Marlborough Tramping Club

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PRESIDENT Mary Ph (03) 5728762

SECRETARY: Jane Ph (03) 5787441

CLUB CAPTAIN: Murray Ph (03) 5724812

TREASURER: Helen Ph (03) 5728530

E-mail address [email protected]


AT Murray’s property ANGORADALE. Waihopai Valley. “

Come along from 12 o’clock onwards for a walk, a swim, a paddle in the kayaks or just a laze about. Chefs will man the BBQs around 1.30pm. Meat, bread etc will be supplied by the club, you just need to bring a salad or dessert to share, something to sit on, something to drink and your family.

The items about Outdoor rescue courses and Eperbs in this newsletter are particularly relevant after Saturday 19ths events.

Saturday 19th Jan 8.48 my phone rings and it’s Chris from The Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Wellington. One of our Beacons has been activated at John Tait Hut – do we have people up there? Yes – we do. Within a few minutes I had emailed him Andy’s intentions form with all the details he required and more. The helicopter that was standing by was immediately dispatched and on arrival at the scene the pilot advised they could see the patient out in the open area ready to go. Sari was in the group so no doubt she had attended to immediate medical needs. In less than a minute they advised they had a male with a badly damaged knee on board and would be arriving in Nelson shortly. Then finally came a name- Bill. We get a laugh from the photos of Bill Woollcombe snoozing on tramps but looks like he will be doing a bit more of that for awhile. No broken bones, no torn ligaments or tendons but a badly sprained knee which could have been much worse if a rescue hadn’t been put in place quickly. Sue and Ken changed their plan to check on Bill at the hospital when I let them know he was waiting at Bridge St bus stop for a bus home. Lucky they did as the next bus was Sunday mid-morning! A back packers was eventually found and Bill and his gear settled into it. Hopefully his knee will improve in a few days and there is no lasting damage.

Chris at the Rescue Centre was full of praise for Andy’s fully detailed form so that is a lesson for us all. You may think it’s not necessary to fill these things in and forward them on but here is a good example of just why we should always do it. It was lucky that Andy had emailed it to me and I could send it on instantly but it’s certainly something the committee will look at to streamline for everyone else. He was also impressed when I told him we had recently given Nelson, Marlborough Rescue Helicopters a $2000 donation.

Out Door Rescue/ First Aid Course Talk to Romina if you are interested in doing a first aid/out door rescue course. If there is enough interest we can probably hold one in Blenheim rather than trekking over to Nelson. She has about 6 interested so far. 0221663950 of email [email protected]

Eperb/First Aid Kits Please note: If you need to take a GPS on your trip check that there is one in the kit. Only two kits have them now and we are not going to replace the third one that was lost. EPERBS are in all bags which is the most important item.

If you want to borrow a Club kit for a private trip you must contact Kerry Millard at least a week before to book it. We only have one available for private trips so please don’t just collect one from Mayflower. Kerry also needs to know details of your trip and group for Search and Rescue in the unlikely event of the Eperb being activated.

Hodder Huts The new Access Number system is working really well with all parties accounted for and best of all, those who did manage to make the trip up to the huts have all paid their fees, with only a couple having to be prompted.

MTC Members please note – if you are intending to visit the huts you must follow the same procedure of applying for an Access Number and then contacting Bev and Allan Pitts for permission to cross their land and any other information you may require. This gives MTC and the Pitts all the necessary details to protect yourselves and your vehicles in case of any emergency. Thank You

New Members.

Two more new members this month, John and Carey Dickason, who have now made Renwick their home. Both are experienced trampers in NZ and Australia where Carey comes from.

Mapping Apps The reason we are not replacing the missing GPS is that there are a number of really good systems that you can download onto your smart phones. Some are free and the pro version only a few dollars. Talk to Helmut, Murray, Kerry or either of the Steves and they will show you the apps they use and tips about the importance of conserving your battery. Last year Kerry’s trip ended up in white out conditions and these apps proved their worth. Combining old and new technology for a safe outcome.

