18th  December 2019 -  Bushy Point Walk 

Heading to Otatara in the rain wasn't a very auspicious way to start an evening stroll, but by the time everyone had assembled at Grant Road the rain had departed.  13 people headed from BJ's place along a mowed track, but that changed very soon as we headed off track along one of the trap lines.  With Brian identifying some of the plants and Ridley checking the traps we moved along the track until we came out by the estuary, with views of the water tower in Invers and across to Clifton.  Our return trip was along another trap line where the mud got deeper and stickier.  By the time we returned to the house for a cuppa a few individuals had to stop by the outdoor hose to remove some of the mud.  Thanks for an interesting walk and cuppa.  BJ, Brian & Chris, Ini, Boi, Rabbit, Jimmy, Sally & Gordon, Graeme & Jan, Ridley and Anne

8th December  2019 - Takitimu Heritage Trail - Bike Ride

Left on Sunday 8th December  in near perfect conditions. Takitimu Mountains had a cap of snow on them a slight breeze. With lots of hills the gears were being used frequently thanks to Rob’s talk on bike riding !!!

Passed lots of cows,sheep and lambs ,calves playing in their paddocks. A fresh possum slouched over a give way sign,  fur would have been worth a dollar or two.

After climbing Opio hill entered Nightcaps thru to Wairio a left turn over to Wreys Bush unfortunately the Pub was closed could have done with a drink as a head wind until turning onto Newton-Greer rd then down hill to Opio and back to start.

Cheers Gillian

Ps I think most riders were getting over Anne’s house warming or stuck north on Rangitata flooding.   Southland was near perfect weather for ride !!!

1st December  2019- Christmas Dinner

32 hearty STC members dined out at Emberz at AscotPark hotel on 1st December.  laughter, drinking and eating was the theme of the evening.  The lit up battery flashing shoes won the fancy shoes competition.  Elizabeth’s creativity again!  Secret Christmas presents were given out - yes Ann that is a Snoop Alarm!

Good to see Duncan and Mary, Rabbit and Margaret , Martha and Ron joining in the festivities too. Where were you Callum?

Thanks to Sandra for a successful night shared by all.


27th November 2019-  Walk, Talk and Cuppa @ Wensleys Cycles,

Seventeen keen bikers turned up to listen to Rob at Wensleys talking to us all about maintaining our bikes in good condition, about the best way to keep them clean and well oiled.  He demonstrated how to check the chain wear, remove a tyre, and replace after a pucture.  Rob also gave us tips about bike seats, riding position, candence and bike pants.  After the demonstration and a lot of questions some members moved over to the electric bike section and Rob said there were some demo models in the shop available for anyone who wanted to try one out.

23rd  November 2019 - Pourakino Track Maintenance (W) (D)

With threatening showers at 0830, four of us met at the Harrington Road end and wandered along the track until the ‘big’ tree, which was the sign that work was to begin!  Terry went ahead clearing the larger items off the track, then Steve with his scrub cutter, followed by Judy and Sally removing the cut growth off the track.

Weather remained pleasant throughout the day with stops for smoko and lunch – most of the track was alongside the Pourakino River.   Disturbed an opossum which ran away from the scrub cutter and nearly up Sally’s leg before diverting onto Judy behind, then down the bank!!  It was a rather large one to say the least.  Disturbed mice as well, but mostly it was nose to the grindstone.

Called it quits about 1600 then had an hour walk back to the cars.      Judging by the time it took to walk out, we sort of figured that we had cleared barely a kilometre – was not that overgrown, but needed a trim.  Rain as we wandered out.

Stephen, Judy, Terry and Sally

16-17th November 2019 - Borland Lodge

We left Invercargill at 7.35 am and arrived at Borland Lodge at approximately 9am.  Once settled in our cabins and had a cuppa, we set off for the South Borland track.

Five of us got a ride up the Borland Road in a 4WD to the start of the walk.

We started in the light but steady rain which continued for most of the walk.  Passing the Limestone Cliffs and an hour and a half later we arrived at the junction of the North Borland Track.

The sign said 45mins upstream to the Rock Bivvy so we thought that would be a great shelter for lunch and give us a good walk for the day.  However, it took us much longer due to the large amount of wind fall and missing orange markers.

We had lunch and a good rest then headed back onto the South Borland track to the Lodge.

The bridge near the Nature Trail had been washed out so we found a tree that had already made a make-shift bridge, where we all crossed safely.  Six hours later and 10km under our belt we arrived at the lodge to full sunshine and hungry sand flies. Had tea, showered and found the cabins really comfortable and fully electric.

Great facilities, and very friendly and accommodating wardens at the Lodge

On Sunday five of us, plus Neil (who joined us)  were dropped off at Lake Monowai. We did the short walk to a the Peninsular Lookout, then walked along the road to the Burnt Ridge track that leads to the back of the lodge.  It was very wet in places through the Manuka flats and muddy in parts in the bush area. We all but one of us, who was wearing gumboots, got wet feet!

Had lunch then left for Invercargill with a small diversion via the Monowai Power Station.

Awesome time had by all, thanks to Shirley for organising the weekend and walks.

Annabel, Serena, Terry, Neroli and Shirley.

17th November 2019 Castledowns Wetland

Four intrepid workers started work at 9am, with another five arriving for the afternoon, and despite the indifferent forecast. We found it was still and sunny in the shelter of all the vegetation. The downstream circuit has now been connected, and some of it tidied up, the tracks have been tidied up and the upstream track that had reached up to the poplar trees has now had a route which needs some work. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with the weeding and all the other work yesterday. The afternoon ended with all of us pretty exhausted and needing to be horizontal for a while with a cold drink in hand.

Anne reset one trap and removed a rat another trap.

Ann & Adrian, David B, Anne McD (Club members present)

23rd October 2019 -    Walk, Talk and Cuppa   Otatara tracks

 3 of us ventured out to one of the shorter walks in Otatara. A brisk stroll around the native bushtrack with a gulp of fresh air was a tonic in itself! Followed up by a warm fire and refreshments at Ziffs. Rabbit kept us entertained with the highs and lows of his recent overseas travels. And David added some Canadian drawcards too! Thus it was a very social night out.  Rabbit, David and Jackie.

14-16th October 2019 - Homer (NZ Alpine Club) Traps

The weather forecast predicted a very heavy dump of rain on the proposed weekend for the Homer Stoat Trapping, so plans were hastily changed.

Judy and Anne were the only two available to go during the week, so headed off on Monday afternoon and arrived at the hut on a beautiful calm starry night, although there was a short sharp dump of rain.  After tea and lighting the fire we rebaited all the traps in the vicinity of the hut, put up a new sign at the entranceway, repaired the self-closing hinge on the door, played a couple of hands of Skipbo before retiring for the evening.  Up at 6.45, breakfast and off up the Gertrude Valley rebaiting both mustelid and possum traps, where we saw two pairs of rock wrens.  We crossed over the waterfall and carefully negotiated some very icy snow to service the top traps.  On the way down the valley we met Alistair and David who were checking the traps because they hadn’t read our note in the hut, and didn’t realise we were already there.  We all returned to the hut for lunch before heading out with possum bait and loppers to check the newly installed possum line. Stanley and Sally were also around, and they checked and rebaited the traps near the Homer Saddle.  The cat traps were all set on Tuesday night.  Kills for the Homer crew was 9 rats and 1 stoat.  Kills for the Gertrude team was 18 rats, 1 mouse and 7 possum. 

