North Shore Tramping Club
An absolutely magic day for the club over at Tiritiri Matangi today. Absolutely stunning weather, hot clear, nice gentle breeze, the sea almost flat and the clouds creating glistening reflections on the crystal clear water.
Once we'd had the usual greeting from the Islands' long serving Ranger almost dwarfed in noise by the raucous Saddleback chatting away, our group headed off to find birds to photograph.
Not too far along we spotted 3 x Ruru/Morepork, one being a fluffy baby sitting on a Punga frond with Mum and Dad, cute as buttons staring straight us with their massive eyes! And not much further along the track another Ruru watching us intently!
The Kokako was teasing us, with it's melodic song in the background, but remaining elusive, as did the Tahake that are normally that end of the island.
Upon reaching the Lighthouse for lunch, 5 Tahake, 3 of which were extremely fluffy large babies, which seemed quite relaxed given the people around and happily grazed allowing amazing photos!
Time to mosey back down the Wattle Track to the wharf for cooling swims and more bird watching.
If you've not been to this island slice of magic, which an exceptionally impressive amount of native bird life and incredible sea views in all directions...... don't miss out any longer!
Another amazing day out with the club and a free day at that! To do the Hobsonville and Greenhithe walk.
Under clear skies a big group of extremely mixed ages met to do the first Sunday tramp of the year.
We set off along the stunning, brand new Hobsonville boardwalk over the edge of the water that was opened in November. Before we know it, we'll all bailing up the Greenhithe Bridge and into our first hidden away bush track. There's actually quite a few and we covered most of them today, plus a short dabble along the muddy foreshore and into Wainoni Park with the most amazing hand made gates, plus a few connecting tracks to head us back to the Greenhithe Bridge.
Towards the end of the tramp a swag of the group snuck off, leaving 8 who didn't miss out on Bomb Point and completing the full 21kms by a few of pedometres!
Stunning day, and views and super sticky hot weather and great to see so many newbies!
See you on the trails........
Given it's Xmas in 2 days and there was light drizzle as we all meet up this morning, almost surprising that anyone turned up today. 7 keen beans ready to walk at 9am!
With a very high 3.1m tide at 8.20am, the cliff top track was the only option. Normally the views from the cliffs are incredible, as is usually the subtle light across the sea! Not today though, dark moody skies, but still very beautiful lit up with brilliant red Pohutukawa's everywhere.
We were very grateful of the cloud cover to keep the temperature down and we headed up and down the track, past Rothesay & Murray's Bays, dropping down to do the first sea wall with the odd tiny wave washing over our toes.
Upon reaching the second part of seawall before Campbell's Bay, we decided that part was under too much water, so headed up to do the cliff track again.
Dropping back to Campbell's Bay and then into the lush canopied protection of the fairly large Centennial Park and across to the small bush track at the school.
A quick nosh of lunch and we headed back along the soft sand and now fully revealed sea walls towards Browns Bay.
Another awesome day out with the club, despite the weather having other ideas. No need of a cooling swim after we had that from the sky!
Absolutely awesome Summer Open Day today, heaps of people, about 40!!! Really amazing newbies, from novice, to experienced to those that do major events. Massive range of ages, teenagers to the other end of the scale and everyone having fun and socialising and getting to know each other.
Really windy as we all gathered at Waiake Beach this morning. The wind was great to keep a tiny bit cooler during this really hot day. But the wind did whip up the sea and push the tide in further than normal at this point of where the tide was, so one party got wet, enjoying the challenge of scrambling around the edge of the rocks between Winstone's Cove and Long Bay.
Both groups meeting at the Southern End of Long Bay, launching into the rest of the tramp over the Long Bay Cliff tracks and stunning views across the harbour, with the odd dark cloud and the haze really adding to the atmosphere!
A good variety of foreshore, rock scrambles, bush tracks, wetlands and back to Waiake to be meet by Pete our bbq extraordinaire and hot sausages waiting to be devoured!
Many thanks to the club members that played their part in helping today and many thanks to all the newbies for coming along, you're what the day is all about and we're looking forward to tramping with you all again soon.
See you on the trails.
