Canyon Creek – Ahuriri Valley

15th- 16th December 2018

Canyon Creek in the Ahuriri Valley, a place I have visited many times before, but this latest visit with five club members was probably the most perfect I have seen with sunny skies, wind free warm conditions and after recent rain and late snow falls the water falls were performing at their best.
Our departure from Oamaru at 7.30am saw us leaving behind a misty damp day but soon to be in sunshine as we approached the valley lakes and beyond to the Ahuriri Conservation Park.
Sadly the local council have stopped maintaining the road just after the Ben Avon Reserve, leaving many pot holes for several kilometes to Birchwood Homestead. Beyond there the 4WD track to the carpark was reached with the help of Neville’s high clearance 4WD vehicle.
The day was already quite warm at 10.30am as we set off across the flats to Canyon Creek and the first test of uphill fitness where at the top a view into the Canyon Gorge was the first of many magic sights.
Once down the other side and out onto the river flats we were ready for lunch under the cooling shelter of the beach trees.
As we approached the lower cirque it was hard to concentrate on foot placement with all the stunning waterfalls and landscapes to take in.
The track out to the Upper Valley is an honest workout and we were pleased to see flat land again.
Some melting avalanche debris was present in a gully crossed to reach the Upper Canyon adding to the beautiful scenery.
The way to the Bivy Rock, our destination involved picking the best cairned route as there is quite a lot of rock hopping and the heat of the day was starting to tell. As we rounded the corner in the valley and the large Bivy Rock came into view my thoughts of what I had in my pack to revive me spurred me on.
A magic place and we had not seen another person all day.
With the four tents pitched we gathered around the rock with billies soon boiling and settled back to soak up some more of the stunning views all around.
At about 9pm we retired to our tents as the warm day had taken its toll so sleep came easy.
Sunday dawned with the sound of a kea, although unsighted and the promise of another fine day but the planned climb to Mt Heim was replaced with a stroll to the head of the valley.
On reaching the headwall, Neville got close enough to take in the cold spray of a waterfall, while Bron with camera in hand went searching out the many alpine flowers.
With the sun now making its way into the valley we packed up and returned down the creek, detouring off to view the stream’s journey over the edge of the cirque and plunge twisting and turning its way to the valley below.
After meeting up with the track again we made our way down to the lower valley stopping off for lunch in the shade under the beach trees.
Frequent stops by the cooling streams for drinks and soaking sunhats were made before reaching the car park with the temperature at 28 degrees.
Thanks to Bronwyn, Phyllis, Forester and Neville for making this another memerable weekend.