Dave’s Track – South Peak

17 November 2019

This was a combined tramp with the Geraldine Tramping Club. Five trampers from Oamaru and two from Kakanui met the five from Geraldine at the Trotters Gorge Reserve parking area at 9 o’clock. Introductions made and boots donned, we set off up the main track through the six stream crossings (mostly ankle deep) to the University of Otago hut. After a chat with inhabitants and ascertaining that the swimming hole was still well filled with gravel, we resumed the walk to the end of the “maintained track”, through some gorse and across the stream for the last time, exiting up a 2 metre clay bank. The track continued to follow the tributary creek to the point where Dave’s Track turned off. It was then up a steep bank, along a terrace and back down across the creek. Thanks to the efforts of Maurice and Phyllis, the track was clear and well marked as it wound across the valley floor. Finally it turned up, traversing under an overhanging cliff and, after a couple of steep, slippery ascents, came out on top of a rocky ridge.

This was the perfect place for a snack and to look back down the valley to work out the route we had followed. Shortly, it was time to move on so we continued up the ridge, over a rocky step, to come out on to a forestry road. This led at first downhill, then steadily up towards South Peak. Nearing the top, we chose a track veering off to the right (east) and, when it ran out, turned left between the pine trees and gorse to find a way to the peak, which we reached from the eastern side just before 12.30pm. This provided excellent views of the coastline from Cape Wanbrow to the Dunedin hills, and of the volcanic cones and other hills inland as we settled down for lunch.

Lunch over, we struggled to find a way down from the summit to the road we knew lay directly north. Any old tracks were completely overgrown and it took a bash through the gorse eventually to find the bulldozed track leading down to the road. At the road, we turned left past a locked barrier to continue down to the junction with the Piwakwaka Road which we followed down for some 300 metres before veering left on to a semi-obscure track which took us steeply downhill. Another 300 metres down, a largely overgrown “clearing” marked the entrance to the track to Ahn’s Peak, a rocky knob with sheer faces to the west, south and east but an easy approach from the north. The easy approach, however, was well overgrown so some bushbashing was required before we reached the spectacular rocky summit.

View admired and cameras triggered, it was back to the track and down it to meet up with our morning route at the entrance to Dave’s Track. From there, we retraced our steps down beside Trotters Creek, past the University hut on through the seven stream crossings to reach the cars just on 3 o’clock. Then back to Hampden, where the Geraldine group were introduced to the world’s largest ice-creams, so rounding off an excellent day for Lindsay, Claire, Jenny, Pam, Des, Neville, Julian, Colin, Jane, Phyllis, Maurice and John.