Trip Reports

16 October 2005 - Jenkins Hill direct. Organiser: Grahame Harris.

We left at the respectable hour of 8.30 from the Brook Dam and followed the stream up until it forked. Unable to decide which way to go, we chose compromise and scrambled up onto the steep rocky spur in the middle. It eased into a steep climb for quite some distance then eased off to a gentler slope. The bush was open and pleasant to near the top, and a final push through young trees brought us to the Jenkins Hill-Third house track. From there it was all straightforward through Third House and the Walkway back to the cars. All members of the party seemed to enjoy doing a section they had never done before.

Party: Dan McGuire, Ian Pavitt, Lindsay Twiname, Ruth Hesselyn, John Lammin, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, David Blunt, Noel File, Grahame Harris.

16 October 2005 - Courthouse Flat Walks. Organiser: Robyn Walsh (on behalf of Gavin Holmwood)

The long drive over to Courthouse Flat soon went by and we arrived at 9.40am in fine sunny weather with just the odd cloud hovering above this enclosed valley. A pre-walk snack, then a study of the map board encouraged us to choose the Blue Creek Resurgence Walk first. We followed Blue Creek Track into the beech forest and came across some very heavy, solid pieces of gold mining equipment. No wonder they didn't bother to take them back out when the venture failed. Further up, a reassembled 4-head stamper battery stood on guard. We were soon at the track's end looking down into a small water-free gorge. A climb down to the riverbank revealed a small upwelling of water, but around a corner a huge torrent surged out from underground between the boulders, to carry on roaring down the gorge. The water clarity was astounding. From here we headed back down to a sunny spot, for morning, tea, making use of low rock ledges piled here some 90 years ago.

Back to the junction at 11.30am we turned for Nuggety Creek Walk. Minimal shade made it quite hot for the gentle climb up to the Colossus Mine site. While at the mine, the Motueka Tramping Club group of five caught up. They were doing the same tracks as us. Continuing on into the bush, a fork in the track led us to the Doran Mine site. With promptings from Ross, we took the short loop down to the river and back up again to the main track. The track was very soft and muddy so we backtracked to the open to find a suitable lunch spot with a view and a little shade. After passing several potential sites and the carpark getting ever closer, we finally found, at 12.45pm, the ideal place with good views, good seating, on a bank beside the track and some shade.

After lots of laughs and a few sandwiches, we slung on our packs at 1.30pm to carry on down. We went along to see the lovely Lutine Pools. Plenty of flat bedrock so we could walk over to the pools for a better look at the beautiful clear water pouring through gaps between boulders. Back at the Flat at 2pm we left our packs in the carboots while we explored the Granity Creek Walk. As the first creek crossing looked rather deep and swift and as it was getting a bit late in the day, we turned back at 3pm for the regulatory icecreams, milkshake, or pie! We arrived back home about 5.30pm.

Thanks from Robyn to Shirley de Groot, Ross Price, Gillian Arbuthnott, Denis Parnell, and Sharan Foga for a very enjoyable day.

22-24 October 2005 - Matiri/1000-acre Plateau. Organiser: Mark Stevens

With a sacrifice made to the weather gods and the thumbs up from Augie Auer, four sunseekers set forth for the Plateau. We stayed at a Murchison backpackers on Friday night and on Saturday morning we drove to the beginning of the track and made our way to Lake Matiri Hut. Then we headed up to the Plateau with views of the lake and the rock formations, the climb was steep in places. As we reached the bush edge, views of the Plateau unfolded, with the distant view of the Needle and the Haystack, one of which we planned to climb the next day. Across the Plateau we traveled with a stop at Poor Pete's Hut for lunch, where two of our party decided to stay the night. With cloud building to the west, the others traveled on across the plateau towards Larrikins Hut. I must mention the mud on the track, as one of the half was to find out, is very deep, crotch deep in fact (thanks Cathy). At this point three young whippersnappers came speeding past us; we carried on, watching them disappear in to the distance, careful placement of boots was the order for the rest of the trip to Larrikins Hut. The hut was reached and the clouds began to shower and rain.

The morning brought more cloud and showers so we decided to have a go at climbing the Needle, but on reaching a saddle, the cloud had not cleared. So, we decided to go back to Poor Petes Hut to be with the other two. As we were about to leave, one of the others arrived so all three travelled back to Poor Pete's Hut. At Poor Pete's, we found that the other person had left to stay at Lake Matiri Hut. So we settled in for the night. The morning brought more cloud and the showers returned, so back to the car on the same route. Half way down the track the sun showed its face. At the nearest river spot there was a quick dip in readiness for the drive home.

Thanks to fellow sun worshippers: Cathy Worthy, Grahame Harris, and visitor Joanne.

30 October 2005 - Sunrise Peak ) Cancelled due to weather

30 October 2005 - Asbestos Mine )

5-6 November 2005 - Mt Newton )

6 November 2005 - Cobb Valley. Organiser: David Nielsen

Option 1 - Sylvester Lake: As we arrived at the Cobb Dam, we noticed that the tide had gone out! Yes, a dry season. Shortly after viewing the dam, we were on our way up to Sylvester Lake. On reaching the top it was Grahame's idea to go up a tussock-covered ridge for views of Lake Lockett. We carried on to Iron Lake where we had lunch up on the ridge overlooking Sylvester Lake. After lunch we went down and around Lake Sylvester and back to Sylvester Hut, then back down to the cars and for home.

