell, Andy Clark, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, Ken Ridley, Jim Maxwell, and Dan McGuire.
All are candidates for a major expedition in the Kaikouras this summer.
Editor’s note: As there were five committee members on this tramp (a quorum for a committee meeting) there was the suggestion of passing a resolution that trip organisers be required to provide evening meals after a tramp. Well, Dan does always boast of his wife’s culinary skills and the fact that he heads home to a multi-course meal…

Queen Charlotte Track - 22-23 May 2004
Cancelled due to poor weather.

Nydia Bay Substitute - 23 May 2004
Organiser: Marianne Hermsen
The Nydia Bay Walk was cancelled due to a not very inspiring weather forecast, but we will make another effort in spring, because there seems to be a lot of interest in this walk. The Takaka Walkway was on offer as an alternative and four sun-seeking women took off on Sunday morning. The colour of the sky was blue-er than ever seen before and the views were fantastic. We saw snowy mountains in the distance and Alison later confirmed these were Mt. Gladstone and Tapuae-o-Uenuka. There were many other walkers on the track and there was an abundance of bellbirds that treated us to their beautiful calls.
Because these four women did not only enjoy sunshine and blue skies but also some other niceties in life, a stop on the way back had to be scheduled at The Naked Bun.
There were two newcomers on this walk, Marielouise Bell and Jan Davis, and club members Alison Nicoll and Marianne Hermsen.

Gridiron Shelters - 30 May 2004
Cancelled due to poor weather

Conical Hill Substitute - 30 May 2004
Organiser: David Blunt
The trip to Conical Hill was cancelled due to unfavourable weather conditions. It has been rescheduled for Aug 1st and it is hoped that arrangements can again be made with Harry Hancock to visit the relocated Luna Hut which is now on his farm near Tapawera.
Because the weather east of the Western ranges was not too bad, 10 of the 16 Conical Hill starters fronted up at the Botanical Reserve for a half day walk up the Maitai Valley to the golf course then across to the other side and up the Sharlands Creek Bush track. After a spell of botanising, the top of the ridge was reached around 1pm at the lookout seat where everyone was able to enjoy the view in pleasant sunny conditions. From there it was an easy stroll down to the Bay View track, along to the Centre of NZ, and home for a late lunch. Lindsay's comment afterwards "who wanted to go to Conical Hill anyway...."
Participants: Kath Ballantine, Dan McGuire, Beverley Muirhead, Ken Ridley, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, Marianne Hermsen, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, and David Blunt.

Mts Luna & Patriarch - 5-7 June 2004
Organiser: Ian Pavitt
One would have to search for many years to find a better bunch of legs than those which assembled at the Wangapeka Rolling River carpark this cold winter’s morning, and if all went to plan we would need those strong limbs. Too cold to hang around, so after brief intros everyone made their own way to Stone Hut. 20 minutes from the start down came the rain which persisted with some heavy falls until we had reached Kings Hut. From here the rain eased and all reached Stone Hut by mid afternoon. The fire lit and dinners consumed, we all glowed in the tropical conditions inside the hut and had an enjoyable night.
Sunday morning we awoke to strong cold southerlies bringing us snow flurries around the hut, with low cloud. Discussions within the confines of the warm hut ranged from carrying on with the original plan to going home. As this was a very democratic trip, the majority ruled and we opted for a day walk up to Mt Luna. The group headed up the Mt Luna route through snow-covered beech forest before breaking out into the tussock basin. At least in summer you could see the tussock, today however we were greeted with a snow-filled expanse, with snow up to our knees. The sky had cleared somewhat as we made a slow ascent to the main ridge where we were greeted by the strong cold southerly winds and more snow flurries. We sheltered in the lee of the ridge and found only Roger McMichael and Mike Drake willing to carry on to the top of Mt Luna, which they successfully achieved. The rest of us headed back to the warmth of Stone Hut for a late lunch. In the afternoon a small group of us made a trip up to the Wangapeka Saddle and passed the time constructing a very good-looking snowman before returning to another tropical night in Stone Hut, where we had a total of 13 people in the hut for the night.
As often happens, the final day dawned clear, fine, and with no wind. So once again we re-traced our steps of Saturday back to the cars at the Rolling River carpark. Unfortunately the trip did not pan out as planned but my thanks to those winter wanderers who attempted this trip: Arthur Jonas, Grahame Harris, Mike Drake, Roger McMichael, Kath Ballantine, Carole Crocker, Roger Bruce, Bob Janssen, Brian McLean, and visitor Mike Marren.

