Club Night February 2018

There had been a lot of tramping trips since our last meeting in November, but members enjoyed hearing about or reliving them during the reports.

Hidden Lake in a high basin on the Wether Range was a hidden gem, which was worth the slog up to.

A mountain bike ride near Macraes which included the Redback Enclosure, led to a proposed shortcut which ended up being the long way home.

Chinamans Cave was approached from Trotters Gorge on a hot day.

January saw trips to Potts Hut in the Hakkatere Conservation Park, a long day climbing Mts. Alexander  and Nobbler from Dansey Pass summit, while in February so far there have been two wet trips. The first to Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula where there is some impressive regrowth bush and recently a rebaiting job in the Herbert Forest tracks which netted several dead hedgehogs, rats and a weasel.

Wednesday walkers have continued their wide range of different walks from Evensdale Glen in the south to Freehold Creek in the West. The hot summer has led to the last few weeks walks being along rivers with many swimming opportunities.

Guest speaker was Lewis Hore who showed a video of one of his 5 trips to Sutherland Sound in Fiordland. This involved scenic flight in by helicopter with his kayak to look for the South Island Kokako, which has not been seen for many years although its distinctive song has been heard. We were treated to a glimpse of an isolated fiord with a very narrow and shallow entrance where it rains nonstop for days, where bird life thrives and bush covers everything.

Hinewai Reserve, Banks Peninsula

February 3,4 2018


After rescheduling this trip from the last program it was disappointing that just 4 of us set out to explore this reserve. More so because the range of walks are pretty easy and the accommodation at the Lodge quite luxurious leaving few excuses for not coming.

Four of us departed around 4.30pm on the Friday and after a dinner stop at Ashburton we arrived at Hinewai just on dark, just enough light for the brief walk down from the carpark, we were greeted by the sole occupier with a cup of relaxing tea before hitting the sack.


Rain set in during the night and continued into the following morning which did curtail our keenness to some extent. After breakfast we did venture out and explored some of the tracks leading to various features which are well identified with some quite humorous signage.

The reserve was still farmed until about 1987 but little evidence remains now and regeneration has been very successful with native vegetation having now taking dominance over the gorse that was prevalent earlier. Some original stands of native trees were there and still are, with some of the only tawhairaunui (red beech) to be found on the east coast of the South Island. Totara and kahikatea were the only other really big trees on the reserve, but other natives include mahoe, seven finger, five finger, tarata, putaputaweta(marble leaf), wineberry, karamu, kaikomako, mikimiki, popoporo, ongaonga,mapou and kanuka, are all well represented.

This vegetation supports an abundant bird life and many of these are native as well, including ruru (morepork), kahu (falcon), Pipipi( brown creeper), piwakawaka(fantail), ngirungiru(tomtit), pihoihoi(NZ pipit), kereru, korimako(bellbird) tauhou(silvereye), riroriro(grey warbler)and titipounamu(rifleman). The kotukutuku( tree fuscia) were well covered in fruit which is called konini and very nice tasting they are. Tui are in the reserve but we found none.

Our morning walk found us on the Purple Peak track eventually and when we found ourselves on the relatively clear area of the Brocheries the rain was quite unpleasant and we headed back to the lodge for some dryness and lunch.

It cleared up soon after lunch so other options were discussed and it was decided to drive down to Otanerito(Long Bay) and explore the lower parts of the reserve and for some to walk back up to the lodge while the vehicle was eventually to be driven back to the lodge by one of the party after she had gone as far as she wanted to….

So, 3 of us had a very pleasant up hill journey back to the lodge in sunshine with the birds singing and a pleasant creek burbling beside us for much of the way.

Were were enjoying a late afternoon tea when the remaining member stumbled in and on enquiry as to how it was it came to pass that our vehicle had not made it back due to a breakdown en route….bugger!!!, never good when it is the only vehicle you have.

Two of us set off to investigate and thought we’d fixed the problem after splicing the broken radiator overflow tube back together, but it was not to be and the repair only got us another 200m further up the road before coming to a grinding overheated stop. Further inspection discovered that the fan belt was broken, so that was where she stayed. Getting back to the lodge and the manager’s landline( no cell phone reception) it became clear that no immediate repair was possible and alternative travel arrangements were needed to get home.

Luckily for us a plan involving a members son based in the big smoke and another members wife who was willing to pick us up from Lincoln was able to be implemented . So after a big clean up of the lodge and a very short walk on the Sunday morning, we were picked up. The offending vehicle was abandoned to be dealt with by a local garage, including having it trailered back to Akaroa.

We headed back and after an early lunch in Lincoln and transferring our gear from one rescuers vehicle to the other, we squashed 5 up into the smallish beemer of the second rescuer and motored home.

We were very grateful to both our rescuers and the slight discomfort of a squashed up trip home was a very small price to pay. It just remains for the writer to pick up not just the vehicle but also the bill for towing and repairs for this trip to be concluded. All in all still a good trip and many thanks for those who came and for the patience shown in the journey home and to our rescuers.

Those who came were John, Marion, Karyl and Robbie


Mts. Alexander and Nobbler

Sunday 28 January 2018


Mounts Alexander (1357 metres) and Nobbler (1550 metres) stand at the northern end of the Kakanui Range and are most readily accessed from the top of the Danseys Pass Road, just over 71km from Oamaru and at 935 metres. Seven trampers set off from Oamaru, picking up an eighth on the way. Fortunately, most of the road had just been graded so only the last climb was badly corrugated.