Wednesday morning Stanley, Sally, Judy and David headed off to do some track maintenance and rebait traps on the Bowen track.  Anne replaced some of the pink tape on the new possum line and returned home.  Stanley, Sally, David, Judy and Anne

13th October 2019 – Mavora to Mossburn Bike Trip

As we headed to Mavora we were heading towards hills which were covered by very low cloud.  There were occasional glimpses of mountain tops through the cloud, and they still had snow visible.  After parking at the top of South Mavora Lake, Graeme headed up the road to North Mavora Lake to cover a few additional kms, Adrian and Judy headed south covering the next 22kms on relatively flat gravel road, before tackling the next 8kms of hilly section, before arriving at the new built shelter, and toilet at the Centre Hill car park.  Lunch was enjoyed in the sun, but it was a relatively short break as there was a chill in the air.  The riders resumed their seats on their trusty steads and pedalled off towards Mossburn.  I managed to park up a few times and watch them cycle past before arriving in Mossburn where refreshments and food to refuel the boilers was enjoyed, before loading the bikes on Adrians Ute and returning home.  Judy Fotheringham, Adrian Irving, Graeme Appleby and driver Anne McDermott

28-29 September 2019 - McKellar Hut                   

With Nico and Neil opting out due to ear ache and work commitments respectively, only 3 of us were willing to brave the elements and go tramping. So it was Terry, Judy and myself that met here and my house at about 7am on Saturday morning. Snow and rain was forecast for most of the weekend, so we decided to check in with DOC in Te Anau and take their advice.On arrival we were advised not to go to Lake Mckenzie due to snow and avalanche risk, especially round the Erland Falls, and a couple of placed along the track.

After a quick discussion we elected to go into Lake McKeller instead and after breakfast carried on to the divide. Mostly wet all the way, we got to the hut about 4pm and settled in, had a cracking fire going due to the fact we lugged in coal. (the others in the hut appreciated that fact as well I think) More rain during the night, with no sign of it stopping, and we walked in it all day. Not all that cold though, so it was fish and chips in Te  Anau before travelling back to Invercargill. Despite the wet weather it was a really enjoyable weekend. Thanks guys for your company Raewynne

21-22 September 2019 - Lake Marian

We were on the road at 7:30 Saturday morning.  Fine weather boded well for a lovely weekend. A bit of fog around Mossburn and Te Anau cleared by the time we arrived in the Hollyford to be greeted by a couple of South Island Robins. We donned boots and headed up the track.  It was steeper than I recalled but just as lovely when we arrived in the hanging valley. Lake Marian was low but the sun was shining and we ate our lunch looking over the lake. A series of four avalanches were very impressive. They were controlled and we were never in danger and wonderfully entertained. After lunch we soaked up the sun; I took a short dip in the lake and my toes are still numb. Lots of fantastic bird song. Alas we had to go and were down and settled into Gunn's Camp in good time for dinner.  A couple of us trialed some new freeze-dried meals by Radix - they were really good! I will definitely look for them when they come on the market. After dinner we wandered along to the Glow Worms and ruffled the feathers of a Morepork nearby. An early night.  In the morning we were up in good time but in no rush to go anywhere.  We ambled around a couple tracks by the Camp and then stopped to cross the 3 wire bridge on the Earl Mountain Track.  Lunch in Te Anau and home mid afternoon. Thanks, Elizabeth for organizing this, and Sally for being a great tramper - welcome to the Club! David

14th September 2019 -  Otatara Landcare Group – Planting Day

After a mild frost Saturday turned out to be warm, calm, clear and fine.   About 120 people turned up for the planting including a huge number of children.   Making up numbers were Anne McDermott, Ann Irving, Denise Stevens, Judy Fotheringham and Kevin Laidlaw (actually, he isn’t an STC member, he is one of the Otatara Landcare Groups Life members and their Living Legend, but he was wearing one of our fluro vests.   A bit of instruction and a couple of hours later saw the whole 1000 odd plants firmly in the ground.   It was then time to see what damage everyone could do to 30 odd Kg of sausages.   A fair attack was made as probably around 25 ~ 26Kg disappeared along with a huge slab carrot cake the OLG had made for the occasion.   The Otatara Landcare Group has a new mascot, Russell the Kereru (A bit like Bruce sea gull that Environment Southland used to have) and named after Russell Evans, late of Bush Haven and in honour of the work he and his wife May had done over the past 20 odd years in repairing damaged birds for release back into the wild.   Also this was a special day of the Landcare Group with the ceremonial planting of the 30,000th native tree to get placed into Bushy Point.   This was done by May Evans in honour of Russell.   A Totara, a tree of great Mana that (looked after) will grow for 1000 ~ 1500 years.   Thank you everybody for your assistance   - BJ two hats – Member, Southland Tramping Club.  Chairman: Otatara Landcare Group.

7-9 Sept 2019 -- Hump Ridge Track

Barbara collected us all up at 7am to go to Tuatapere to meet with the vehicle of ladies from Gore.  The information shop where we were meant to check in was closed, so we spent 45 minutes tracking down where to check in and found we didn’t need to.  Wasting our time.

We started on the track 9.45am.  The day and whole weekend was dry weather.  Going along the South Coast track on the beaches was like a spring day. Saw shags and blackback gulls on the beaches, tomtits, grey warblers, bellbirds, tui and a robin eating a stickinsect in the bush. Saw signs of pigs along the way.

19.5km to Port Craig school house (the DOC hut) there were snow bells and daffodils out around it.  These plants go back to 1930’s when Port Craig was a saw milling village.  We explored the old relics.  Some of us saw a dolpin at the beach.  Barbara got the fire going and we had a warm happy hut.

Sunday 8th we were away by 8am.  Along the way saw a lot of opossum traps with animals in them.  We killed the rats and left the opossums for the trapper to pluck. A lot of the mustelid traps had stoats and rats in them.  And pigs had dug up the track and bush looking like a bulldozer had been though. We met the trapper who said he’d gotten over 300 opossums in 4 days.  Then we met some hunters with dogs and one dog missing.  On arriving at Percy burn hut the missing dog was there so we secured it, leaving it sitting on a bag with water and a bit of dead opossum.

At Edwin burn, we’d gotten there in the three hours, had a wee rest and then started the climb up to Okaka hut.  Along the way saw a group of about 15 Kaka swing from the trees entertaining us.  Then before Luncheon Rock we came across SNOW. From Luncheon Rock we could see Percy Burn viaduct, Lake Poteriteri and Te Waewae Bay.  We got to Okaka hut at 5pm.  1000m, 10cm of snow around, wind was up, one of us blew off the boardwalk, cloud was coming in.  The hut had no running water or heating.  We melted snow for dinner and were in bed by 7pm.

Monday 9th the dawn was bright yet cold.  We set off at 8am again.  Three of us went up around the Tors and Tarns which were a magical winter wonderland to be in. Even with the freezing wind.  We were soon down out of the snow and stumpy trees covered in moss into fern ground cover and warmer climate.  At 11.30am we were at the shelter with the bridge with a pot on a string to collect beautiful water out of the stream away below.

We hit the South Coast track again, back along the beaches in sunshine and at the car park by 4pm.

A weekend full of everything.  Thank you Barbara for your leadership and driving.

Those who went Barbara, Peter, Annabel, Megan, Melissa, Nicole and me Judy.

24/25 August 2019 - Rabbit's Ski Trip

Rabbit did a runner to England but the trip still had to go ahead. The trusty crew of myself, Jimmy , Andrew , Hugh and Denise. Friday night was had at the crib in Kingston with an early start to Cardrona for a really great day's skiing, good weather and good snow. There were some lenghty queues, though. A stop at the Frankton Pak 'N Save for a cook up on the way back to Kingston. The others cooked while I got the back of the ute filled with water and heated for a hot tub, an excellent end to the day to rest the weary bones. Sunday dawned bright so off to the Remarkables, another great day cut short a bit by my boots not fitting, a problem now fixed. Roll on next year, this is an enjoyable trip so give some thought to coming next year. Ron

17th August 2019 - Te Rere

8:15 am Saturday morning 5 of us turned up at the Fieldwick Gates to join a bunch of other people from SIT and Forest and Bird.   At the Progress Valley turn-off a bunch of people from Dunedin joined us along with Annabel (who lives at Mokereta).   Then it was in to the Te Rere site, a brief rundown on what is going on, 500 plants and people to the planting site and we were in to it.   It was really about 11:15 by the time we got started and the whole group of about 50 of us had all the plants in the ground by about 1:30 pm.   We did a quick 10 minute clearing of weeds from last year's planting before we had our lunch.   We then had a more in-depth talk about the Te Rere Yellow eyed Penguin trust from it’s chairman, Brian Rance.   Followed by what is going on at the site by the caretaker, Fergus Sutherland and;lastly what is going on with those Yellow Eyed Penguins by DOC’s biodiversity fella from Dunedin, Bruce McKinlay.   The weather was cool but OK.   A short 15 minute shower occurred whilst we were planting but apart from that we also had some sunshine.   After the Lunchtime lectures we all went through the reserve to the views above the cliffs and the landing sites for the Penguins etc.   Unfortunately, no Penguins this year.   Whilst there I did a Safety Survey of the two bridges and they are both looking as good as the day we put them up.   Fergus mentioned that the last time he was there he was very glad of them as the water was fair rushing beneath them and he would have had difficulty with the original crossing points.   One of the high lights of the day was getting Veronica down to the Arthur Williams Bridge for a photo-shoot.   Once packed up we were all back in town by just after 6:00 pm.   Those STC Members on the trip: Mark & Kathy , Veronica , Glen (aka Hillbilly or HB), Annabel and Barry.

