[SUBW-A] Trip report - New Zealand - Kahurangi NP

Albert Chetcuti albertc at med.usyd.edu.au
Mon Mar 4 08:49:36 AEDT 2002

New Zealand South Island - Kahurangi National Park - Mt Arthur & Mt Peel
25th-28th January 2002.

Trampers: Albert Chetcuti, Wendy Au, Anthony Dunk, and Homo hooligans
nutcase fiordlandis (alias Joe Li)

Having just finished the 3-day Abel Tasman walk, we drove back to
Motueka, had a shower, and waited for the 4:25 PM bus to arrive, with
Anthony and Joe aboard. After doing some shopping to resupply on food
and alcohol, we spent the night in Motueka.

Next morning, we visited the local DOC office, and obtained hut passes,
and info on the current track conditions. About 45 min from Motueka, we
arrived at Flora saddle carpark, the start of our Kahurangi National
Park 4-day walk.

Day 1 consisted of an easy 1.5 hr walk from the carpark (900m above sea
level) to the category 3 Mt Arthur hut at 1300 m. This hut sleeps 8
people inside and also has a gas heater and a smelly long-drop toilet!
It cost a mere $NZ5 a night, what a bargain. As it was still early
afternoon, we were the first people there. We left our stuff in the hut,
and continued along the track toward Mt Arthur. The clouds were low, so
visibility was only a few hundred metres in some places. After about 1
hr from the hut Wendy and I stopped, while Anthony and Joe continued
onto Mt Arthur, without water. Wendy and I returned to the hut and got
the heater going, while Anthony and Joe returned 2 hr after us, having
reached the top of Mt Arthur, without much of a view. As it was Friday
night, a large group of locals had reach the hut before sunset, most of
which slept outside with the sandflies, on the veranda.

The next morning, we were woken by some young kids running around
singing. From the hut we could see all the way to the coast, and down to
Nelson. We had breakfast, packed our stuff and headed along the same
track we walked along yesterday afternoon. The weather was much clearer
today, but there still was some cloud about. Near the top, we dropped
our packs, and headed for the top of Mt Arthur (1795m). The cloud had
cleared, and we could clearly see the areas we would visit later than
day, and tomorrow. The trig could be seen halfway down the valley. It
had been sheared off its mounting bolts.

We followed a poled-route along a saddle up to Gordons Pyramid (1489m).
The conditions were quite windy, but it was dry, and the cloud level was
high. A slow climb up the pyramid led us to the top, where we enjoyed
clear views of the Tablelands and Salisbury hut, our home for the next 2
nights. Salisbury hut is a category 2 hut, with a gas stove, gas heater,
dual long-drop toilets and accommodation for 24 trampers. All this for
just $NZ10. The sandflies are a bonus, at no extra charge. As it was
Saturday, the hut was very busy, with about 25 people spending the night

Day 3 consisted of a day walk from the hut out to Lake Peel and Mt Peel.
Along the way we passed Bishops cave and Balloon Hut, a category 3 hut.
We stopped for a while and had a look inside. The toilet was abit
smelly, as Wendy had the task of checking it out. We continued across
the tablelands out to Lake Peel. Within an hour or 2, we reached our
first view of the lake. As we were the only people in the area, we had
the whole place to ourselves. A clear defined track could be seen
leading to the lake. But we decided to climb Mt Peel first, and then
ventured down to the lake. We looked at the area, and decided on a
possible route to the top. As we were above the bushline, the going was
quite easy, despite the strong cross winds.

Joe and Anthony reached the top by lunchtime, while Wendy and myself
slowly followed, admiring the view of Lake Peel below, and Cobbs
reservoir. After a relaxing lunch, and a few funny photos at the top, we
headed down to Lake Peel, via the scree run. This was the first time I'd
done a scree run, and was amazed at how fast you can descend the

Within a matter of minutes, Anthony was by the shores of the lake, yet
Joe, Wendy and myself were still on the mountain, and wondered where
Anthony had got to. We looked around, but couldn't see him anywhere.  I
approached the edge of one of the cliffs, and yelled out, listening for
a response. In the far distance, I could just barely see Anthony, close
to the lake.

After some considerable length of time, Wendy and myself managed to
reach the side of the lake, to find to our surprise, Homo hooligans
naked in the lake! The water was a pleasant 16 degrees, as determined by
Anthony's thermometer. After some interesting photos, we headed back
across the tablelands and onto Balloon hut.  We reached Salisbury hut by
about 6 PM. As we were the only lodgers for the night, we temporarily
renamed the hut, SUBW lodge.

Day 4 meant a 13.5 km walk out back to the carpark, along the Takaka
river. Along the way, we dropped packs, and took a small detour down to
the river for a swim. Like Half-way creek in Abel Tasman, the water was
freezing. Anthony's thermometer confirming this, with a ready of 10
degrees. We continued along the track, and had lunch at a rock shelter
(also called a rock-bivi), complete with running water (category 4, and
free of charge). Along the way, we stopped at Flora hut, which was a
category 3 hut. Out of all the huts we'd seen, this was in the worst
condition. But it had a large open camping area infront, which looked
better than staying in the hut. At last, we reached the carpark by late
afternoon, and enjoy some entertainment from a Weka, hanging around our
car, looking for food. We headed back to Motueka, and spend the night
there, after sampling some of the local beer and dinner in town.

Kahurangi NP is huge, and has many more interesting tracks to walk. The
track from Salisbury hut, continues onto the west coast at Karamea, a
4-5 day walk.

See ya


Albert Chetcuti
Cancer Genetics Group
Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
Blackburn Building - D06
The University of Sydney
NSW, 2006 Australia.

(02) 9515 5194 (Office1)
(02) 9351 3556 (Office2)
(02) 9515 5192 (Lab)
(02) 9516 1273 (Fax)
Email albertc at med.usyd.edu.au

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