Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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The groups converged and were accommodated at The Laughing Kiwi Backpackers in Motueka.

MONDAY 28 - Mt Arthur

We were up bright and early, ready to head for the Mt Arthur Hut and beyond with two other groups.  The road was steep, narrow and windy (not windy) and the weather was cloudy and still.  There was no view on the way up, nor from the car park and mist surrounded us for the hour or so as we trudged up to the Mt Arthur Hut.  We shared lunch with a lone weka and the mist persisted.  After lunch the strategy for the afternoon was implemented.  Group 1 was to make the assault on Mt Arthur while Group 2 headed for the Grid Iron Shelters, Flora Hut and return.  Jeff, Phillip and David, the three intrepid trampers, setout to ‘knock off’ Mt Arthur and five minutes after leaving the mist enshrouded hut were in brilliant sunshine all the rest of the way to the summit.  On the way back we were met by Joy and Marian who made it two thirds of the way up and were rewarded with some magnificent views.  That evening several trampers arrived late at the hut so some of our more chivalrous men slept on the verandah and got wet during the night.

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TUESDAY 29 - Flora Hut

We followed the route taken by the group the previous day to Flora Hut and the Grid Iron shelters.  These were quite spectacular and a great place to eat lunch.  Quite unexpectedly we heard and saw some familiar people.  Jo Ryder, who had an injured knee, wisely decided to abandon the overnighters’ group and was able to accompany Joy, Marian and David back to the car park and so on to Motueka.

WEDNESDAY 30 - Kaiteriteri and Harwoods Hole

At 10:15am we set out from the Laughing Kiwi backpackers in Motueka, where we had been staying, for Kaiteriteri in a rental van and car. We left the van and trailer at the Kaiteriteri turnoff and all four of us got into the car. Jo did not come as she had to see a physiotherapist in Nelson.

We arrived at Kaiteriteri at 10:45am and had until midday to explore the place. We walked along the beach and saw some oystercatchers at the far end.  There was a strong wind, too blustery for a swim which was allowed only in a small marked-off section at the south end of the beach.

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Just after midday we returned to the Kaiteriteri turnoff, and John and David got into the van while Marian and Joy remained in the car. We drove up the Takaka hill, picking up a hitch-hiker Rudd from Auckland who was happy to travel in the very back seat of the van for the ride to the Canaan turnoff.

The Canaan Road was a 17km winding gravel road going through scrub before entering the pasture of the Canaan reserve. This part of the Abel Tasman National Park is farmed and contains mountainbike trails. We had our lunch at the carpark at the end of the road at 1:10pm before doing the walk to Harwoods Hole.  This began as an easy bush track, but soon we had a few limestone rocks to go over in places. There were a few small patches of stinging-nettle.

A side track climbed up to a lookout, where we had a lovely view down towards Takaka. There was nowhere to sit or stand comfortably - the ground was sharp and jagged limestone rock. We returned to the main track and carried on to Harwoods Hole. Again there were limestone boulders to scramble over to get close to this large and deep hole, part of the cave system inside Takaka Hill.
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We left the carpark at 3:45pm, Joy and Marian travelled directly to Takaka while John went up the Cobb valley with David. We left the trailer at the Cobb Valley turnoff as the road would be narrow and winding. We would be picking up a group of trampers who had finished a pack-carry - we found leader Phillip  plus David and Stan  who had been waiting for two-and-a-half hours at the Asbestos Track entrance.

We went on into Takaka and checked into the Riverside Inn. This was originally a pub, and is situated several kilometres north of the township.

THURSDAY 31 - Lake Sylvester

We set out in the van at 9:15am, picking John up from the Barefoot Backpackers right in town where he was staying, and went to Cobb Valley. Barbara and Rima had just arrived from Auckland and joined us for this tramp which Phillip led.

When we reached the lookout overlooking the Cobb Reservoir we stopped to have a look, before driving down the gravel road and cross the dam to come to the start of the Lake Sylvester track.

We set out on the tramp at 10:50am following the coast a little way before beginning a steady climb through beech forest. It was a wide vehicle track all the way, and we reached the top of the solid forest about midday. As the forest opened out to trees and grass, we went into a cold wind that would remain for the whole time we were on the mountain tops.

We arrived at the Lake Sylvester Hut at 12:45pm, and had our lunch out of the cold wind. David led devotions, telling how, during a trip to Australia, he went on a hot-air balloon trip which seemed scary but the pilot handled it well. He likened this to how we need to trust in God to lead us through the uncertainties of life.

At 1:25pm we went back into the cutting wind to walk through open tussock over a low hill to Lake Sylvester. It was spectacular, we were grateful we had just the wind and no rain or mist.

