Waiorau Snow Farm Trip, August 21 – 22

The Snow Farm, up Cardrona Valley high on the Pisa Range, offers varied snow experiences including snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and snow touring (all equipment can be hired). This year a team of three had booked Daisy Lee Hut for a Sunday night. There are four huts available and all are well supplied with firewood and all kitchen equipment.

If staying in a hut, you can buy a Snow Farm pass from 12pm to 12pm the following day, which gives you plenty of time to leave Oamaru at 7am, arrive at the Lodge by 10.45, and be ready for the snow by 12pm.

Luggage is ferried to the hut by snow mobile so, with only a day pack to carry, we felt comfortably light for the three hour snow shoeing expedition to Daisy Lee Hut. We followed a DOC poled route until arriving at Meadow Hut for afternoon tea, then on to the large new Musterers’ Hut. From here we headed uphill to Bob and Daisy Lee Huts. Views from these two huts are impressive, as they are elevated high on the Pisa Range. Sunset and sunrise over the alps are magnificent.

On Monday, after a cosy night with Uwe cranking up the wood stove, we explored further beyond the Snow Farm boundary into DOC territory, again following poles. We chose the high route under a bright blue sky, with expansive views all around – clear, sunny and sparkling with frosty snow. But as mist came swirling over the top peaks, we thought it wise to head down to the Kirtle Burn valley and follow the stream back to Meadow Hut and the Lodge by 12 noon.

Snow shoeing up on the Pisa Range is quiet and peaceful, with only the crunch of snow underfoot. It is easy and gives one the freedom to explore any of the snowy valleys and hills.

Jenny Kitchin