People taking this option: Barry Pont, Grahame Harris, Noel File, Rosemary Weir, and David Nielsen.

Option 2 - Lake Peel. Organiser David succeeded in having 2 cars travel to the Cobb, each to a different track. Our car pulled up at the Mytten Hut car park. We gained the Cobb Ridge in comfortable time and gazed down at the Cobb Reservoir which showed more mudflats than water. To go down to Lake Peel had no appeal. Along the ridge we therefore headed to Mt Peel. This was what we appreciated until the persistent drone of two approaching helicopters spoiled the experience. We got even more distracted when we saw the two machines sitting on top of Mt Peel, disgorging people. When we arrived near the summit for lunch, we were in cloud and sheltering from a very chilly wind. It appeared that by choosing to go to Mt Peel rather than Lake Peel, we all had our own agenda. Dion's was to step out of the sheltered spot and make for the summit cairn. Mine was to proceed over rock and some scree with two Leki poles instead of my customary single pole. Beverley prefers the ridge and top anyway and Christine was celebrating a special day. Visibility was poor now. So Dion employed his good route-finding skills and we were able to avoid bluffs on a straight descent to Lake Peel. The lake, seen from this aspect, looked picturesque. We were now on the eastern side of the Cobb Ridge, famed for its flora. Contorting ourselves across a creek, we captured the first flowering big buttercups (Ranunculus insignis) on our digital cameras, only to find later that they also lined the track. An enjoyable loop of 6 hours with some extra excitement. Thanks, Beverley, Christine, Dion. Scribe: Uta Purcell

12-13 November 2005 - Maitai/Captain Creek/Dew Lakes/Maitai. Organiser: Arthur Jonas

We left the Maitai road end just before 8am with the cloudy sky threatening forecasted showers. Morning tea was just below the cloud level but rain began to fall shortly thereafter and by the time we reached the Dun Saddle was a torrential downpour accompanied by a gale. When Rocks Hut was reached at midday for lunch all were thoroughly soaked and the opportunity to light a fire and dry off was very welcomed.

The rain came and went intermittently and we prepared to wait for a promising fine spell in the warmth of the hut. At one o'clock the rain seemed to have stopped so we set off for Middy Hut, Grahame, who had planned to stay at Rocks, and Yvonne, who had had enough of being soaking wet and cold for the time being, stayed.

The rest of us, once we were below the cloud, were able to take off wet weather gear and walk in patches of sunshine. By the time we reached Middy Hut at 3pm, the sky was blue.

We arrived at Captain Creek Hut at 4.30, spread the remaining wet clothes on bushes to dry, Ian set up his tent ("I've carried it this far, I might as well sleep in it"), and experimented with his home made twig burning stove, which seemed to be effective. Most of us had a dip in the Pelorus.

Next morning we were ready to go at 7.40am with enough cloud cover to keep the day cool. This was just as well as the organiser's memory of the spur to the north of the hut as reasonably gentle ascent proved to be rubbish. Ian's borrowed GPS was useful in plotting our progress by accurately reporting our height but its habit of doubling up on the distance covered was a bit disconcerting. (We might have to read the manual!!)

The descent to a deep saddle and climb up to the track just short of the Dew Lakes was without incident although the organiser did sense some surprise among the party, given his previous memory lapse, that it was at lunch time rather than tea time!

Participants were Carol Crocker, Jocelyn Winn, Yvonne Kyle, Grahame Harris, Ian Pavitt and Arthur Jonas.

13 November 2005 - Richmond Hills. Organiser: Alison Nicoll

From Alison and David's property, it is just a short walk down Hill Street to the start of the Jimmy Lee Creek Track. This track is well-defined and led us through some nice native bush. The creek was virtually dry, the track dusty, and we were all noticing the heat. During a drink break, Alison saw an old gin trap (not loaded) and decided to carry it out, perhaps as a rustic decoration for her garden. After crossing over Fowler Road (a 4WD road), it was not long before we were out of the native bush and, for the last few hundred metres, in amongst pine and gorse.

On reaching the top we admired the view and pointed out and named various peaks. It was much too hot to stay there in the sun for lunch, so we dropped down the forestry road a bit to find a small patch of shade to squeeze into. After lunch it was back up and along to the forestry lookout tower, where the ranger invited us in to inspect what must surely be the best "room with a view" around. The dryness of the season plus the evils of fireworks were the obvious hot topics.

We took a different way back down, initially on forestry roads, which were quite steep, and rock hard and slippery (oh the knees). It was a relief to get back on the shady and not so steep tracks through the bush. We popped out onto Hill Street at just on 2pm, and headed back to Alison and David's place for an inspection of their famous irises. Alison had warned us that the irises had peaked some weeks previously however we were still greeted by a field of colour, row upon row of beautiful irises of all different colours.

