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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Anderson Lagoon-Shag Colony
19 October 2016
The promise of a warm sunny spring day with a lovely coastal walk, brought out an increased number of Wednesday Walkers leaving Towey Street to join the Maheno contingent. We travelled onto Palmerston and then followed the Goodwood Road to Anderson’s Lagoon. We walked in single file along the edge of the lagoon until we reached the beach. With the low spring tide (1pm), we were able to enjoy a beach stroll around the first headland without needing to climb the ladder and steps. A conveniently placed log on the beach was the perfect place to stop for smoko to enjoy good company under blue skies and sunshine with waves lapping against the shore.
We then left the beach to walk along the cliff top track which took us up and down the headlands before reaching the beach access again. The shag colony was in residence nestled on their precarious balconies. We enjoyed watching the young chicks of various ages, sitting up in their messy nests made from twigs and grasses cemented together by guano. The shags were largely undisturbed by our presence. On the other hand we were cautious not to disturb the fur seals relaxing on the beach. They were effectively a sign post for us to leave the beach and walk onto our leisurely lunch stop at the mouth of the Shag River.
On our return journey, most of us were careful to avoid walking in the path between the fur seal sun bathing spots and the sea. Although two seals were compressed against one another in a languorous pile another one was a little less happy to share the same space with us. The day’s adrenalin rush was triggered when a younger seal with bared teeth and up on all fours, made a rush towards some of the walkers. We journeyed on!
A small group circumnavigated the first headland before scrambling up and under the fence to the cliff edge walk. Most of us returned the way we had come with the help of Dave’s trusty stick to give us leverage off the beach and onto the walkway. The pine needle carpet made for a slippery slope on the downhill sections.
We made our way back onto the beach and were able to rest on a grassy bank overlooking the sea before our return walk along Anderson’s Lagoon. On the return drive, a number of the group stopped at the Palmerston Asparagus farm to purchase pre-ordered first of the season bunches of asparagus. Once again our final stop at the Hampden Hilltop Store saw many of us indulge in a generous ‘single’ scoop ice cream while some chose perhaps a healthier alternative – the seafood pie created by Sandy Ratahi – one of the top 10 in their category of the New Zealand pie awards recently. Lyn
Duntroon/Maori Rock Drawings
Typically wet and changeable spring weather may have put some off, but not 17 keen walkers this week. With the weather forecast suggesting the rain would clear later in the morning, we headed out in 4 cars towards Duntroon. It was still drizzling when we parked off the road near the Alps to Ocean track at Duntroon. The Historic old jail and stocks were worth a good look. Then we set off along the bike trail and wetlands towards our destination – the Maori rock drawings. The native plantings along that portion of the track are growing well and are looking great along the side of the swiftly flowing Waitaki River. We had our morning tea in semi shelter near some trees along the track. Several mobs of young dairy calves in paddocks alongside the track optimistically came looking for some milk as they saw us approaching. It’s an easy, comfortable flat walk along the track amongst the planting. Great views of the river and surrounding lovely green spring grass and countryside as you are walking. Crossing the road opposite the Maori rock drawings we went in for a closer look .It is interesting and worth a stop if you’re on your bike, walking or passing in a car. There’s even a nice view of the valley and mountains in the background from a slightly raised spot near the entrance.
After a good look around, we then retraced our steps back to have lunch at our previous morning tea spot along the track. The weather was beginning to clear at this stage and was really rather pleasant. We didn’t have a long lunch break and were soon back on the track heading back towards Duntroon and were back by 1.45 pm. With plenty of time, we explored the most fascinating fossils at the Vanished World Centre and information about the 1869 Brewery hole near the old blacksmiths shop. Another worthwhile place to stop and explore instead of going whizzing by as we so often do these days. Stop, learn and breathe in the great history of Duntroon. We did walk 14.1 kms but it did not seem like it, great day out and the sun did shine for us near the end of the day.
Tapui 3 Peaks and 2 Tunnels
Wednesday 5 October 2016
Ten walkers decided a warm westerly light rain was not going to stop them enjoying their Wednesday walk, so we set off in 3 cars for a circuit around the Tapui farmland. After parking the cars on the road side we walked back a little way before crossing a growthy lucerne paddock to the top of Victoria Hill(243m asl), an ancient volcano. The heaped up volcanic boulders and old pine trees there provided some shelter for a morning break during which the wind switched to a sou’westerly clearing the last of the rain away.
After meeting a happy farmer checking his rapidly growing lambs we headed down a couple of valleys to cross the Victoria Hill Road at the intersection with Tunnel Road. It was then up another valley before climbing up to Belmont Hill (324m asl), well named for its bell shape. The sky was clearing now and the North Otago downlands were spread out before us in vivid spring green with glimpses of some of the North Otago mountains still shrouded in cloud. It was then down and north to the eastern end of Cant’s tunnel, inaccessable at that end because of a slip partially blocking the entrance and water ponding behind it.
Two walkers had missed out the Belmont section, so we walked down the old railway embankment to meet them at the Raki’s Tunnel entrance where we had lunch using the newly installed Lions Club picnic table. It was then out with our torches for the walk through the tunnel before our last climb to Raki’s Table (325m asl). Again great 360 degree views with the sun now shining up the Waitaki Valley. There was intense interest in what appeared to be some sort of repeater station there, before we descended the eastern end of the limestone table to our cars after a very enjoyable walk.
Spring Creek – Pisgah Downs
28 Sept 2016
Eleven trampers turned up at Towey Street, and the morning was gloomy and damp. Two 4X4 vehicles set off on the adventure into the misty/foggy foothills of Pisgah Downs via Dome Hills. The road beyond the homesteads was very muddy in places, but negotiable.
The vehicles parked where the road condition deteriorated, and we walked from here, with the landscape shrouded in cloud and fog, interspersed with bright patches, giving us almost an ethereal landscape. Smoko was at the rocks by the track to Mt. Evelyn. Continuing on towards Spring Creek Hut fog persisted to obscure important landmarks and we turned down the 1st track instead of the 2nd. This mistake was realized when we discovered we were not descending as we should have have been. However with G.P.S. and map navigation we traveled along a gold mining water race for some distance. We stopped for lunch and a navigation check to confirm the direction of the hut, which we were able to view from the ridge we then climbed. Then back to the track to Mt. Pisgah though the weather (fog) had by now lifted considerably. A bulldozer arrived out of the mist improving the track as he made his way further up. A good day out and a different route to take. Valuable lessons in the importance of having a map, knowledge of map reading, with G.P.S to confirm position.
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) Kakanui’s. 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
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.
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.