A walking group go on day walks within two hours driving from Oamaru each Wednesday.
You are welcome to join us for the day and no membership is required.
Trip information can be sent to your email address by Tuesday, the day before the trip. If you wish to go on this email list please send your email address to email@example.com stating your wish to be included in the mail out.
Unless otherwise notified trips will leave at 8-30 am each Wednesday from outside the Towey St. tennis courts, Oamaru . You are welcome to just turn up to be included in that days trip, though be aware that there is the very odd cancellation or time alteration.
See down further under Group Skills and Day Gear Checklist for some things to be aware of on the walk and what to bring.
This Weeks Walk
Spring Creek – Pisgah Downs
28 Sept 2016
Maerewhenua Foothills walk
21 Sept 2016
No less than thirty people turned out for this popular walk on a near perfect day weather wise. This time we started the walk at the end of Bushey Creek Rd and were soon descending into the headwaters of Sheep-wash Ck before the not too arduous climb through beautiful rolling tussock and schist rock out-crops, eventually reaching the perfect lunch spot overlooking the whole of the Otekaieke area with a backdrop of the (still partially snow clad) Kakanuis. Then it was an inspection of the historic Hamill homestead before heading down Basalt Ck rd.
There was a variation to the last trip, at the suggestion of two of the land-owners. “Why don’t you drop down into the Sheepwash creek gorge. It’s much more interesting than walking the road” Well yes, it was very picturesque, but the rate of travel diminished dramatically. Furthermore, the distance probably doubled as the creek wended it’s way in a tortuous fashion. There was added excitement and hold-up with a heavily pregnant cow panicking with our sudden appearance and ending momentarily up-side down in a water hole before standing her ground in a threatening fashion. Soon after it was the timely rescue of a sheep which was stuck in a bog. Then the final obstacle to the plan was being forced to exit the gorge back up to Basalt Creek Rd rather than to Bushey Creek Rd. We were still miles from the cars and the day was quickly evaporating so alternative plans had to be made quickly. Fortunately, one couple had turned back earlier in the day and also fortunately, they were handed a walkie-talkie. They must have known something, because late in the day, low and behold, as the drama was becoming more evident, the walkie-talkie burst into life and a life-line was offered in the form of transport from Basalt ck rd back to Bushey Ck Rd for someone to then bring an eight seater back to pick-up the drivers of all the cars. To add to the drama, the eight seater had an untimely puncture.
So it was a much longer day than was anticipated, but the entire group displayed absolute resilience in spite of wet feet and being assured earlier, something to the contrary.
We’ll get it right next time! Bill
Wai o Toura Conservation area
A brilliant spring day awaited the 26 Wednesday walkers who had volunteered to plant the Gard’s Road, now Wai o Toura, Conservation area – (‘wai’ –water and ‘tou’- to plant) Like an excited bus-load of school-kids on a school outing, we rocked on up the Waitaki Valley in a Ritchies bus. A number of other volunteers from the local district were also there along with a few of the first XV from St Kevins!
On arrival there was morning tea provided by Southern Wide and a briefing by DoC staff on what was in-store for the day. Once again in school-like fashion we were numbered off in 3 teams. Each team being allotted a marked area for planting kowhais, griselinia and ribbonwoods. We were told there were 1500 trees to be planted! The St Kevin’s boys were allotted the hill area with matagouri on it! While the rest of us planted the remaining area.
By mid-day a welcome lunch provided by Southern Wide was ready for the volunteers. The best sausage sizzle, accompanied by coffees (One Smart Coffee) teas and juices, was there for as much as you wanted. Following lunch all started back on the job to plant the rest of the 1500 trees. Well, we are not really sure how many we actually did plant – certainly a lot. Job over by 2.30pm – earlier than anticipated. So we were back to town by about 3.45pm.
Everyone agreed it was a most enjoyable day especially as the weather was at its best. Most of us would be happy to volunteer for a ‘DoC day’ again in the future.
West Maerewhenua walk
Wednesday Walkers – 7th Sep. ’16 Despite dire warnings of a savage front crossing about the middle of the day, 27 brave souls ignored the forecast to go for a walk in the West Maerewhenua region, an area of many options, all of which are gaining popularity.