Some of the clubbies are away for the long Auckland Anniversary Weekend tackling a big lump of rock (Mt Hikurangi) down on the East Coast for the weekend in Big Yellow, our club bus. So we decided to we'd have a local Sunday tramp too to keep the tramping boots in fettle.
Car pooling and meeting some of our troop at Arataki Visitors Centre bright an early we head under and across Scenic Drive to do the Upper Loop and the ID Loop. The ID Loop was really cool with signs about each species of tree, hopefully really interesting for the newbies in our group today. A bit of worry though, noting, that even in this smaller area that quite a number of little tracks are closed with Dieback or prevention of. :(
We arrive back up at the Arataki Visitors Centre and have a wander around and take in the vista well above the tree canopy, across the dams around Huia hundreds of metres below. The dams looking surprisingly full despite the dry weather of the last few weeks. Pre-Xmas rain must have filled up massively.
10am rolls around and we head downstairs for the yummy morning tea, before Kauri Dieback Seminar. The hour seminar was very interesting and with Rosie Bradshaw & Nari Williams speaking to the big group with in depth information about where things are currently at with Kauri Dieback and treatment.
A quick bite of lunch and we head off down the long well graveled Beveridge Track. Or should that be Beverage.... those keen for wines and beers. Maybe you'll have to shake the pack firmly to see if liquid gold falls out! Haha!
Next down to Pipeline Track to the junction of the Slip Track that we had planned to complete the circle and go up, but earlier this week they'd had to close Slip Track due to Kauri Dieback, so we backtracked to Exhibition Drive, with a slightly different path and back up to the Visitors Centre.
Some of the interesting things we learned from some of the informative signs along the Beveridge Track, Maori's used to use Rewarewa for it's phosphorescence properties to light their Whare (house). They also used Nikau (native palm), fallen fronds like a cast for inquired arms and legs. Pretty clever!
Another extremely enjoyable day out with the club with a fantastic bunch of very diverse and interesting group.
The van dropped us off on the Borland Road at about 10:45am; Anthony, Monika, me and Sybil Goose made up the mandatory four. Roger insisted we had to have a high route party. He extolled the spectacular views we would encounter and said that it should only take about 5 hours. So, although it was drizzling, I was talked into doing the alternate ridge route to Green Lake. I should have been suspicious when Roger himself did not volunteer to join us! He was taking the 3 hour track to the Green Lake Hut with the rest of the group!
Initially, we strode confidently through the tall tussock grasses and alpine flowers, following what seemed to be a track. It was lovely. I even spotted a speargrass weevil. But soon the route was not so apparent even though the drizzle had stopped and the mist had risen enough to give us a great view of some tarns below, humps and ridges all around and mountains in the distance. We needed to make a decision about which way to continue. Anthony and Monika’s phone topomaps did not make it clear at this point so we hauled out the map and changed direction to eventually crisscross a stream for a while picking our way up and up as the wind intensified more and more. Lunch was devoured hunched below a small bank, trying to keep out of the increasing gale. And then, we continued up … above the grasses onto unstable rock and slippery scree …. Up and up until finally we reached the ridge at about 1400 metres. The other side was a steep drop-off to a large tarn, more like a lake in a valley way below. My pack cover was loose (but tied on), forming an extremely effective paraglider’s sail, and causing me to stagger along like a wobbly drunk. So I did not dare to venture too close to the edge. I stumbled up the ridge gaining another 50 or so metres in height while trying to enjoy the spectacular surrounds, until Anthony and Monika disappeared over the edge and I found them huddled just below it enjoying the sight of a slope of scree then tussock falling away beneath them; decorated with icy snow patches, white and yellow alpine flowers leading down to a small windswept tarn just above a steep drop off to Green Lake way down below, its waters prettily patterned with swirling tornado rings, and beyond a backdrop of mountains topped with grey and black clouds. In this relative shelter I clumsily removed my packcover so I could continue in a more stable fashion.
From the small tarn we could see the hut below … well it can’t be far now can it?
And then, Anthony discovered a fallen sign … Green Lake with an arrow … when reattached to the pole it pointed directly down to the hut. Should we change plans and head that way?
