Trip Reports, July–August 2013

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  1. Ellis Hut > Kahurangi NP
  2. The Grampians > Nelson
  3. Mt Stanley > Marlborough Sounds
  4. Lake Chalice & Mt Duppa > Mt Richmond FP
  5. Brook Waimarama Sanctuary > Nelson
  6. Mt Campbell > Kahurangi NP
  7. Gordons Knob > Mt Richmond FP
  8. Peanter Peak > Nelson Lakes NP
  9. Ben Nevis > Mt Richmond FP
  10. Tahunanui to Airport > Nelson
  11. Begley & Rainbow Huts > Nelson Lakes NP

29–30 June 2013 – Ellis Hut – Kahurangi National Park
Leader & scribe: Dion Pont

Postponed from the previous weekend, Dion cajoled us into a second attempt. It was mid-morning on a Saturday when he ferried us further along the farm road from the Baton Valley in his trusty Suzuki jeep.

While the old track began on an easy gradient, the stream crossings got deeper and trickier. 2.5 hours of good going put us beneath the crux: a vertical climb of some 30 metres hanging onto a steel cable. Thankfully there were ample rooted hand- and foot-holds.

This was the start of a two-hour sidle, high above the Ellis River, which slowed progress somewhat. A cold crossing to the true right, another gnarly sidle track, and a final ford of the frigid stream.

A rather steep ascent had our legs screaming for 20 minutes until the spur broadened and our journey settled into a steady slog through the snow.

Once in the Ellis headwaters, somewhere below the various peaks of Mount Arthur, we marvelled at limestone outcrops, before reaching the six-bunk hut. It had taken nearly six hours’ hard tramping.

Inside were NSC maps detailing the entire Ellis Basin cave system; 37km of passages.

On Sunday, we made tracks back down-valley, shooting a few photos of the gorge, and returning to the jeep in five hours.

Hardy trampers were: Dion Pont, Ian Morris, Mark Stevens and Ray Salisbury (scribe).

29 June 2013 – The Grampians – Nelson
Leader: Robyn Walsh

There wasn’t much interest for the Saturday walk – only one plus an invitation to another person made this happen.

Our trio met on Robinson Rd, off Brook Street. A cheery volley of braying from a large male donkey greeted us as we began walking up the Translator Road. The morning was a little chilly but we soon warmed up. At least it was fine, but a layer of cloud prevented the sun’s warmth from coming through.

After joining the track from Collingwood St on a flat, open plateau, we branched left along the shady Kanuka Track. There was some rather nice bush there. We stopped for refreshments at the clearing that follows the pylons up from the Brook Valley. We had a good view of The Doubles.

We continued on the shady east side through open manuka, passing the occasional ring-barked dead pine. At a junction with two roads we chose the summit one. More good views over to Jenkins Hill and the upper Brook Valley.

Further on, a 15-minute grunt up a firebreak took us to the top where we had a good look around the broadcasting building and tower structures.

Lunchtime was looming, so we headed down the  road to the lookout platform, enjoying views across Tasman Bay.

Heading off again, we took the steep road adjacent to Mahoe / Fuchsia Track, a left turn into Kahikatea Track which returned us to the eastern side. A steep gravel trail led us to the saddle between Sugar Loaf and The Grampians. We descended the road down the gully, despite it being closed. We got back on the lower section of the Translator Road. A slow descent to the cars completed the loop.

Participants were: Christine Burn (Waimea TC), Robyn Walsh (scribe) & Ted Brooks.

29 June 2013 – Mount Stanley – Marlborough Sounds
Leader: Silvano Lorandi

In the puzzle of sea and land that is the Marlborough Sounds some fortunate mountains are high enough to promise a spectacular view. Mt. Stanley (971m) on the map appears as a distinctive peak possibly high enough to conquer the vegetation and peek out in the sky.

The popular Nydia track wanders around its slopes and offers a well-formed track that gets close to the top but from Nydia Saddle the map shows just a green patch which could mean some bush-bashing might be required to reach the top and the prize of a great view.

It’s four of us on a misty and chilly Saturday morning when we start walking the Nydia Track from Duncan Bay in the Tennyson inlet.

