​​​​​​​Wednesday 20th December 2023 – Walk, Talk & Cuppa Otatara 

Whilst there is all the Hussle and Bustle of the up and coming Christmas Celebration, the one good thing is that the couple of weeks previous are not filled with committee meetings so we are able to get out and relax in the bush somewhere.   Wednesday 20th December, 7:30 pm was one of those allocated times.   Four people turned up at the car park just past the Otatara 4 Square Store and off we went for a meandering lap of the forest.   The day had ben very warm and this evening was no exception with the temperature in the low 20’s and the humidity in the high 90’s.   The track through the ICC maintained Reserve is of good quality and about 2km in length.   Although at some stage the place was probably milled to feed the growing town of Invercargill there are still a number of largish trees in the forest as well as the usual abundance of the well known  Native Plants.   A couple of things of interest were observed, one was a mildly noisy Parakeet and the second was a black stemmed native Orchid.   The walk took about 40 minutes in total before we exited the site and went home.  Those present, 2.5 x Otatara Landcare Group Members (Chris and Brian, the half being me) and 1.5 Southland Tramping Club Members (Anne and the other half being me) - BJ

​​​​​​​Sunday 10th December - STC Christmas Dinner at Glengarry Hotel 

26 people enjoyed a meal at Mrs Slocombe's with a few old faces and some new faces attending.

Thursday 7th-Sunday 10th - Homer Stoat Trapping

Thanks to all those who came along and helped with this project.  The weather played its part and didn't rain until we were almost finished checking and rebaiting, removing 4 rats and 1 stoat from this area.  Barbara, Graeme, Neroli, Ann, Christine, Ridley and Anne

​​​​​​​​​​Sunday 3rd December - Castledowns Wetlands (listed on behalf of Rural Women)

Thank you to all the people who came and helped us do some work in the Wetland on Sunday. It was great to see the progress we achieve every time we visit.  Despite the damp start to the day the weather improved. We had a group of trappers that managed to reduce the pests - 1 Cat in possum trap, 1 possum, 1 weasel, 1 stoat, 2 hedgehogs and 5 strikes on the Good nature traps.  There were over 40 Pitostrums  and Manukas planted on the river track, and 8 Carex in the small pond and work done on clearing around the trees that were planted last year.  Ian, Adrian and Noel worked on the tracks and reduced the overhanging branches that made access easier.  We also dropped off 10 scaffolding planks to use for bridging over small streams.  Workers were Ian, Heather, Judy, Anne, Allan, Noel, Janice, Sarah, Keiran, Adrian and Ann.


​​​​​​​Sunday 19th November - Sandy Point walk followed by a pot luck tea

10 keen walkers met at Courtney's home (which is just about as close to Oreti Beach as a home can be!!)  The weather was pleasant as was the company.  We all car pooled from Courtney's down to Sandy Point and walked from Daffodil Bay to Hatch's Hill track and onto Noki Kaik Beach, I think we got as far as Whalers Bay, but I'm not 100% sure about that as this area was new to me.  We all enjoyed the casual walk and Courtney's dog Cuba especially loved coming with us.  We also had a young man Michael who joined us, as he had recently shifted to Invercargill from the North Island.  After our walk we all headed back to Courtney's for drinks and nibbles followed by a lovely pot luck tea.  Courtney was a great host and had filled a cob bread loaf with 3 different cheeses, sour cream and spinach served warm for our tea plus other salad items.  Everyone else brought something delicious for our shared tea.  A very nice afternoon and thanks very much Courtney for hosting us.  Courtney, Jan, Graeme, Barry, Robyn, Terry, Barbara, Eliz, Michael, Neroli plus Cuba

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sunday 12th November 2023 - Bluff - Maintenance on Shelter

