Trip Reports, April-June 2011


  1. Third House, Nelson
  2. Poulter River, Arthurs Pass NP
  3. Holyoake Clearing, Abel Tasman NP
  4. Airport Perimeter Track, Nelson
  5. Cullens Point, Marlborough Sounds
  6. Bucklands Peaks, Paparoa NP
  7. Richmond Hills, Nelson
  8. Mt Stokes & Titirangi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

10 April – Third House – Nelson
Leader: Brenda Griffin

We started at the Brook Motor Camp for Third House. There were no views along the way as cloud was low, making the bush stand out in all its different colours. It’s a good climb until you meet the Dun Mountain Railway track, then it’s an easy walk through to Third House for morning tea.

We weren’t the only ones up early and walking. A number of the Baby Boomer generation were out on mountain bikes to Third House too.

On the way down, Val suggested we divert onto a track recently upgraded by the volunteers of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. We walked through some lovely native bush where volunteers have made a wonderful track. A great morning was had by all on this three-hour excursion.

Participants were: Brenda Griffin (scribe), Val Latimer, Alice Patterson, plus visitors: Pip Greer and Lorraine Knox.

21–25 April (Easter) – Poulter River – Arthurs Pass

Leader: Dion Pont

On 21 April, seven members met at the White Bridge near Arthurs Pass. In fine weather we started a 17km walk up the Poulter River.

About half way to Casey Hut, we did a small side trip to the Turnbull Biv on the true left of the Poulter River. Later in the day, we arrived at Casey Hut and settled in for the night.

Friday dawned fine, but overcast, and we set off for the new Poulter Hut, approximately 6km further upriver. This involved lots of boulder hopping and river crossing to gain the hut which proved to be a comfortable base for three consecutive nights.

After lunch, Wade, Dion and Mike went exploring further up through the gorge to the new Poulter Biv, via the Worsley Biv. This involved deep river crossing and slippery boulders. Here Dion went for an unplanned swim.

Saturday was a rest day due to heavy rain, so we entertained ourselves with a few magic shows and tricks we played on each other.

On Sunday we headed up to Minchin Biv for the day. We had a real mixed bag of weather with rain, wind, and even a bit of sun! The creek was high and it made for tricky going during the last hour to the biv. A quick lunch was eaten and it was off back down to ‘our’ Poulter Hut.

Monday was another wet day. Raymond had to leave us and walk all the way out, while the rest of us had an easy day returning to Casey Hut. We had a look up Fenwick Stream to find the start of the track to Ranger Biv, another good trip for next time.

On Tuesday morning, we had fresh snow down and a freezing cold southerly wind – this made for a long, cold trip back down the Poulter to the car park.

Explorers were Dion Pont, Ray Salisbury, with Mike (scribe), Deirdre, Wade, Alice, & Chelsea Glover.

1 May – Holyoake Clearing – Abel Tasman NP
Leader: Christine Hoy

A fine Sunday saw seven eager trampers ready to head up to Holyoake Clearing. Meeting at the start of the track at Marahau we set off at a leisurely pace in brilliant sunshine. Certainly a welcome change from the adverse weather of late that has caused so many trips to be cancelled. The steep climb up to the clearing was broken by a morning tea break along the way. On such a fine day the views over the bay and beyond presented a beautiful sight.

Arriving at the clearing around noon, we made use of the conveniently-provided picnic table to partake of our lunch. Everyone agreed that the new shelter was more like a little hut and all were suitably impressed.

Having consumed our repast we retraced our steps back down to the car park, arriving later in the afternoon.

Thanks to all on the trip who made this a most enjoyable outing: Marie Lenting, Dan McGuire, Merrick Mitchell, Kelvin Drew and the visitors Marie Firth and Caroline Moore.

8 May – Airport Perimeter & Atawhai – Nelson

Leader: Robyn Walsh

After heavy rain all week, and taking heed of Jim’s advice, the Doom Creek trip was changed to two short local walks in keeping with the easy grade advertised.