With a good walking pace we reach Nydia Saddle in a couple of hours and then enter the bush ready for some route-finding and bush-bashing, but to our surprise we find a reasonably good path very well marked with pink ribbons that lead the way.

“Surely that it is not the way to a girl’s birthday party?” But we follow it until we reach the main ridge at 680m.

Here another surprise is waiting for us: a brand new and very comfortable looking DOC hut, unfortunately not for public use but probably for the purpose of some research, perhaps on giant snails of which we will find plenty of shells.

However, for public use and very important in the summer months is the hut’s water tank which is the only source of water up here.

An even nicer track marked with blue DOC triangles follows the ridge up and down, left and right for a few km to the top. The track continues downhill but we didn’t feel like continuing the exploration.

Our reward of a beautiful panorama of the sounds will perhaps be gained the next time we venture again up here because on this occasion an unfortunate cloud lingers on the top.

We have the occasional glimpses of Pelorus Sound on one side and Tennyson Inlet on the other during the descent. We reach the car in the last light of the day after eight hours of walking. We met no-one at al, apart from three deer.

Participants: Silvano Lorandi (leader & scribe), Pat Holland, Chris Louth and Don Morrisey (visitor).


Nelson–Tennyson Inlet (Duncan Bay): 1hr, 15 mins drive

Duncan Bay–Nydia Saddle:                2hrs (7 km)

Saddle–Hut (680m):                          45 min
Hut–Mount Stanley (971m):               1hr, 15 mins

Mount Stanley–Tennyson Inlet:         3hrs, 15 mins
Round trip:                                        Allow 8 hours 


6–7 July 2013 – Lake Chalice, Mt Duppa – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leaders: Kate Krawczyk, Chris Louth & Dion Pont

When we met at the Richmond Badminton Club on Saturday morning at 8am, the weather was not looking good. It was blowing a gale and there was rain coming in. Chris and Dion thought that Balloon Hut wasn’t the best destination after all and because the weather system was coming from the Northwest we decided, in our infinite wisdom, to head Southeast. We started driving out of Nelson with Dion in the backseat – Richmond Forest Park Map on his lap – discussing options for a destination: Plan ‘B’. We decided on Foster’s Hut on the south end of Mt. Richmond up the North Branch Wairau. After a long drive over the Whangamoas where the weather just got worse and the rain got heavier, we drove up the Onomalutu Valley towards the car park only to get almost all the way and discover that the road was closed due to forestry.Bring on Plan ‘C’.

We decided to carry on down the North Bank Road, up Staircase Road, to Lake Chalice. It was a beautiful drive in and we reached the car park around noon. The rain had stopped, the clouds had parted and things were looking up. It was only a short and easy walk downhill to Lake Chalice Hut and once we got there we had lunch and then walked around the lake. The weather almost co-operated and it only started raining again about five minutes before we returned to the hut.

The plan for the next day (lets call it Plan ‘D’) was to climb out from Lake Chalice and if the weather was good to carry further along the road and climb Mt. Patriarch. But alas, we woke up to more rain despite clearing during the night, with starry skies. All three of us were itching to do some more tramping. We didn’t feel like we had really done our dash – so we decided to find another place to go walking on our way home.

The first idea – Plan ‘E’ – was to walk in to Pine Valley Hut which was back east up the Wairau Valley. We turned off and headed in up the road, but it was pouring. As Chris got out to open a farm gate, I turned around to Dion and said “Do you really want to do this?” He replied “No, my jacket isn’t really waterproof anyway”. So, we waved to Chris out in the pouring rain to shut the gate and we turned around – onto Plan ‘F’.

Well at that point there was no Plan F because the rain just wasn’t letting up – all the way up the Wairau, through Havelock and the Rai Valley. I suggested maybe doing a walk up the Pelorus. Out came the trusty Park Map in the backseat again. We decided on a walk in that area, but it wasn’t to be … it was still pissing in the Pelorus.