But, Roger’s directions sent us to the end of the lake so we continued along the high ridge parallel with the Lake; up and down many humps between 1300 and 1388 metres …. with the wind continuing to try to topple us and successfully whipping away Anthony’s bright orange packcover. Up and down we strode, on and on, until it was time to descend. By now my ankles and knees were tired and they objected strongly to the uneven bog, clumps of grasses, slippery tussock, hidden rough rocks and my brain too was exhausted with the constant decision making of where to put the feet without landing in a hole or twisting a leg …. In the end I resorted to sitting down and sliding where it looked like it wasn’t too steep for a controlled stop (and where I could not see any of the lethally sharp leafed Spaniard grass to spear my backside … no wonder it is also called Speargrass).
Finally, we reached the track …. But were shattered to find a sign saying it was another hour back to the hut. And, in the state my legs were in by this stage, even the track did not seem easy. Too many roots, rocks, trees to climb over; steep banks to climb down; slippery streams to get through. I lagged behind the others and was treated to a surprise appearance of a morepork who flew across the track immediately infront of me, landing on a branch close by. We gazed wide-eyed and unblinking at each other. Many photos later and a thankyou given, I gingerly staggered on.
Finally, just after 7pm, we came out into a clearing to see the hut - and then Roger rushing out to greet us with a huge grin on his face … apparently more relieved to see us than we were to see him as we had taken 8 ½ hours rather than his anticipated 5. There had been bets on when we would arrive but none were later than 5:45pm after which time the fun of betting had changed to the serious matter of planning our rescue!
The billy was on for us and after a greatly appreciated cup of tea then a nice hot dinner, the bunk felt very comfortable. But my mind worried as I fell asleep …. would my legs let me hike out on the 5 hour track the next day? ….ZZZZZZ…….
27th Dec was the day when a large group of NSTC members descended on Queenstown Airport for the start of the clubs annual Christmas trip.
Forming into groups we headed off in various directions with 4 parties to begin tramping that day. The Mt Titiroa North and South parties plus the home party travelled to Manapouri Motels where the home party would be based. After offloading the bags that were to remain the 6 Titiroa Southbound party members, Bernard, Anthony, Monika, Jan, Karen and Garry hopped into a van for a quick trip to Pearl Harbour to meet the boat to ferry us across the river. This turned out to be a dinghy so two ferry trips were made.
3pm, we are all set and head to Hope Arm Hut about 3hrs away. A lovely track which dipped down to the lake a few times and provided some amusement when we had to cross a small river using fallen trees. We reached the hut around 6pm and were promptly greeted by lots of sandflys.
We woke to a cracker of a day and at 8am started out to Garnock Burn, thus begun the uphill climb which was to continue for most of the day. After heading over a “small” hump/hill we reached the river. Taking a short break, we crossed Garnock Burn filling our boots and headed up the Mountain. As there was no official track, we chose a likely spot and started climbing through the bush. Before long someone pointed out there was orange tape tied to trees, great news as we knew that someone else at least had been crazy enough to head in the same direction we were going.
A bit of a scramble and we reached the bush line around 2:30pm where we stopped and admired the amazing views. Then it was up through tussock onto the white sandy surface of the Mountain. More great views of the valleys and hills on the other side of the ridge with the most incredible bolder sculptures including several balanced on top of one another. A light but steady breeze was blowing as we climbed higher up the never ending ridge.
Eventually we reached the point where we could cut across to our campsite for the night, the Tarn at point 1412. Looked at the time and saw it was nearly 6pm no wonder we were all feeling tired. The wind had picked up which made for an interesting time putting up the tents. As a large gust ripped through the campsite, pegs were ripped from the ground and flew in all directions nearly impaling fellow trampers. One tent decided to take flight and soared up the ridge. We held our breath, and our tents, as it went higher and higher, expecting it to disappear never to be seen again. Thankfully the wind dropped and it was able to be retrieved. Bigger rocks were then found for the pegs. Tents up, cooking became the next challenge and there was lots of huddling between the rocks to keep the stoves from blowing out. It was getting quite cold as everyone crawled into their tents and as we lay there the wind really decided to pick up, blowing from every direction. Not a lot of sleep that night.