On this very mild morning, Jim and Robyn met at 10am near the airport to do the Perimeter Walk. Although rather cloudy, it quickly improved and we were soon in the sun.

We had a very brief look at the peninsular, then on to the northern end of the airport runway, where we make a rendezvous with Beverley who couldn’t get here until then. Beside the golf course we sloshed round the edges of some surface flooding before arriving back at the cars.

Next, we drove into town via Rocks Road, where rather rough seas and a high tide produced some huge waves which smacked against the seawall and splashed onto the road.

It was midday when we arrived the the track start on the Atawhai hills. At this good vantage point we consumed lunch.

We then commenced a short climb through gum trees. Out in the open, we enjoyed excellent views down to Nelson City and beyond.

Trotting toward the Centre of NZ, we took a sharp left turn to climb up to the mast. By now, the weather was deteriorating as the clouds closed in. With jackets and hats on, we took in the panorama of the Boulder Bank.

Heading down a steeper track took us past a huge reservoir tank, and later, the palatial homes of Walters Bluff.

An interesting day concluded for Jim Maxwell, Beverley Muirhead and organiser/scribe Robyn Walsh.

22 May – Cullen Point, Marlborough Sounds
Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

This trip is for first-timers and provides a very enjoyable and varied mix of hill climbing to the top of Hill No 473 (no historical or indigenous name here, just the stated obvious being the height of the hill), a pleasant circumnavigation of the bush-clad Loop Track and meander up the sloping path and steps to the Lookout.

Be prepared to be captivated by the sublime views of Pelorus Sound and its sweeping environs emerging from the morning fog, enjoy lunch on the shoreline of Pelorus Sound where one enthusiastic person completed their early winter swim, walk in the company of friendly fantails, indulge in ice cream and coffee and cake at Pelorus Bridge on the return journey home and be filled with gratitude for a perfect day in the outdoors.

Thank you for your company: Beverley Muirhead, Brenda Griffin, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Jim Maxwell, Robyn Walsh, Ron Mailer and visitor and intrepid Sound swimmer, Oliver Steeing.

20–22 May – Buckland Peaks – Paparoa National Park

Leader: David Blunt

Following a succession of wet weekends, the forecast of a large anti-cyclone coming in from the Tasman Sea gave rise to optimism for a fine weekend on the Buckland tops at the northern end of the Paparoa National Park.

As most trampers will know, you cannot always rely on what Jim Hickey says. And so it was that four of us drove down the Buller River gorges into increasing cloud.

Upon reaching the Buckland track carpark, light rain was falling. We set off with parkas on, following a farm road across the Caroline terrace for just over two tedious hours.

From the park boundary it was a steady grunt up a bush-covered ridge for another 3.5 hours before dropping down to the six-bunk hut – a welcome sight as it loomed up in the murk just before darkness set in.

Spirits were soon revived after a change of clothing and hot drinks and a meal before settling in for a long night in the sack. Although there was no heating in the hut, it was quite cosy inside.

Next morning, there was still plenty of cloud around as we left the hut to climb back up to the ridge but much of it soon dissipated with the sun making an occasional appearance.

After an hour of gradual climbing we were soon in a different world; it had some likeness to the Mt Owen area except that all the rocks were granite, some worn smooth by past glaciation and some badly fractured by earthquake activity. It’s a great area to wander around on, with its tarns.

We took delight in traversing the main Buckland Peaks and taking in 360-degree views, with the jagged peaks of the Paparoa Range just to the east on one side, and the township of Westport on the other.

Unfortunately, it was not clear enough to see Mt Cook, but was still good enough to shoot plenty of photos and to observe the plant associations.

We were back at the hut by early afternoon and thoughts of sitting on the verandah in the sun did not materialise, as the mist rolled in again.

Next morning, we headed back out the same way, reaching the carpark in four hours, 10 mins. We got back into the sun at Murchison where a stop was made for coffees and a Pilsener.

All in all, ‘twas a successful weekend in which the expectations of everyone were exceeded. Trampers were: Pat Holland, Hilde Somerville, Carole Crocker & David Blunt.

