Trip Reports, April–June 2013

> Download the printed version of the newsletter (6 pages colour) crammed full of the most recent club Trip Reports. This a small 1 megabyte PDF file, complete with graphics, colour photographs & hyperlinks to other sites.


  1. 1000-Acre Plateau > Kahurangi NP
  2. Lake Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes NP
  3. Wainui Hut & Evans Ridge > Abel Tasman NP
  4. Castle Rocks Hut > Abel Tasman NP
  5. Pepin Island > Nelson
  6. Parachute Rocks > Nelson Lakes NP

25–28 April 2013 (ANZAC weekend) – Thousand Acre Plateau – Kahurangi National Park
Leader & scribe: Chris Louth

At the bottom carpark on Matiri Valley road the five of us piled into Kate’s 4WD and slipped and slid the last couple of kilometres to the road end.

As we hiked towards the West Branch River crossing we could see there was a problem. A group of five from Christchurch, who had just passed us, were milling about on the river bank. The river was raging.

Over two hours later we were back at the same spot. Upstream we could cross fairly easily but were stymied from getting back to the track by bluffs on the river bank and by a wall of blackberry and bush lawyer. The group from Christchurch had long since trudged back to their car and headed for Nelson Lakes.

We were contemplating doing the same when three hunters arrived. They managed to cross a now slightly-lower river, one of them carrying a small and clearly terrified dog. We linked up and slowly inched our way across the white water behind them.

Because of the delay, we spent the night at a very crowded Lake Matiri Hut (15 people, 8 bunks). Two other groups, totaling seven, had also made it across. Some hadn’t carried tents so kind-hearted Kate slept in hers and a couple doubled up on her bunk.

We got an early start the next morning. It was cloudy but the wet, cold change was not forecast to arrive until later in the day.

Half-way up to the lookout we were ambushed by a wasps’ nest and suffered a few stings.

At the top of another steep section we finally topped out on the rim of the lower plateau. Beech gave way to boggy red tussock as the newly-renovated Poor Pete’s came into view a couple of kilometres away.

The hut sure is a vast improvement on the uninhabitable shack that was there previously. It’s classified as a two-person bivvy, but at least six could sleep under cover. It was annoying to see that some clown had already lit a fire too close to the deck and set part of it alight!

After a quick brew-up it was off to Larrikin Creek Hut. As we neared the hut the temperature dropped and the rain clouds rolled in.

Three hours after we had settled in, a group of five from Wellington, who we had met at Lake Matiri, arrived cold and very wet. After they had put up their tents and got changed we retired to our bunks so they could huddle around the roaring open fire and warm up. They had also encountered the wasps and most had been stung.

The rain kept up for the next 24 hours. The Wellingtonians left late Saturday morning to head back down as they had to catch a ferry the next day. They had spent the best part of two days walking in the rain and we hadn’t even got wet, apart from our feet!

As the rain hammered down, Ray regaled us with his hut-bagging exploits and Kate amused us by reading out an article on what was expected of a good wife in the 1950s. Oh, how things have changed. Not completely though, as Ray got his tea delivered while still in his sleeping bag every morning!

Cabin fever was setting in so, with a great team effort, we spent a wet hour in the afternoon cutting up a couple of dead trees and replenishing the hut wood supply.

When the rain finally abated it was too late to head up to the top plateau so we followed the creek up to where it cascaded vertically off the Haystack, and then followed it downstream to where it plunged a couple of hundred metres into Larrikin Creek valley.

Sunday morning we were up at the crack of dawn. Raymond wasn’t feeling well, so the rest of us headed up the hill with the intention of climbing the Needle. As the track petered out to nothing it became apparent that the low cloud wasn’t going to lift . The ridge-line and the Needle were completely hidden.

Fully aware of the numerous bluffs in the area we thought it prudent to cut our losses and backtrack down to the hut.

After collecting Raymond and our gear we set off back towards Poor Pete’s with Andrea, and then Sue, setting a blistering pace across the waterlogged tablelands. From above the hut we could see someone was in residence. Who should appear but hutbagger Dion Pont, who had braved the river and walked up in the rain the previous day.