“Awoke” to a beautiful clear morning but windy and cold. We were all surprised the tents survived the night. Once again huddling in the rocks breakfast was sorted, then carefully taking the tents down we got ready for the next leg – The Summit!
9am, ready to start walking, the cloud dropped and we were unable to see much of anything. Luckily a few ideas were put forward earlier and we set off alongside a little stream coming down from above. Along the way fun was had playing in the snow and as the mist swirled around us with the unusual rock formations it all seemed quite surreal. Some careful negotiating around some boulders brought us to the summit at 10:30am, which was marked by some pipe in the ground. It was pointed out that there was another rock nearby which stood a bit higher than the official summit so this of course had to be scaled by a certain party member.
It was decided to continue along main ridge towards point 1581 where we were to drop down. Making good progress along the main ridge we spotted people below us in the distance. As we moved further along, we confirmed it was the North Bound party and called out to them. I think they were a bit surprised to see us above them. We then stopped for lunch before continuing on to point 1537 where it looked quite tricky and with the wind picking up could be dangerous trying to get over the rocky bluff. Because of this we dropped down off the main ridge to the west, towards a set of tarns we could see near the bush line.
After a careful descent we arrived at the Tarns about 3:30pm and looked for a spot to set the tents up. Because of the nearby ridge we hoped we would be out of the wind but no it swirled around and seemed as strong as it was on the previous night. Managing to get the tents up we were able to relax until dinner was started. The wind picked up about 6 and once again made cooking difficult and again very little sleep was had. There were two tent casualties that night.
Next day, 9am and a lovely bush bash to start the day. Which in Jan’s words made Bernard look like he had been fighting a Gorilla. After about an hour and a half of pushing through the Bog Pine, a deer trail was found, which thankfully led us down to the valley floor and the North Branch of the Borland Burn. It was a relief to be out of the wind walking alongside the river with the sun shining and not having to force our way through the bush, so everyone was in great spirits as we arrived at North Borland hut for a long lunch. After which there were a few naps.
Lunch / naps over we headed on to the Rock Biv. This turned out to be a massive overhang in a huge boulder with a sleeping platform built beneath. The sandflys soon put any ideas of sleeping on the platform to rest, with 4 of us electing to set up our tents. One person disappearing into theirs as soon as it was up, not to be seen again until the next morning. We were soon visited by a couple of inquisitive Robins who proceeded to poke their beaks into everything looking for insects and sandflys. During the night there was a commotion as one of the two sleeping on the platform broke and decided to put up their tent, the other had wisely rolled themselves into their tent inner. No Wind! So nice.
Using the dunny at the biv was an interesting exercise with a large hole in the floor and a log precariously placed for a user to stand on.
Our last day and we had a leisurely walk, stopping to admire the various fungi and plants along the way. The Mistletoe in the trees were putting on an incredible display with large sprays in full bloom with lovely red flowers, winding their way through the treetops. We arrived at Borland Lodge about 12:30 where the owners very kindly let us use their facilities, which allowed us to escape the sandflys, while waiting for our pickup. Many thanks to Roger for organising, to Gillian and Neil for transporting us around and to my party for such an enjoyable trip.
Q. When is a “walk in the Park” not a walk in the park? A. When you have to ascend 1716m and complete the Whisky Trail in Fiordland.
This was a “warm down” tramp after Mt Titiroa. Five of us caught Neil’s transport to the divide where we were left in cloud and light drizzle going in the opposite direction to the crowds on the Routeburn. But the crowds were left behind us as we turned off for Key Summit. I have been up here on a clear day and what spectacular views are to be had, but it was not so today. As we ascended into the wind and rain we got out our jackets, but not for long. There was a very brisk Northerly blowing that pushed us up the hill. Leaving the Key Summit boardwalks there is a distinct track, but no markers or any other indication of the route ahead through the tussock. From 913m at Key the ridge rises and at times falls to the South but has a way of hiding its path. You don’t know whether to head for the top of the next rise or to sidle around hoping not to lose too much of the height gained. It was definitely energy sapping but we were rewarded with increasing vistas as the cloud lifted and was then blown away. On our left, first Lake Howden and then Lake McKellar to be followed by the length of the Greenstone Valley. On our right Lake Gunn and Lake Fergus backed by innumerable Fiordland snow-capped peaks.