Photo Competition

This year we have changed our categories to match the FMC competition. This will only mean slight changes for you but is essential for us to be able to submit the appropriate photos. We will still have our own special sections. Rules etc will be sent out when a date has been set for our competition but we wanted to let you know the changes so you have plenty of time to get snapping. Entries for FMC need to a file size of 2mb minimum but preferably 4mb so don’t resize your photos.

Categories will be.

  • Above Bush line (with no human element) i.e. people, buildings etc
  • Above Bush line (with Human element)
  • Below Bush line (with no Human Element)
  • Below Bush line (with Human Element)
  • Historic
  • Native Flora and Fauna

There is also a long expose section but I will put details about that in a future newsletter.

Our own categories:

  • Club Life
  • Photos taken on trips other than club trips.
  • And after much deliberation and hilarity it was decided that the theme for our special section for 2019 will be “FATIGUE”. I think some of the committee already have their photos ready for this section!

So plenty of categories to slot your photos into.

By the way, If you are near the Clubs Marlborough pop into the foyer and see the photos of the Wairau River.

11 photos in all, including superb exhibits from Chris and Ross Beech.

Trip Reports

Pizzas in the Park. Wednesday 12th Dec. Rain was threatening but as Paulette and Alison, who had kindly agreed to look after the walk side of the morning, had said that they would be going wet or fine I didn’t pull the pin. Maybe I should have – Helens group of cyclists got wet as did the Wither Hills walkers but nobody seemed to mind too much. I had planned to use the covered BBQ area at Pollard Park but another group beat us to it. How dare they!! So, backed Alison’s flat deck ute under the trees to use as a table and spread out the pizzas, etc and enjoyed lunch. Thanks Alison, Paulette and Helen for organising the walk and bike ride for me. Nice to have Peter Buttle join us for lunch as well. His ankle is mending but it will be a while before it is strong enough for tramping.

Heaphy Track Trip Report

Tuesday 4th December 2018 to Saturday 8th December 2018

Trip Leader: Alison Scobie (THANK YOU xx)

Trampers: Alison, Robyn, Paulette, Rebecca, Sue J, Geoff, Gordon, Graham, George, Paul

Report collaboratively written by the whole team and collated by Sue. We waxed quite lyrical at the end of each day’s tramp! Alliteration, similes, metaphors and onomatopoeia were, of course, encouraged.

Day 1 Tuesday,Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut:

Ten of us dragged ourselves out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4.30am (ish) in order to meet at the Wairau River bridge for 5.30am. In two utes, we drove through the rain to Richmond and swapped to a minivan and trailer courtesy of “Trek Express”. Karen was our chatty informative driver and we became more responsive in return after a stop in Westport at Gibby’s café for food and coffee. Quirky signs were seen in Inangahua… “Stuff for Sale”… we were definitely on the West Coast!

When we got to Karamea, the sun was shining and thunderous waves in roaring seas were rolling onto golden beaches. A lunch stop was interrupted by a cheeky weka running off with Robyn’s whole bag of scroggin! A “scroggin stealer”… before we had even set foot on the track!

We set off at 1:50pm, tramping alongside beautiful beaches, through majestic groves of Nikau palms with iridescent Tui flying past us and feasting on the abundant flax flowers.

Arriving at Heaphy Hut at approx. 5:40pm, some of us were just in time to avoid a torrential downpour (how lovely to be safely dry and warm inside). We unpacked and started to compare backpack contents (working out what we had forgotten and what our wish lists would include next time). Winner of the most unusual items was Paulette who had a patterned shower curtain and an empty wine bladder (courtesy of Geoff who had thoughtfully drunk the contents). Winner of the high tech items was Alison (‘Scobs’ is thrilled that his wife goes tramping as he now has unlimited ideas for presents for her); she had a UV pen which she waved around in her water muttering, “Abracadabra!” When the UV light went out, Alison pronounced the water drinkable (although she did confess to not having read the instructions).