Thank you, Alison and David, for an excellent day, from: Gillian Arbuthnott, Ruth & Skye Hesselyn, Dan McGuire, Lindsay Twiname (scribe), and visitors Katie Greer and Deborah van Dam.

Photo gallery 19-20 November 2005 - Mt Haast/Lake Daniells. Organiser: Gretchen Williams

An organiser's dream -

Seventeen people registered their interest (none pulled out)

The weather on Saturday morning was gorgeous (no stressing over 'to go or not to go')

Lots of offers to take vehicles, more than needed even (to sleep in when 'camping')

The summit of Mt Haast - with wonderful 360 views (everybody happy)

Recovering in the Maruia Hot Pools (despite the odd signs of disrepair)

Morning tea at Lake Daniells on the jetty & hut veranda (before the cold wind drove us inside)

An organiser's nightmare -

Missing the huge sign for the start of the Mt Haast track (luckily others knew where to go)

An injury (able to hobble down the mountain after the obligatory oaths in a foreign language and still smiling on Sunday morning)

Being the only one to 'volunteer' to do the trip report when the appeal went out

Good company and an enjoyable weekend provided by -

David Blunt, Alison Nicoll, Christine Hoy, Beverley Muirhead, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Adam Womersley, Tony Haddon, Grahame Harris, Mark Graesser, Gretchen Williams, Ted Brooks, Denis Parnell, Shirley de Groot, Margaret Edwards, and visitors Val Latimer and Jenny Symons.

19-20 November 2005 - Top Wairoa/Ben Nevis. Organiser: Ian Pavitt

"Armstrong, Morris, Bradford, and Ford" - here we all were under starter's orders, four slightly used models, some with high mileage and rust, others with classic lines and one highly-modified model. The flag dropped and we were off on the two day rally. The first stage hard and fast, although very undulating, which was very trying on gears and clutches. Two hours in and some units were showing signs of overheating. So, down to the river to allow the cooling systems to recover before accelerating on to Mid Wairoa Hut for the first main pit stop of the day. After some minor adjustments and lubrication, it was on to stage two - Top Wairoa. Once again the track hard and dry but more undulating than stage one. Numerous river crossings were helped by low water flow so only occasionally did water get into the brakes. Once again, overheating was common due to the high afternoon temperatures. It was with relief that all four units arrived in good condition at Top Wairoa for the overnight service.

Fully tweaked and reassembled the units were ready to tackle the second day which was again dry but had some big climbs which saw some taking on extra fuel and water. Strong cross winds on the top road had some units swerving, and a tricky rocky section had all in low gear crawling along. Mid day saw the day's major service carried out just before the Ben Nevis trig. After this it was downhill all the way with a rough last off road section which left some paint work badly scratched and panels dented.

Many thanks to the following experienced drivers: the Armstrong - Mike Drake, the Ford - Andy Clark, the highly-modified Morris - Ruth Hesselyn, and the Bradford - yours truly.

27 November 2005 - Cable Bay Walkway. Organiser: Tony Haddon.

Starting at the Glen, we followed the road up to the airstrip where we had morning tea. We then went on to the hill above Cable Bay before returning the same way, enjoying the bush and the views.

Party: Gillian Arbuthnott, David Nielsen (scribe), and visitors Val Latimer and Ruth.

27 November 2005 - Fishtail. Organiser: Dan McGuire.

Eight fit trampers left the Church Steps at 7am and proceeded to Mt Fishtail. They tore up to the hut with just a brief break, appreciating the excellent weather with a cool wind, making for a comfortabale ascent. After lunch at the hut, seven went on to the summit. Remarkable numbers of penwipers were photographed by Arthur Jonas. There were great views over the east but Mt Egmont could not be seen. A leisurely descent saw us arrive back at the trailhead at 6pm.

Participants: Uta Purcell, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Mike Drake, Grahame Harris, Jocelyn Winn, Barry James, and Dan McGuire.

Photo gallery

3-4 December 2005 - Goulter Valley. Organiser: Barry Pont.

We left Nelson on a 2.75 hour drive to North Bank Road which included 31km of gravel. From the carpark we walked up the Goulter River Track, in time for lunch at the Lower Goulter Hut. Following the river flats and river, in which we saw plenty of fat brown trout, we arrived at Mid goulter Hut at approximately 3pm. After a break, Mike and Laurie continued on to Old Man Hut for the night and from where they were to walk out to the Hackett on the following day.

Of the main party, Goulter Hut slept 7 trampers and three slept in tents outside. It was great to see wekas, deer and goats in this area. On Sunday, we followed the lovely clear waters of the river back to the carpark. Nice warm water and good company on this tramp. We had a detour through Pelorus River over the Mangatapu Track, which was very rough.

Main party: Barry & Dion Pont, Noel & Sheryl File, Beverley Muirhead, Grahame Harris, Mark Graesser, and visitors Alan Dalziel, René Visser, and Carl de Snoyes (a student from Canada).

Crossover pair: Mike Marren and Laurie Halkett.