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 a recommendation of what to bring.
This Week’s Walk
Wednesday Wanderers – Peebles Farm Walk
Wednesday 20 March
At 9-30am Eleven Lovely Ladies left Towey St and headed out to Ridge Road, Peebles for a farm walk. This was a reminiscing tramp for two of the ladies who spent their childhood there. After a photo stop at the gravel pit we headed up the gully to enjoy mountain views from the hill top. Sadly, low cloud covered the view all day. From the farm we walked and talked further up Ridge Road, had lunch, walked even further before returning to the cars by the same route and to find Jean’s sunglasses (successfully) she had left at the morning tea spot. We had walked nearly 12 km by the time we reached the cars. Most of us called into Matsingers to buy some of the most delicious strawberries, before returning to Oamaru. Jane
Chinaman’s Hut and Beyond.
Wednesday 23rd March
The walk into Chinaman’s hut and beyond used to be a lot easier. Yes, the years are passing by (far too quickly), but there is another reason why the normally “user friendly” stroll into Chinaman’s Hut has become a much more demanding exercise of rock hopping. The heavy rain storms of Nov/Dec have cleaned out much of the gravels of the creek leaving behind in many places just the boulders.
However, credit to the sixteen participants who negotiated the rocks and the countless river- crossings without any notable mishaps. As in the past, some of the group continued beyond the hut for a further two km to the forks and the waterfall which is effectively the end of the ‘flat walking’
for those bound for Mt Domett.
Although Mt Domett was partly obscured for most of the day, I think for those that have been there before, as well as first timers, all would agree, Chinaman’s Hut has certainly not lost its charm. Bill.
13 March 2019
Trip: The 20 Oamaru trampers drove via Five Forks, Tapui, Davidson Road and Balmoral Road to park beside some trees by the entrance to sheepyards, an airstrip and water tanks, where they met the 21st participant. After leaving one vehicle 4 km up the road near the Balmoral Hut to ferry drivers back to their vehicles at the end, we set off at 9.45 southwards past the trees along a gravel track. This became a grassy lane between deer fences and lulled people into a false sense of security until, after about 40 minutes, we came to the end of the flattish area and looked down into the valley of the north branch of the Kakanui River almost 300 metres below. This seemed like a good spot for morning tea, so a halt was called.
Smoko over, it was down, initially gradually, then more steeply down a zig-zag until the river was crossed just after 11 o’clock. After taking time to admire the craftsmanship and design of the stone sheepyards, it was decision time. The options were going up river – on a track if there was one, or in and out of the water – or climbing up around the hill directly to the south. Both options would end up at the same point: an up-stream crossing leading to the return track back up to Balmoral Road. Eleven chose the river route and ten the hill.
The hill people set off up the track immediately behind the yards. After crossing a creek, this climbed steeply up for 300 metres, then more gradually as it swung west across the top. By now it was almost one o’clock, so they settled down in the tussocks for lunch and to take in the 360o views, including looking across to the starting point some 100 metres lower.
After a half hour break, the group kept heading west as the grassy track wound across the top and then descended steeply to a gully, through a gate which had been the scene of a failed route experiment on a previous occasion. From the gate, the now rocky track headed gradually down the gully, alongside some spectacular snow tussock, until it came out past some cattle yards on to the river flat. They crossed the river, replenished water supplies, and settled down at about 2.20pm to wait for the water babies who thought they were 20-30minutes away.
Meanwhile, down in the valley, 11 water babies walked, paddled, swam and pushed through matagouri (tumutakuru) upstream, in the North Branch of the Kakanui River. We couldn’t locate the access to the track above the river we had spied from the 4wd track on the way down to the yards. We had been promised a track all the way up the river and only one river crossing, by the manager of the property!! So with many crossings we walked and paddled till we found an ideal spot for lunch – right opposite a clear, deep pool. After three of us enjoyed a pre-lunch swim, we settled down for a picnic. The water was a little cooler than anticipated but with the air temperature about 24deg, and a warm NW breeze, we drip-dried in the sun. With lunch over, we moved on upstream around many ‘are we there yet?’ corners, till we met the hill people at the designated crossing. Most of us emerged from the river with a few tumutakuru scratches on bare limbs. There were a few accidental ‘swims’ on the way, due to very slippery rocks submerged in the water. But just the best river walk! Margie
The two groups reunited and notes compared, at about 3 o’clock we all started the walk up the valley to the north-west. The track wound up the valley, first climbing gradually and then, frustratingly, descending to cross a side creek, until a sharp right-hand bend signalled the start of the steep, zig-zagging 300 metre climb, past the two flat rail wagon chassis which had, by accounts, been carted in to build bridges but had never got down the hill, to a gate opening on to the end of Balmoral Road. At the highest point, reached at around 4 o’clock, we could look down on the Balmoral Hut and the ferry vehicle almost a km away. That vehicle was driven up to collect stragglers before ferrying the drivers back to their cars so that they could, in turn, drive back up the road to pick up their passengers. As we eventually turned around for the homeward journey, the first drops of rain fell: timing was perfect!