24th July 2019 - Walk Talk & no Cuppa

Three of us met at the west museum carpark at 7.20, left and went to the start of the Otatara Scenic Reserve walk hoping there would be more waiting. At 7.30pm the three of us Denise, Rabbit & Peter started our walk on a beautiful calm star filled night. An hour later we headed for Ziffs, unfortunately they were closed so it was homeward bound.

13th July 2019 - Mid Winter Pot Luck Xmas Dinner

14 hungry souls arrived at Sandra’s house with a plate and bottle.  Everything from rolled roast lamb, roast veges and an amazing variety of dishes was on tempting display for hungry trampers.  After polishing off a large quantity of the food on offer, Santa arrived and distributed some goodies from his sack.  This was followed by dessert (which we really didn’t need) but Boy!!! Was it good!!  Coffee and a chat completed the evening.  A big thank you to Sandra and Geoff for opening up their house for the evening.

7th July 2019 - Forest Hill

Six keen trampers met at Forest Hill Tussock Creek car park at 1.20pm to venture into the bush at Forest Hill. The skies toward Riverton were looking dark so we focused on the blue skies in the other direction and headed into the forest along Derek Turnbull track. The track was in good condition and the bush was beautiful with a few birds around. We saw tui, wood pigeon and heard bellbirds. At the first look out toward Riverton we could see farmland and the Longwood Hills with rain coming in. As we headed to the next Lookout on the loop track we met Jessica a new member who unfortunately started from the other carpark. By the time we got to the Lookout the rain had set in. We stopped for a quick bite and chat then headed back to our cars. The bush kept us reasonably dry and we chatted along the way putting the world to right. Thanks to Peter for leading. Keen trampers were: Peter, Hillary, Donald, Callum, Terry and me Judy; also Jessica en route.

28-30 June 2019 - Mystery Night Trip – Cromel Valley

Friday – Peter kindly drove the 5 southern trampers to the Drummond Homestead off Selbie Road where Pip was waiting to join us on the 2 hour walk into the Cromel Hut.  With calm skies above we enjoyed side stepping around a few muddy sections on the 4WD track as the nearby Cromel calmly flowed.  The first sign of nearing the nights accommodation was a tall lifeless sentinel.  How great this giant had once been.  Sighting the hut is always a welcome sight as night was approaching.  The shared load of wood and coal soon generated a warm focus in the cold room alongside food and the cosy sleeping bags awaiting, some even had cute wee hoties!

Saturday – After 12 hours of rest for the bodies – how often does that happen in our busy lives?  We were ready just after 9am.  We marched along a short walk from the hut to a DOC sign where we turned right.  Soon we were climbing a big spur and changed gear very quickly.  Darrin was like a gazelle and Pip with her usual steady pace marched up smartly. We had numerous catch ups and could hear the wind gusting at times, but we were still sheltered.  Then out onto the alpine growth we felt the strength of the gusty blow and care was needed as we moved from pole to pole over lots of dead wood from some alpine scrub, that I wondered why they all died.  We could see the road by now and knew a cuppa with lunch was just around the corner.  The two bunkrooms have been renovated from bunks on each side to sleeping platforms and there was fresh paint all around, and the toilet still has the “bestest” view.  Any trip down can often prove to be a workout still and this is when one realises just how steep some sections were.  We made good time with all hips, knees, feet and smiles intact.  8.4km altogether and time for afternoon wood chopping and stacking before nibbles and natter, followed by the evening meal in front of a shapely fire stacked at 38o by Darrin -  It worked.

Sunday – Another 12 hours of beauty snoring followed.  Pip was surprised by Anne holding a wee cake with a P shaped candle and us vocalising Happy Birthday – she was delighted.  After breakfast it was clean-up and on the feet again.  A most enjoyable meander out and back to the homestead to thank Hannah for allowing us access.  This is a 2 story, triple brick, 10 bedroom, 1 schoolroom, 2 lounge,1 kitchen, 1 bathroom home from 1864 circa and what a treasure!  Next it was lunch at Five Rivers Café followed by Pip heading north and us down south on such a beauty day.

Thanks Peter (the super chauffeur) and Anne for leading and sharing another great new winter walk with us all safe and smiling Judy, Pip, Darrin and Denise

15-16 June 2019 - Kiwi Burn

6 of us headed off for Kiwi Burn hut ( Mavora) on Saturday. After fuelling up at Dome cafe we headed to the track beginnings. A fairly straight forward walk to the hut where we arrived in good time to wallow in the sun - where was the sun visor! That night we bunked down along with 3 others (Wanaka) in a very cosy hut - thanks to coal we carried in. With some competitive games we whiled away the evening! Outside it was stars and a full moon. The following morning we were up and away for a 3/4 hour swamp slog via the loop track plus navigating the impressive tussocks on route.This was followed by a bit of a sweat up an ascent then a pleasant walk through the beech forest. Then back to the swing bridge and cars. Weather was great and we arrived back in Invercargill to rain and hail. It’s always nice to escape the city environs and head to the hills in spite of some time since one has had a pack on their back. Also the Mavora landscape is so free from development and tourism which adds another dimension that one values! Those that went - Barbara,  Anne, Nico, Ian, Jackie ( scribe) Thanks to Barbara organising driving, and Judy.

10-12 May 2019 - Wanaka

Nine trampers left Invercargill on Friday evening, 10th May, in a rental van driven by Peter.  We had a pit stop in Queenstown and arrived at the Top 10 camping ground about 9.30pm.  Top 10 had left the heaters on in the bunk rooms which was very thoughtful of them.  After a hot drink we retired. On Saturday morning we were up and waiting at the DOC office at 8am, as per their instructions to Peter, to pay our NZAC hut fees for the Aspiring Hut.  Only their info was wrong and they didn't open until 9.30am.  We continued to Raspberry Creek car park up the Matukituki valley.  We started walking at 9.15am getting to Aspiring Hut at 11.45am.  The day was warm, cloud high in the mountains and the ground was very soggy, wetter than anyone had experienced before. After lunch five of us went for a walk up to Pearl Flat taking us a hour each way  listening to bird song along the way. We walked through lovely native bush into the tussock ground at Pearl Flat where we had great views of glaciers and waterfalls.  On the way back we met up with some of our fellow trampers taking a wee walk after their midday nap and collecting firewood. We had all carried in 1kg bags of coal so didn't need to replenish the firewood box to much.

In the evening the rain started and wind came up but by morning the rain had turned to a drizzle.  We walked back to Raspberry Flat past friendly cows and more waterfalls than the previous day. The creeks were still low and comfortable for driving the van though.  Lunch was had in Wanaka and then the drive home, raining most of the way.

Many thanks for Peter our leader and very good driver. Trampers who went: Denise, Anne T, Barbara, Anne McD, Jimmy, Neil, Raewynne and me, Judy.

3 May 2019 - Omaui

After fortified by a coffee and a hot cross bun at McDonalds I was well prepared for the days action! Gathered up the 3 others and we were on our way to Omaui. Weather didn’t look that wonderful but it was only a light drizzle and didn’t get any worse til we arrived back in town.The track is very good and nicely enclosed in the native Bush. We enjoyed the 1 1/2 hours walk up to the view point. In spite of misty skies still reasonable views .Down and back to cars then onto lunch at Seafood shack at Ocean Beach. We ate Paua sliders and blue cod and chips whilst appreciating the views.Onto Bluff for a hot chocolate - some warming substance! Finished off with a stroll along Greenpoint walkway to view the ships graveyard.An enjoyable days outing probably to an area undervalued.Those that made up for a great day were Steph,Judy, a Bunny and me ( Jackie) Feathered friends on show and tweeting with a Bunny were Fantails and Bellbirds on upper slopes and shags on the lower.