Then it was back down the steep, slippery hill, past the wasps without incident, to the Matiri Valley. The river crossing was now quite docile and we reached the cars by mid afternoon.

It was an enjoyable four days, partly spoiled by the weather and our inability to reach the 100-Acre Plateau, but greatly enhanced by an enthusiastic and ever-cheerful crew who are a joy to tramp with.

Thanks to Kate Krawczyk, Sue Henley, Andrea Cockerton & Ray Salisbury.

11–12 May 2013 – Lake Angelus Hut – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader & scribe: Sue Henley

Nine of us, including three visitors, set off up the Pinchgut en route to Lake Angelus, in great weather and with views to match. Some individuals thought themselves quite clever in having made arrangements with Jim Hickey in advance!

Up on the ridge, tropical temperatures plummeted and wind increased with some of us smaller members of the party traversing the ridge on a sideways lean at times. We continued on at a comfortable pace, remarking on how few people seemed to be about and how the hut may be quite empty.

After some leisurely stops for views and food, plenty of humour, taking the mickey out of some individuals, and photographing ‘Sir Edmund’ on the mountain, holding his staff.

We arrived at the hut with plenty of time to spare, the hut about one third full, not long after, lots more people arrived and more and more ...
and then some more for good measure.

The hut at dinner resembled and smelt like the master chef kitchen and we were soon tucking in to culinary delights afforded by a one night tramp, and the humour at our table knew no bounds.

After a night of little sleep for many, and snoring for others, certain members of our party are reverting back to tenting. The entire hut awoke to an awful noise, courtesy of a certain individual’s cell phone alarm. Two of our party got back to sleep again while seven of our party and two strays headed up to Mt Angelus in perfect conditions with breathtaking views, photo shoots and more humour. We then headed back to the hut to pack and get some sustenance before heading back for more views and perfect conditions to Mt Robert car park.

Overall, it was a fantastic tramp with the most amazing people, thank you all! In our party were the visitors: Ian Morris, Sue Lindsay, Jill Sheppard ... and members: Mike and Deidre Glover, Dion Pont, Mike Drake, Kate Krawczyk & Sue Henley.

12 May 2013 – Wainui Hut & Evans Ridge – Abel Tasman National Park
Leader: Ray Salisbury (for Ross Price)

It was a crystal clear day as four of us headed off for the Takaka Hills, firstly remembering to turn off at Three Brothers Corner as the driver usually prefers to go through Hope first. Turning off onto the Canaan Downs Road, we spotted the newly opened Wool Shed cafe, which promised to be visited on the way home. Canaan Downs is now known as much for a Music Festival venue as it is for Harwoods Hole and other Abel Tasman NP tracks.

From the carpark we headed off at about 9.30am up an easy gradient, to soon find ourselves on Wainui Saddle. With the prospect of being mainly in the bush, we set about taking photos of distant peaks from Mt Arthur to Mt Snowden to the northwest. However, twenty minutes later we arrived at a higher viewpoint for still better photos.

Evans Ridge provided an easy tramp through the bush, stopping for scroggin before turning off this Inland Abel Tasman route, down to the Wainui River, the descent being the steepest, though hardly difficult.

A later lunch was had at Wainui Hut before leaving at 2.30pm for the carpark. Ray added the hut to his hut-bagging list, there being a sole overnighter from Brisbane.

We completed the day’s round trip (6.5 hrs including stops) with a slight diversion to an ex farmhouse which it looks like DOC has refurbished, hopefully for public use, which Uta may enquire about. The sun had already left the carpark, so a warm coffee at the ‘Wool Shed’ was inviting as we snuck in just before 5pm closing time and acquainted ourselves of its recent opening. We were Ray Salisbury, Uta Purcell, Lou Kolff (scribe) & Tom Quinn-Gregson.

18–19 May 2013 – Castle Rocks Hut, inland Abel Tasman National Park
Leader: Uta Purcell

It was unavoidable that the focus of this tramp became the weather. After a soggy Friday, the weekend forecast promised only slight improvement. We were just a trio and were determined to do it.