Most glamorous tramper was Rebecca who had the most beautifully red painted toenails (the secret’s in the gel coat). Sue sported some Fanny Adams underwear in vivid colours (rainbow ones, cherry ones) and the relative merits of “Thunderpants” vs “Fanny Adams” were hotly debated. Matching tramping socks may have been one step too far…

Sue had Smoosh balls (variously named Frooze balls or “Smooch” balls by Paulette) and beady liquorice lollies. Geoff had Whittaker’s nut chocolate bar and a packet of liquorice allsorts. Paul shared upmarket Whittaker’s white chocolate with apple and cinnamon. We compared the merits of different dehydrated food producers and we did not go hungry.

The hut was excellent with great entertainment provided by a “honeymooning” couple (with a slight age discrepancy), a very slim, fit, smiley Italian and a small group of teenage students with 2 long suffering teachers. The honeymooning couple tried in vain to earmark one particular room for their exclusive use and spent their time polishing serpentine rock. The Italian was very fashion conscious as he showed off his range of neckwear to a couple of young ladies but Sue topped his with a turquoise little number. Alas one of the teenagers (short bleached blonde hair and very dark eyebrows) was found smoking weed in the toilets so had to tramp out with one of the teachers. Paul found a suspect package floating in the toilet the same evening and was said to have “disposed of it in the bush”.

A pair of Paradise ducks paraded their fluffy, strong wee duckling around on the wet ‘lawn’ and Geoff braved the elements to photograph them, exhibiting impressive squats to stretch out his leg muscles.

Day 2 Wednesday,Heaphy Hut to Mackay Hut – “the climb” via Lewis Hut

Thunder and lightning overnight! We aimed to set off at 8am but George beat us to it at 6.30am, spurring the rest of us to be ready by 7.40am. This seemed to set a pattern for the rest of the trip.

This day was a contrast from the sunny beaches in that we were climbing (albeit via a gentle gradient) through dripping rainforest and wearing all our wet weather gear. The overcast weather did not detract from the beauty of the surrounding trees, bush and humungous rocks and we enjoyed the bouncy suspension bridges.

We passed through tunnels of greenery with branches and roots covered in vibrant green mosses and ferns. Huge trees towered above us with their roots often making large arches. One Giant Northern Rata was 3.8m diameter and 11.9m in circumference (eyeballed by Sue... not!). We reached Lewis Hut by 9.10am and a funny South African lady gave us lessons in housekeeping and door closing; she “ruled the rooster”.

On the ground outside the hut was a circle of stones the same size as the base of the Giant Rata trunk we had passed earlier.

As we climbed, the rain became heavier and half of our party became the ”Poncho People”, resembling tortoises or snails and comparing the relative merits of their plastic fantastic; using poppers to create better airflow.. and wearing the ponchos backwards… it was all happening!

Robins and shining cuckoos were spotted, along with Powelliphanta snails and “Punga People” (carvings/ tree statues… one smoking a wooden pipe).

Bangs, squeaks and creaks were heard echoing from trees rubbing against each other in the wind and subterranean gurgles came from underneath rocks by the track.

Paulette was very impressed by the “monochromatic green edifice of mosses and ferns”. Our oral language skills improved by the minute and we berated the youngsters of today for not even knowing the meaning of the word “trivia”; not that any of our deep and meaningful conversations were trivial. We even debated the relative merits of ripening avocados in socks and Gordon kindly volunteered his ripe socks.

One churned up, tannin stained creek was very strong across the track and necessitated careful crossing and slight detours in twos. One small bridge was completely decimated by a tree falling along its length.

Spurred on by the driving rain we arrived at the Mackay Hut at 12.45pm… just over 5 hours walking. So good to down packs, remove saturated clothing and get the water boiling (very easy in these modern huts with several gas hobs and even automatic ignition!!!). The warden, Pat, was the same one as at Heaphy track.