27-28 April 2019 - Routeburn Classic

Barbara, Anne, Darren and David B. left Invercargill on Friday afternoon at 1pm to act as marshalls for the Saturday event , aware that due to inclement weather it might not eventuate the following day. After a brief stop at Te Anau we arrived at Gunn's camp at 5pm. It was Scrabble that night and with no abatement in the weather, Trivial Pursuits the next morning before a walk around the various camp tracks including Hells Bells, Chainsaw Chairs , Mountain view and the Big Tree. Advice then received that the event had been cancelled so we drove to Milford Sound for a look and walk around stopping at the tourist places on the way, particularly the Chasm, and then Homer Hut on return. On Sunday, firstly the Humbolt Falls, then lunch at Lake Howden before returning to Invercargill. Due to adverse weather, bird sightings were not prolific and the absence of keas was also particularly noticeable. A big thank you to Barbara who organised an enjoyable weekend although not as originally as planned. David B.

13-14 April 2019 - Longwood Forest Track, Te Araroa Trail.

I had an early start meeting Annabel and her camper at the Round Hilly car park at the southern end of the Longwoods track. We then drove via Otautau as far up the Merrivale Road as the gorse would allow. It was a pleasant walk up a forest track until we reached the native bush where the going got steeper until we came out onto tussock country on the west side of the repeater on Bald Hill (805m). A freshly graveled road meant it was an uncomfortable walk down to the gravel pit where we headed up through the bush to another high point. We dropped altitude before reaching Longwood Hill (764m). We continued south through the tussocks, watching the sun set before heading east steeply down to Martin’s Hut. Fun in the mud in the dark? Two hunters were already at the four-bunk hut so we had a pleasant evening with music and hot food. Two more trampers arrived at 11pm so erected their tent outside.

The hunters headed to the tops before dawn. We heard a deer roar near the hut. It took 20mins down Turnbulls Track before we met Cascade Rd. We soon met up with the Ports Water Race Track and started following the contours. We weaved in and out of the gullies but there was also lots of short, sharp dips because there has been lots of wash outs of the track and bridges. Lots of the log bridges were too rotten or slippery to navigate. We saw water race tunnels, remnants of bridges and an old stamper battery. Towards the end of the day the track runs adjacent to farmland and the deer were bellowing. Once I met the Round Hill Walking Track it was torch on and down to Annabel’s camper for the drive north to pick up my vehicle. The promise of a long soak in a hot bath had kept me motivated over the last few hours. I didn’t expect a bowl of oysters to be delivered to the bath though. Thanks Annabel for all your organization.

Annabel & Anne (scribe)

7 April 2019 -  Mores Reserve - Riverton

One car from Invercargill met Elizabeth at Mores Reserve in Riverton.  We started walk at 2pm. The day was a magic sunny, blue one.  We first went up to the Lookout where we got amazing views of the Southland plains, the Southern Coast line and Stewart Island.  Elizabeth pointed out and named the other islands along the coast. We came out of Mores Reserve at the back beaches of Riverton. The ocean waves were heaving and noisey. Each beach had different type of stones and sand. Unfortunately we come across a dead seal.  But plenty of oyster catchers and sea gulls. We walked as far as the Beach House cafe arriving at 4pm.  We had afternoon tea and then Elizabeth's Mum came and took us back up to Mores car park.

Walkers were: Elizabeth, Vivieen, Shirley, 4 legged Toby and me Judy.  Thanks to Elizabeth and her Mum for a beautiful day.

30/31 March 2019 - Homer Stoat Trip

Six tramping club members joined Stan Mulvany (Alpine Club)and Alistair Macdonald (Permolat Southland) at the Homer Hut for the weekend.  The weather prior to our trip had been atrocious causing Stan & Alistair to postpone checking the Bowen Valley traps and they had completed both the Homer trap line and the Gertrude valley lines before we got there.  Saturday dawned fine and the rivers were down so three members accompanied Stan to the Bowen Valley trap line for the day and the other three accompanied Alistair to check on a new possum line that had recently been cut and had new traps fitted.

Sunday was also a good day and five members departed for Invercargill via Lake Gunn, Lake Mistletoe, Rakatu Wetlands, Tuatapere Reserve and coffee shop (covered all the sights!).  I stayed on as Hut Warden for the next 10 days.  Judy, David, Shirley, Barbara, Annabel and Anne

23 March 2019 - Von Valley Bike Ride (M,B)

Most of us met at the museum at 6.30am, arriving on bike and in cars.  By 7am bikes were on the trailer and two vehicles took off to Drummond where we collected Graeme and another vehicle of riders joined us. Final pick up was Gillian somewhere in the middle of Southland.

With one comfort stop at Mossburn we made it to Walter Peak on Lake Wakatipu by 10.30am.  We were off on our bikes by 10.45am.  Some went for a look-see at Walter Peak homestead and the drivers stayed for a coffee.  The day was sunny, temperature just right for cycling.  The road was gravel and in good condition. We only had a few vehicles pass us and they all slowed so we didn’t have too much bother with dust.

We stopped at the start of the BIG HILL for lunch at 1.45pm.  Some cycled the hill.  Some walked up with their bike going on the trailer.  Some went in the vehicles.  Some started cycling and got a wee tow from the van or had to get off and walk a wee bit.  At the top of the hill we regathered and took in the wonderful views of the Von Valley. 

Apart from a couple of up and downs for creek crossings it was nearly all downhill to the Mavora lakes turn off. Finishing at 3.30pm and enjoying Graeme’s box of grapes he brought along, we were back in Invercargill by 6.45pm with a stop at Mossburn for refreshments.

Many thanks for Graeme for organising.

Thank you to Drivers - Margaret, Hamish, Anne McD, Peter Simpson

Cyclists - Dennis, Sandra, BJ, Neil, Jimmy, Mike, Adrian, Anne I, Judy, George, Ethan, Mary, Ashley, Graeme.      We cycled 51 k

16-17 March 2019 - Dunedin Weekend

Allison, Anne and driver Denise headed to Dunedin on Friday afternoon, up through Kaikorai Valley and along a narrow bush road to Tanner Street where Pip and Bob have bought a retirement home.  On Saturday morning Pip, Bob, Aly (their daughter) and Denise headed out on foot for their tramping.

Alison and I headed down to Ross Creek car park and started walking down round the reservoir and past high cliffs and followed a stream to the Leith Valley camping ground.  On our return journey we crossed the dam and proceeded up the other side of the reservoir.  After lunch a phone call summoned me to pick up the trampers and after a leisurely afternoon where various people did different things we all gathered for tea at Pips where we were joined by Vince, a fellow tramper.

Sunday morning we left the house and walked 100 yards to the Craigieburn track and started walking. There were tracks everywhere, well-kept graveled paths crisscrossing and without our guide we could have been anywhere!!!!  After a figure eight walk of the tracks we returned to the house for a quick cuppa before returning over Three Mile Hill to Invers.  Thanks Pip and Bob for your hospitality, Denise for driving, and everyone else for joining in for a great relaxing weekend. Anne

Bob, myself, our daughter, Aly, and Denise left our house and within 4 mins we were in the bush walking up the hill on  the Pineapple Track to the junction of Flagstaff Track. We detoured along the ridge to the top of Flagstaff. Great views across the city in one direction,  and across the Taieri the way. From here we backtracked to join the track towards Swampy Summit. This track certainly has some steep uphills. From Swampy Summit we could look across the Silver Peak range, and also looked down to Blueskin Bay and Waitati. There was cold wind at lunchtime so we found a sheltered spot in north side of buildings on Swampy. From there it was off down the Leith Saddle track, all way down to top of Northern motorway.  Walked across road and started walking down the old motorway road to Sullivan's Dam where Anne and Alison picked us up. 