On a slippery track, and in mist, we climbed up to Holyoake Clearing. It felt very hot. There were no views for our lunch outside the shelter. I regretted not having a camera ready in the loo, as through the slush holes at floor level the beak, beady eye and whole head of a Weka craned in, repeatedly. By 2pm it looked like nightfall in the beautiful bush on the journey to Castle Rocks Hut.

Rain set in at 3pm; the hut appeared at 4pm.
Sue, the expert fire maker, went to work and we relished the warmth. Rain stopped before midnight. Contrary to our expectations of more mist the next morning, the sun lit up the dim surroundings of our arrival the previous afternoon. Cameras got busy. Rather than doing a loop via the Coast Track, we chose to return to Marahau on the same slippery track, enjoying the views on the downward section. (New DOC signs now give the distance as 15.1km.) We took seven hours and saw just two other trampers on each day.

Participants were: Sue Davies, Marielena Margraf (visitor), and Uta Purcell (scribe).

26 May 2013 – Pepin Island, Cable Bay – Nelson
Leader: David Blunt

Club members were outnumbered by visitors for this trip which saw 23 trampers assemble at the far end of the Cable Bay causeway to do a circuit of the six km2 island named by the French explorer Dumont D’Urville after his wife.

Soon after setting off for the eastern end of the island we were greeted by the sound of many tuis feeding in the gum trees.

A brief stop was made at Passage Hut overlooking the estuary, and Delaware Bay before dropping down to the beach for morning tea. Under a clear blue sky and with the tide full in, it made for a very attractive setting.

Then it was up a steepish gully to the farm track which was followed to its highest point reached just before midday. Four of the group chose to stay here while the remainder headed down to Rocky Point near the SW corner of the island where there is a hut hidden away in a small patch of remnant native bush - an ideal place for having lunch in the sun where it was warm enough for one member to strip off to the waist. Then it was back up to rejoin the other four. Here the party split up with 15 climbing up to the trig on the highest point of the island and the remainder carrying back down on the circuit track to the car park.

For most of the party it was their first visit to the island which is only open to organised groups for two months of the year. Everyone was delighted with the experience of near perfect weather and glorious views.

Participants were: Jo Kay, Dan McGuire, Uta Purcell, Andrea Cockerton, Chris Louth & wife Carole, Ray Salisbury & wife Lynette, Roger Cotton & wife Maureen, Mike Locke, Marielena Margraf, Gail Malinowsky, David Blunt (scribe) and visitors Derek & Alison Walker, Angela Middlebrook, Anna Wilde & Hauruko, Ian & Marilyn Morris, Suzanne, and Cedar Poole.

8 June 2013 – Parachute Rocks – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Kate Krawczyk

The weather forecast was pretty dodgy for the tramp but we decided to go for it and see how we went. It was drizzling in Richmond that morning but as we drove south to St. Arnaud the clouds parted and there was blue skies. It looked somewhat promising, but it didn’t take long for the weather to close back in!

We decided to head onwards and upwards anyway because it wasn’t raining yet and there was a chance that we may get some views above the tree line. After a small detour, missing the parachute rocks track turn-off because we were all too busy chatting away, we got on the right track and started climbing. It was a bit of a grunt up to Parachute rocks at 1400m, and once we got there it had started to drizzle again and it was very cold! We had a quick bite to eat and admired the clouds that we were in and quickly got going again to warm up.

Despite the lack of views and the dodgy weather we all had a great time and our newcomers Ross, Eva, and Hauruko still enjoyed the experience of beautiful South Island bush, good company, and great exercise!

Thanks to all who came along:  Kate Krawczyk, Chris Louth, Andrea Cockerton, Haruko, Ross and Eva McKay.


Lookout-above-Lake-Matiri_web.jpg81.53 KB
poor_petes_web.jpg76.17 KB
angelus-party_web.jpg61.41 KB
kolff_wainui_web.jpg62.79 KB
wainui_hut_web.jpg72.81 KB
pepin_pooks.jpg42.37 KB
pepin.jpg42.22 KB
castle_web.jpg24.54 KB
parachute_web.jpg23.83 KB