The teenagers plus one very serious young teacher arrived very wet a couple of hours after us and soon the hut resembled Mrs Wishy Washy’s laundry. Luckily there were drying racks above the fire (with metal bird and fern embellishments at each end…artwork in huts!!!) and also separate folding airers. The fire was stoked. Unfortunately a young German couple arrived and commandeered a seat about 30cm away from the fire, holding their wet gear out in front of them; they truly could not see the many people and items of clothing behind them, bless.

Hot drinks and food kept us going all afternoon and evening… the trip report contributions came thick and fast, as did Gordon’s hilarious stories.

By 8pm, Paulette and Sue set a trend of ‘early to bed’; all that fresh air!

Day 3 Thursday, Mackay - Perry Huts: Gouland Downs (via Saxton and Gouland Downs Huts)

We all set off together at 7.45am, being aware that the previous day’s rain might have flooded the Downs. However the boardwalks were above water. The overcast weather was moody, prompting Geoff to quote the “Hounds of the Baskervilles”: “gloomy, glowering and grimpen mire of the moors.”

By 10.15am we were at Saxton hut for a 30minute morning tea break. Luckily, George spotted Sue’s waterproof trousers airing on the clothesline as we left; a few walking sticks went AWOL at times but overall there were no losses apart from Robyn’s scroggin bag (again!).

Gordon was walking ahead of Paulette and Sue but put his hand up abruptly to stop us yakking (LOL)… in front of him on the path were 2 of the 18 Takahe that were released into the Kahurangi National Park in March 2018. They were so thrilled but the photos taken only showed wee specks in the distance.

However, at Gouland Downs Hut, (11.50am) we all stopped for lunch and 2 Takahe came sauntering down the track, posing for photographs less than a metre away! Beautiful turquoise, blue, green colours in their feathers. Many of us were hoping to spot the Kokako with orange wattles (spurred on by the WANTED notices for $10,000 in the first half of the track and for $5,000 in the latter half (???!).

We saw caves before leaving the moors and headed up into the bush again, which lightened as we neared our highest abode, Perry Hut at 11.50am. The fire was still in and we bagged the optimum drying space, setting the water to boil ready for… a cuppa… and… a shower!!! The back porch was huge and ready for all our wet boots and raincoats. Paulette, aided and abetted by Rebecca, commandeered the front porch which just happened to have slatted wooden boards (perfect for escaping water). Geoff’s bladder (which was full and had an excellent flow rate), Bec’s pack liner and Paulette’s shower curtain were put into play and a guard put on the inner door Paulette and Rebecca looked so refreshed from their showers that they convinced Sue and Alison to nervously partake, even providing the hot water.

Not long after, the hut warden arrived… breezing in through the…FRONT porch. He took off ten to the dozen telling us facts about the surrounding area, 1080 and birdlife…perhaps he hadn’t noticed the front porch’s wet floor??? Then he asked what was hanging on the front door… “Oh that’s to do with the Poncho people!” was the hasty (‘not quite a lie’) reply.

He was very easily deflected on to the merits of plastic ponchos covering bodies and packs, to the point that he made a special trip to the staff hut to get his camo, Norwegian style poncho for Alison to try. Thank goodness he didn’t ask to try on the green and blue shower curtain “poncho” in return!

The DoC warden did wryly suggest that we try the nearby ”Bubbling Mountain Spa,” but on learning that this wasn’t of the thermal variety, there were no takers.

We had all afternoon and evening to compile Thursday’s trip report so again waxed lyrical, some being very impressed with “the symbiotic relationships of fungi growing out of moss.”

An orange bra appeared on the drying racks at one stage prompting suggestions of a ‘Bra Corner’ to rival the ‘Boot Corner’ seen on the Gouland Downs. One American youngster just didn’t get this sense of humour, “But WHY would you leave your footwear behind? And WHO would carry in a spare pair of boots???”

The rain poured down (or across) during the afternoon so again many hot drinks were downed at a huge macracarpa table and the playing cards came out.

