Trip Reports, January-February 2010


  1. Wharawhirangi Christmas Tramp
  2. BBQ Tea, Marsden Valley
  3. Lake Angelus & Hinapouri Tarn
  4. Fringed Hill & Brook Sanctuary
  5. Ben Nevis
  6. Flanagans Hut / Baton River
  7. Harwoods Hole
  8. Waimakariri Falls
  9. North Peak, Mt Richmond
  10. Mt Misery, Lake Rotoroa
  11. Lake Stream
  12. Mueller Tarn & Tops
  13. Porika Track & Braeburn Walk
  14. Holyoake Clearing
  15. Private Trip: Travers / Sabine Valley loop

13 December 2009
Wharawhirangi Christmas Tramp

Organiser: Jo Kay

Our party of 11, led by Jo Kay, set off early for Golden Bay on Sunday 13 December 2009.  Jo insisted that she had ordered good weather although this was looking decidedly doubtful after driving through misty rain on the Takaka Hill. By the time we arrived at the start of the track this had deteriorated to steady rain. We duly set off with the track wending gradually up to a saddle.

Great views abounded, both looking towards Wainui Bay and towards Whariwharangi Bay. We then continued, now in sun (thanks for delivering Jo!) down to the hut. The track wound its way through verdant forest and was pleasant and easy going for this newcomer. We arrived at the hut at lunchtime and were by this time baking in the hot sun.

We brought a small gift each and some delicious Christmas fare to share.  Jo led the proceedings and we quickly devoured the goodies before Santa (aka David Blunt), resplendent in red jersey and hat, arrived with his sack of goodies. The first letter of our middle name decided the order of gift selection which was more complicated than it may seem! Of course it didn't end there - if we thought there was a better possibility in someone else's claim then that was fair game! I drew the short straw in a notebook and pen and was duly proclaimed the scribe - which I thought was a joke! However, here I am writing, and he who laughs last. Whose bright idea was THAT?

After finishing our lunch and Christmas gifts we then headed down to the beach. The weather was distinctly different down there with a stiff breeze blowing. This didn't deter Jo from rushing into the surf (with great gusto may I say!), although she did opt out of a swim. The ranger had advised against the same. Photographers Bob and Dion enjoyed the wildlife. We all enjoyed a stroll along the beach before heading back to the hut. The return trip seemed longer going up to the saddle. There we had a brief stop, and snack for those that had room, again enjoying the views with some other trampers before making our way down to the car park.

What an enjoyable day it was! Thanks to Jane for inviting me along, to Jo for organising it, and for being so welcoming on my first excursion with the Nelson Tramping Club. Anne Shearer

Other members of the party were: Uta Purcell, Pat Holland, Dion Pont, David Blunt, Ruth Hesselyn, Jane Dewar, Christine Hoy, Susan Sinclair and visitor Helen Clark.

18 December 2009
BBQ Tea, Marsden Valley & Glowworm walk
Organiser: Robyn Walsh

The barbeque sausages, chops and salad were all packed and a large oval plastic table, tablecloth and chair loaded. The weather was just perfect - sunny, warm and calm. So the scene was all set for a BBQ tea up Marsden Valley. All that was missing was lots of happy festive people. But the anticipated five would be just fine.

Robyn arrived ahead of the others to set up gear on a large, grassy area, away from the road, by the trees. By 6:30pm, Beverley Muirhead, Ken Holmes and Bridie, the dog, had arrived. Two others failed to show up.

The charcoal BBQ finally fired up after some initial difficulty and we were soon bogging into some hot goodies and salad, followed by fruit salad. The organiser produced some Christmas mince tarts which were enjoyed with a brew from the pump-pot, while we waited for darkness to develop.
Just after 9pm, it was almost dark so all the gear was packed up and cars moved up-valley. After crossing the stream we walked the easy-gradient track through the pines. A gentle, warm summer breeze wafted around. After 25 minutes we arrived at the large bank where little spots of light, grouped in patches, were visible. More glowworms were spotted on a lower bank nearer to the stream.