So… bring on Plan ‘G’ – we rounded the end of the Bryant Range and the sun came out – good old Nelson, eh? So we decided that Mt.Duppa it was. After all it was just past noon on Sunday – way too early to go home! Chris and I had never climbed Duppa before and Dion hadn’t done it in a long time. The funny coincidence is that the Waimea Tramping Club was doing it the same day! So, we met up with some familiar faces on the track including our own Uta Purcell.

It was a grunt of a climb but it is a gorgeous track through some unusual bush and rock formations. We reached the top and once again the weather had closed in, so we didn’t get much of a view… all the more reason to do it again sometime!!

So, it was an ‘Itsy Bitsy’ weekend of tramping but as always, it was an adventure to say the least. It was good to get out and about with great company in some beautiful places.

14 July – Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, Nelson
Leader: Chris Louth

Typical of the upper Brook in winter, it was cold and frosty when a good-sized group of eleven met at the Sanctuary carpark.

Most hadn’t spent much time in this area, even though a maze of tracks and it’s proximity to Nelson make it so accessible, so it was all new to them.

Our route was to take us deep into the valley, up onto the ridges then back down again to complete a rough circle.

The sun hadn’t yet pierced the valley as we made our way up the true right of the stream and onto Jacob’s Ladder. Half an hour of of steady uphill saw the first layer stripped off before we diverted onto trapline D and sidled towards the headwaters of the Brook, deep in the ferny steep-sided valleys.

Those with too many layers peeled another on the steady climb up Toutouwai Ridge to Third House.

Gail’s knees didn’t fancy the steep downhill that was to come later so she left us here for a leisurely walk down the Dun Walkway to her car.

The rest of us headed along the well-used track towards Jenkins Hill. Halfway along, on top of a short, we eventually located the barely discernible start of the track down Tuatara Ridge.

Near the bottom, this track is very steep and it was necessary to hang on to the vegetation to avoid possible calamity. Picks and shovels were evidence that Pat and his track-building cronies had recently been doing some work here.

A young weka, distinctive by its misshapen sideways curving bill, was taking advantage of the recently disturbed earth to forage. Back on the valley floor the tracks were better and it was easy going again. There were a few smiles as Dongrui, our Chinese visitor, who had carefully avoided getting her feet wet on the many creek crossings during the day, misjudged a step on the very last crossing and filled her shoes.

Six-and-a-half hours after leaving, we arrived back at the visitor centre after an enjoyable and diverse walk.

Participants were: Sue Henley, Roger and Maureen Cotton, Dan McGuire, Andrea Cockerton, Kate Krawczyk, Gail Malinosky, Dion Pont, Ken Ridley, Chris Louth (author) and visitor Dongrui.

20 July 2013 – Mt Campbell – Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Chris Louth

Due to the frustrating, continued closure of the Graham Valley Road, this was a change of destination from the scheduled Mount Arthur trip.

Fog was laying over the Waimea plains when we left Richmond, but the forecast promised a fine, calm day. Ten became nine as one tramper missed their pickup due to a misunderstanding over the departure day.

At the end of Brooklyn Valley Road we donned our tramping gear and set off, on a glorious winter’s day, for the steady climb up the farm tracks.

It was an interesting walk as we got higher with various places to check out along the way. The first was an old hut (Wratt’s Hut) dating back, according to the inscriptions, to fairly early last century.

Then there was the magnificently-sited house, at 1100 metres on a ridge near the bush line, with views over Tasman and Golden Bays.

A little further on, in a patch of bush, we passed some old machinery from a long-abandoned sawmill, then climbed up to the old communications station, where we got our first look at Mt Campbell and it’s associated hardware.

From here it was every man (or woman) for himself for the grunt up the last couple of kms or so to the tower on the summit.

After lunch, basking in the sunshine and taking in the 360-degree panoramic view, we leisurely retraced our route back to the cars.

Thanks to Dion Pont, Sue Henley, Andrea Cockerton, Graeme Ferrier, Dan McGuire and visitors Neil Henderson, Philip Palmer and Pauline Tout for their company. Chris Louth (author and trip leader).

27 July 2013 – Gordon’s Knob – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Kate Krawczyk

It was a very windy Friday the day before the trip and it was questionable whether or not the wind would be too strong to attempt the ascent of Gordon’s Knob. But we decided that it was going to calm down a bit on the Saturday and went ahead.