By this time we had a good list of our favourite freeze dried meals. Alison and Robyn were enjoying their silver packaged Radix rations (from grateful Operation Katipo troops in May 2017); they even had little packs of waterproof matches and tubes of jam. Geoff and Sue advocated the Absolute Wilderness products (Bacon Mash, Wilderness stew, Mushroom Risotto, Thai Red Chicken curry, Chilli Con Carne – just be warned that no rice is included in the Chilli con Carne).

Day 4 Friday, Perry Hut - Brown’s Hut

The morning was bright and we could enjoy the views of the ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ ranges.

We set off at 7.30am from Perry Hut, minus Paul who decided to run up and down a mountain first.

At Flannegan’s Corner we did a 2 minute detour up to a lookout, especially so that we could say we had climbed over 1000m.

Arriving at Aorere Shelter too early for am tea, we carried on down through the beech forest until we found a sunny spot with a view.

At this stage in the tramp, several blisters had appeared on various heels and toes, two of Paulette’s toenails were threatening to lift and Sue’s shin was threatening to develop shin splints... other than that we got off relatively unscathed.

We arrived at Brown’s Hut at 12 noon which was a great spot for lunch, sunbathing, cold dips in pools and rivers (well done George, Bex and Alison), reading, puzzles and comparing solar phone chargers (George’s was the most compact). There was no gas at this hut so out came our many and varied camping gas stoves. ‘Scobs’ had again furnished his Alison with the latest in boilers, causing more gadget envy and Graham had a very compact, modern $400 EPRB (which lasts 10 years). Geoff kindly fixed up Paulette’s broken jandal, making it look even better than the original with the addition of a matching bow.

Brown’s Hut was built out of large river stones from ground to half way up the wall and had a huge fireplace.

Next morning, we packed up for the last time, having experienced an incredible (and edible) tramp with excellent scenery and camaraderie. We were so excited when the minivan turned up half an hour early at 10.30am… but soon deflated when told that we had to wait for someone walking off the track that morning; she arrived in time, looking very young and fit but she had set off at 5.30am!

A lovely sunny drive to Takaka where we had two hours to refuel and shop (which Sue took full advantage of!).

By now we had a full van of 14 plus driver as 3 Spaniards joined us… two skimpily clad lovelies shared the back seat with Gordon (who suffered a few barbed, liquorice comments!).

We lost Bex in Nelson as she absconded to pick up her parents’ car; her son had bought it in her absence and trying to change travel arrangements with no cell phone charge was interesting.

Thanks again to Alison for instigating and executing; no mean feat and few mean feet.

NB: A copy of “The Heaphy Track book” by Chris Petyt was found at every hut and, although dry in some places, had some hilarious anecdotes of track users (especially in the 1970’s where some may have been aided and abetted by substances readily found in the NW part of the South Island in those days). One man walked the track with a parrot on his shoulder, a woman took a wheeled shopping trolley with her, some walked barefoot and a guy walked the track in the nude. A hut ranger opened his door one night to a woman in high heels, long coat and a handbag; she set off on the track and he called police. They didn’t catch up with her until 47 hours later when she was found at the other end! It was concluded that a few mind altering substances may have helped her to fly there!!!? One female ranger was said to seduce men passing through so had a few notches on her bedpost. Another female, disgruntled with her husband in Golden Bay, decided to head for the track to find a sexual partner. Some jokers, working on track maintenance on Gouland Downs, filled two yellow rubber gloves with cement and placed them in the swamp, reaching for the sky, holding a sign saying, “Help!”

Trip Report – Mt Owen (1870mt)

First day 19.49 kms covered with a vertical ascent of 1888 mt

Second day 9.1 kms.

Group: Paul, Alyssa, Rowan, Jill, Murray, Bill, Nally, Helmut and Raffaela

As customary we meet at Seymour Square at 16 pm, after we all rushed through our Fridays to get ready for a full weekend tramp. We leave Blenheim with an unfulfilled need of wine and milk. A stop at the Saint Arnaud petrol station occurs as the Tapawera Pub was quickly rejected as a not very tasty stop for Murray’s shark and tatties (first new thing I learned this weekend). There was a tentative to derail the trip and head to the jetty to feed the heels, but the proposal did not go down well. Last stop in Tapawera for the essentials, beer, milk and ice-cream!