A fine morning and what a better thing to do other than combine some work with a walk.   The Bluff Hill Shelter the Tramping Club constructed in 2012 was showing signs of rusting Tek Screws on the roof in this harsh climate so we made the decision earlier on this year that today was going to be the day we went and did some maintenance on the site.   With Courtney out due to the fact that someone set the vegetation alight near her house and she was locked in due to there being only one way in and out that left Pete, Terry and Neil meeting me at the Victoria Ave Car Park.   Surprise surprise, everyone was early so we were away probably 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time.   This meant that instead of picking Barbara up on the Elles Rd, Dipton St Corner we picked her up close to her home.   About 20 minutes later we were at Stirling Point and were soon joined by Anne.   Around the Coastal Track we headed loaded up with Tek Screws, an Impact Driver and a lightweight ladder.   It was probably a half hour walk to Lookout Point and another minute up the track to Bluff Hill that our shelter sits.   We spent maybe half an hour there removing and replacing the 40 or 50 Tek screws in the roof, I’d brought a packet of 250 just in case.   All the screws had some corrosion on them, some worse than others, 2 had completely corroded meaning replacement was a really good idea.   Then we were finished, it was only quarter to eleven, it had only been about an hour since we left the Car park, “What are we going to do now?”   So, ladder in hand we headed off up the hill meeting people on the way who were curious about the ladder.   Our standard answers varied between..., “What do you mean, did you forget yours?” or “Didn’t you bring one?” or “When we get to the top we want to be able to say we climbed higher than everyone else!”   Halfway up Anne asked us if we wanted to go see a Dam.   Leaving Neil behind to guard the ladder (least someone else wanted to climb as high as us) we headed off into the bush imagining coming across a Benmore look-a-like.   Alas, this was not to be.   About 10 minutes in we got to the site, a concrete construction maybe 1 ~ 1.5 Meters high with thick wooden slabs in a makeshift gate to regulate the depth of water behind the dam.   Not quite as big as Benmore, Avemore or the Waitaki Dams but a nice little curiosity just the same.   About mid-day we were up on the top with more curious questions about our pet ladder (It wasn’t on a leash but firmly held so it couldn’t run free) before we headed down the mount, passing the gun emplacement and on to the café at Stirling point where a bowl of wedges was $18.   So in the best of Southland Scottish traditions we headed off to the Anchorage in the middle of town for a snack where a bowl of wedges was about $12 and added a Coffee, Tea or Hot Choc etc.   Then saying Goodbye to Anne the rest of us headed off home in time to mow the lawns (again) before the rain sets in for the week.   Mild temperatures with firm winds made it a very pleasant day.   Barbara, Anne, Terry, Peter, Neil & BJ

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Castle Downs Wetlands -  29 October 2023

Five people headed to the Wetland on this Sunday to remove trees from the track and also to plant the 60 trees that were donated by Allan Ledington. The trees were planted up the alley and further north from the Flaxy pond along the AI track. We also inspected the area where the drill and fill method was used to on the willows up stream from the picnic area.  Allan and Judy went and replaced all the gas and lures on the traps and caught 1 possum and one headgehog.  Toby’s crew will hopefully be able to treat more willows at the top to the wetland. Used Allan’s truck for Transport  Ann  70 hours.  Allan, Judy, Ian, Heather, Ann & Keiran

Friday 13th-Sunday 15th - Central Otago Rail Trail

Friday 13th - Black Friday - for some.  

Was a very early start for lots of folks, including the organizers,  to be at the start point for an 0630 departure from BJ's.

The Black Friday bit kicked in when two brothers realized that they had each left behind their lunches for the whole of the journey!!   Followed closely later in the day when one lost part of his E- bike pedal and was unable to ride further!!

However, around the town collecting folk  until all 11 were on board,  and later a nice smoko stop in Roxburgh.  Otherwise an uneventful trip to the start point at Clyde, where we departed in mild pleasant conditions about 1115.  However, this did not last long as approaching Chatto Creek the wind started to pick up and gradually got worse throughout the day.  Pleasant lunch stop there, then the hard BRUTAL part of the cycle ride started.