On this occasion we parked in a sheltered spot approx. half-way up West Maerewhenua rd before continuing on foot to the end of the rd and onto the 4WD track that skirts along the edge of the forest. Then it was into Mark Hutton’s property, following fence lines for a km or two, towards the rock quarry. However, about 500m before the quarry, there was literally a hurdle in the form of a deer fence and locked gate at the boundary between Hutton’s and Rooney’s. This split the group in two – those that could scale the deer fence and those that (for reasons we won’t explore) couldn’t. The hurdlers proceeded on up to the quarry and back down Pringles Gully road only to face a second hurdle just like the first. Meantime the rest headed across unknown, but interesting country also towards the road where we found a beautifully sheltered spot to have lunch and wait for the others but not for long thankfully, for by now, the wind and storm clouds behind us were building rapidly, so the decision was made to abandon the planned round trip (taking in Pringles Gully) and simply head cross country back to the 4WD track and on down to the cars. It was a good decision because just as we reached the cars, the rain set in. The venue was perfect for the risky weather day as there were options to easily shorten the walk to approx. four hours.
Thoroughly enjoyed by all. Bill
Wednesday the 31st August
LEADER – KEN McLEOD
A frosty morning heralded a beautifully fine windless day, perfect for climbing compared to last Wednesday’s dismal day. Twenty nine trampers set off via state H/way 83. John had done his homework, it is shorter and quicker to travel this way instead of H/way 82. After gathering at Kurow one carload went straight to the Haka Valley to begin the longest route to the summit, while the rest went to the valley of the Kowhais. The timing was perfect as the flowers were a brilliant show of yellow, lemon, and golden shades.
From here the majority made their way to the top ridge, while four climbed up the next gully and the track to the ridge. The remaining five, went by vehicle to Haka Valley and walked the 4X4 track as far as the pine trees.
Everybody else made it to Station Peak, views expanding as they climbed higher; two lakes, snow clad glossy mountains, the wide patchwork of the Haka Valley, rivers, big peaks all, basking in the clear blue sky and brilliant sunshine. Perfect and thoroughly rewarding day, complete with the well earned ice-creams or cooling drinks at Kurow.
A whoo-hoo day.
Wednesday the 24 August
When day broke it was clear that a trip to Station Peak was in doubt. This was confirmed by Ken when he arrived at Towey Street to be greeted by 16 trampers. The weather forecast was drizzle/rain all over the South Island. The alternative walk was Timaru Walkway with a surprise add-on visit to the Heartland Chip factory at Washdyke. The visit had been teed-up by Ken and Wendy’s son, Duncan, who has a connection with the factory. The visit was planned in case the weather deteriorated further.
After leaving Oamaru in drizzle we arrived at Saltwater Creek just after 9.30am to start our 9km walk. No rain here, or indeed for that rest of the day. But the temperature remained at 8degrees. However, a brisk walk along the Walkway to Centennial Park kept everyone warm. There was a brief stop on the way for morning tea, then at 11am, turnaround time, we high-tailed it back to the cars where we lunched in the little park opposite.
Just after 12.30pm, Ken mustered the gathering in readiness for the drive to Washdyke, where we were expected at 1pm. We were welcomed by one of the staff and Duncan. We were given the compulsory, stylish, white hat that everyone is required to wear in food processing areas before we were guided through the factory. Chip- making is an amazing process. From ‘go to woh’ it only takes 8 minutes for the potatoes to be peeled, washed, cut into chips, fried, sorted, bagged and ready for packing into cartons. The visit was much appreciated by everyone – a real bonus on a cold day.
By 3pm were on our way back to Timaru and home. At least one car-load took advantage of going to a coffee bar in the CBD. We also felt we were better dressed for shopping at Kathmandu rather than Ballantynes department store! There was little retail therapy happening today. All back to town by 4.45pm after a different but thoroughly enjoyable Wednesday Walk.
Kakanui Gorge and Slaty Creek
Wednesday the 17 August
A white frost heralded the start of a gorgeous spring day as over 30 walkers headed out to Tapui for a walk around two farms.
We started walking shortly after 9am from the start of Tapui Homestead Rd. and headed east before climbing Crown Hill with great views of the white coated mountains to the west and the coast to the east. It was then south down a ridge to a point overlooking the Kakanui River Gorge where we had morning tea close to a seagull rookery. A climb up a hill to the west then saw us walking above the gorge with odd glimpses down to the river, running higher than normal with the snow melt.
Once we reached where Slaty Creek joined the Kakanui, we turned up it until we reached the hill just before Tapui Homestead Rd. where we enjoyed lunch with a view.
A few walkers then returned along the road to the cars and headed home. The rest of us continued up Slaty Creek and climbed up a steep hill to a ridge before circling round to a farm race which we followed back towards the cars, reaching them shortly before 3pm.