The hill people had walked some 16km and climbed 700 metres while the water babies had gone 14.5 km and climbed 350 metres. John
Christchurch Bike Rides
22 keen bikers and 2 drivers headed up to Christchurch on a hot Tuesday afternoon. A couple of minor issues with the vans meant we arrived just before 5pm at The Dorset House backpackers. With restaurants and bars nearby, everyone soon found something to eat and drink.
Next morning we drove up to the Sign of the Kiwi on the Port Hills and rode down the Summit Road 21k to Godley Head. It was a perfect sunny day with no wind and 360 degree views of Lyttleton Harbour Christchurch and across the plains to the foothills. The middle section of the Summit road was closed to vehicles because of earthquake damage, which was still visible with mangled safety barriers and a single lane section, so traffic was minimal apart from local walkers and bikers. After lunch at Godley Head 2 of our group opted to ride back to our accommodation, while the rest of us chose our vans, which Dave and Murray had driven the long way round in. After parking the vans at Dorset House Dave Murray and Ross did an exploratory ride up to the University for tomorrows ride.
Thursdays ride was through the centre of Christchurch, first trying out the dedicated bike trail from Hagley Park to the University and back. Interesting features were pressure pads on the trail which triggered vehicle traffic lights, shared quiet streets with vehicles that were limited to 30 k per hour, green painted “Bike Priority” areas, and riding through Deans Bush.
Murray and Dave left us at Hagley Park to take the vans to New Brighton, while the rest of us continued to the square for a coffee break. It was then down the Avon river through the Red Zone with a park like expanse where houses and schools used to be. A sobering reminder of the 2010 earthquake. A side trip down to South New Brighton saw us at the end of the trail before biking back on the beach road up to the Pier for lunch. 6 opted to ride back to Dorset house. That evening everyone had a delicious meal at the casino.
Friday was a drizzly day for the ride from Lincoln to Little River. A lot of it was into a stiff sou’easterly which, along with a rough track, made the going slow. However the last riders made it by 1-30pm. After a hot lunch at the store while Dave and Murray again loaded the bikes, it was off home by 6-30pm. A successful bike trip made possible by our willing drivers shuttling the vans from drop off to pickup points. Ross
Wednesday 6 March
Trip: After the ritual stop at Palmerston we took Ramrock Rd just out of Waikouaiti then immediately right into Quarry Rd parking across the road from an old quarry just up the road from the entrance to the farm track leading to the Durden woo-lshed. Brief stop here to meet both Charlie Noone and Geoff Brockett then west along a fence line and down to a gate to access the south western end of Durden. Short walk up to some trees for shelter and morning tea then on up through paddock then tussock to the trig at the top. South down boundary fence which turns to the left and heads towards the road. About half way down this fence line we had to move away from it into the paddock to avoid an impassable section. On to bottom of hill and into the trees for lunch, then short walk to road and north along a very attractive, tree canopied, section of Quarry Rd to access the formed farm track up to Baldie summit.
Here 3 of the group elected to take a short cut and head across country to wait for the rest of us who made the climb. Stunning 360 degree views from the top of Baldie, including glimpses of Central ranges. Also tempting look down to Hawksbury Bush area where we should investigate as a further new walk. Down south off top through intriguing ancient bush (especially huge old kowhai) then a bit of a scramble down to meet up with the others and a further scramble to find the best route down and up to the cars.
All and all a good day’s walk in great weather. Special mention for Jane N who found the walk more challenging than she expected – made it up Durden (the highest one) but didn’t make it up Baldie. A great effort Jane hope you enjoyed your beer! David McK
Wednesday 27 February
Trip: As we gathered in Oamaru, the weather looked doubtful and an alternative of the Otematata walkway was considered if it packed in. However, when we got to Kurow the outlook was more promising, so we carried on up the valley and over the Aviemore Dam to the parking area by the Deep Stream bridge.