Distance:14km in total, Time of actual walking: 3hrs50mins. Total ascents: 756m             Pip

9 March  2019 – Tent Erecting Day

A fine summer day saw the keen volunteers airing and erecting all of the STC tents and flys.  Thanks to Veronica for transporting the tents to Bain Park and back to their storage spot in her residence.  Thanks to BJ, David G, Shirley, Barbara, Denise, Graham and grand-daughter Ivy, Anne and grandson Ridley for erecting and dismantling the tents.  The Club now has a photographic record of the tents for hire and the sizes.  Committee members also sorted packs and billies ready for this year’s tramping season

23/24 February 2019 – Pourakino track maintenance            

Steve, Terry and I left town at 8 on Saturday, and after getting organised at the Pourakino picnic area at the end of Harrington Rd, set off to work about 9.30.

Terry led the way, sawing off branches and clearing the larger logs off the track, Steve shaved all the ferns and undergrowth that had become overgrowth with a grunty weed-cutter-come-shrub-buster that did an amazing job of clearing everything in its path, and I followed up picking up and tossing the worst of the debris, as well as doing a bit of extra lopping with my trusty loppers.

The weather was ideal, despite ominous forecasting, and short breaks by the river in the bush were very enjoyable. We headed back about 4 to erect tents and organise meals. Very tired and a little sore.

Rain through the night and wildlife noises. A morepork sounded very close, and more local fauna did a drive-by in the middle of the night, shining car lights through our tents, but didn’t hang around. Sunday dawned fine but cool, and we set out to where we’d finished off to carry on for another 4 hours.

The track doesn’t get used very often and the cutting back was hard going and slow, but really satisfying to enjoy a clear track as we re-traced our steps back to the start.  We still have a wee way to go and it would be good to get more involved next time. It’s a beautiful track with the river so delightfully close and quirky artefacts for interest along the way as well. It would be good to get lots more foot traffic through, which helps in keeping the pathways clear so I suggest it as a day or part-day walk especially if you have visitors from elsewhere looking for an easy flat excursion into the bush down here.

Weary and achy after the weekend but pleased with what was done.

Steve, Terry, Barbara.

17 February 2019 – Castlerock Limestone Cliffs and Castledowns Wetland 

This trip was a chance to see a new area that has not been explored by the Southland Tramping Club.   We had one keen member who joined us at our house but unfortunately we had another two keen members, who had not put their names on the list, who followed us up and spent time exploring the area. This resulted in another extra 50 kms of travel for them.  

The Castlerock cliffs are part of a large area of limestone that extends through parts of Southland but this formation is probably the most spectacular and has been a home for the extinct Haast Eagle, the Moa, and is now a home for nesting falcons. We spent two hours being guided around this area by the landowner Brian Russell. The main area of interest can be seen from the road but it is only up close that you are able to see the large cracks between the enormous chunks of rock that have trapped animals and birds in the past.

 We then moved to the Wetland and were still exploring, releasing trees and killing weeds followed by afternoon tea.   People on the trip were Tess and her four children, Virginia, Heather, Neil, Adrian, Cassia, Eamon, Shirley, Carl and Ann.

Please feel free to visit this area at any time. Our next field day will be on the 17th March when we will take go up in the forest and be able to look down at the Wetland and be able to plan the work for the future.        Ann

9 February 2019 – Otago Central Rail Trail in One Day

It was 2015 that Graeme Appleby organised the first STC trip to complete the whole 152Km of the central Otago Rail Trail in one day.   I went into that one under-prepared but managed to complete the course.   It was time for revenge….  Saturday February 9th we were going to do it again.   Logistically it is a bit of a nightmare.   Transport needs to be organised and suitability to do the trip needed to be assessed.   We had Graeme all signed up and ready to go.   John and Jenni Kennedy were going to get me to Alexandra, Jenni was going to drive and John was going to have a short sharp blast on the bike.

The trip had a number of Dynamics with it.  We were half way to Alexandra when I got a message that Graeme wasn’t coming.   He had tooth ache and that day had a root canal done so was not feeling exactly chipper.

Craig Hodsell: he is one of those people that if you are comfortable cycling at 15 K, he is comfortable cycling at 25.   If you are cycling at 25, he is comfortable at 40K.   His plan was to stick with us till Wedderburn and then cycle off towards Twizel.   In the end he left us at Oturihua, cycled to Wedderburn, got off the trail, cycled over the Danseys Pass, up to Kurow and half way up the Hakataramea valley before he called it quits for the night, a distance of around 210Km carrying all his gear.

John made it to Lauder before sore bum syndrome got the better of him. That left George Mattson, son Daniel, 14 year old grandson Ethan White and myself to complete the task.   Everyone except Ethan had done the one day trip before.

It was 4:15am out of bed and we were on the trail at 5:40am.  Weather was mild and the wind was reasonably calm.   The number of Carl Johnstones, oops, I mean rabbits on the track was staggering, seldom less than 5 in our headlights at any one time between Clyde and Alexandra. 7:00 am we passed through Chatto Creek and 8:40am at Lauder.  

The wind was starting to pick up from the north at this stage and we knew we had to get to the high point before it reached its predicted 24K strength from the North. We kept taking small breaks along the way with larger ones at Oturihua and Ranfurly.   It was a wee drag from Oturihua into the wind and then as we began to turn towards the East and Ranfurly it began to push us along a bit better.   We reached the high point just before mid-day.   Our average speed over that 75K portion was 15.4K.   It was a 6K downhill, tail wind ride into Wedderburn where the average speed had risen to 15.7K.   Ranfurly was a welcome sight for lunch and about 1:30 we departed there on the next leg.   Jenni cycled the bit from Daisy Bank, through Tiroiti to Hyde over some magnificent viaducts and the last tunnel, then on past to the Hyde rail crash memorial site.   The Hyde Café is closed but there is an honesty box there with nibbles. Tea, coffee & drinks available.   We were soon on our way for the last 27K.   The wind being a Northerly was coming over the hills to the west, down the gullies and spreading out over the trail so at times on this section we had tail, side and head winds, travelling at close to 40K one minute and 14 the next. But we made it, we pulled in to the Middlemarch station at 5:10pm.   It had taken us 11.5 hrs including rest stops.   Our cycling time was 8hrs 24min with an average speed of 18K/hr.

The Mattson’s headed off back to Invercargill whilst John, Jenni & I returned to Alexandra. After packing up on Sunday morning the three of us cycled the 25K down the riverside trail to Clyde and back to Alexandra, on the rail trail, just for something to do.   An interesting point is that we saw more people cycling the 11.5K riverside trail than we did on the rail trail the day before.

Thanks to John and Jenni for the ride, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten there.   Thanks also to George, Daniel and Ethan for the company and the motivation to succeed.

There was some interest in doing this trip at a more leisurely pace.   This trip didn’t really lend itself to this on reflection.   Therefore if anyone is interested in doing it over the normal 3 days we will put it on the list for Late February or Mid-march next year.   BJ

26 January 2019 - Whiskey Creek, Dolamore Park. (Gore) (E/D)

We met at the prearranged time of 12.30pm for our trip; luckily the weather had cleared from the recent extreme winter factors. With the main roads being busy with the Crank-up show we took the back road there. The Park is very popular at this time of year with campers and even a wedding taking place when we arrived.From the start of the track it was a half hour walk to the lookout track, the going most of the way is steep and uphill. The lookout commands a good view of the surrounding area out to Bluff and Stewart Island. From the turn off to the lookout it is a 10 minute to the Whisky Falls - only problem is that it is badly sigh posted from the bridge. However it’s a delightful small waterfall. Couldn’t find the whisky. The story goes that in the days of the illegal whisky trade (around1930-40s) when the police went to find the product it was the horses that smelled the whiskey. From here it was a 3km walk out to the car park. Good to have the three kids with us experiencing the outdoors. Those who went were Ash, Astra, Liam, Glenda, Shirley, Barb, Raewyne, Cameron, David, Violet and me, Neil.