The high point on the day was Pt1543m. I said to the others that we would drop the packs on the col to the east of the summit and do the scramble up to the cairn from there. Now it was blowing big-time and weight becomes an advantage. Not often I can say that! Photos snapped we picked up the packs again and descended precipitously east to the watershed. I wouldn’t be too sure in a white-out but on this clear day we found our route easily off the tops, avoiding some bluffs that would trap some. Soon a track appeared, and we regained the bush of mountain beech. With a total descent time of an hour we made our way safely down to the palatial McKellar Hut. Total time was 7¾hr from the Divide.
The second day was a cruisy 3 hours back along the main highway of the Greenstone to Lake Howden hut and on to the Divide. For further reading and map we were using the Wilderness magazine “McKellar Hut via Key Summit” rated as moderate with 23.4km. I reckon moderate is an average of strenuous (day 1) and easy (day 2). Why “Whisky Trail”? That’s what the DOC ranger at McKellar said to call it and he also said it was a lot easier in reverse direction. Needless to say, we didn’t try that on day 2.
Thanks to the other 4 members of the group for variously providing laughs, company and being led astray.
The seven adventurers were: Leader, Beth. Navigators, David and Roger. Expert bush bashers, John and Lynda. Conversationalist and chocolate provider, Campbell. Camp mum who had anything anyone needed and who it was just good to see out tramping again, Kären.
The party set off on at an easy pace along the river flats from Borland Lodge in fine weather but with dire weather predictions from Norway in our ears. Changing the original plans because of the wind and rain predicted later in the trip the party carried on past the planned campsite to a rock bivvy. Quite palatial really, with a fine head of beech trees growing from the rock roof, but everyone chose to camp in the trees just below. It was a fine night and miracle of miracles no one had a wet tent in the morning.
The aim next day was to camp above the bush line on the slopes of Mt.Titiroa. Lunch stop was in the shade of trees, by the river, opposite North Borland Hut. Little did the 7 know what lay ahead as they took their ease by the babbling brook. Deciding to follow the route outlined in Moir’s guide the group headed off to the true right of the stream flowing into the North Branch Borland River. The steep ascent through thick bush with no signs of previous trampers going that way left the whole group happy to reach the bush line and open country. Bits of skin were left on various branches but no major damage to any of the adventurers. A camp site with a water source, level, dry ground (there were some tarns around) and shelter from the strengthening wind proved hard to find but a small area providing enough space for the six tents was found. It was a wild night resulting in tales of pegs coming out, being slapped in the face by the tent and other stories to share around the breakfast site.
Now, what time is start time, is it 8 or is it 7 minutes past 8? This is a good question that the seven adventurers could never all quite get right every day. Heading up through tussock and then scree-like shale a pass between two high points, 1581m and 1521m was the next objective. Keeping to the original planned route wasn’t an option because of diverting to the tarns to camp. A section of loose, crumbly stone didn’t carry on for long and the party made its way along the flanks of the mountain amazed at the incredible rock formations that kept appearing. Was that a whale, a reclining lady or a seal in front of us? Running out of energy and looking for a sheltered spot for lunch – yes, the wind was still blowing strongly, the party had just made themselves comfortable when we heard human voices calling. Could it be, yes, it was the party of six going the other way. But wait, they were on the top of the ridge well above us. Having discarded that route as too gnarly it created some worry about how they would get on so their arrival back in Manapouri was eagerly awaited.
Carrying on amongst the amazing rock formations, it was scenery that none of the adventurers had seen anywhere before, a decision had to be made – summit Mt. Titiroa or carry on down out of the wind to find a sheltered camp site. One true adventurer was keen to make the ascent but there being no other takers the party stayed together and set about looking for a route off the tops. A campsite with shelter from the wind and water was needed and after much consideration point 915 was chosen, mentioned in Moir’s guide as a possible camp site. Again the party traversed across grass before heading down a ridge into the beech trees. Relief all round because these were well spaced trees and finding a route down to 915 didn’t require skin loss or bush bashing just careful navigation to stay on the ridge line. A reasonably protected camp site with a water source about 200 m away and enough flat ground for the 6 tents was found. This was the earliest night yet for hitting the sleeping bags, rain stopped conversation! Rain wasn’t an issue all night but once again the wind howled around causing some anxious moments for some campers.