Having checked out and admired these attractive little critters, we turned back. With no moon, we needed our torches. Just as we got to the cars, a chance look skywards by Ken had us all viewing the Space Station as it appeared over the hill, moving in a northeasterly direction - a fantastic end to a lovely evening.

19-20 December 2009
Lake Angelus, Hinapouri Tarn, Nelson Lakes National Park

Organiser: Ian Pavitt

A dismal weather forecast, and the official trip -leader (Ian Pavitt) down with the flu - the prognosis for the trip didn't look good. However, as the last three trips had been cancelled, Ruth and I were on a 'get fitter' mission for our High Alpine Course. People were getting twitchy, and Dion had a new waterproof to check out. Mark, in hindsight, perhaps wanted to work up an appetite for a St Arnaud party. In addition, a few of us perceived the club slipping into fair weather mode. So, when I rang Ruth on Friday and was told I am packing; there was no decision; we were going.

The weather was as dismal as forecasted. The rain and wind swept Robert Ridge sending one pack cover heading for the Travers Valley, and knocked us around in the exposed places. The forecast did say clearing in the evening. I had visions of setting up camp by the tarns with the sun shining, and the rain clouds dispersing. As they say, dreams are free.

On arriving at the Angelus Hut site there was no sign of the old hut, and the new hut had only the profiles and the start of construction. With the wind and rain sweeping the construction site, and the only shelter being one toilet, we decided on Plan B: head down the Cascade Track and camp in the bush. There was no sign of clearing in the evening.

We quickly descended the Cascade Track to the grassy patch, and set up camp at N29 897233. Crossing the Hukere Stream didn't pose a problem despite all the rain. Very soon we were sitting under a fly with a hot mug of tea watching the windswept rain, and with all four tents erected, life was pretty good, as they say. It became even better as we ate homemade cheese (thanks Heather) and Christmas cake (thanks Jenn Heather's sister), washed down with some grape juice and watching our respective meals cooking.

The next day was a little better. With only a little distance to cover, we had a leisurely breakfast and slowly dismantled the camp. A pleasant walk down the Cascade Track and then to Coldwater Hut. Joe Kay and Sue Sinclair had recently arrived at the hut by kayak - perfect timing for a joint lunch. Inevitably, the time came to make our way around the Lakeside Track. Joe and Sue weren't too keen to stretch their legs, and for two of us to stretch our arms, so off we went. A brief stop around the lake, and then onwards towards the road.

Perfect timing saw a vehicle approaching just has I emerged from the bush. Knowing the long slog up the road, and expecting very little traffic heading upwards at this time of day, I almost threw myself in front of the truck.

The trip was completed by a plunge in the Buller by some, then a rare coffee in St Arnaud - yes we caught them open - followed by an ice cream. Mark decided that he had had enough of our company, and stayed with Bronwyn in St Arnaud to attend a party.
The team were Mark Stevens, Ruth Hesselyn, Dion Pont & Mike Drake (scribe).

2 January 2010
Fringed Hill / Third House-Brook Sanctuary, Nelson

Organisers: Mike & Sue Locke

On Friday the weather report was not favourable for a walk up to the Pearse Resurgence, so the trip leader changed the venue to the drier Richmond Ranges. We set off from the Brook Sanctuary building in light drizzle and made it to Five Ways in just over half an hour. Then it was up onto Fringed Hill and a morning tea stop at the summit. Feeling rested and refreshed, we then set off to Third House along the re-opened track. Parts of this track had been severely affected by the big wind of July 2008 and the amount of clearance by chain-saws and new sections of track was impressive. After an hour's walk and conversation on the effects of the afore-mentioned wind gusts we reached Third House just before midday. The sun had decided to come out by now so it was very pleasant sitting in the clearing soaking up some rays while we commented on how tubby most mountain bikers that we saw seemed to be!