Pigeon Bush from Trotters Gorge
Wednesday the 10th August
Trip: We parked across the creek at Trotters Gorge and set off in decidedly brisk conditions at 9.30-ish. The creek was a bit higher than at the last visit, so feet were soon wet. First stop was at the University Hut for smoko – early, but it was sunny and offered dry seating. We carried on along the creek and turned left at the first track junction to follow Trotters Creek in a westerly direction. More stream crossings and sections of permafrost on the shaded true left led to short icy descent back across the creek, up a bank and over a fence out of the DoC area. The track wound along above the creek, mostly in sunshine, until we reached a corner with three gates, one of which took us right, across Trotters Creek for the last time, and into the Pigeon Creek valley.
The going up the valley was varied. The first stretch followed a 4wd track in sunshine well above the stream. When that track turned back to climb the hill, we headed down to cross Pigeon Creek for the first time. (Tip for future trips – directly opposite this crossing a track leads up to and along the fenceline, cutting out quite a few deviations.) The route then wound up the valley, through easy bush, up the hill to a fenceline, back down to the creek, climbed steeply over a spur to avoid a small gorge blocked by a large fallen tree, and continued through bush and clearings, backwards and forwards across the creek – punctuated by cries of “Are we nearly there yet?” and “You said there were no hills”. When we got to the gate signposted “The Retreat” we knew we were almost nearly there and, several bends and crossings later, we were – just on 3 hours from the off.
“There” was the clearing where the 4wd track down from Razorback meets the valley floor and the entrance to the DoC Pigeon Bush Reserve. Full advantage was taken of the warm, sunny possie for a relaxed lunch. Most dozed while the Secret Seven set off in search of the mythical giant totara. It looked like remaining a myth as they crossed the fence into the reserve and waded up the creek looking in vain for the track into the tree. Finally, it was found (tip to future explorers – look for a red tape marker on a tree branch overhanging the creek and climb left out of the creek). Dimensions admired, poses adopted and photos taken, and the seven climbed up the hill to a rather easier exit on to the 4wd track. There they looked for kowhais, found some but, despite some deceptive yellow trees, which proved on closer examination to be a frosted bush lawyer, none was in flower. (Another tip – a study of NOTMC trip reports would have revealed that, on 7 September 2014, the Pigeon Bush kowhais were just coming into flower.) Back down the hill, they rejoined the Wednesday Wakers for the return trip.
The tramp back followed the same route at a fairly leisurely pace, to reach the cars just on 4 o’clock. Despite the lack of hills, it had been a fairy challenging trip, a lot of it off any formal track and in new country for most. The organisers had promised a few stream crossings, and they delivered: the count was 9 each way on Trotters Creek and 19 each way on Pigeon Creek – a total of 56! Even the keenest water birds were satiated.
Wednesday the 27th July
Trampers: 23 Drivers: Gail 4, Jane 4, Klaus 5, Ross M 5, Ross B 4, Grant 1.
Trip: The convoy formed at the turn off from SH83 on to Otiake Road and then drove on to the end of Domett Road, parking just before the cattle yards. Shortly after 9.30 we set off across the flats, over a low saddle, up past a line of trees by some derelict yards, across a gully, and up to the saddle at the start of the serious climb. We stopped there for morning tea and to gather strength for the next stage.
There were two options from here: follow the track up the gully and climb the zig-zag track up the first part of the hill; or head directly up the tussock-clad spur immediately above the saddle and join the track further up. Most of the group took the second option and gained height relatively quickly. The track followed around the hill to another saddle with a tensioned Taranaki gate to negotiate, then continued to zig-zag up (there was another short cut here up a fenceline, which some of the more energetic took). It was about this point that we came across snow, mostly around ankle deep and not providing any problems. A little further up, after following around the hill, the track headed steeply up in a straight line alongside a fence. (This was a bit tricky in places, and promised to be rather more difficult coming down.) However, this pinch proved to be the end of the serious climbing and the track from here provided good going with shallow snow and gentle gradient. Just before the highest point on the track, another gate was negotiated and the route to the summit turned off through tussock and snow for the final 70 metre climb.
Some thirteen trampers reached the summit, taking between 2 ¾ and 3 ¼ hours. The views were stunning – Mounts Cook and Tasman showed up clearly in the distance, until they were clouded over. Behind us, Little Domett loomed, with Te Kohurau prominent to the north-west and the Waitaki Valley laid out before us with Lake Waitaki shimmering in the sunlight. The summit area was itself also striking, with red and green mosses and golden tussocks contrasting with the windblown snow and grey rock. However, any wish to linger was quickly curtailed by the stiff and piercingly cold nor-west wind so shelter was sought, lunch consumed and, after a quick visit to the higher south peak for photo opportunities, departures were taken.
