+Head Of Lake Wakatipu

Labour Weekend 2023

Day 1: Setting off on Saturday morning, John, Neville and I were in anticipation of a good weekend ahead. Also between Oamaru and Cromwell, tuning into many radio stations to get the gist of the All Blacks vs Argentina game. We picked up Lois in Cromwell and then met up with Jenny, Karyl and Graham in Glenorchy. They had travelled over on Thursday and on Friday, Jenny had walked up the Sugarloaf while Karyl and Graham walked in to Lake Reid. After a quick lunch we ventured up the Rees Road. The Rees Valley is named after European Settler William Rees who was the first runholder in the 1860’s. The Invincible Gold Mine Track is a gradual climb through bush on a well used track which had regular open views to the Rees Valley and Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi. It was an hour to the site of the old water wheel, a stamper battery and seven berdans which are the revolving cast iron bowls that ground the ore. Neville found the mine shaft about 100 metres away which was not sign posted. After walking back to the vehicles, we drove around to Kinloch Lodge for the night. This accomodation provides bunk rooms, single beds, and double rooms which have recently been upgraded as well as the showers. The kitchen is fully equipped and the dining tables surface is covered in local maps which is inspiring for future trips.

Day 2 Lake Rere: The Greenstone carpark is 30 minutes down the road from Kinloch and it was apparent by the 25 vehicles that many people were out walking. We started walking at 9.15am and soon after crossed the lower Greenstone River bridge to walk for an hour across Greenstone Station towards Elfin Bay. We stopped for a snack near what used to be a homestead, with flowering clematis, lilac and corokia. Continuing on a marked route and which was obviously a stock route was reasonably muddy in places, we were enjoying the shade of the mountain Beech. We reached the spectacular Lake Rere 12.30ish and could see a clearing at the other end which the Boss (me) decided would be a good lunch spot. After the lake, the track descended gradually down towards the upper Greenstone River bridge to link up with the Greenstone Track. A couple of hours later, we came to the Greenstone/Caples Track junction. Jenny and Lois had shot ahead so they could walk up the Caples Track for a while and returned to meet us at that junction. After passing some waterfalls along the track, we met up with Graham back at the carpark about 3.30pm. We did this track at a leisurely pace as it was a beautiful place to be for the day, remembering Lake Rere was a popular tourist destination for Victorian ladies in the 19th century. There were many groups going both ways and to avoid the hot afternoon sun, clockwise would be my pick. Driving back to Kinloch, there is an amazing view of Mt Earnslaw which John captured. A quick shower, drinks at Jenny and Grahams and then over to the restaurant for dinner – not hard core trampers.

Day 3 Moke Lake: John, Neville, Lois and I left the others at Kinloch as they were to drive back to Oamaru. We drove down the Glenorchy/Queenstown road and turned into the Moke Lake Road just before Queenstown. Reaching the lake 20 minutes later, we walked around the lake which was mirror smooth. The track is suitable for biking and has been upgraded recently with culverts and board walk over the wetland area. Also a track leads down to Lake Dispute. There is a high point of the track on the peninsula which is ideal for a stop. Two hours later, back at the camping area, we had lunch before heading home via the Crown Range to drop off Lois. The highlights for the weekend included the freedom to walk in a beautiful area and remember that early settlers had struggled for a long time. To think about how they got the gear that weighed tons to the Invincible Gold Mine site. To realise the dependency on the Earnslaw for provisions prior to and after the road opening in 1962. But the best highlight was the company of Lois, John, Neville, Karyl, Jenny and Graham. Bess.

Thanks to John for Photos.