29 May – Richmond Hills – Nelson
Leader: Lawrie Halkett

After the wettest rainfall month on record (280mls) the last weekend in May proved to be a beauty. This must have been the reason so many club members ventured outdoors!

Firstly on Saturday to attack Ruth’s olive trees at Frogs End (thanks to Peter, Ray and Ruth for the chance to do something completely different and in the process be rewarded with fine food, wine and some fantastic olive oil), and then on Sunday take on the Richmond Hills.

A leisurely 9am start saw a throng of people assemble at 8 Farnham Drive and after much head counting, and recounting, it was established that there were 17 hearty souls ready to do battle.

The route was from Easby Park, up Reservoir Creek to the fire lookout at the top of the hill, then south along the ridgeline to Jimmy Lee Creek and back to home base.

It had been pre-arranged to learn a little from club member Allison Pickford and Sue Marren, of their predator trapping operations up both of these creeks running off the Richmond Hills. Both Allison and Sue have been trapping mice, rats, stoats and possums for over two years now and believe that they are seeing a response in the increasing birdlife on the hill ... which is great news for all us nature-loving outdoor types.

Allison Nichol is another long-serving predator catcher, working further south along the range in Will’s Gully.

Early in the tramp, all the hikers saw New Zealand’s second tallest tree standing at 73 metres (quote David Sissons), thought to be a mountain ash (Eucalyptus saligna).

In the same creek were a couple of very large totara. Speaking of trees, in Jimmy Lee Creek there is a very large matai and a good collection of reasonable-sized Tawas.

A big thanks to Allison and Sue for taking the time to show us about these catchments.

With such a big group on the hill, people ambled about in slightly different directions, but at the end of the day the head count revealed that everyone had been accounted for!

All concluded it had been a wonderful day, with some physical exertion spiced up with a bit of education. All party members left for home in high spirits, aided and abetted by memories of plenty of blue sky and sunshine.

Our party included: Nicky Pavey (non club member), David Sissons (joined club day of the hike), Jim Maxwell, Beverley Muirhead, Val Latimer, Brenda Griffin, Gretchen Williams, Tony Haddon, Allison Nichol, Jilian Arbuthnott, Robyn Walsh and partner Ken, Svenja (international student staying with Lawrie), Marie Lenting, Lawrie (scribe and leader) ably supported by Allison Pickford and Sue Marren.

4–6 June – Mt Stokes/Titirangi Lodge – Marlborough Sounds

Leader: Uta Purcell

Five trampers went for a holiday to the ‘Fringe of Heaven’ in the outer Marlborough Sounds, accompanied by partners and friends. After a coffee stop in Havelock, brighter patches in the sky raised our hopes to escape the Nelson rain.

Titirangi Farm Park looked quite enticing from above and the steep road was good. During the afternoon we settled into the spacious lodge, explored the beach and walked on muddy farm tracks to a lonely cabbage tree.

Helen, who had turned back because of the mud, surprised us a little later by catching up with us on a farm road. Heavy rain fell during the night and early next morning.

It was 11am when we left for Mt Stokes, where the car park was full. We negotiated the track of rocks, roots, rushing water and mud. There were frequent stops to greet the 20-plus drenched looking members of a Nelson birthday party group who were already on the descent. Quite a few were known to us. They, and a lost florist on the road earlier that morning, added to our hilarity.

There was no view from the summit but the rain held back. Five happy trampers returned after five hours to a cosy evening of games and relaxation at the lodge.

Day Three’s weather looked more promising but there was still plenty of low cloud. Packing up and tidying was quickly accomplished.

Above Te Mahia we walked 2km up to Onahau lookout, the views still under cloud. In comparison to some mountain bikers, we looked very clean. Picnic lunch was had in sun on Te Mahia wharf. And homewards we went.

Participants were: Christine & Dale Hoy, Marie Lenting, Mark & Bronwyn Stevens, Helen & Margaret King (visitors), Mike & Uta (scribe) Purcell.



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