Walking down the Dun Mountain Walkway back to Five Ways, it was most interesting to see how patchy the pockets of windfall were.
To finish off, we dropped down Jacobs Ladder to the Brook River and followed it out back to our cars.  A good workout, giving over four hours actual walking time. Keen trampers working off some excess Christmas fare were: Mike and Sue Locke (leaders), Merrick Mitchell (scribe) & Kelvin Drew (visitor).

9 January 2010
Ben Nevis, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Organiser: Dan McGuire

Seven energetic trampers met in Richmond at 8am for an assault on Ben Nevis. Andy Clark led the charge and would have been at the top by morning tea time if he had not had to wait for the others. As it was, we got to the top before noon after viewing orchids, edelweiss, and unsuccessfully looking for penwipers. The wind was strong and cold but the views were not bad.

Participants: Dan McGuire (leader), Andy Clark and his mate Graeme, Ron Mailer, Kazu Abe, Jocelyn Winn & guest Emily Gee.

16-17 January 2010
Flanagans Hut / Baton River, Kahurangi National Park
Organiser: Barry Pont

We had great weather for this trip - fine but not too hot. The little 4WDs grounded out a bit on the 3km of rough track from the end-of-road ford to the track start. What is a muffler or two when one hour each way of dull hiking is saved?

It was then over five hours' solid slog up the river to Flanagans Hut. What a beautiful river the Baton is! The track is fair-middling for the first hour, then tough with much crossings of the river, and then good for the rest where the old pack trail is well preserved.

The hut is a beauty at the forest edge (930m) well-designed and in excellent condition well done Motueka Tramping Club and DOC. In the morning, three of the party went up-valley to Baton Saddle (1400m) where the views were excellent: Mt Owen, Cullifords Hill, then the forested clefts containing the Karamea and Lesley right around to the edge of the Tablelands - magic! Then, down and back to the vehicles to end an excellent weekend, exiting via the dusty Baton Valley Road.

Trampers were: Barry Pont, Pat Holland; Visitors were: Pete Peters, Galen Scovell & Kelvin Drew.

17 January 2010
Harwoods Hole
(source of the Riwaka River)
Organiser: Robyn Walsh

Our day began at 8:30am. After the long drive up Takaka Hill and the Canaan Road, we arrived at the carpark at 10:30am.
It was a mild morning with misty cloud as we headed off into the beech forest on an easy track. Rock outcrops further along required some dexterous footwork to get through them. We soon reached The Hole after 45 minutes.
We stood in awe at the forces of nature that caused Harwoods Hole to form. We couldn't see The Hole at all, apart from the sheer rock walls on the other side.

A brass plaque on one rock face had us wondering how they managed to place it above the nothingness and why it was in such an awkward place, rendering it impossible to read.
We then followed the Lookout Track. The top was covered in a swathe of grey marble outcrops. Being very sharp and jagged with crevasses made the short walk to view the valley below very tricky. The group found some nearby shade for lunch at 12.30pm.

We then went up the Riwaka River Valley for the short bush walk up to the beautiful, clear Crystal Pool, where two divers explored the cold depths of the Resurgence. After a quick snack and cuppa, we started off home.

Participants were: Merrick, Lucia and Elizabeth Mitchell, Mitch Bloom, Marie Lenting, Ken Holmes, Bridie the dog, and Robyn Walsh.

16-20 January 2010
Waimakariri Falls, Arthurs Pass National Park

Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

Saturday morning saw David, Dion, Mike and myself head south in Dion and Barry's 4WD. This was duly parked at the Bealey Hotel (for safe keeping) with Mike kindly doing the jog between park and start.

Given the recent heavy rain, we decided to use the upgraded high river route which runs up the true right of the Waimak. This probably adds an extra hour onto the journey but it saves having to cross the Waimak and provides a pleasant change from plodding up the middle of the valley.

The first section was two hours of easy walking to the six-bunk Anti Crow Hut, which we shared with a couple of local lads in for the weekend, plus a few mice.