We returned the way we came, arriving back at the carpark at 3:35pm. On our return to the River Inn we were advised that there was to be a wedding there on New Years Eve so that evening we headed for the bright lights of Takaka for a meal and evening of country music.  Later, 2010 was seen in to the noise of the wedding revellers.
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FRIDAY 1 - part of Abel Tasman Track

The weather report for the Douglas Range was not encouraging so Plan B was implemented for Option E, so we drove back over the Takaka Hill to Marahau with the intrepid trampers about to conquer the Inland Track via Castle Rock Hut and back over the Abel Tasman Range to Takaka.  It proved a very hard slog for that group!  Joy, Marian and David headed up the Abel Tasman ‘motorway’ track as far as Anchorage Bay in the oppressive heat and returned by boat to Marahau and hence to Takaka.  Jo and Stan opted to turn back earlier.
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SATURDAY 2 - Wainui end of Abel Tasman Track

We travelled to the start of Abel Tasman Track at Wainui in the van and a car, and set out at 10:05am. There was Marian, David, Joy and Alex plus myself as we tackled a steady climb on a wide track in a strong blustery wind. We reached the saddle at 10:50am then continued down to the historic Whariwharangi Hut. We arrived at 11:30am to meet up with a pack-carry group led by Andre Van Den Burgh who had been doing the whole 5-day Abel Tasman Track. John went back in the van with the pack-carrying group as there was not enough room in the car taking the day-trip group.

After lunch David, Marian, Joy, and Alex  headed to Separation Point Lighthouse and back enjoying the antics two quaint quail families en route.  Jo and Stan had the freedom to explore Harwood’s Hole with the proviso that they picked up the people traversing the Abel Tasman Range about 4.30pm that afternoon near Takaka.  By divine intervention, however, this was not to be!  As Jo and Stan emerged from the bush at the Harwood’s Hole car park they saw what they thought was a very familiar headgear on top of one Phillip Donnell.  The crossing had proved extremely challenging and at noon they had diverted to the Harwoods’ Car Park hoping to call for transport from there. God had already anticipated the difficulty of communication (no cell phone coverage) and provided the vehicle and drivers on site for their early return to Takaka.  The alternative option might have meant a very late pick-up.  Had Jo and Stan been 10 minutes earlier or later at the Car Park there would have been a far different scenario. They could have been waiting at route end at 4.30pm for a group who never showed.  If and when communication had been established having to retrace their steps up the Takaka Hill to where they had been four hours earlier!  Heaven knows what time they  
would have got back!  Praise the Lord!  That evening we muscled in to ‘Mussel Inn’ for some fine dining.
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SUNDAY 3 - Pupu Springs, Wainui Falls, Grove Scenic Reserve and Paynes Ford

In the morning we had a look at the Pupu Springs. This was an easy half-hour walk through bush to the country’s largest cold springs, whose water was crystal-clear. To preserve the unique pristine quality of the water and prevent it being infested by didymo, there was a strict rule throughout the whole reserve that there be no human contact with the water - that included not only swimming but touching any water with fingers and filling drink bottles. At the large spring there was a periscope giving an underwater view of just below the surface.

After lunch back at the hostel  we  were back in the van for a tour that would begin with the Waitangi Falls. We set out at 1:55pm for the 25 minute walk to the falls through bush, and viewed the cascading waterfall.

Our next place was the Grove Scenic Reserve where we arrived at 3:25pm. We walked through a labyrinth of limestone outcrops and chasms, including a deep slit-like chasm to a lookout.

Our final stop was the Paynes Ford Scenic Reserve. We set out at 4:05pm for a walk along the river, then up a side track through bush to a limestone crag where there were rock-climbers learning and practising their sport. We stopped to watch these for a while before returning the same way to the van. It was well timed - rain began to set in for the rest of the day as we returned to Takaka.

That night there was a large group of Club members at the hostel. They would be leaving the next day for various pack-carrying trips - the group walking the Heaphy Track would go there on the public bus service while the others would be ferried in the van and car. The day-trips group would leave later in the day for Collingwood where they would be staying in a cottage at the holiday park.

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MONDAY 4 - Asbestos Cottage.

David took the first group the 65 kilometres to the top of the Cobb Dam where they started their tramp on the Leslie Karamea Track.  He then returned to Takaka to take the second group there and also, dropping off the day walkers who were walking into Asbestos Cottage, on the second trip.  These two round trips took three hours each.  He caught up with the day trampers at Asbestos Cottage and we all headed back and on up to the Collingwood Camping Ground to our ‘house-all-to-ourselves’ accommodation.