Making our way down to the Garnock Burn through the beech trees was relatively straight forward before crossing the Burn, turning right and finding the start of the Snow White Clearing track leading to Hope Arm hut on Lake Manapouri. This was like a rest day for the seven because the hut was reached in time for lunch, leaving time for swimming, washing or whatever people wanted to do. Surprisingly, the hut was empty apart from our party and only Roger elected to camp that night. Plenty of time to amble along the track and meet our ferry man on the Waiau River the next morning. We stopped off for coffee, ice cream, a pie or whatever walking through Manapouri to the campground. An excellent adventure in quite amazing scenery. The weather was excellent, despite the Norwegian forecast, with only the wind being an issue. Can’t be bad when you tramp for five days in Fiordland and never put on your waterproof and never wake up to a wet tent. A big thank you to all the party who made it a special trip but especially to Roger who organised the whole Christmas trip.
As usual Roger’s organization went like clockwork . Hannibal organizing his elephants to cross the Alps could have done with a Roger in his party!And our camp parents Neil and Gillian were superbly organized and caring and did a lot of the driving for the other parties- as well as keeping the peace on the home party front!
We stayed at the Manapouri Motels and Holiday park run by an elderly and charming lady. She was a bit stressed out by the floods of tourists – far too many in her opinion, stressing the infrastructure and spoiling her special place. It was a friendly place and views to die for. In the evenings we were captivated by the sunsets. We had a large cottage and a few cabins – the large place being the meeting place of the various parties on their returns. The views were fantastic over Lake Manapouri to the mountains – with a pub next door and a redundant church now a café bar just up the road. So we had all one could want for a happy nine days...
Day one dawned fine so we crossed by boat to Brod Bay on the Kepler track and our home group with the exception of Pete and Robin all got to the top and Neil had a pretty good wander round too. Although it’s a busy track up to Luxmore hut it really is exceptional – views through the flowering rata to Mt Titiroa and the magnificent view from Luxmore hut over the lake. I blew a kiss to the takahe in the Murchisons – the original family home of the ones I work round on Motutapu island.
All praise to Lindsay who each trip goes from strength to strength after her horrendous accident – a real pleasure to get you to Luxmore, Lindsay.
Day two looked good so we headed off to the Divide and Key Summit via the Mirror lakes. The Routeburn has its own climate and today, though fine in Te Anau, it was rain and low cloud up there. I pointed out where the views would have been if there were any and we used our imagination. The plan was to lunch at Howden hut – unfortunately a large group from Ultimate Hikes filled the deck so we just ate our soggy sandwiches and headed back. The trees were magnificent – lots of tree fuchsia with their peely bark and dripping lichen over the track.
For the rest of our time in Manapouri we did some local walks, one the other end of the Kepler to Moturau Hut through beautiful dappled beech forest. Walks included up to the Control gates and on to Rainbow reach and some did a circular track on Hope arm. The special treat day for some of us was a trip to Doubtful sound with Go Orange – amazing scenery and great commentary- a full day out. Our last big day out was to Lake Marian on the Hollyford road – reasonably challenging and not embarked on by all of us. The waterfalls in the lower part were thunderously magnificent and the rooty climb to the lake a good work out- lunch at the Lake then back. This was a special place for me to visit as I last did it 51 years ago on arrival in New Zealand when I was working in Invercargill. On that occasion the students from James Hargest swam in the lake as avalanches drifted down. A hardy bunch – this time there was much less snow and no swimmers from our party.
I have to admit to being a bit slower, but didn’t really find it any harder! Gary tried to earn a beer by suggesting I must have been two and a half years old when I first did it. Sadly his ploy didn’t work .– Gary, with advancing years comes wisdom and canniness – he didn’t get his beer.
Our party consisted of Neil and Gillian, Phil and the legendary Lindsay (the cottage group) And Vivian, Fisher, Pat , Robin and Pete. Thanks guys for the company and all the laughs. Special thanks to Gill and Neil who did so much driving to pick up the other parties, and of course to Roger, who must also be of the legendary variety!