We set off just on 10 o’clock, walking along the road past the dam towards the Fishermans Bend camping area. Just before the road swung to the right, we climbed over a fence and turned left on to a grassy 4wd track which followed the fenceline for a while, then wound over a shallow basin before climbing again up to a ridge which we knew overlooks the Deep Stream valley. Shortly before 11o’clock we found a sheltered spot in the basin for morning tea.
After the break, we carried on up the hill, through another gate, and out on to the ridge which bounds the east side of the lower Deep Stream valley. At this point, the threat of rain became reality, but fortunately it turned out to be a short shower followed by clearing skies. We continued along the ridge, some preferring to contour below the crest out of the wind, avoiding the temptation to head too early down towards the stream where matagouri and willow jungle lay. To our right, we had a clear view of the previous week’s destination, Mt Dryburgh, and Lake Waitaki. Eventually, when the mouth of the upper gorge could be seen, we did veer left, across a couple of switchbacks, to find the grassy 4wd track which led down into the valley. (For future reference, continuing further along the fenceline to the track would have avoided the ups and downs.) Along the track were dotted pink flags on short wires which we surmised had been set out to mark the route for the A2O ultra-marathon the next day. We veered right off this track at a junction and continued across the flats towards the stream where it issues from a gorge. Reaching this point at about 12.45pm, we had to fight our way through long grass, sweet briar, matagouri and willows to find spots to settle into for lunch.
Lunch over, and having decided against swimming, we retraced our steps over the flats until we came across the line of flags, which we followed into the willows and across the stream several times as it wound through the trees. Eventually we reached the true right and the goat track-like path back to the road. On the way, we met up with two A2O ultra-marathon organisers who were following the track to check the markings, and had an interesting chat about the race and its daunting route. We then carried on along the path as it sidled steeply up the side of the lower gorge before dropping back to the road. We got back to the cars shortly after 3 o’clock. The fierce wind, which had now shifted to the south, discouraged loitering so it was quickly into the cars and back to Kurow for ice-creams. John
Wednesday 20 February
Weather: Fine and sunny. A light breeze kept the temperature in the early 20s.
Twenty-one walkers met at Towey Street with one more at Kurow. From there, it was a five minute drive up the Hakataramea Valley Rd to the left turn into Hayes Rd. A 3km drive took the 5 cars to the carpark area at Mt Dryburgh property. John, the owner, met us on his quad and welcomed us but also hoped we would keep an eye out for the 2 spaniels that had gone chasing rabbits over the ridge.
Just after 10am we began our walk in an anti-clockwise direction around the Mt Dryburgh farm loop. First crossing a stream and then straight up the hill to the 4WD track we followed up, around, up again and finally to a saddle where a cool breeze kept us cool while we had smoko. It was here we contacted the Wednesday Wanderers group, who had now arrived at the parking area after their 9.30am start from Oamaru. Two walkers, one who was not coping with the rising temperature, decided to stay on the saddle till the next group caught up with them. Still onward and upward, around corners and finally climbing through a fence to push our way through the metre-high tussocks, but avoiding the Spaniards, to the 922metre summit. The trig is marked by a piece of wood set among a few rocks. Great views to pick from for our 12.30pm lunch break. Lake Aviemore in one direction, the Kirklistons to the north, Station Peak and Mount Orr across the Haka river and Mount Bitterness near Awakino beyond Lake Waitaki.
Lunch over, we headed back to the ridge leading to the steep 4WD track that winds its way back to the lower farm area. A photo shoot of the Waitaki Hydro on the way was a must for the camera enthusiasts. We were back at the cars by about 3pm just in time to meet members of the other group retracing their steps back to the cars. Some of their group had carried on up to ridge that afforded them a good view of Lake Aviemore. They also returned the same way and the last ones reached he cars by about 3.30pm.
On our return to Kurow we checked out the so-called swimming hole by the twin bridges. Most of us felt the strong current of the Waitaki River was too close for comfort to have a swim. The brisk NE wind was also a factor. So straight over to the shop for well-earned ice-creams. One car-load checked out the newly-opened pub at Duntroon. Although not completely finished it is looking very smart and makes a pleasant stop for a drink. They serve very good coffees there too. Margie
P.S. The Spaniels returned home about 6pm – just in time for dinner!