The gravel road to get into the Kahurangi National Park is incredibly dusty, a promising sign looking at the crossing of the Dart River Ford. The river looks more like a skinny creek and the ramp stands upon it in all its dryness.

We reach Courthouse Flat at quarter past 19 and move quickly to set up camp and save us a sandflies free spot inside the tents. The crew retreats at 21:30 under an almost clear sky to make (hopefully) a 7am start.

We don’t quite make it to 7am, it’s more like an “Italian” 7 am idea instead. At 7.30 we make our way up the mountain through the ridge (the other option is walk up through the bush along Blue Creek, don’t do that please). A quick morning tea right before the saddle sees our group reunited, you know how we have some very fast members right?! And they patiently awaited the retroguard.

I forgot to mention we left the campsite carrying our tents with confused ideas on where to sleep, Murray secret hope was to have us all camp at the foot of the mountain (or on the mountain), many cars made us doubt of the number of people inside the hut and we all carried our tent. As someone said walking up, it’s good exercise.

After conquering the saddle, we start the descent in the “Doctor Seuss Valley” dotted in incredible vegetation and magnificent Dracophyllum trees. The valley said is called Staircase Saddle for obvious reason and stark slopes. Once we reach the bottom it’s an easy sidle into the hut. We reach it by Midday and, of course, we have it all to ourselves. We all discard the idea to camp at the tarns when the comfort of the hut is available.

Murray makes himself happy and find a spot to camp just above the hut. At 13 our group heads up top together and sooner we lose view of Jill, Bill and Paul, they go ahead to make sure we get a good spot on the top...The slow paced trampers make it to the top of Mount Owen just after 1530. Beautiful skies, few clouds just to make pictures interesting and no wind. Incredible blooms past the saddle, fully carpeted of gentians and other alpine flowers I sadly have no names for.

You can see how Bill got quite tired to wait …

We get back by 18 and start the evening rituals. There is some yoga being done, there is an aperitif going on with a pouch of wine and cheese (please never confess to Tohu we put some lovely Pinot in a Giesen wine pouch…), there are crossword puzzles and teas. Dinner ensues with heated discussions about dehydrated meals and how do they taste. The main learnings of the day are to make a food container out two 2lt milk bottle bottoms, the fact that dehydrated meals need 30 minutes soaking (I did 20 but my venison was horrible and cardboardy since its very beginning), meal needs to be wrapped in a jumper! Murray camps and eats his pasta hot pot in the privacy and quiet of his tent, to join us after his dinner to take close shots of tired and hungry fellow hikers (still eating their meal!). Conversation keeps going talking about past tramps, hardest tramps where Murray got you through some sort of drama and you brought a great story home (many of those episodes were played..).

21.40 we are all tucked into our sleeping bag, Helmut is not snoring, or he is still awake, so I better fall asleep quick. Sadly, the sandflies followed us from the campground! On the way back to the hut, from the top, we had the pleasure to see 4 keas flying up above us( I didn’t recognise their verse and the group told me). A fun activity (apparently) witnessed during post dinner teatime is to explore caves around here and bush bash, a family of mother and son reported to be pretty pleased with the two cave tunnels they found and the bush as tall as them they walked downhill over, maybe an idea for another trip, caving? Sunday morning, had a fantastic night sleep (never forget your earplugs home folks!) Jill watches patiently over us since 5, I awake and then morning operations start, and breakfast get prepared. There are no clouds in the sky and it’s a crisp morning, the sandflies are not yet upon my ankles.

The hut was 12 bunks, but two mattresses were missing, mystery solved in the morning where two mattresses show back from a tent. Our honorary hut warden (and I) really struggle not to tell the daring tourists off.

We take off at 8am as planned, some of us at least! We conquer the saddle and before we dive into the bush Jill suggests a morning tea with the most beautiful and open view looking toward Mount Patriarch and Nelson.