The WIND - was seemingly head on if not strongly side on, most of the way to Omakau.   Heading up Tiger Hill there were extra strong gusts of wind blowing folk and their bikes sideways.    Some only just managed to hold themselves and their bike at the edge of the embankment without toppling over!   Most walked at some stage or other.  It was very difficult to keep one's bike in the centre of the trail.    There were hardly any other cyclists, maybe six in the opposite direction and two going the same way, so was a blessing when struggling to maintain momentum.  Basically 25km Clyde to Chatto Creek took 50mins, whereas the 12km onto Omakau  with the wind and up Tiger Hill took 1hour 45 mins!   However all arrived in one piece at the Omakau Camping ground where we had cabins allocated to stay the night. We were joined by the couple who had made their own transport and accommodation arrangements using their caravan.

Yummy bulk salad meal and dessert was appreciated by all.   However, all too knackered to take the usual side ride into the Ophir Hotel, even to have the usual 'dob' session, so it was early to bed. . . . .with the hopes of a better day on Saturday!   ​​​​​​​Dene

Saturday - Checking out the weather forecast, there was rain predicted at 8am, which turned out to be correct as we left the Omakau Domain Camp ground to commence Day 2 of riding the Otago Rail Trail.

It was wet and cold for the 1st hour as we rode towards Lauder, weather improved gradually as we climbed towards Poolburn viaduct and through the 2 tunnels.  Lunch was at the Hayes Engineering café Oturehua in the Ida Valley where hot drinks, cheese rolls and ginger cream biscuits were the main choices of the day.  Rabbit’s bike ran out of battery and with a wonky pedal, he decided to ride in the support van with BJ.  Leaving the café to continue on the trail, families of magpies living in the willow trees started dive bombing us, with many strikes on our helmets. Luckily no one was hurt.

After 12kms of gentle climbing, we reached the summit of the Rail Trail at 620 metres. This was followed by a downhill section with a tail wind behind us, we soon reached Ranfurly where we found our cabins at the camp ground, and to have our very quick $2 hot water showers.

A lovely Beef stew, baked potatoes and vegetables plus homemade apple crumble, custard and ice-cream prepared by BJ and Robyn was the finale for an awesome day. Jan and Graeme

Sunday Day 3 Ranfurly to Middlemarch 63 km, Just as the rain started to pour down and the strong northerly wind blew up, the last of us left Ranfurly at 8am, most of the group some 15 minutes before.  An overnight low of 3 degrees and still the same at 8am we were keen to get biking to warm up. The strong gusty wind at our backs pushed us along the downhill sloping track at great speeds, fun having the occasional period of freewheeling. Once we were all wet and cold the rain stopped, sun appeared, wind stayed and turned to be a nasty side wind almost blowing people off their bikes (actually Dene did come off) and sun appeared at Waipiata, Daisybank, Kokonga, Hyde. 16.5km out from Middlemarch while sheltering in a gangers shed having a food snack, the rain poured down again, but had stopped on our arrival at noon to pack up in the dry.  Bikers without mudguards were trail grit from helmet to shoes (and everything in between), bikes were all one sandy shade, grit/sand in every nock & cranny.  Lots of time consuming cleaning up when home.  Once changed into warm dry clothes, bikes loaded, we had lunch and coffees at The Kissing Gate Cafe before leaving Middlemarch at 1pm (2 hours ahead of schedule).  On way home a quick stop in Balclutha for Nana Robyn & Grandad BJ to have granddaughter cuddles.  Home at my place 5pm.  Big thank you to BJ for your transport support with the van at road access to trail (in case we wanted to opt out or change drivers), loading and unloading bikes, cooking delicious meals both nights and organising a great trip. Hilary 

Friday 6th -Sunday 8th Rakiura Challenge

10 Club members volunteered for Marshall positions for this event, and were based not far from Port William.  All travelled on the ferry from Bluff to SI on Friday morning, attended briefing, and were transported by ferry to Port William for the evening.  Up early next morning and into fancy dress and headed to the various Marshall points which had been allocated.  The race started at 8.30 and the first runner completed the 32km in 2hr 32min which was a new course record.  After the runners had passed through the various check points, the Marshalls wandered out to Lee Bay where they were picked up.  The weather played its part with perfect conditions for all.  Marshalls and Runners attended prize giving and had a fabulous meal, prepared by SIT, in the Community Centre on Sat evening, and departed the island next day.  Barbara, Eliz, Cathryn, Megan, Sally, Graeme, Courtney, Gillian, Pip, and Anne