Wednesday 13 February
Trip: The venue was chosen as it was close to home and offered the prospect of a post-walk swim prior to the dinner that evening.
The walk followed the usual route, starting at the Swallows car park and finishing at the Breakneck Road gate. To facilitate post-tramp transport, one car was left at the Breakneck Road entrance to the forest. Walking started at around 9.30, heading along the gravelled start to the Swallows Track, crossing several bridged streams, and then starting the climb at the new timber staircase. Some stopped for a breather at the cave, then all carried on to the top of the track and the Middle Ridge-Queens-Cross Roads intersection where morning tea was taken at around 10.15.
Post-tea, we all set off along Queens Road and down into the entrance to the Podocarp Track. About an hour later, we paused at the Big Trees to admire the new signage and plan the next moves. Four decided to turn back on the Glenburnie Loop, despite having to scramble up the creek bank where a treefall had taken out the original track. The remaining 21 headed on up the Podocarp Track, split at the Podocarp Loop junction, and reassembled around noon at the top where the track now comes out into a cutover area. At this point, a remarkable happening occurred: the +/- 5% rule was invoked but, for the first time in living memory, on the plus side – we were now 22. We had been joined by Julie, a Welsh tramper who had caught us up.
We turned left on to what had been Diamond Hill Road but was now a sea of largely dried mud where felled logs had been assembled and carried on to the Breakneck Road junction and the top entrance to the Hoods Creek Track. A few metres down, in the shade, we settled down for lunch.
Lunch over, it was as pretty straightforward walk down Hoods Creek, punctuated by one tramper taking a spill at a point where the track dropped down a step which had become wet and slippery. A treefall had damaged the track further down but this was negotiated with a little grubber action to make it safer. Even further along, a large pine had dropped across the track and some judicious work with a Silky-saw was required to clear the way either under or over. By 3 o’clock, all trampers had reached the Breakneck Road gate, cars were retrieved, and many headed down to the Cosy Dell ford for a welcome swim in one of the pools downstream. So ended a good day with the evening’s jollity to follow. John
Wednesday 6 February
Trip: Today’s walk was slightly different from previous Clear Stream trips. Bill, in the 9.30am Wednesday Wanderers group, had offered to assist by taking the drivers the 10km up the road at the end of the day. This meant the 8.30am group would not have to organise cars at both ends of the river walk.
So by 9.30am the Wed Walkers, parked at the bridge near Lavender farm, were heading down the 4WD track above the river to the morning tea spot – also decision time. The saddle or the gorge? Five chose the gorge walk led by Jane. While the remaining 17 opted for the easier saddle walk led by Ross. The meeting place was the pool at the end of the gorge where hopefully the deep pool would entice us to swim. However the nippy southerly could still be felt a little and hearing the breath-taking remarks of the brave swimmers, meant the pool was a few degrees less than last week’s temperature at Kaiwarua. It was here that Jane’s ‘gorge’ group appeared and 2 more swimmers tested the water. Swims were brief today!
Meanwhile the Wed Wanderers had started walking upstream from Beatties Hill and hoped to connect with the Wed walkers. Lunch, about 12.30pm, at the swimming hole was interrupted by a call from the Wanderers. They were having lunch a short distance away on their own riverbank.
Fifteen minutes later the two groups met. A report from Papers Past of Joseph Jones (an old goldminer of the 1860’s) was read explaining how he had died, first by eating large quantities of Tutu berries and subsequently falling into the river and drowning. The hunt was now on for the tombstone of Jo Jones. It was accidentally stumbled upon by Georgie on a flat terrace on the true left. (For future reference almost directly opposite a saddle high above the river on the true right). After clearing away weeds from the base the paparazzi took over. The remainder of the walk was uneventful as we criss-crossed the river a few more times before arriving at the swimming hole by the bridge (Beatties Hill). No more takers for another swim though. Bill kindly ferried the drivers back to the cars 10km away. But the day was not over yet as everyone piled into their cars and set off for home. A suggestion that we stop at Fort Enfield on the way met with approval. A great way to finish a Wednesday walk. Home by about 5pm. Margie
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. (Note that we carry several 2 way radios and also a Personal Locator Beacon for emergencies.)
* 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.