Lots of folk making the trip up Tapi now that the road is open. Please, please remember to pay your hut fees. Whilst the cost of repairs to the Huts is not great the cost of helicopter trips to assess damage and to take up materials has made a fair dent in our funds. We rely on hut fees to keep the huts maintained for your use. Bank details are on our guide and cards are at the huts.
We also remind you that this area is totally closed to hunters, no DOC permits are issued. Recently hunters were in the area and said they had a permit, this is now a police matter so remind any hunting mates of this situation.
A GUIDE TO
GETTING STARTED FOR TRAMPING AND CLIMBING
IN THE INLAND KAIKOURAS
This guide has been produced by the Marlborough Tramping Club to provide information to climbers and trampers planning to visit the Inland Kaikoura Mountains.
It includes an overview of the area, information on how to get there, what planning steps are necessary, information on routes and who to contact for further information.
To register your trip, confirm access across Gladstone Downs, get advice on local weather conditions and for information on river levels and snow conditions contact Allan and Bev Pitts phone 03 575 7471, fax 03 575 7478. Postal address: Gladstone
Downs Private Bag Blenheim.
If leaving a phone message, Bev & Alan Pitts will return your call to a LANDLINE phone only. Cell phone numbers will NOT be called back.
Please remember to enclose a reply paid envelope should you write to Gladstone Downs or MTC with a query that requires an answer.
WHY VISIT THE INLAND KAIKOURAS
The Inland Kaikouras provide arguably some of the best climbing opportunities in NZ outside the Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring National Parks. In addition they offer a number of good tramping options and are reasonably accessible for both North Island and South Island parties.
WHERE THEY ARE AND HOW DO YOU GET THERE
The Inland Kaikouras lie between the Awatere and Clarence Valleys in Marlborough. While the mountain range extends for some 40kms, the region of most interest lies in a relatively compact area at the headwaters of the Hodder River.
The new map that covers this area is NZ Topo 50-BS27 Tapuae-o-Uenuku.
In this area are:
Mt Tapuae-o-uenuku 2885m Mitre Peak 2620m Mt Alarm 2877m
Crows Nest 2449m Pinnacle 2720m Mt Gladstone 2371m
(NB: You will need to gain permission from Allan & Bev Pitts before climbing Mt Gladstone)
Access to these peaks is via Gladstone Downs, a high country station in the Awatere Valley about one and a half-hours drive from Blenheim, and a comfortable five-hour drive from Christchurch.
To get to Gladstone Downs: Turn off SH1 4 km north of Seddon, or 21 km south of Blenheim onto Awatere Valley Road. Drive 54 km up the Awatere Valley to the Hodder River Bridge. Cross the bridge and park vehicles at the flat area on the left.
The parking area is adjacent to the toilet that has been installed to cater for the increase in visitors to the area.
DO NOT PARK NEAR FARM GATES. Your vehicle will impede movement of stock being driven through, plus farm machinery also needs access through this gate.
Due to the fire risk: No parking or camping is permitted in the vicinity of the hay barn across the road.
Accomodation is available at nearby Camden Station with Kelly and Hugo Pitts. Details are on their website.
The musterers hut on Camden Station is not to be used.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED
The route into the Hodder area and the mountains themselves are not a place for the inexperienced. The route is not marked.
Map & compass experience is necessary. While Tapuae-o-Uenuku itself is not technically demanding, none of the mountains should be taken lightly and some previous tramping, climbing and snow experience is desirable.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE INLAND KAIKOURAS
In summer January to March there is little snow and climbing is mostly a rock scramble. For those that prefer snow conditions the spring, early summer period from September to November is the best time.
It is an alpine environment and can snow at any time of the year. This is a low rainfall area with often very cold winters and very hot summer temperatures, in mid winter the rivers and gorges are very cold and rocks are often ice covered.
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
First contact Bev & Alan Pitts, the owners of Gladstone Downs (03 575 7471) to obtain access permission, and to notify intentions details
They are able to advise on local weather conditions, river levels and snow conditions and at any time will know how many other people are expected at the huts. They keep a record of who is going in. Demand for hut space can be high on long weekends (esp. Easter and Labour Weekend).
FIREARMS & DOGS ARE NOT PERMITTED. THIS AREA IS A DOC HUNTING EXCLUSION ZONE AND NO PERMITS ARE ISSUED.
