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
Farm Walk to Katiki Beach
20th July, 8-30 am
Distance 18k, difficulty Medium
It was a beautiful sunny crisp day when we headed south and turned right after the Moeraki Boulders into Ken & Jan Wheelers property. There were 8 cars and 29 able bodied walkers. We began walking over the rolling hills where sheep were being fed out. Our first stop was for morning tea on a slope below a pine tree plantation. We then moved onto Nimmos property where Dave informed us of some of the history. There had originally been a gold miners hut in this area and we could see where these prospectors had searched for gold bust had no luck in the small gully.
From here we wandered over the hills down to the main road and through the underpass, past a big gum tree which had been cut up for firewood. We followed a track along the Waimataitai or Katiki lagoon where there were lots of black swans. It was onto the beach just south of the Moeraki lighthouse for lunch. The return journey was back through the underpass and along a slightly shorter route to reach the cars about 3 pm. Then it was ice creams at Hampden and a large chocolate éclair for Margaret. (She tells us she only indulges in this treat one every six months!)
A big thanks to Dave (a trip down memory lane) and to the Wheelers & Nimmos.
CLIMBING THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE.
16th JUNE, 2016.
In the evening of the 15th June I heard Fiona & Lucy busy on the phone arranging our climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We were booked for 12.45 and Fiona had paid for us by Credit card on the phone. No backing out now after having indicated it could be a good idea for me (us) to do it.
Thursday 16th June dawned brilliantly, not a cloud in the sky and little wind – all day and when we went on the bridge the temperature was 16-19 celsius. Before we caught the train at Springwood about 10.30am we had our last snack and drink and arrived in Sydney 11-45. From the Circular Quay station we found our way to the start of the Bridge Climb. The last street we had to find, with difficulty, was really several flights of steps. Going through my mind was “this will be a good warm up for the actual CLIMB.” Little did I really know what the actual climb was like. We got our tickets and filled in a questionaire, taking responsibility for being so adventurous and had an apprehensive wait until the rest of our group arrived. We then entered the inner sanctum where it all starts.
After a little bit of preamble a young lady distributed overalls to each of us which we put on over our clothes. At this stage we had to decide how hot we were going to get as it was a warm day so I took off another layer. Our guide then had us lined up while putting on a climbing belt. There was cord attached to it, which was going to hook us onto the wire cable which we would be attached to, for the duration of the climb. This meant we would be in the same order for the whole climb. Fiona decided to be behind me and I was No 3 in the whole group which meant I slowed up the people behind me! There were hooks and loops on the overalls for attaching everything we needed and there was now no chance of going to the loo. Hats, handkerchiefs, jacket in a bag etc were all attached to us and we had to spit out our last lolly. We were then given a head set so we could hear what our guide was telling us about the bridge and some interesting Sydney history. I can’t remember much of it as I was either concentrating on where I was putting my feet or gobsmacked with the amazing view.
After nearly an hour we were all clobbered up ready to try out our nerves on the simulater, which was a set of two ladders with a landing between them. Then we had to walk along a narrow plank before coming down the other two sets of ladders backwards, just like what we had to do on the bridge. Now we were ready for the real thing and it was too late to back out. I never thought of doing that!
We had nearly a kilometre of flat walking on a narrow walkway out to the tower and then we walked through some narrow passageways until we reached the first ladder of four – not quite vertical with about 20 rungs. I thought “here we go but just take your time.” There is only a small landing between each flight and there was only one person on each ladder at a time. The main thing was to watch your feet and don’t look down. By the fourth ladder we were getting very high. The hand rails were well placed for us to hang on to for dear life! Having done the ladders the next stage was much easier and awesome. We were now climbing gradually up the top arch of the bridge. What a view and I thought the hard part of the climb was over. We stopped several times on the way to the top for our guide to take photos and give us more information and history. We had about half an hour at the top, no wind, 360degree views, and blue skies all around. We could even see the Blue Mountains.
After walking across the top of the bridge we then returned to come down the same side we came up, I think, still attached to the wire cable. To me this was just a breeze. But I wasn’t really thinking about what goes up has to come down! So after coasting easily down the steps on the arch all of a sudden we were faced with four sets of ladders (almost vertical) on the outside of the bridge just above the motorway about 200ft below. I thought “Face your fears. There is only one way for me to get down and don’t make a fuss. After all, Fiona was behind me and I didn’t want to scare her.” There were hand rails to hang onto all the way down but that was all there was between me and the traffic below. My mouth was really dry by now with nothing to drink for 3-4 hours and a little bit of fear. We had to go down these ladders backwards so you just watched your feet and not the cars. Half way down the 2nd ladder, suddenly there was a great roaring and a B……. train charged past about a metre away from me. What a thrill! The rest of the descent was relatively uneventful except it was a relief to reach the bottom. There was an assistant guide at the top of the ladders but then you didn’t see anyone until you reached the bottom except for the person behind you and we didn’t do any talking then.
From this stage on it was all fairly routine back to where we started. We had to take off all our clobber and put it in the right place, including putting our unused hankies into the laundry basket. By the time we got out to the office our photos were ready for us to take home including a flash-drive with all of our photos on which we had to pay $50 to get.
This is one of the most daring things I have done for a long time and I don’t regret any of it. It was just such a brilliant day. But I wouldn’t do it again.
A2O Speed walk
13th July 2016
This was probably the fastest Wednesday walk many of us had done as the bike track had a wide well formed surface with no hills.
25 gathered at the Towey St. departure point for what was promised to be a short walk as we had our mid winter dinner in the evening.