On the way down, we make the questionable choice to follow the creek track, never more. The track is vicious, steep, wet in parts and not ideal after the previous day. Hiking down I learned that when someone falls face forward you pull their backpack first to help them stand up.

It’s a pretty bush but I sing inside when we reach the flat bottom and a quiet and very approachable last 1.4 km starts. Even better when it finishes!

And beers hidden in a black bag in the creek was the cherry on top! As a side note, Murray was able to touch his toes and undo his shoelaces at the end, that hip got some good work in.

Bill return time 2h45, my time 3h45… and he always wait for everyone!

We grab lunch at the initially dreaded Tapawera pub, and we reach Blenheim safely and all quiet sleepy.

Thanks everyone, for sharing a beautiful weekend, for driving us, for the hut cleaning duties!

Mount Stokes Trip Report. 16/12/18

Awoken by the alarm at five am. and after drawing the curtains to see that it is overcast. After a light breakfast I meet up with the Murray and Jill in Renwick at 6am.

We then drive in Murray's vehicle to the The Vintners Retreat to pick up Nally and head on out to Anakoha Saddle via Havelock, Mahakipawa and Kenaparu

Taking two and half hours on constantly windy road. We set off on the track to Mount Stokes at eight forty am. with no sign of the mist lifting, making it a damp experience for the first hour and a half until we decide on ‘smoko,’ where we find to our delight that the mist is lifting and the sun is appearing through the thinning beech canopy.

The tramping pace to the top is pretty leisurely, as Murray is still recovering after a fairly recent hip replacement.

On gaining the bush line which is only meters from the top we break out into a relatively gentle tussock covered top, with great views to the west and around to the north.

With Durville Island and Stevens Island to the NW and beyond on the horizon and a faint outline of Mount Taranaki.

To the NE. and around to the SW. there is a thick blanket of cloud a couple of hundred meters directly below us, preventing us seeing The Queen Charlotte Sound, Arapawa Island and the North Island from Levin, Kapiti, Wellington Heads and the lower Wairarapa out to Cape Palliser. However we can see Tapuae-o-Uenuku protruding well above the cloud to the South.

We decide on an early lunch on a large lichen covered rock with sun beating down and no notable breeze. Talking about Geneolgy and what some individuals get up to within a family without others finding out till after they are gone! With a little bit of philosophy thrown in for good measure.

Met up with three different groups on the way down. Back to car park by 2pm. kilometres walked and 600meters ascended and descended.

St Ronan’s Creek


Depart Blenheim 7am. in two vehicles to meet almost half of the days participants with Murray in Renwick, making a total of 13 trampers apparently eager to work off the Christmas/New Year excesses and torpor.


On the Rainbow Road we came across a broken-down van in the middle of Six Mile Creek. After a brief inspection it was decided we could do nothing to help, but offered to give them a lift on our way out hoping they would by then be gone – they were! How they thought they were going to get through to Hanmer is a mystery.


Vehicles secreted off road we set off about 9.30 along DOC`S at times difficult to follow unmaintained track through attractive bush following the course of Ronans Creek up-stream.

We had planned to find one of the smaller side creeks and follow it up to its source at a couple of Tarns, but, after a spell of bush bashing couldn’t find it (we decided it was probably underground), gave up and continued up to the Tarn at the head of Ronans Creek for lunch, glad of the rest.

After lunch and before returning downhill, Murray, predictably, decided to `just` (he has been told just is a four letter word), take a look over the next ridge in search of more Tarns. They (Jill went with him) found some but “not as pretty as ours”!

The return through deep-holed tussock and boulder strewn scree was hard work and we were glad to meet up with George and Linda who had opted to not go all the way up, and pick up our track back through the bush, with a couple of river crossings and wet feet ,to the vehicles around 4.30. Home 6.30 ish.


The troops were: Sari, Paulette, Rebecca, George, Linda, Sue J, Gordon, Jill, John, Murray, Ross, Chris, Geoff.


Thanks for your company folks, and to Murray and Ross for driving, Geoff.