Ben Ohau

27 March 2022

Third time lucky for this trip due to weather other times this trip has been put on the programme. Three of us meet in Oamaru and with a pick up in Kurow and three other meeting us there, our party would be 7 for the day. The weather forecast was for cloud in the morning clearing early afternoon.
We arrived at the car park at the base of Ben Ohau at 9.30am and met our other three members. Ben Ohau was under cloud when we started off at 9.45am over the open grassy field towards the base of Ben Ohau. We soon started the climb up the zigzag 4WD track within the north-eastern gully and into the dense cloud, but after 1 ¼ hours of walking we eventually broke through the cloud into brilliant blue sky and sunshine at the 1100m mark.

We climbed up on to a rocky point and looked back down on the cloud covered Lake Ohau and there before us was a Brocken Spectre which is glory rings formed by water droplets within the cloud refracting the sunlight, similar to a rainbow. With the sun behind us we were able to get our shadows within it, a first for me.
Another 45 minutes later after heading off the 4WD track at 1380m point and ascending the rocky upper northern ridge we finally reached the top 1522m at 12.15pm. We had great views of all the surrounding mountains rising up out of the clouds. Lunch was had in warm sunny conditions, photos taken and the cloud was starting to lifted over Lake Ohau but Twizel was still in thick cloud.
 After lunch we dropped down the north-western side of the peak to meet back up with the 4WD track again and after an hour walking, we meet the junction of the Greta Stream track. We headed down the headwaters of Greta stream with an abundance of wilding pines scattered across the slopes and into the gorge.
 The beautiful gorge had towering rock outcrops and a series of small waterfalls and a small patch of beach forest. At the end of the track, it begins to drop down towards Glen Lyon Rd above the shoreline of Lake Ohau, which the cloud had cleared and it was looking stunning. We arrived back at the vehicles just after 4pm, after completing 17.7 km for the day and about 6 ½ hours walking.

Thanks too; Jenny, Colin, Donna, Julian, Rodney and Helen for your company and making it an enjoyable day out.