We set off just on 9.30 on a 4wd track which wound up the hill to the south of the road, past a fertilizer bin and then more steeply up to a station hut at just on 1300 metres,  where we met the final two members of the party. From there, the track undulated to the south-west, crossing two knobs before reaching the shallow summit of Mt Alexander shortly before midday. After a brief stop and survey of the rather daunting route to Mt Nobbler, the party split with one group backtracking to the fork before heading down and the other descending directly through tussock and Spaniards to the valley some 300 discouraging metres below.  There the two groups met up and first lunch was taken before the climb.

Mt Nobbler loomed 500 metres above. The group again split, the gung-ho types heading straight up a fenceline, which was direct but steep, and the remainder opting for the straight out slog up the zig-zag track. The Nobbler summit – or at least the point with the remains of the trig on it – was reached between 1.30 and 2.00pm.  The splendid 360 degree views were enjoyed as some tucked into a second lunch and all rested and pondered the return track. The weather had held – forecast thunderstorms did not eventuate – and light cloud cover ensured that the temperature remained warm rather than excessively hot. To the north and south, Mounts Domett and Pisgah remained shrouded in cloud most of the day.

Fed and rested, we headed down to the valley, up the zig-zag track to Alexander, then back along the undulating track (the undulations had grown since the morning) to the hut. Water bottles replenished, and it was down the final leg to the cars, reaching them just over 8 hours from the start. The total trip had been around 21km and involved two climbs totalling 800 metres plus undulations in warm conditions. And so the two northernmost peaks of the Kakanui Range could be ticked off by Bess, Dean, Mark, Bron, Jane, Anne, Steve, Helen, Rodney and John.

Potts Hut – Hakatere Conservation Park

12-14 January 2018

After two previous postponements, third time lucky was what we were hoping for, but days before departure a drought breaking rain hit the West Coast spilling large amounts of rain across The Divide to the East Coast rivers.

The trip was planned as a circuit returning via the Potts River and on an open tussock face to the car park.

With a fine overhead forecast we set off on Friday evening for Mount Somers and onto Woolshed Creek carpark to camp for the night.

On Saturday morning we were up early and drove to the Potts River carpark. Conditions were fine with low cloud overhead.

Our team of seven made their way up the true left of the river on part of the Te Araroa Trail before a gradual climb to the track leading to Mystery Lake where we had lunch. A short steep climb and a sidle then lead us to the junction of Boundary Creek and Dogs Range. Two of our party decided not to go onto Potts Hut but instead would take a look over at Boundary hut and return to camp beside Mystery Lake for the night while the other five attacked the long slog up onto the Dogs Range, described by one as undulating country.

With the clearing weather some great views were had of the Ashburton Lakes, Mesopotamia, and across to the Sinclair Range. Finally after a 1000metre climb from the car park we arrived at the high point only to be followed by a 600metre descent to an unnamed lake and then down further to Potts Hut completing a 9 hour day.

A brew, some food and a short siesta revived us at this very scenic spot. The Potts Hut was once a musterer’s place of abode, complete with dog kennels and a horse paddock.

The river was running very high and the prospects did not look good for the return leg on Sunday. After placing a marker at the river’s edge we all retired to bed hoping for a lower level in the morning.

With a 6am wake-up call a check of the river revealed only a small drop in the level but not enough to safely cross so we returned uphill and part way along the Dogs Range to a saddle where we descended down a face through tussocks and around to connect with the track leading to Mystery Lake, cutting off a considerable amount of time. This saw us back at the cars only an hour after our other two companions who had already returned from their shortened but enjoyable trip.

It was great to have one of our younger members, Forrester out on his first weekend tramp, a big introduction which he managed with honours.

Thanks to the team of Vicky, Mike, Bron, Robbie, Forrester and Phyllis for another enjoyable time in the hills.


Chinamans Cave

3 December 2017

After having a great spell of weather six of us met at the car park for a day out in what was going to be another hot day. We headed down to Trotters Gorge camping reserve to where we were going to start the day out. It was on with the day packs with plenty of water on board and up past the Otago University Hut following Trotters creek for an hour till we came to Vickers Hut where we had a snack before the climb out of the Valley.

 It was about a 200m climb on a good 4WD track up under Trig L and by this time the day was warming up so a bit of sweat was lost. We hiked along the tops following a 4wd track at times and a bit of cross country in the heat for about an hour till we came to the saddle. There we dropped down to the valley below and the creek where we would find the cave.

 It is a bit of a steep drop down to the valley and Maurice was the first to get there, but he was having a bit of a problem locating the cave. If you haven’t been there before it is a bit of problem locating the cave because it is up a bit of rock fall and in behind some trees, but I soon had Maurice and everyone it the right place.

The cave itself is quite a big cave that is about 20m deep with a few side tunnels in it that go about another 10m. After exploring the cave a bit and signing the visitor’s book lunch was taking at the entrance by the trees in the cool shade.

After lunch we took an old track back up to the saddle and dropped down the other side into the head waters of Trotters Creek. It was over open farmland for a start and then following a good farm track for about 1km till the track ran out and the creek went into the gorge.

We could have climbed back out over the gorge but since it was a nice day and the creek was low we took to the creek. It was great splashing our way down the creek and the gorge in and out of the bush a bit for about 2km till we came back out at Vickers Hut. We then followed Trotters Creek back down the way we had come in the morning to the vehicles, about 7and a half hours after leaving them in the morning. It was another great day out with great weather and great company.

Thanks to the farmers for permission to go on their farms and explore this area and the organising club member that made it a great day out.

John, Mike, Bron, Maurice and Phyllis – Neville