The highlight during the three hours walk to Carrington Hut was the arrival of a falcon when we crossed the open tops, much to David and Dion's delight, photographically speaking. A leisurely lunch was enjoyed at the 36-bunk hut, surprisingly empty and with few recent entries in the hut book.

After crossing the White River, the track to Waimak Falls Hut mainly follows the river. Initially through bush, then scrub, over boulders and rocky slabs, a steady climb past waterfalls, then finally a short sharp section to the basin. After about three hours of this, it was a welcome sight to see the little red six-bunk hut perched above the river and surrounded by Mount Cook Lilies, at the peak of their flowering.

On Monday, Mike and I were to climb Carrington Peak, Dion attempted to reach Barker Hut for the night, while David explored and enjoyed the surrounding area. David was the only one to succeed in his endeavours.
Mike and I got to within 200 metres of the summit before retreating due to obviously being on the wrong route - by this stage it was very misty, making route finding even harder. Dion got to within viewing distance of Barker Hut before retreating due to heavy rain.

On Tuesday, we met with Dion at Carrington Hut after a pleasant walk down the valley. We then continued on to Anti Crow for the night. I was really pleased that I pitched my tent here as apparently the mice were really bad.

On Wednesday, it was out to the road and back home after an enjoyable few days. It's such a beautiful area that it was a pity not more people were able to take the opportunity to visit.Maybe next time?

24 January 2010
North Peak, Mount Richmond Forest Park

Organiser: Alison Nicoll

After a week of constant showers we were lucky enough to get a break for this trip, although a southerly with more rain was predicted for later in the day. However, we set off from Richmond at 8.30am and were at the Inwood's Lookout carpark at 9.30am.

The forestry road had held up well in spite of the weather - though it had a few ruts at the top. With clouds breaking up and great views appearing, we were on the top by 11.45am. A quick lunch, then descent, as southerly squalls approached the tops.

Thoroughly enjoyed by: Alison Nicoll (scribe), David Nicoll, Ruth Hesselyn, Trish Bennett, Trevor, Mary Honey, Karen, John Faber, Brenda Griffin and Sara Vickerman.

30 January-1 February 2010
Mount Misery, Nelson Lakes National Park
Organiser: Pat Holland

Discretion being the better part of valour, we decided to strategically position Raymond's vehicle at Rotoroa Lakehead. So he and Pat started the tramp two hours after the other three in the party who were eventually caught up while sunning themselves by a stream on the Speargrass-Sabine track.

It was a warm, calm day, so we were thankful for the forest cover and even more for the coolness of the lake when we reached Sabine Hut - only two other occupants! Sandfly set and moon rise were both spectacular from the jetty.

Sunday dawned fine and clear so we set off early leaving Lynette to guard the hut. It took a good 1.5 hours to get around to the D'Urville side where the Misery track begins ... quite a gruelling 1000m-climb with packs but the views across Lake Rotoroa were spectacular once we reached the bushline. It was then not far to Mount Misery's 4-bunk hut snuggled in a basin, with a tarn, just below the summit. A wonderful sunset from the summit ridge was much photographed and then blessed sleep.

Ruth broke camp at dawn and headed off on her training jaunt - return to Mount Robert car park via Sabine Hut, Mount Cedric, Angelus Basin and Robert Ridge. (She accomplished this feat in 9 hours with a 25kg pack!).

A more leisurely departure for the other three - the long ridge with tussock basins from Mount Misery to Mount Windward was inviting on a fine, calm morning and gave wonderful views of all the major peaks in the park.

Then back for an uneventful descent to the lake and on to D'Urville Hut where the water taxi option was welcome (with deviation to pick up Lynette).
This is an excellent trip with Mt Misery a gem in fine weather. Participants were: Pat Holland (Leader), Raymond & Lynette Salisbury, David Blunt & Ruth Hesselyn.

30 January-1 February 2010
Nelson Anniversary Weekend
Lake Stream, Victoria Forest Park

Organiser: Jo Kay

Carole Crocker and I were the lucky people to head into the Lake Stream Valley on a sunny clear day with two more days of the same forecast to come.