6 to 10 January 2019 – Annual STC bike trip (F)

Day 1 No. 1 drive, BJ, had the stop watch on for pickups with our first rests and changeover at Tapanui where Anne took over the hot seat. The wipers swish swished in competition to chatter chatter as the van chugged up the first hill after Raes Junction. One keen nose from the back seat mentioned a smell of some sort and again some kms later. Stop – look – check. Moving on to Alexandra when wiffy smoke began curling out of the door by Hillary’s long legs. Finding a big enough space on a busy, winding, hilly road had us all ‘eagle eyed.’ The spot sighted already had a vehicle. So it was up to BJ and Sandra to brave the rain on top of a wee rise to phone and arrange our evacuation. Adrien came to lighten the load. Then Anne engaged the munted clutch, said a few words and planted her right foot all the way back to Roxburgh. No biking today. (Who wants to get wet anyway?) Riverside Rentals promptly exchanged vans and we were all ready for …

Day 2 This was our first day of cycling, an approximately 31Km ride from Alexandra to our accommodation in Roxburgh. In bright, sunny weather we started at Alexandra on the Roxburgh Gorge trail. It was a leisurely ride under the Alexandra Bridge and the trail meanders alongside the mighty Clutha Mata-au river. About the point where the river becomes Lake Roxburgh there is a gorge and an abrupt transition from easy to so steep(!) that it is recommended to walk this section, 400m or so, before reverting to easy riding.Along the way, there are relics from the early gold mining days, water races and various Chinese miner’s cottages. At Doctors point the trail ends. We met some cyclists who had converted their bikes to e-bikes, it was interesting to see them but we agreed we weren’t ready to convert just yet.To link with the Shingle Creek end there is a jet boat that we had booked to take us and the bikes. The jet boat ride was fantastic, the driver gave us great commentary of the history of the area, natural history, gold mining and infamous robbers/murderers that roamed the area and he finished the ride with a 360 spin.At Shingle creek some of the early boaters went swimming. After lunch, from Shingle creek the landscape is a lot more rugged and remote, the trail climbs steadily for 11 Km finishing with what looks like a horrendous climb, but in actual fact is two grinding zigzags that most of us managed to cycle up without having to walk. This trail finishes at the Roxburgh Dam. Here the party split, those following the Clutha Gold trail back to our accommodation and those keen to bike via Roxburgh and have a real fruit ice cream. – Robyn

Day 3 This was our second day of cycling, an approximate 48Km ride from our accommodation at Roxburgh to the Beaumont Hotel. Adrian, Blair and myself had taken vehicles down to Beaumont and got back to our camp before everyone else had departed. A leisurely 9:30 start saw us head south cycling along the Clutha river until we got to Pinders Pond. By the time the last of us had gotten there some of the lead bunch had decided that a swim was the order of the day. At about the 20 Km mark we arrived at Millers Flat. It is easy to see the value the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail has on the local economy, the local (and only) cafe was doing a moderate amount of trade with coffee’s, teas and hot chocolates plus accessories. Off again heading towards Beaumont the track sometimes uses the former railway line and sometimes the road formally associated with the railway. Early afternoon we negotiated the one lane bridge with traffic lights at Beaumont, into the pub for a ginger beer and a BLT. Loading up the bikes was much easier with the new rack and it wasn’t long before we were heading back to our accommodation. We arrived in Roxburgh about 5 to 4 and shot into Jimmy’s pie shop for afternoon tea, a mince pie. Graeme and Jan were up north for the Christmas / New Year break so I got a photo taken for Graeme to see what he was missing.... Then txt’ed it to him. Dinner that night was at the Millers Flat Tavern. The Rib Eye steak is one of the largest I’ve seen and it is the first time I’ve run out of chips before steak. Although this is a cycle trip, and cycling was achieved, the trip was more about having a really nice social time, catching up as a group. So if you say to yourself “I’ve already done this trip” then you’ve missed the point of why we go away. - BJ

Day 4 Beaumont to Lawrence. Vehicles, bikes and cyclists were assembled at Beaumont ready to ride by 10am. Blair, Barry and Adrian relocated the transport – their daily job. A short ride of 19.4 km to Lawrence with “The Big Hill” the highest part of the trail along the way. Beaumont is at about 60m above sea level and we went up to about 180m to the 440m long tunnel. Anne McD forgot to take her sunglasses off and half way along the tunnel finally worked out why she couldn’t see. The cycle-way had some rough patches from blow outs around the streams from previous floods and willow trees leaning over the track whipping our faces. We had a few cars toot encouragement as we went along – one of these was “Rabbit”. At the entrance to Lawrence there was the Chinese village to see and Wetlands which have been restored. In Lawrence we had an hour of free time to sightsee and then it was off to Gabriel’s Gully. Where we got a wee bit of a shower. We had an interesting walk around the Gully. Up and down hills though native bush seeing lots of hidden gems from the goldmining days. Then a tour in the van around Blue Spur town and back home to Clutha Gold Cottages in Roxburgh for showers for another great meal out in Roxburgh. Sandra had left the best to last. Dining at the Lake Roxburgh Lodge at the Hydro village was a finish to a perfect day. – Judy

Day 5 This day, apart from returning to Invercargill, was the final day and ‘the mystery trip’. It was kept under wraps by trip leader Sandra and revealed at dinner on Wednesday evening. We would bike the Poolburn Gorge on the Rail Trail. Bikes on trailer and riders in van we left Roxburgh at 8.30am heading to Lauder. On arrival we unloaded the bikes, dressed accordingly (again perfect cycling weather) and proceeded to cycle the gentle climb up the track through rugged rocky outcrops of spectacular scenery and gorge which includes two tunnels one measuring 201metres and the second 245metres and two massive viaducts. Turn around point was the Manuherikia River viaduct. After taking in the views here, it was a sprint downhill returning to Lauder; a total of 14 kms return on a warm sunny calm morning.Time to head home, lunch in Alexandra, fresh berry and stone fruit buy up for some in Ettrick, arrived Invercargill 4.30pmish dropping bikers off at their homes completed by 5.30pm. Total amount of kilometres cycled overall for the whole 4 days was 108kms. A big thankyou to Sandra for a well organised trip and to those who cycled making it a fun and successful 5 days. Bring on January 2020 - Hilary


- 23 November 2018 - Leslie Karamea Track - Multiday TripGraeme Appleby 0274 335737Friday 16: Fly to Nelson and then walk to Salisbury Lodge 4 hoursSaturday 17: Karamea Bend Hut 5 ½ hoursSunday 18 Venus Hut 5 hoursMonday 19: Trevor Carter Hut 6 hoursTuesday 20: Stone Hut 5 ½ hoursWednesday 21: King Creek Hut 2 ½ hoursThursday 22: End 3½ hours plus 6 kms walk Road to Nelson BackpackersFriday 23: Fly homeIf you are interested, please ring Graeme on the above number

17 October 2018  -Walk, Talk and Cuppa.This month will be along Oreti Beach. Meet at Stead St wharf at 7.30. Phone me, 2164797, if the weather is iffy. Bring a bag or two for rubbish collecting, and we’ll head to Ziffs for the usual cuppa afterwards. Barbara.

12-14 October 2018 – Gertrude and Homer Area - TrappingAnne McDermott 027 480 4995 [email protected]Now is your opportunity to become part of a group of members who assist with the eradication of pests in this unique part of our country.Leaving Friday (depending on who comes what time we leave) afternoon and head to Te Anau for a bite to eat before travelling to Homer Hut (free accommodation and free travel costs) where we will base ourselves for the weekend. Saturday morning we will don gloves (and hopefully not coats) and head up the Gertrude Valley checking traps. We should return to the hut for lunch, Depending on time we will check the traps at the Homer area either later on Saturday or Sunday Morning. If all the traps are checked on Saturday we may find time for a side trip on Sunday before returning to Invers.

​​​​​​​7 October 2018 – Beach HutAnne McDermott 03 212 8611 / 027 480 4995Meet at the museum 8am Sunday. We’ll drive up to Fairlight. It’s a 4 hr walk in and 4 hr back. Should be a good day out.

​​​​​​30 September 2018 - Bluff Millennium Track Jackie 027 405 3938Just for you;Some salty air - some great vistas - some exercise up up up down! And if you’re lucky a Sou’west blast! 3- 4 hours approx.Leaving from museum 9.00 am.

