Trip Reports

NOTMC Meeting Report 11.9.23

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

NOTMC Meeting Report 11.9.23

Jenny welcomed members.
Trip Reports: 
Station Peak – 4 people went .Very cold and windy on top.Great views.
Mt Somers – weekend  8 people went .On Saturday 4 climbed Mt Guy and 4 walked around Lake Clearwater. Groups met up for lunch.Perfect weather that day.Sunday all set out for Double hut but turned back due to bad weather.
Wednesday walkers gave their report.
Upcoming trips
Mueller Hut (weather permitting)
Sailors Cutting along A2O track
Trotters Gorge 
Jane N.gave us a talk on how important a PLB is and an example of this after an incident on Stewart Island on the very boggy Masons Bay track where a person with a badly broken leg had to be rescued.
Labour Weeknd Trip to be finalised.
Jane N and Margaret C.Then tested our knowledge with a great quiz.We knew how much we didn’t know after that
Meeting closed 8.50pm

Mt Somers Base Camp

Monday, September 4th, 2023

Mt Somers Base Camp Friday 25th – Sunday 27th August 2023

Base Camp at Mt Somers Holiday Park gave eight trampers from the club a great opportunity to investigate the mountains, tussock lands, wetlands, rivers and lakes of the vast and stunning Hakatere Conservation Park.

By travelling up to Mt Somers village on Friday afternoon and evening, we had time to settle into our bunk rooms (beware the bunks’ wire bases), prepare a shared dinner including Karyl’s apple crumble for dessert, and play some hilarious games of ping-pong and pool in the games room. Then we were ready for an early start next morning.

We had a fine, frosty, still day to drive up the valley to explore Lake Clearwater and the surrounding mountains. We broke into two groups of four: the first one to explore the northwest side of the Lake Clearwater Circuit and Te Araroa Trail, the other group to climb Mt Guy.

The 2km climb up Mt Guy is short and intense, going straight up to the summit. The 4km from the carpark took us about 2 hours. From the top (1319m) the view is immense and magnificent, looking from the sea to the Taylor Range, across to the Arrowsmiths, the Rangitata River, the Southern Alps with Mt d’Archiac towering high, and down to Lake Clearwater. A breathtaking spot to eat lunch! The snow was low and glittering, the tussocks golden and the sky clear blue. From here we headed down the northwest ridge for 4km to meet up with the other group lunching at the saddle where the Te Araroa trail crosses between the Dog Range and Mt Guy. (Thanks to John and Neville on their radios, we knew exactly where to find them!)

From the saddle all eight of us retraced the footsteps of the first group, heading northwest along the Te Araroa track and around the Lake, across the tussock lands and wetlands with incredible vistas of the Alps ahead of us. The western carpark at the end of Lake Clearwater was a handy carpark to pick up tired trampers in the late afternoon.

Saturday evening saw us dining in style at Stronechrubie, a restaurant complex in Mt Somers village, followed by Roz’s award-winning pumpkin sultana cake back in the camp kitchen and a game of Five Crowns for everyone.

Snow and rain fell that night, so it was a cold start to Sunday. But with the promise of the weather clearing, we headed to the wide tussock lands of Lake Heron, parking at the Lake Heron carpark, hoping to walk to Double Hut by lunchtime. But the weather closed in, and we all turned back to the cars, heading straight into a sleet storm. Every item of warm and waterproof clothing was hurriedly pulled from our packs.

On the way home, Bess was keen to show us the intricately shaped macrocarpa hedges that are becoming a show- stopper in Mt Somers Village. Someone is having great fun creating lattice worked hedges. Then on to Barkers in Geraldine for afternoon tea.

Thanks to such a good-humoured team of trampers who are fun, flexible and enthusiastic; who are keen to share in and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of the country we are walking through.


Jenny Kitchin

Station Peak

Monday, September 4th, 2023

Station Peak, Sunday 20th August 2023

Station Peak is an impressive peak up the Waitaki Valley, over the river from Kurow, and can be accessed from various starting points along the Hakataramea highway. After a couple of reconnaissance trips, one with Karyl from Little Roderick, and one with John and Neville from a gully marked by a willow tree, we decided on the latter.