The descent was straightforward, with the track being followed almost all the way. The only tricky bit was the steep, straight and icy pinch by the fence, although some avoided trouble by taking a much gentler but longer (and quicker) track through the fence. The cars were reached around 3-3.15pm, some two hours after leaving the top. As requested by the landowner, a text message was sent to him confirming that all had returned safely.
Helped by the good weather, all agreed it was an excellent day and that it was good to get the first climb of the season under our belts. John
Another beautiful day saw 23 walkers head up to Otiake Road and then to the yards at the end of Domett Road. Setting out along the track we made it to the saddle above the trees for morning tea.
Then most opted to go straight up the ridge rather than the longer way via the zig zag. We ran into snow at the top of the zig zag above the gate but only about 75mm. Various groups decided to stop for lunch and turn back along the way though about half made it to the top or near the top for great views to the coast and to see Mt. Cook in the distance. A cold northerly started blowing as we ate our lunch and Mt. Cook was enveloped in cloud, so it was off down the hill before we froze. Most tended to follow the track on the way down as we had plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the countryside and we were back at the cars mid afternoon.
We sometimes walk in places where it is easy to get lost, or fog comes in unexpectedly.
* Always follow the leaders instructions. STAY WITH YOUR GROUP.
* Keep in view of someone with a two way radio.
* If you think you are lost or unsure where to go, eg. A fork in the track or reduced visibility such as fog, STAY PUT. Make yourself visible with a bright article. Call out or blow your whistle. Someone will look for you.
* Always let someone know if you are going off the track eg. Toilet stop or photo shoot.
* Look behind frequently to keep the person behind you in view, and also to know where you have walked in case you need to go back.
* The person who opens a gate should close it, or designate someone else who knows how, to do so. Leave all gates as you find them.
Day Gear Check List
The following should be carried with you, no matter how nice the weather is when you leave. Day pack, boots, socks plus a dry pair in the vehicle, water/wind-proof coat with hood, over-trousers, shorts and long johns or long trousers, thermal singlet, shirt, warm jersey/jacket, gloves/mitts, warm hat, sun hat. NO COTTON OUTER GARMENTS PLEASE. This includes jeans as they contribute to hypothermia when wet. Sunglasses, lunch, snacks/emergency rations, full water bottle, sun block, first aid kit, toilet paper, torch, map, compass, whistle, survival sheet/bag, a bright piece of equipment or clothing. Optional Gaiters, camera, walking sticks, spare clothes in the vehicle.
160 Wednesday Walkers Walks
If you have a walk you would like to do, please suggest it at next weeks walk.
Anderson Lagoon – Shag River
Ashlands Rd. – Kemp Rd. Katiki
Aviemore – Mt. Dryburgh
Awakino Ski Field
Big Kuri Creek
Black Cap – Scout Hill
Bobbys Head – Pleasant River
Central Otago Rail Trail
Devils Bridge Cave
Douglas (Rob & Sue)
Gentle Annie Hut
Gibson Farm Walk
Golf Course, Waianakarua
Hampden / Moeraki
Hillgrove Farm Walk
Island Stream Waterfall
Kakanui – All Day Bay
Kauru Hill – Fuchsia Creek
Kurow Hill, Awakino Gorge
Lindis Pass / Dalrachney
Livingstone, Beaties Hill
Maerewhenua Gold Diggings
Mt. Alexander Loop
Mt Cook (Not the Summit)
Mt. Difficulty – Allan Rd
Mt Difficulty – Dasher
Mt. Difficulty – Hectors
Mt. Mary, Trig J
Mt. Nimrod (Haka)
Mt Nimrod (East)
Mt. Peel (Little)
Mt. Sutton, Ohau
Mt Sutton, Waitangi
Mts. Trotter & McKenzie
Ngapara Farms Walk
Obi, Mitchells Hut
Obi, Mt. Stalker
Obi, Shingle Creek
Otekaike Bridal Track
Pigeon Bush – Duncan Road
Pigeon Bush – South Peak
Pleasant River, Bobbys Head
Raki’s Table / Tunnel
Raki’s, Belmont, Victoria Hills
Rock & Pillars
Rosella Ridge, Silver Peaks
Round Yards circuit / gorge
Swampy, Leith saddle
Table Top via Wainak Reserve
Table Top via Herbert Forest
Tapui Farm Walk
Temple – North
Temple – South
Trotters Gorge Reserve
Trotters Gorge Trig L
Waihao Walkway, Hotel circuit
Starting place is the Towey St Tennis Courts (see the map at the top of this page) usually at 8-30 am every Wednesday.