Wednesday, July 6th, 2022
Sunday 3 July 2022
A perfect day for a walk by the seaside: fine, sunny, blue skies, cool with a light north-westerly breeze.
Nine trampers drove the 65 kms from Oamaru to the end of Anderson Road, off the Goodwood Road
east of Palmerston. Shortly after 9 o’clock we set off walking along the track through a replanted area
beside Andersons Lagoon. The lagoon itself was fairly high but the track remained dry.
After about half a km the track reached Stony Creek beach and we turned north, past the closed mouth
of the lagoon to the steel ladder which climbed up the cliff. It was about half tide, which meant that the
beach route would be impassable, so we climbed the ladder and the following zig-zag steps up to reach the
esplanade walking track which undulated along the clifftops for some two kms, crossing several small
streams on the way. In several places, patches of New Zealand spinach appeared and were sampled.
Eventually the track turned down an awkward bank where a fixed rope provided some support as we
dropped down to the beach. It was now 10.20 so we settled down for a leisurely morning tea in the
bright sunshine under the cliff. After half an hour or so, we packed up again and headed up the sandy
beach which would take us to our end point at the mouth of the Waihemo-Shag River. On the way we
were entertained by wildlife. There were rows of spotted shags nesting on rocky ledges like tenements
in an old European city. Some nests had two occupants but most had one; all were resplendent in their
breeding plumage with double crests and blue eye patches.
Further along, we came across half a dozen basking sea lions but none seemed energetic enough to
threaten our progress. A myriad of tracks across the sand suggested that many more were either secluded
in the sand dunes or had gone out to sea.
At a quarter to twelve, we reached the end of the beach and settled down on the Shag Estuary side of
the sand dunes for lunch in the sunshine and to take in the full view up the river with the snowy Rock
and Pillar Range just poking above the intervening hills. Half an hour later we packed up and wandered
over to the river mouth.
The river had a steady flow, which would have made crossing tricky. Then we saw a large bull sea lion
emerge from the surf and heave his way up on to the beach on the other side.
At the same time, another, smaller, sea lion could be seen splashing its way down the river from the
estuary. It, too, clambered out of the water and up on to the north-side beach. There the two sea lions
got together and demonstrated why the river and headland may not have been named after birds.
Not to seem too voyeuristic, we turned around and started the homeward leg back down the beach.
We got to the cove where we had come down from the high track. The intention had been to go back
along at beach level as far as possible but it soon became clear that, although it was only one hour after
low tide, the combination of a relatively high low tide and strong waves from the south-east made the
headlands impassable. So we all clambered up the awkward bank and walked back along the ups and
downs of the clifftop track until the steel ladder took us down again to the beach at Stony Creek. A short
walk along the beach and up the side of the lagoon took us back to the cars at 2.15. The combination of
sunshine, seascape, cliffs, beach and wildlife had made for an interesting day which was enjoyed by
Phyllis, Maurice, Lynette, Julian, Jenny, Emily, Robbie, Uwe and John.
Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Sunday 26 June 2022
19 assembled at the Port Chalmers Beach Street boat harbour at 11am to catch the prebooked boat ride to Quarantine Island.
It was about a 10 minute cruise over dead still water to the wharf, where we disembarked. After being welcomed by the resident Island Keeper, we climbed the steep steps to the main island buildings. After wandering around the St Martin Lodge we inspected the large building which used to be the Married Quarters and is now the main historic display area of photos and past stories of island life, especially its use as a quarantine place for ships passengers arriving with an infectious disease.
It was then an easy walk over the 17ha island and climbing to the 58m high summit of the hill at the far end. Views were taken in , both up and down the harbour, before returning by a circular route to the wharf at 12-30pm for our trip back to Port Chalmers.
After lunch some opted to travel down to Aramoana, where we did a short wetlands walk and a walk along the 1200m long mole which protects the entrance to the Otago Harbour.
A relaxing day out on a sunny winters day in an area we do not often go.
Thanks to Chris for organising the day and the boat trip. Ross M
Thursday, June 9th, 2022
Three of us left Oamaru at 8am and the day was looking good. We duly arrived in waimate and met up with our fourth tramper, and it was decided to leave a car at each end of the track. We started walking along the railway track at the Studholme Bush end near the gorge at about 9.30am, and soon the climb up the Bellbird track began. It takes you up through the bush to the tops. There we took a little detour to a waterfall, which wasn’t showing much signs of life, but there are also large totara in the area. We heard lots of bellbirds, tui and fantails on the route. As you get higher there are lovely views over Waimate out towards the coast, and in the other direction towards the Kakanui and St. Mary ranges.
We reached the newly revamped White Horse at about 11:45am. The new look outs are solidly built providing great a great viewing platform, with a colourful Maori carving and poles painted by local schools. The horse itself has been painted, and everywherethere are new plantings and pathways. Lunch was eatne i the sun then we made our way down the track ending at Point Bush Eco-sanctuary. Just before the end of the track we came across a wallaby with it’s foot trapped in the fence. It took a lot of emails and phone calls to find someone to put it out of it’s misery, and only back at the car that we found a phone number of the pest control operation.