​​​​​​​20-24 September 2018 - Greenstone/Caples (F)

Thursday I met Judy in Lumsden and we headed to the DoC office in Te Anau then up to the Divide. There we met a group of Aussie school kids enjoying a snowball fight who had just come off the track. The ascent to the Key Summit junction had a few windfalls and places where the root base from a fallen tree had pulled the track away, but we soon reached Howden Hut. After a snack we hit the track along Lake Howden to McKellar Hut. The beech forest was beautiful and we enjoyed listening to birds. We shared the hut with one Aussie, nursed the fire in the cold hut until it was toasty inside, played cards and slept by the fire.

Friday we back tracked to the junction with the Caples, admiring the contrast of green moss and white snow in the forest. The ascent to McKellar saddle was in glorious sunshine with beautiful views, ‘forcing’ us to stop and sit and soak up the warmth and beauty a few times. We had a rifleman chatting to us in one place with its high reedy tweet. The walk was pleasant and we chatted away. Once we got out of the trees and along the grass valley we spotted 2 deer quite near the hut. We merrily showed the photo to the 5 hunters in the Mid Caples Hut, who hadn’t seen any deer since arriving on Tuesday! This hut was much warmer in the sun, and the hunters had cut a huge pile of firewood.

Saturday we woke to frost. Allowing for the tales of terrible windfall on the track from the Greenstone Road end to the hut, Judy said we’d head along the old farmland track out of the trees. This was easy walking with only one spot we had to pretend to be sheep and clamber under bushes and up the slope round a section the river had cut away. We ate lunch in the sun, near the confluence of the Greenstone and Caples rivers, to build up our energy before entering the trees. Here the windfall was pretty bad, leading to an energetic walk and clamber. We counted 119 falls, ranging from a simple branch or trunk across the track to multi tree pile ups. We did our bit clearing any small bits we could manage, but were pretty pleased to finally get to the Greenstone Hut after 7hrs and 18km. Only one other person joined us that night. The hut was cosy warm with the fire and we played more cards until bedtime.

Sunday we started with a good deed giving one gas bottle to our Aussie hut companion as he’d forgotten his and was headed to Taipo Hut with no fire. The Greenstone Valley was open grassland to start with, but the weather had turned and it was rather drizzly and much windier. Once we got into the trees we were back into windfall which, despite being about the same amount in total, seemed maybe not quite as bad here. However, it was still tiring and as we neared McKellar Hut we heard and saw a group of riflemen. Birds had been pretty good on the trip- oyster catchers, Canada geese, scaup, paradise shelducks, tui, pipits, chaffinches, blackbird, tomtit, robins etc. At the hut, before drying off inside, we chopped a load of firewood then set to nursing the fire again until the hut was finally toasty. It was great timing for our arrival as the rain came down heavier once we were able to enjoy hearing it on the roof! We had the hut to ourselves so once again slept by the fire after playing cards.

Monday we were out of the hut at 7.15 and back at Lake McKellar then Lake Howden in light rain. After very early lunch in the shelter of Howden Hut it was a 10 minute ascent to the Key Summit junction then down to the car, noting that the trees had been cleared on this section of track now. Judy and Annabel

Sunday 9th September 2018 - Taieri Millenium Track

Anne left Bluff early to meet Judy in Invercargill, who then picked up Annabel in Mataura, and Toni at Owaka turnoff and proceeded to Henley Ferry car park, which is on Taieri Ferry Road, just before Henley, where we met up with Jackie. The Millenium track passed through forest heading uphill before cutting downhill to John Bull Gully picnic area and beach where we had an early lunch, and meet up with other picnickers who had canoed up the river. As Jackie had other plans she returned to the car park. The other four of us proceed back along the track until the Taeiri River track turnoff and headed up the big hill to the lookout, but the rewards were well worth the effort. The beautiful sunny day had all the birds in the bush singing at the top of their lungs. While enjoying a rest at5the seat on the hilltop we could see back along the river from where we had come and also look out towards the Taieri mouth and the seaside. Unfortunately we could also smell the gorse flowers which were abundant on the surrounding hills. We meandered back along the track enjoying the sunshine and birdsong to the car park, where we noticed that the river was obviously affected by the tides and the road we travelled in on, was now underwater.

We proceeded carefully and slowly through about 100mm deep water back to old Ferry site before proceeding to Waihola for refreshments, and returning to Invers. Thanks to Annabel for organising a great day out, Judy for driving us, Toni and Jackie for joining us and Anne (Scribe).


1-2 Sept 2018 – Alabaster Hut

5 of us met at Gunns Camp later on the Friday evening while Anne and Denise had gone on ahead to Hidden Falls Hut that afternoon. 

Saturday morning saw us walking in mild weather down Hollyford Track towards Alabaster Hut.

We detoured into Hidden Falls Hut as Neil had decided that was his destination for the day, so the remaining 4 of us continued onto Alabaster.

Anne and Denise were there before us and had done great job collecting firewood for the evening.

No one else arrived at the hut so we had it all to ourselves.

We managed to stay up as late as 8pm.!!

Light rain next morning saw raincoats on..Anne left first and the rest of us never caught up with her until Hidden Falls!

Go Anne go!!

Picking up Neil, then out to car park still in light rain.

Thanks to Elizabeth for a great weekend of fun and comradeship. 

Trampers;    Elizabeth, Anne, Denise, Judy, Neil, and Bob & Pip.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​25-26 August 2018– Ski Trip

​​​​​​​The day was Friday. It was time to organize ourselves for the weekend. About 7:30 four of us set of heading towards Kingston for the night as our accommodation was at Ron’s crib. In the morning, rising at 6am, we eventually sorted things out and we were heading towards Cardrona for the first day. This trip is approximately 1 ½ hours from here so an early start is quite common. We arrived fairly early at the field and already a crowd was forming as it was competition day for the race team. There was a slight delay in starting because of fog but we all had an excellent day. On our return we stopped at Pak & Save to fill our shopping order for our evening meal. A nice meal – thanks to Mary. Later that night we all ventured out to sit on the back of the ute. No travelling this time as it was bath time. A few hours were spent heating water and we all had an excellent soak for as long as. Sunday turned out a nice day as well – at the Remarkables this time. We eventually headed down the mountain and collected our gear at Kingston and made our way home. The team: Rabbit, Duncan, Ron and Mary – Jimmy Rabbit

11 August - Catlins - the Old Possumer’s track  Five of us met at Tisbury corner 9am. We all went in Barbara’s car for the one and half hour drive to Papatowai where we walked the Old Possumer’s track. The bush was lush and green, the track was in good condition and the sun was shining. At 11.45am we popped out of the bush onto Tahakopa Bay where we had an early lunch. Then we walked along the deserted beach to the estuary, where there was once a Moa Hunting site, and back into the bush for a short walk back to the car.Our next stop was at Lake Wilkie a 30 minute walk, where we viewed perfect reflections of the forest in the water. We also noticed a drone flying above from a tourist getting the perfect shot. Then it was on to McLean Falls, a 40 minute walk, the tallest waterfall in the Catlins at 22m.Our last stop was at Fortrose café for refreshments. Trampers attending: Barbara (leader and driver), Jackie, Nico, Dave and Judy.