The track beginning was easy to miss with no car park and a sign partially hidden in the bush.  However, on backtracking from Duffy's Lake track we saw the sign and found a car park about 100m up the road.

The track meanders up the valley among mature beech forest and several stream crossings with a gradually increasing gradient. I reckon this is the best time of year to do this trip as the heat makes the stream crossings a welcome cooling-down exercise. The dry weather means that the potentially boggy parts aren't much of a problem.

After some tempting glimpses of magnificent craggy mountain tops through the bush, we emerged into a large clearing with two tarns and a small bivvy located on the far side. The bivvy is very tidy, recently painted and has two bunks. Carole stayed in the bivvy while I put up my tent on the springy grass and we relaxed in the afternoon sun, enjoying the frog-song and mountain vista.

We were intrigued by a huge egg-shaped rock which sat incongruously on its point on the tops and was the last thing to be bathed in light as the sun set.
On Saturday morning we set off on a vague route up the valley which was populated by huge celmisia in flower, many dastardly spiky Spaniards and sneaky deep creeks hidden by the tussock. The last part was a scramble up a boulder field onto the ridge where we were on top of the world with only more mountains to be seen for 360 ...and Edelweiss in flower.

We spent the next four hours wandering along the Victoria Range ridges, our highest point being at 1601m where we looked down on a tarn and ate our lunch with a kea which sat on a nearby rocky outpost. We had a closer look at the egg-shaped rock, marked with creases which made it look like a giant, winking teddy bear.

On Sunday we bid goodbye to our little patch of paradise and had a faster trip back down with lighter packs and gravity in our favour.

6-7 February 2010
Mueller Tarn & Tops, Lewis Pass National Reserve

Organiser: Ken Ridley

Five members, plus packs, squeezed into my car for the drive to Lewis Pass. We parked at a layby near Maruia Springs and walked down the riverbed looking for the track to Mueller Tarn, (no longer maintained.)
The key to the track start is a large cairn in the middle of the river bed. The marker disc is now out-of-sight in the trees opposite the cairn. From the base of the hill, the track is still well-marked and easy to follow. Then it's a very steep grunt directly up through the forest.

We arrived hot and bothered at this very attractive tarn at the bush edge, after a good two-hour slog.
A long lunch break was in order while we contemplated the bluffs and ridgeline high above us.

After some discussion we decided to sidle to the right to pick up an easier spur, with a couple of short scrambles to gain Point 1566m - a great view from here, but no sign of the higher tarn we looking for. However, it looked promising past the next spur. We dropped off the ridge and sidled over the spur and there was a small tarn in a hollow and a good campsite. We set up camp in this comfortable spot with shelter, soft grass and rock seats.

Next day we woke to another perfect day and, surprisingly, dry tents. After breakfast we headed up to the next high point at 1613m. A short distance up from our camp we discovered anothere beautiful tarn perched on the ridge. 
We continued up to Pt 1633m. Mount Mueller looked a fair way off along a broken ridgeline, so we decided to go in the other direction to the next high point on the Freyburg Range for a different viewpoint.

From here, we returned to camp. Mary and Dion had a dip in the tarn along the way. (Separately, of course.) We packed up and dropped down steep grass and scree, almost to the bushline, avoiding bluffs to our left. A short left sidle and we were back at Mueller Tarn.

Another leisurely lunch and brew here, then non-stop down to the valley floor and car. Too warm for the hot springs, we enjoyed refreshments at Springs Junction and Murchison.
Participants were: Dion Pont, Jocelyn Winn, Mary Honey, Christine Hoy & scribe Ken Ridley.

7 February 2010

Porika Track & Braeburn Walk, Lake Rotoroa

Nelson Lakes National Park

Organiser: Ruth Henry

Wow! was the comment one passenger at first sight of Lake Rotoroa. 12 of us arrived at this tranquil lake in three cars. People doing the sand fly dance soon disturbed the peaceful scene.