After a brief stop at the Maori cemetary we made our way back to the car and then through the gorge down to Glenavy, where we were rewarded with icecreams and then on home at about 3pm from a very pleasant day out.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2022
This trip was meant to be on the Sunday but with the weather report during the week of
rain, then clouded, then showers it was too mixed up to predict, so with Saturday being the
better day I put the word out to the club that Saturday would be the day. On the day there
was only one other club member that showed up, but with it being a new hike that both of
us had not done before in was decided we would do it and put it back on the club’s program
another time. We drove down the road towards Dunedin and just at the bottom of the
Kilmog there is a road to your right that takes you into Evansdale Glen Reserve and the start
of the track.
We headed off about 9.30am crossing the creek with no wet feet which was
good because we would have to cross it several more times on our trip. The trip up the
valley was on a good track with a mixture of native bush, open flats and a bit of a pine
forest. After about ½ hour we came to the junction of the Rongomai track, this would be the
track we would return on in the afternoon, so we carried on up the Careys Creek track
where it closed in a bit in the valley with native bush. The track followed the creek with a
few creek crossings, an old water race pipe and a small dam. Since we had had a dry couple
of months the track was petty dry, but this track had been known to be quite muddy at
times. We soon came to the junction of the Honeycomb track about 10.30 am which you
could walk right pass it if you were not looking. We found a flat area just up the Honeycomb
track where we took a break and had morning tea enjoying the bird song with the bell birds
and others and the friendly failtails keeping us amused.
After morning tea, it was a steep climb for about 20 minutes to get us on a ridge that levelled off a bit up to Steep Hill Road in
the Silver Peaks. Just before the road we came across a connecting track to the Romgomai
track, but we carried on up to the road. It was then up the road for about 5 minutes to meet
a forest road that took us down pass where the connecting track came out and on to the
start of the Rongomai Track. The Rongomai track follows a rocky ridge line back down to
Careys creek, but ½ way down we stopped for a lunch break and to admire the bird song
again, with sightings of wood pigeons and a goat calling in the valley below. The last part of
the Rongomai track drops down steeply over a creek to meet back up with the Careys Creek
track at the track junction and then it was just a back track for ½ an hour to be back out at
the car park at 1.45pm and after a 12.7 km hike. We both agreed it was a good day out and
we had made the right decision to go. We then decided there was a wee brewery at
Evansdale the both of as had not visited before, so it was off to there to finish off a great
Thank to Julian for your great company for the day. Neville
Tuesday, April 26th, 2022
23-25 April 2022
A last minute change from the programme due to unfavourable weather predictions saw this trip going to the hot spring located in the Otehake River instead. Only 3 of us met up at the Morrison Footbridge at 8.30am on the Saturday, 2 had stayed the night at Arthur’s Pass Village, the other 1 coming from Greymouth. We opted to drive back to the Aicken Car park for a river crossing across the Otira River instead of taking the 4 hr walk from the Morrison Footbridge.
A pleasant walk ensued up the valley, interrupted only by a careful negotiation around an deep creek/rock feature known to some as Maurice’s Hole, named after a current member on a previous trip who had explored its full depth.
Morning tea at the turnoff to Lake Kaurapataka and on through some of the most beautiful bush anywhere to the open space half way along the length of the lake. Some of the biggest red beech trees are to be found here in a lush setting of ferns. Lunch at the lake and then on to the Otehake.
The river was high and the crossings through the gorge setting were deep and challenging and sucked the energy right out of us. It was good to arrive at the spring, quickly establishing our camp we excavated an existing hole to deliver a good supply of hot water and dammed out some of the cold running in and quite quickly we had a pool big enough for 3. Bliss! We spent some time getting wood and got a decent fire going as a focal point for the usual round of tales which saw us last until well into the night…about 8. Night time hot bath and off to the sleeping bag for a good 12 hour lie down.
It drizzled in the night and the morning was wet, so it was decided that a camp out at Lake Kaurapataka, would also be very nice. We set off with a deep river crossing near the camp and stayed on that side of the river until eventually coming across the track leading back to the lake. This was the high water route and brings you back to the top of a little pass in between the lake and the river, not a track for the fainthearted, with lots of challenges and very steep.
It drizzled in between sunny patches throughout the day some of the drizzly patches were utilized with naps in our tents, but by dinnertime things had dried off and challenged ourselves with the job of making a fire, not easy with wet wood, but with persistence and the help of a fire lighter we achieved this minor miracle and enjoyed the warmth while we ate and talked some more.
During the night the sound of Ruru and Kiwi as well the snuffling and calling of the resident Wekas around our tents kept us company.. all was good. The birds were constant and amazing, from the inquisitive robins to even the call of the Karearea.
Morning was perfect.. mist on the lake, reflections of trees and mountains, no crowds, lots of bird sound and the Wekas.
After packing up we walked back to the car, nice walk again.
We did not change as usual but drove in our tramping gear back to Cave Stream near Castle Hill, shedding anything you didn’t want to get wet and donning our torches, we had a walk/ clamber through the over 500m meters of the cave. The water was deep in places, chest height and cold especially at the beginning, it rushes the whole time quite fast and waterfalls to clamber over. An eel, a fish and a spider were seen. It’s a very noisy place and it was some relief to finally come to the other end and sun shine.
It is a very impressive experience for anyone brave enough, the deep water being a challenge.
Very chuffed with ourselves we set off home after finally changing into our dry day clothes, stopping only in Stavely for a nice cuppa.
Thanks for a magic trip Julian and Jenny.