The sun was shining and it was a bit breezy when we started out from Richmond. At the parking lot on Inwood’s Lookout it was a bit more than breezy.

We climbed through to the first ridgeline and the wind was howling! It was hard to remain on our feet, it was blowing so hard. We looked at each other with some concern – after all, if it was blowing so hard this low, it must be worse at the top!

A few trampers expressed their concerns early and with cloud covering the top of the Knob, were not keen to go all the way to the top but we decided to find a sheltered spot and have a break and some food.

We climbed up into the saddle and found a spot out of the wind in some bush. Getting out of that wind was great and we collected ourselves and carried on. We dipped down through the saddle through the bush and reached the tree line at which point a few people decided to turn back and descend slowly back to the car park – the wind and cloud wasn’t worth the push to the summit. The rest of us decided to push on and reached the top about half an hour later.

The irony was that, despite the fact that we were in the cloud and didn’t have much of a view, the wind was actually not so bad at the top; that was strange. The lower ridgeline must have some kind of funnel effect with the wind because it was so much stronger down in that area – which defies logic, especially when you’ve been in the mountains a bit.

There were some rewards at the summit regardless of the view. There were some incredible snow and ice formations on the alpine grasses and rock, and then of course, the satisfaction of bagging the high point of the Gordon’s Knob massif.

There were, of course, some ‘knob’ jokes made on the way, and on the way down. Having signal on my smart phone, I looked up the definition of a ‘knob’, as we had some discussion about the meaning, which is:

knob (nb) noun.

1. A rounded protuberance.

2.a. A rounded handle, as on a drawer or door.

2.b. A rounded control switch or dial.

3. A prominent rounded hill or mountain

Participants were Kate Krawczyk (scribe), Chris Louth, Dion Pont, Sue Henley, Charlotte Orr, Phillip Palmer, Uta Purcell, Dan McGuire, Annette LeCren, Andrea Cockerton, Ian Morris, Pauline Tout & Christine Hoy.

10 August 2013 – Peanter Peak – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Pat Holland

Ten hardy souls braved the elements and treacherous mountain slopes. Actually, after the 7am early start in Nelson, it turned out a fantastic calm, clear and relatively mild day at Rainbow skifield.

There was the usual mucking about to get every one fitted out with crampons. Not needed for the first part towards West Bowl as snow was in short supply. We felt sorry for the Rainbow field operators although the T-bar was operating and there were quite a few skiers on ‘Shirt Front’.

Up we plodded and there was plenty of snow on the upper slopes and basins: generally nice firm cramponing. Everbody agreed that Peanter Peak was the destination (1880m, 5km from skifield)

And so, after some very elementary instructions, we dispensed with the Snowcraft Training and persevered with the real thing. A quite high route under Mt McCrae required good concentration and nerve on some steeper, icy parts. We maintained this altitude around the next two basins and then headed for the ridge leading to Peanter Peak. Every body summited about 3.5 hr after leaving the cars (the first NTC group for several years). We had great views over Travers Valley to Mt’s Angelus, Hopeless, Cupola and Travers and further south as well as north down to Lake Rotoiti. And so, back by the same route except Chris, John and Kate chose an even steeper segment for extra practice.

The last, rather tired, bodies were back to the cars in about three hours. ‘Twas a very satisfying day. Rainbow is such a beautiful valley, especially in such excellent conditions.

Climbers were Pat Holland, Andrea Cockerton, Chris Louth, Kate Krawcyzk, John Whibley, Sue Henley plus visitors: Anna Riddiford, David Wells, Marianne Hermsen and Mary Reed.

17 August 2013 – Ben Nevis – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Kate Krawczyk

Six keen trampers showed up early despite threatening weather, for an assault on Ben Nevis.  Without even a morning tea break, they rushed up the mountain taking in fabulous views with snow-capped peaks in every direction. We reached the top in record time.

As we approached the summit, the weather started to close in, and on top there was sleet (bloody freezing!) We retreated down a ways to a more sheltered spot for a lunchtime morning tea break.