Four trampers from the club met up in Kurow, drove over the Waitaki River Bridge and headed southeast along the Hakataramea Highway for 512 km, parking in a layby off the main road.

We set off northwest at 9.08 am back along the line of the main road over the paddock for 1.6 km to the gully that would be our ascent route, marked by a large willow tree by the road.

After heading up through the gully for half an hour, we could see across the Waitaki river to Kurow with the St Mary’s Range peaks of Little Domett (1860m) and Kohurau (2009m) in the background.

After a morning tea break, we continued up the farm track until we reached the crest of the range, joining the Station Peak access road with views out to the Hakataramea Valley, bordered by the Kirkliston Range, and the Hunters Hills. Following the road, we reached Station Peak (885m) summit two and a half hours after leaving the carpark.

With a cold nor’west wind blowing off nearby snowy peaks, three of us huddled behind tussocks to eat lunch, while Rodney ventured into the wind to check out the trig and collection of masts and sheds that are scattered over the summit.

We didn’t linger for long in the freezing winds and set off down the access road to the top of the steep gullies heading back down towards the Waitaki River. We were searching for the orange tracking tape that Neville had tied to a Taranaki gate at 650m. Neville was determined we would not get lost, and we duly found three tapes fluttering in the wind, guiding us down a 4WD track and the steep descent to large groups of flowering kowhai trees growing in the gully, before coming out to the carpark. The trip down took one and a half hours.

Thanks to Wade Newlands for permission to access the farm, and to John and Neville for finding the route.


Jenny Kitchin and Rodney Meiklejohn

Cedar Farm Forest / Cedar Creek Reservoir

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

Cedar Farm Forest / Cedar Creek Reservoir – Sunday, 13th August 2023

Seven club members left the Medway Street car park in two vehicles and headed south to Waitati, before
continuing on to the Cedar Farm Forest car park, a few kilometres south of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary on
Blueskin Road, above Port Chalmers. Arriving at around 9:20 a.m., the group met up with Dunedin club
members Helen & Rodney and the party of nine soon after set off along Cedar Farm Road in pleasant
conditions under a blue sky. After a 20-minute warm-up along Cedar Farm Road, the Cedar Creek Reservoir
(built in 1953 as a secondary water supply for Port Chalmers) was reached at 10:00 a.m. The group opted to
walk the track around the circumference of the reservoir, before continuing west past the reservoir and along
the remainder of the vehicle track at the end of Cedar Farm Road.

A short distance along the track, we headed left up the bank and entered the pine forest, following a marked
route up the northern slope of Mt Martin (478m). About halfway up, we came to a post-mounted AT220
Possum & Rat Trap, which had a dead rat in the cage. Fortunately, we had Robbie in the group, as he was
able to remove the cover of the unit, showing the battery powered mechanism, and explain how these traps
actually work, including setting off the ‘kill bar’ like a gun shot, which immediately got everyone’s attention!
Continuing upwards, we soon reached the tree-covered top of Mt Martin (478m), the first of the four named
peaks on the circuit of tracks. From here, we descended back into the forest and followed the route
southwest to the start of the steep foot track up Mt Cutten (530m). The track was a bit slippery in places, but
after only 15 minutes, we came out onto the tree-cleared top of Mt Cutten (530m), the second of the four
named peaks. While taking in the panoramic views across Otago Harbour and Otago Peninsula, and out to
the valleys and ranges to the west, we continued southwest along the cliff edge summit track of Mt Cutten
and crossed over to the southern peak and the site of Andrew Drummond’s 1980 tribute sculpture to kinetic
artist Len Lye. With a bench seat installed at the site, the group took a break to study the sculpture and enjoy
the view out across Otago Harbour.

Just after 11:30 a.m., we were underway again and carefully descending back down the steep track off the
top of Mt Cutten, before initially heading northwest through the bush across Cedar Creek and then north
towards Mt Kettle (545m), the third of the four peaks on the circuit. It’s a pleasant walk along a well marked
foot track through the bush before climbing steeply up the southern side of Mt Kettle, which was reached
within an hour-and-a-half from Mt Cutten. The top of Mt Kettle is somewhat overgrown with scrub and wilding
pines, although there is a viewpoint from a rocky outcrop where the track begins to descend down to the
southeast. At this point we had a lunch break and surveyed the view of the Cedar Creek Reservoir and
surrounding area.