Mangarakau Swamp - 5-7 June 2004
Organiser: Uta Purcell
Not up a mountain or along ridges - no, into a swamp! Not in a hut or in tents - but in a modern house with electricity, an indoor toilet and a bath! That was the Club's easy destination this Queen's Birthday weekend. It attracted 15 fit people, including two girls. As we were able to drive up to the house, the trip could go ahead despite unsettled, wet weather with strong winds for the first two days.
Mangarakau is on the West Coast past Westhaven Inlet. We could hear the roar of the sea from there. Mangarakau's past is a history of coal and gold mining, flax milling, timber milling, and farming with futile attempts to drain the swamp. This important wetland is now protected and The Friends of Mangarakau Swamp Inc. are working for its preservation and its restoration to its original state.
Dodging rain, our group made itself familiar with this freshwater wetland during the first afternoon. Day 2 had individuals or groups of four or six do their own thing: relaxing at the house, being very creative with flax weaving, walking down the road in either direction and enjoying views through superb bush across Westhaven Inlet to Knuckle Hill, or views all around from the ramparts which separate the swamp from the West Coast beach.
When we set off for the coast north of Paturau River in the afternoon, the outgoing tide was still high, the southerly wind fierce and the rain spoiled the start. 9 returned to the comfort of the house, 6 saw it through and thoroughly enjoyed the wild beach and seas, helped by improving weather.
Day 3, on our way home, we all walked up to Knuckle Hill, which is at the western end of the Kaituna Track. The weather was now clear and sunny and the views went over the Inlet, to Farewell Spit, to the swamp below, the coast to the South, and peaks of Slate and Gouland Range coated in fresh snow. Next at Pakawau some traversed lush farmland for a similar and perfect view from what we called "Pakawau Hill". A call at the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay was our final stop.
During the evenings at the Field Centre House we had slideshows, thanks to the power supply and the thoughtfulness of David Blunt in providing projector, screen and slides, and also Ruth Hesselyn's contributions. There was abundant laughter in response to comments like:
“Where did you park your bike, Ruth?” (Ruth on a mountain top wearing a hard hat)
“Dirt floor and Penthouse magazines” (description of Old Airforce shelter on Red Hills)
“That's actually a rope between his legs - or an umbilical cord” (A three legged looking climber on a rock)!
The participants of this trip were: David Blunt, Lindsay Twiname, Ross Price, Mark Stevens, Alison and David Nicol, Ruth Hesselyn, Beryce Vincenzi, Alice Patterson and Katherine and Emily, Gretchen Williams, Marianne Hermsen, Christine Spears, Uta Purcell.

Jenkins Hill/Third House - 13 June 2004
Organiser: Grahame Harris
Leaving the Brook via the dam at just after 9am on a fine cool day, we followed upstream then turned back up a zig-zig towards the firebreak. Halfway up this section one party member realised they had left their car key behind and went back for it. It was arranged that the rest of the party would continue on to the point where the gorse encroached heavily, and wait there while the leader hacked the trail clear with the (t)rusty old machete he had brought with him. As it turned out someone had already done most of the job. We waited quite some time for the last member before it was decided that one person would go back and find out what was wrong, then come back around the other way to meet us. Thank you Arthur for volunteering.
It turned out that the meeting arrangements had been too vague, and the catch-up tramper had concluded that they had gone wrong and turned back - just over the other side of the raise from where the party was waiting! Such are the hazards of an easy trip in the backyard. If it had been a harder or more remote trip the arrangements would probably have been sorted out much more carefully.
Then on to the clearing near the top of Jenkins Hill for the view and a snack, and entered the bush to circle back to Third House. We eventually met Arthur at the lookout overlooking the Roding Valley for a late lunch. Some preferred to continue on to Third House to dine in the sun. After lunch it was a steady walk down the old tramway and the steep Cummins Spur descent to the creek, which we followed back to the cars, arriving shortly after 3pm..
The party was: Arthur Jonas, Jenny Revell with Mikiyo and Fumi, Alison and David Nicoll, Mary Honey, Dan McGuire, Trevor Hunt, Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, and Grahame Harris.

Parapara Peak - 13 June 2004
Cancelled.

Pepin Island - 20 June 2004
Organiser: Gretchen Williams
Weather-braving party – Gretchen Williams, David Blunt, Roger Bruce, Alison Nicoll, Dan McGuire, Ken Ridley, Mary Honey, Mark Stevens, Tony Haddon, Uta Purcell, Marianne Hermsen, Arthur Jonas, Grahame Harris, and visitors Rosemary Weir, Ulla Schneider, Peter O’Donnell, Mikiyo, Fumi, Noriko, and Michi.
Forty eyes creak open and turn misty to match the dawn as contemplation of getting up and going tramping occurs in the twenty brains. Positive vibes from the organiser set the tone and the different meeting place of Hathaway Terrace (near Trailways) soon resounds with cheery greetings and much organisation.
A quick trip to Cable Bay, a quick briefing from the farm manager and in no time at all everyone is sitting down having morning tea by Delaware Inlet. After a quick jaunt along the spit it is onwards and upwards to the north, through the mist to a sunny sheltered elevated rock field for lunch.
And then, just down the ridge a bit they come upon an idyllic wee bach perched up on the point amongst the trees, with outside bath, running water, regulation loo, great decor and stunning views, some of them straight down.
A slightly uncivilised uphill walk follows but no one wants to go on up to the misty summit. Of course the mist clears completely within an hour but by then the party is back at the carpark around 2ish, some with muddy bums from losing it down the hill. A great wee day.