4-5 August2018 – Kiwi Burn/MavoraIt was a beautiful Saturday morning when Elizabeth picked up David and I in her ‘new’ blue Honda CRV. We took the Dipton back road to Mossburn where we stopped for coffee at the Dome Café then headed towards the Mavora Lakes. The track to the Kiwi Burn Hut starts by crossing a swing bridge across the Mararoa River. A quick selfie or 3 and we headed off into the beech forest late morning. We ambled along the Mararoa then headed up the Kiwi Burn. We had to cross several streams as we headed up the grassy flats to the Kiwi Burn Hut. We had a late lunch out on the deck. A note in the book complained about the smoky fire, so Elizabeth climbed onto the roof and attacked the chimney.We spent the afternoon criss-crossing the Kiwi Burn as we headed further up the valley to the junction with the Whitestone Track then back to the hut. Two families and a dog joined us.The smoky fire resolved itself with lots of heat and the evening was spent doing crosswords, reading and toasting marshmallows by the bonfire.In the morning we allowed plenty of time for the frost to dissipate. We again headed up the valley to the start of the Whitestone but continued steeply up the Loop Track before returning to the swing bridge. We drove into North Mavora for a picnic lunch then stopped at Mossburn again for coffee.Thanks Elizabeth for your organisation. Elizabeth S, David B and Anne T (scribe)

22 July 2018 – Omaui TracksMet at the reserve car park at Omaui on a windy and rainy Sunday, headed up the incline of the first part of the track and stopped to take in the view of the ocean and over to Oreti. As we head into the semi sheltered (from the rain) bush the track seems to level out. We came across a giant fern, a Mamaku, which made for a great photo opportunity. Then we carried along the track to the lookout. However, with the wind and the mist fairly strong up there we decided to head back down, thinking it was good timing for that track as it was not such a bright day and quite a sheltered track meant it could get dark in there. We all decided that we deserved a coffee and met at Glasinos afterwards. Jin, Nico, Glenda and Shirley.

30 June 2018 – Waipohatu Barbara could not have ordered a more pleasant winter day for this trip to Haldane to walk this DOC track. Hamish, Gin and I met Barbara and Simon at Tisbury School corner at 12.30pm. Simon chauffeured us to Tokanui where we turned off to travel through the Catlins Conservation Park. It was sunny and comfortably cool for a brisk walk. The forest had a hedge appearance for some of the way through the Park as it seems that a hedge cutter had been used to keep the road way clear. We came to the coastal Catlins road and found the turnoff to Waipohatu soon after, which was well signed.To those who are unfamiliar with this track, it has two parts – a short well graveled track which goes through bush and comes out at a clearing, with another track beyond, which is much longer, un-graveled, quite muddy in places with ponga stumps placed in the most boggy places. This track goes through mature bush, is beautiful but quiet. A single camera-shy robin was the only birdlife seen, and there was little native bird life to hear. No sign of trapping or baiting of pests. However the star of the track was the two waterfalls which are very close together and very different. One is broad with the water falling over a level shelf. The other is narrow, and higher with the same volume of water falling on large boulders some 30 feet below. Spectacular. A well-developed track would provide worthy competition for the McLean falls.The track is a loop one and this time we walked up the steep road at a fast clip before entering the bush and doing the longest portion of the track first and then the short track. We had the place totally to ourselves and met no other walkers on the way. We got back a little over 2 hours after we started, well exercised. Simon had the thermette on the boil (I must check the second hand shops for one) and we enjoyed the cuppa immensely, all the more so for the freshly baked muffins and shortbread that Barbara had made.We took the coastal road on the way back, which gave us a splendid view of the coast and Stewart Island, with a bank of fog in between. Thanks Barbara and Simon.

​​​​​​​24 June 18 – Forest Hill (E/M)Shirley Whitaker - 217 7724 or 027 343 1405.Initially we were to leave at 9am from the museum, however, due to a finer outlook in the afternoon we left at 1pm. I hadn’t been there for 5 years and at Tussock Greek there is a well laid out and landscaped shelter area. The area has been named after Derek Turnbull who was the famous runner around the 1980s and 1990s with his farm being just down the road.There were 7 of us who started the 15km leisurely walk. There are two lookout centres along the way which command a great view of the surrounding area with views of the Longwoods and Hokonui hills. It was a hour walk to the loop track which took about half an hour to walk around. From the end of this it was a 5 km walk back to the car park.Although it was a Sunday there were very few walkers and mainly runners using the facility. Upon finishing our walk it started raining so it was well timed. Luckily we had scones and chocolate biscuits at the end. Thanks a lot, Shirley. Those who went were Jin, David, Hamish, Raewyn, Shirley, Neil and Tracy

8 - 10 June 2018 – Mid-Winter AdventureBy 4:00 had picked up her ‘select’ and willing winter walkers and we were on to the Dunrobbin Valley Road park. We started in daylight but the sun soon dropped behind the white peaks and torches were needed. Underfoot was snowy and icy in many places. A young hunter, whom we had met earlier at the carpark, passed us and we were thankful for his footprints as the marker poles were not easy to sight in the dark. A few 360◦ dancing circles helped those with their fitbits on, I suppose. It was a calm starry night with only the sound of our crunchy footsteps and the Aparima River whispering beside us. Three hours later we were in the hut with bags of coal emptied from our packs and Elizabeth doing her combustion control to warm up the chilly hut. Tea time, cuppa and a chat before sleep.Saturday and a frosty reception outside encouraged a relaxed start. By now Anne T had a very sore knee. She had slipped down an icy slope the night before. Nurse sorted her injury. Cook served porridge and tucked her into bed to rest. With warm layers on the three others stepped outside into the now windy outdoors. The short uphill track through a sheltered Beech line soon had us cosy and, as we neared the high point of this tussocked spur, our toupees were nearly blown off. We looked towards the vast Waterloo Valley and the Princhester Mountains with a huge scarred cliff face dropping way down to the river on our left. I love this spot! Then into the bush again – up and down and around bogs and bogs and logs – until a break in a sun-filtered spot and back to camp to check on Anne. The rain came as predicted, so a quiet avo with chocolate, and cuppas alongside a heartwarming fire.Sunday: all clear and calm for the walk out. The 4-wd track was a sensible choice. Anne M had a trailer to pick up in Lumsden and deliver to Graeme in preparation for a similar unit made for the club. This will be exciting, especially for those loading and unloading all those bikes! Thanks, Anne M for your dependable leadership. We all enjoyed our adventure. Where are you taking us next year? Anne T, Elizabeth and Denise​​​​​​​

2 June – Riverton 2018 – Tihaka to Mores Reserve – part of Te Araroa TrailA chilly start for our day trip, meeting Barbara and Neil at Elizabeth’s house in Riverton before driving to Mores Reserve to place a car there. The 5 of us drove to Tihaka to commence our walk along part of the Te Araroa following the coast and going along aside of farm land. The trail was over grown in places, making it difficult to negotiate the barb wire fences to move along. After walking about 2 hours along the beautiful scenery and seeing the ever-changing seascapes, we reached the bottom of the Mores Reserve Hill and, after a steady climb up, we had our lunch at the top before driving to collect our car at Tihaka and then back home.A lovely winter walk, thank you, Elizabeth. Neil, Barbara, Graeme and Jan

30 June 2018 – Waipohatu Barbara could not have ordered a more pleasant winter day for this trip to Haldane to walk this DOC track. Hamish, Gin and I met Barbara and Simon at Tisbury School corner at 12.30pm. Simon chauffeured us to Tokanui where we turned off to travel through the Catlins Conservation Park. It was sunny and comfortably cool for a brisk walk. The forest had a hedge appearance for some of the way through the Park as it seems that a hedge cutter had been used to keep the road way clear. We came to the coastal Catlins road and found the turnoff to Waipohatu soon after, which was well signed.To those who are unfamiliar with this track, it has two parts – a short well graveled track which goes through bush and comes out at a clearing, with another track beyond, which is much longer, un-graveled, quite muddy in places with ponga stumps placed in the most boggy places. This track goes through mature bush, is beautiful but quiet. A single camera-shy robin was the only birdlife seen, and there was little native bird life to hear. No sign of trapping or baiting of pests. However the star of the track was the two waterfalls which are very close together and very different. One is broad with the water falling over a level shelf. The other is narrow, and higher with the same volume of water falling on large boulders some 30 feet below. Spectacular. A well-developed track would provide worthy competition for the McLean falls.The track is a loop one and this time we walked up the steep road at a fast clip before entering the bush and doing the longest portion of the track first and then the short track. We had the place totally to ourselves and met no other walkers on the way. We got back a little over 2 hours after we started, well exercised. Simon had the thermette on the boil (I must check the second hand shops for one) and we enjoyed the cuppa immensely, all the more so for the freshly baked muffins and shortbread that Barbara had made.We took the coastal road on the way back, which gave us a splendid view of the coast and Stewart Island, with a bank of fog in between. Thanks Barbara and Simon.