TUESDAY 5 - Heaphy Track

This trip took in the first couple of hours on the Heaphy Track. We set out on our walk at 10:20am, stopping to have a look at Brown Hut ten minutes later before carrying on across a grassed area before our long and gradual climb. It was a wide and well formed track in bush with occasional views of the mountains and river valley.

Our intention was to go to Shakespeare Flat, but a sign said that track not in good condition, so decided to carry on along the Heaphy Track. We found a lunch possy off the track with view of mountains about 12:30pm, then carried on until 1:45pm before turning back.

Suddenly David and Joy’s cellphone both started ringing.  We had coverage but the message was worrying!  Barbara had texted us from Nelson Hospital with a broken ankle. The accident happened on the Leslie River soon after midday. The group had the club’s locator beacon which it activated to effect the prompt rescue.  She had been helicoptered out from the track and was wondering what was going to happen to her.  David offered to pick her up from the hospital which she gratefully accepted.  Broken legs in a strange town are no fun!  

On the way back to Collingwood we stopped at the Salisbury historic swing bridge to see the bridge and the Salisbury Falls. David put on his togs but did not get right into the water.

With the group settled back at Collingwood, David and Joy set out, just after 6.30pm to collect our President - a 330 km round trip.  We were back at base before 11pm and had Barbara installed and comfortable for the night.  What a blessing to have a house with extra beds available for such an eventuality.
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WEDNESDAY 6 - Kaituna Track

To allow David to sleep in after his late night, we did not leave the cottage till after 10am. Jo very unselfishly stayed back to look after Barbara for the rest of the time. She was resting up with her left leg and foot bandaged and having to use crutches, but was in her normal good spirits.

We set off for the Kaituna Goldmines/Forks track off the Aorere River valley. From the Possum Cafe we began our walk with the very short Labyrinth Track at 10:35am before following a short stretch of private road then into the bush. We had a look at a side track to some old gold workings, including a mine and sluicing walls of stones.

Once back on the main track we carried on along a well-formed bush track following upstream, passing a waterfall on the way. This was a very picturesque track where ratas provided a mass of bloom and bird life abounded. We had our lunch at the end of the easy part of Kaituna Track, where a sign recommended against crossing the stream while in flood, before returning the same way to come out at 1:50pm

We dined well at the Possum Cafe and had a look at the Possum Shop that displayed products make with possum skins and fur - a pest that is being usefully eradicated.

On our way back to Collingwood  we had 40 minutes to look at Weka Arts. This was not only a gallery and shop displaying various crafts including macrocarpa furniture, but also a lawn area with short bush walks and ponds.
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THURSDAY 7 - Puponga Farm Park

At 9am we piled into the van to go to the Farewell Spit visitor centre, and set out on the Hilltop Walk at 9:55am. Eileen and Leila stayed with Rosalind who would drive the van to the Pillar Point carpark and walk up to meet us. Our tramp began with a grunt through open farmland to the Old Man Range where we had views out to Farewell Spit. Unfortunately it was too hazy to be able to see Mt Taranaki, but there were spectacular views - like Arizona and the Far North - as we carried along the ridge through scrub along a well-formed track. This dropped down for a short bush stretch before coming out to more open tops.

We arrived at the Pillar Point lighthouse at 11:40am and met up with the other three people. After a break we continued, dropping down through open scrub then farmland to come out at the Cape Farewell carpark with not long to wait for the van to arrive. We had our lunch at the carpark about 12:45pm.

We then went to Cape Farewell lookout, two minutes walk from the carpark to see spectacular views of cliffs and coast, and also a seal swimming in the sea below.

We returned to the van and drove to the roadend for the walk to the spectacular north end of Wharariki Beach. This was a 20min walk each way through pasture over a hill to an area of wind-blown sand dunes and spectacular bluffs. We saw a couple of live seals on the sand.

John had already done this walk a couple of days before, so went on alone on the farm track, passing two lakes and dropping down to the Wharariki beach to see the spectacular limestone cliffs in weird shapes and some with holes in them.

We left the carpark at 3:30pm and dropped into the Farewell Spit visitor centre for coffee before going back to Collingwood.

Meanwhile Johanna took Barbara to Possum Cafe in the car to give her a day out.
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FRIDAY 8 - Farewell Spit commercial tour

We were really pleased to be out of bed at the crack of dawn - the commercial bus trip to Farewell Spit had to leave by 6:30am to catch the low tides. The $100 trip took us right out to the lighthouse as well as travel on the inland beach of Farewell Spit and back along the ocean beach side.