We drove out to the Whitstone Five Forks Road turnoff and parked our cars there. The idea was to walk out to Elderslie and back. Well we made it to Elderslie for morning tea beside the Waiareka stream. The going was good along the new bike track, though there was a bit of scouring beside the creek after the heavy rain last month. After a history lesson at the Elderslie stables we made it to Pig Island road by 11-30am. There was some discussion about returning via Burnside road but in the end we all returned to the stables for lunch. After a leisurely stop over it was straight back to the cars by 2pm with the distance being just under 20k.
The mid winter dinner at the Maheno Tavern was enjoyed by all 59 walkers and partners, where Christine read her Kakanui Bridge poem and we celebrated Jane’s 79th birthday.
Baghdad Road Farm Walk
6 July 2016
The day started with a white frost as 24 trampers from Oamaru and Maheno travelled south to Hampden, driving up Baghdad road to park in a yard belonging to Phillip Nicholson at Gillies old homestead.
Dave explained about the Gillies family whose home it used to be and where there was an old cob cottage close by, which was known to locals as the honeymoon suite where most of the local newly-weds spent their honeymoon.
From there, it was up the road for a short distance, through the gate and across paddocks before crossing a small creek where a suitable log was the place for morning tea.We continued on thru’ lovely stands of native trees with lots of birds singing. Part way up ,Dave showed us where one of the original homesteads was situated.
From there, along the flats and another creek crossing and on up a steep track to the top of the hill with an uninterrupted view of Katiki, Moeraki, and Hampden. This steep track is where the Nicolsons bring their sheep from Snake Gully across to their woolshed – thank goodness the ground was dry today.
With lunch and the view over, it was back down the steep track and into Hunters property, along the flats and Baghdad Creek with stands of Manuka, gums and pine trees .It was here that it was very obvious that there were numerous pigs around.
Continuing on down the gully we viewed some wayward Moeraki boulders and other rock caves, then along through paddocks and back to where we started from, arriving at 2pm.
The weather could not have been kinder, the sun shining occasionally, wind almost non- existent, and the company most enjoyable with lots of laughs and stories.
On the way home the Hampden store again braced for the stampede of the W.W.
It’s a record number of thirty-six
Leaving Towey Street with their leki sticks
To Parkside gate the cars parked inside
Then a road-walk to Petries – not a ride
The farm-yard track led up the hill
With thirty-five walkers following Bill
To the hut with a view and a rugby past
The smoko stop too – we’ve reached at last
There’re views to Cone, Grayson and Domett
The best this winter that we’ve seen yet
On down the track to the dairy farm lane
Mud on our boots after the weekend’s rain
Search for a lunch-spot on the ‘scarpment
To limestone rocks most people went
It’s hard to move when basking in the sun
Along the cliff edge when lunch is done
Following tracks – climbing fences as well
Techniques were varied but no one fell
Then to a quarry viewed from high
Next the main quarry – walls ground to the sky
Great limestone blocks from the quarry jut
Ready to move for the factory cut
Walk down the drive to the cars at Parkside
Another wonderful walk – it can’t be denied
Black Cap – Scout Hill
22 June 2016
With warm temperatures promised 28 walkers headed out through Five Forks to the end of Turnbulls Road. After signing the obligatory Health and Safety form we headed south from Smiths cattle yards along a well formed track with 360 degree views. Turning left through some gates we walked along a fence line towards Black Cap, sighting 3 small deer not too far away.
Morning tea was taken where we hit Fuchsia Creek Road with panoramic views over North Otago, then we headed up the road to Black Cap summit. A bit further along a few headed back the way we had come, having lunch on the way and arriving back at the cars about 2-30pm.
The rest continued to the end of the road past the airstrip. About half skirted round the north face of Scout Hill, while the rest gained the summit shortly after 12 noon. We met up again for lunch at Scout Hut. A brisk walk down Mole Hill Road to a gate saw us turning east and a gradual decent to Mole Hill Creek. The sun emerged so we sweated our way back up to the cars in a gentle Norwester feeling much better for our 18k, 5-6 hour mid winter walk.
Thanks to the Smith’s, Kingan’s, Sim’s and Ruddenklau’s for allowing us on their properties for what is always considered to be a top North Otago walk.
‘Douglas Rock’ – Dome Hills
After a cold front swept through early in the morning, it was gratifying to see 21 walkers at Towey St at 8.30. As we drove up Livingstone Pinch we wondered if we would get up above the fog. The destination today was Dome Hills, situated past Livingstone on McKenzie Rd. Arriving at the yards at 9.30am, the fog now cleared, we were ready to walk at 9.45am. Gail’s satellite map had the route marked on it and as long as we started left before the woolshed, through the horse paddock and followed the double barbed-wire fence along the lane, the big rock would soon be visible across Awamoko Stream on our right. And so it was. At 10.30am we had smoko, just before descending to the stream and following a 4WD track and old water races up to the rock.
Since it was only 11.30am we decided to push on across the paddocks for lunch at 12.20pm, at the forest on Balmoral Rd. No wind here, and great view of little Domett (a bit of cloud on Big Domett), Grayson and Cone. Also Ben Lomond and Maerewhenua Spur ( Ben Ledi). The rain threatened, but circled around the hills leaving us dry all day.
Lunch over, we followed Balmoral Rd – passing the forest on our right, checking out the now very presentable Balmoral Hut and following the track taking us out onto McKenzie Rd. But not before we looked for Kattothyrst from a view-point at the end of the next forest. Just visible! Then it was just a 20 minute walk down the road to the yards, with a quick look at ‘Molly’s’ plaque on a broadleaf tree commemorating Barbara S’s. parents who used to live at Dome Hills
We enjoyed a chat with Ben, the run-holder’s son, who is now managing Dome Hills Station.
All back to the cars by 2.40pm after another enjoyable walk in our beautiful hills.
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.