A careful descent was made down the rocky ridge of Mt Kettle, but after re-entering the forest and crossing
over the vehicle access road from the reservoir, we were soon heading up through the forest and across the
gentle scrub covered slopes of Mihiwaka (561m), the fourth and final peak of the day, reaching the summit
trig beacon in an hour from Mt Kettle. By this time, it had become overcast, so after enjoying the views one
last time, we headed back down to the access road and returned back along Cedar Farm Road, reaching the
car park just after 3:00 p.m.

After a brief discussion, we opted for a debrief at the Blueskin Nurseries & Café in Waitati, where we had half-
an-hour before closing to enjoy some refreshing drinks and light food, thereafter parting company and
heading for home.

Many thanks to Jenny, John, Julian, Mike, Neville, Phyllis & Robbie for their company on an enjoyable wander
through the forest and bush, and across the volcanic outcrops of this less frequently visited location with the
Dunedin area.
Rodney & Helen Meiklejohn.

Kahikatea Hut to Staircase Hut -Waianakarua Reserve

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Trip Report July 29/30 2023  Kahikatea Hut to Staircase Hut, Waianakarua Reserve

This trip was to be a repeat in reverse of a club trip undertaken in October last year, in which Maurice, Julian and myself explored a route from the Staircase Ridge through to Kahikatea Hut.

Three of us (different 3) set off on Saturday morning , brilliant weather and a good forecast from the end of Mt Misery Rd car park, past the Red Hut. We had left a vehicle at the other Mt Misery Rd car park for our return. An uneventful walk in to the new Kahikatea Hut although we did come across a deer about half way up the grunty slope to the hut, it took a good look at us before loping off into the bush. Morning tea was had at the hut giving those who had not been there the chance for a good look at the new facilities. Very impressed we were at the care taken in this build which will provide great shelter for many years.

Off up the ridge a little further where great views can be had of the surrounding hills and valleys. The first section on the ridge going down towards the Middle Branch of the Waianakarua River is easy going and quickly done. Then comes the point where you have to choose the right ridge to carry on down and as we know, going down ridges is much harder that going up them and identifying the right ridge is the trickiest of all. A small mistake was made and we found ourselves in very dense scrub and instead of a total reversal, we thought we could sidle over to where the actual ridge was…..wrong…this led to us battling some of the worst scrub and a very slow return eventually to within 50m of where we went wrong. Hopefully that mistake won’t need to be made again. It was easy to get down to the river from that point and lunch was had when we got there.

The river was quite high and dry boots were not to be kept as we made our way down stream with many crossings. A cairn on the opposite side of the river about 30 minutes later indicates  the start of the ridge leading up to the Staircase Ridge track and by sticking as close to the ridge as possible it is quite a good route without too many tangling bushes. After a grunty climb it was nice to sit down and enjoy the sunny afternoon on the tussocky patch right on the track. The Staircase Hut was reaches after another 30min and we were the only ones to make use of it that night. It was the usual early night for us after dinner and the long night that follows.

Next morning it was decided to walk out via Tabletop. There was a decent frost down at the yards and the uphill 4WD track was chilly and shady. This made the sunny tussocky spot near the top even more enjoyable and this was the first morning tea spot. Followed by a second morning tea stop before the descent down the ridge to the Middle Branch. All the creeks were higher than usual and the rocks more slippery due to frost, so the usual side stream crossing just after you get down provided another wee challenge and a bit of a dunking beyond expectation for one member whose phone also survived the cold water. The only sunny spot available provided our last stop which was lunch. This just left the last grunt back to the carpark and a drive up to the end of the road to pick up the second vehicle.

An enjoyable trip for us all, two of the group had never been in this close to home area and I enjoyed showing them around very much. A tough trip but worthwhile for those with the right level of fitness.Thanks for coming Jenny and Jon – Robbie