The weather started to ease again, and we reached the cars surprised to see someone had been and let air out of two tyres. Chris, Kate and Bob did heroic jobs of changing the tyres. Andrea added to the drama by pretending she was a pin-up girl.

All in all, Kate has demonstrated her adventurous spirit, leading us on tramps like this one as well as showing her ability to handle any situation.


Andrea Cockerton (pin-up girl)

Chris Louth (chief tyre-changer and mechanic)

Bob Renshaw (director of tyre-management)

Marcel Stutz (visitor)

Dan McGuire (scribe)

Kate Krawczyk (leader)

18 August 2013 – Tahunanui to Airport – Nelson
Leader: David Blunt

David took us on a relaxed and informative walk along the Tahunanui back beaches – a great antidote to a weekend of earthquakes and rain. The day was grey but warm, and we commented how deserted the beach was for a Sunday – barely a dog to bowl us over in the wet sand.

This is a low-tide walk so once we’d rock-hopped the channel at Parkers Cove our course hugged the edges in a mix of stones and unpredictable sand, giving a good workout to the calf muscles. The wind was light, the sea languid, and we soon spotted a kingfisher, as well as admiring the fishing skills of a one-legged stilt. The rescue helicopter flying enroute to Abel Tasman fuelled a sobering discussion on the merits of smart phones and the club supply of PLBs, which are available to all members – so please use them.  

A diversion was made to try out one of the exercise hotspots that border the airport track, and then it was back to the beach to follow a corridor of massive concrete blocks – an impressive effort at stabilising the bank from tide erosion.

Passing a magnificent pine in full seed, we rounded the corner to find a small beach with a backview of Monaco – a perfect place for lunch. The estuary wraps itself around this point, plus we could see, but not hear, the comings and goings at the airport. We watched Marlborough’s stormclouds pile up on the ridge while we discussed the various tracks that could be seen from our vantage point. There was great danger of dozing so we eventually decided to throw our packs on and make a move.

Our return trip took us along the top of the bank where we could see Val approaching up the beach at a good clip. Our group complete, we headed off along an easy track with just a quick dip onto to the beach to avoid the mad putters on the golf course. Our track then cut through the campground where we viewed some impressive gardens and decks on the permanent sites. We then realised that the whole lovely coastline we had just walked is their backyard, with sunsets too – pretty nice.

We arrived back at our cars feeling quite smug to have beaten the weather that was forecast. It was a good day out and we all agreed that Nelson’s varied beach rambles are truly unique for a city. But one wonders how many people really take the time to explore them.

Members: Brenda Sinclair, Val Latimer, Gail Malinosky (scribe) & David Blunt.

24–25 August 2013 – Begley Hut via Rainbow Hut Nelson Lakes NP
Leader: Dion Pont

Dion and Kate did a superb job negotiating the fords on the Hydro Road along the upper Wairau Valley. But first we had to wait for half an hour for a farm-hand to return with a gate key – lucky Dion knew Roger, who was apparently once a club member years ago.

After the requisite posed party picture, we set off at pace along the open river flats of the Rainbow. After a month of rain, this summery day was the tonic we needed, cris-crossing the river for a couple of hours up to Rainbow Hut, which Ray added to his collection. Incidentally, this decrepid building was handed over to Rainbow Station in 2004.

Utilising the 4WD road above the gorge, we made the upper basin where Paske and Begley Creeks fed into the Rainbow River. From these wide, open spaces, we disappeared into beech forest for a couple of hours, climbing up and over two hillocks before bagging Begley Hut.

The ladies did themselves proud chopping down trees, then Kate got a cracking fire raging in the open hearth.

Sunday morning saw a leisurely return to the forks, where Dion surprised us with his desire to explore the valley headwaters for a couple of hours.

Pat and Kate joined him; the rest of us headed back to the vehicles to boil the billy and get eaten by sandflies. All in all, a great leg-stretcher.

Trampers were Dion Pont, Pat Holland, Lou and Chrissie Kolf, Ray Salisbury (scribe), Kate Krawczyk and Sue Henley.


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