We decided to walk the Porika Track first before the heat of the day. The lower part of this 4WD track is steep and very rutted, proving difficult especially when descending. Higher up, you come to a viewpoint of the lake and from where you can see a patch of different vegetation that indicates where the early Maoris cleared the bush for a garden.

Further on, we encountered a cyclist who blithely informed us he had already traveled 300kms (from Blenheim) & was in a race.
Some of us were keen to find a summit. We did find clearings with views to Howard Valley and back to Gowan Valley and Braeburn Roads.

One member was particularly interested in the pylons we had been following, as her work involves them. So getting up close to read the identification on one was special. We turned around here, and after briefly speaking to a gumboot-clad local on a motorbike, descended to take the Nature Walk to a delightful little spot by the lake to have our lunch.

The Braeburn Walk is an attractive bush walk to a waterfall. When one is hot, the sound of water is so refreshing. Not a breath of wind here, whereas the occasional breeze in the morning was most welcome. 1 hour later we were back at the lake, cooling our feet.

Participants were: Tom Jordan, an American visitor, Lenore Jansen & Raewyn Greenwood, plus members: Katie & Maurice Cloughney, Annie Hill, Rosalie Horsfield, Sandra Lawn, Sue & Mike Locke, Sue Davies & Ruth Henry (scribe).

8 February 2010 - Club Night
Show & Tell evening

Four members took the floor, telling tales of trips near and afar. Uta showed stunning photos from her latest trip to Kathmandu, including Kachenjunga.

David Blunt wowed us with the spectactular location of Waimak Falls Hut, and a movie clip of our climbers after an assault on Carrington Peak.

We laughed at Raymond as he swam over Waiau Pass at snail's pace with some friends.

Then Pat's Puysegur Point epic was retold. How he kayaked into the dark recesses of Preservation Inlet, deep inside Fiordland.

All in all, it was a good evening's catchup with a great turnout.

14 February 2010
Holyoake Clearing, Abel Tasman National Park

Organiser: Mike Locke

Arriving early at Marahau, five doughty trampers set out up the Inland Track to arrive at Holyoake Clearing for lunch.We then walked down to the coastal track for fabulous views of the coast and gorgeous German girls tramping on the coastal route.

Eight hours of walking was no challenge to this hardy group, which included Mike Locke (leader), Sue Locke (co-leader), Uta Purcell (who managed very well despite a bad knee) Dan McGuire (scribe) & Lenore Jansen.

Private Trip Report:
Travers/Sabine Loop, Nelson Lakes National Park

Two of us walked the Travers/Sabine circuit during late November, starting and finishing at Kerr Bay.

We had an easy first day walking around Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut. 18 trampers trickled in over the course of the late afternoon and evening, including a group of four Wellington guys carrying a flask of wine! It was encouraging seeing a young mother who had walked in with two young children.

Next morning was an early start, as this was our longest day.  Lunch was at John Tait Hut  where we viewed the impressive avalanche debris from the winter of 2008. The cloud lifted for the afternoon walk to Upper Travers Hut.

The trampers had thinned out by now and we teamed up with the Wellington guys, and good company they were too.

Next morning, mist was still lingering about the peaks and Travers Pass, but this lifted as we climbed up. There was not much snow about. Our only incident was me forgetting my sunglasses back at the hut.

After a steep descent down to the Sabine for lunch, we then proceded to West Sabine Hut.  During the course of the late afternoon, this hut nearly filled up with 19 trampers - only two foreigners, and this was mid-week and non-holiday time!

A pleasant, easy walk down to Sabine Hut the next day with just three of us. There were some patches of windfall on the way to Speargrass Hut, which we shared with an Englishman and two Aussie trampers. We walked out the next morning via Mount Robert car park, down the road to Kerr Bay and back home for a late lunch.

Faith in the goodness of humankind was restored a week later when my forgotten sunglasses were couriered back to me from Blenheim, from a family we met in West Sabine Hut!
Trampers were: Merrick Mitchell & Ross Price.