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD YOU ALLOW FOR A TRIP TO THE INLAND KAIKOURAS
Not including travel to and from the start of the track at Gladstone Downs, we recommend you allow four days for your trip. This allows a day for the walk in, a day for climbing, a day for walking out and a reserve day in case of adverse weather.
The Hodder Huts are owned and administered by the Marlborough Tramping Club to provide a support base for climbing and tramping parties. They keep the huts well maintained. These are the only huts in the area and are sited on a tussock bench in the upper reaches of the Hodder River at 1440m altitude. Each of the high peaks is within a day’s climbing from the Hodder Huts.
The huts, collectively known as the Hodder Huts, consist of the Tararua Hut (6 bunks), built in 1970 and the Murray Adrian Hut built in 1987 accommodating 12 people on 2 sleeping platforms. The huts have mattresses and they are well insulated. There are no fireplaces. There is a water tank and two toilets. Please ensure you pay your fees to enable these huts to be maintained for everyone’s use. Instructions for payment are at the bottom of this guide.
Please take ALL rubbish out with you.
THE ROUTE TO THE HUTS UP THE HODDER RIVER
The route commences through the property of Gladstone Downs. Start the route through a sign posted gate just along from the parking area and follow a farm track above the true left of the Hodder River. After approximately 45 minutes on the farmland, and having passed the major junction of the Shin and Hodder rivers, an obvious cairn marks the start of a steep track down to the riverbed. You then follow and criss cross the river for the rest of the journey to the huts.
The route passes through a lower gorge; a middle section of open braided flats and then through the more enclosed upper gorge section entered after the junction with Trail Stream (joining the true left of the Hodder) is passed. (Note : True - as the stream flows.) Care must be taken at this junction to follow the Hodder not the Trail Stream.
To avoid an impassable waterfall at 1120m, the route climbs steeply out of a well-cairned terrace on the true right and then sidles through alpine shrub land to return to the riverbed at 1160m. Cross the Hodder river to the true left and the track leaves the river.
Shortly after, the first (and very welcome) sight of the Hodder huts comes into view.
Note that the distance from the car park to the Hodder Huts is about 22kms, ascends 1080 metres in altitude, and can involve over 80 river crossings. As a guide you should allow 6 – 9 hours total time, but those in less of a hurry could take longer. Much of the route up the Hodder is through river gorges that after rain can quickly become impassable.
ROUTE FROM THE HUTS TO THE SUMMIT
From the huts follow a well-defined track that sidles across a large scree slope. When off the scree, cross the Hodder (below the junction of the Hodder & Staircase Rivers). Follow the cairned route across the river bed. Start climbing at the tussock, up a steep slope, to avoid a waterfall in Staircase stream. Follow the cairns up the valley keeping Staircase Stream to your right.
After passing near a waterfall, the last place to fill the water bottle, the large basin between Alarm and Tapi opens up. Keep to the left of this basin, passing an obvious knoll on your right and passing the bluffs on you left. Turn left up a large scree slope onto a small basin. Follow the basin around and then head up a large scree slope to a smaller basin. Follow this around towards the right, to where the obvious saddle on the skyline appears, between Tapi and Alarm. Climb to the saddle and then turn left and up over a knoll and the top of Tapi appears, & the ridge to the summit.
The hut fees are $10.00 per person per night. These are payable to the Marlborough Tramping Club ,
To make it easier for hut users to pay fees, reply paid and addressed envelopes are available in each hut, or at Gladstone Downs farmhouse. There are also wallet size cards in the huts with details for online payments.
Direct credited to Westpac a/c 03 0599 0283288 00 Please ensure your name and hut fees is noted on the payment. An email advice of payment to the treasurer Helen Miller [email protected] would be appreciated
Please leave the huts clean and tidy after your use and carry out your rubbish.
Hut Maintenance Requirements, problems or further information on the route.
Ph. 03 5788836, txt 027 307 540
Or Steve Dyer Murray Chapman
Ph 03 577 6633 Ph. 03 5724812
or 027 4414300 or 027 5724812
Updated 18th August 2018
Following the Hillary Series a number of people have used the old musterers hut. This is on private property and must not be used - you will be tresspassing.!!