Sunday 1st October - Bike Kingston to Athol

There was 8 of us met up at Athol at 9.30am where 1 car was left before driving to the start of a ride from Kingston to Athol. It was great to see people getting on the Kingston Flyer Train for a journey to Fairlight.  Arriving at Fairlight, we waited to see the train to pull in at the station and the engine repositioned for its return to Kingston. We, then recommenced our biking to Garston where we had hot drinks, some buying whitebait sandwiches to enjoy eating in the warm sun. 

After an easy 10kms, we completed our day at Athol. Terry took Graeme, BJ and Neil back to Kingston to collect the cars while the rest of us relaxed.

Graeme, BJ, Robyn, John, Jenne, Terry, Neil and Jan

Sunday 24th September - Lake Tuakitoto - Cancelled due to high water levels

​​​​​​​Sunday 17th September - Castledowns Wetlands (D/E/W) Listed on Behalf of Rural Women 

Cancelled due to weather 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sunday 10th September - Otatara Landcare Group Planting (D/W) Listed on behalf of the Otatara Landcare Group

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the annual planting.  A preliminary count is 982 plants in the ground in an hour and a half.  Having Anne & Ann there was a big bonus as we were able to a team of planters with each of these two experienced people.  As usual the BBQ after was popular.  Barry

​​​​​​​Sunday 3rd September - Riverton Back Beaches

3 of us met at Mores Reserve at 11am and headed up and over to the back beaches.  We had a quick stop at the lookout, the weather was cloudy, still, and a little misty so the views were somewhat reduced.  We headed down the bush track over the stile and down the quite slippery and muddy slope to the beach.  From there is was a pleasant if slightly cool walk around the bays heading to Howells Point.  Quite a bit of great conversation happened as well as a bit of ‘botanising’ (ask Dave what that was😉) We had a wee lunch break and watched the waves crashing in and then headed for Howells Point and spurred on with the thought of refreshments at the Beachhouse, we walked the reserve and the bays to earn our muffin and coffee/hot choc.  Lovely day out getting to know Richelle and Dave.   ​​​​​​​Elizabeth

Sunday 27th August - Castledowns Wetlands (listed by Rural Women)

We were lucky to have Jesse Bythel, providing a young back and lots of her enthusiasm and knowledge  which is so appreciated joining us.   It is always good to head up the road, but we did have doubts about our decision about the weather being good.  It rained all the way till we reached Dipton and then it stopped.  After Graeme had demolished the plum tree by the gate and morning tea we headed down to the Kowhai pond where we planted 10 kahikateas, cleared some muelanbekia on the bank along to the pond. Anne and Allan headed out to the traps and had a great day clearing traps and putting bait into the containers. 5 Possums, 2 Stoats and 1 Rat removed.  At lunch time the rain returned and we decided to head home but the rain stopped and more tree planting. We were thrilled to see 6 pigeons.  170 trees planted and some waiting for next time. 90 supplied by Allan Ledington and 70 from the Community Nursery. There were  10-helpers.  Ann, Adrian, Anne, Graeme, Jan (STC members)

Saturday 19th August - Te Rere Planting Day  (listed by Forest & Bird)

The annual Forest and Bird trip to Te Rere went off without a hitch again this year.   The half dozen odd STC members were joined by people from the SIT and F&B here in Southland was well as DOC staff from Invercargill and Dunedin and ES staff.  A further group from Dunedin was also there making a total party of about 40 people.   James and Maree from Pukereau Nursery were also there, delivering the 400 plants for the planting day and whilst we got on with the task they headed off to gather seeds and cuttings to get things started for next years planting.

The weather was promising a shower or two which didn’t eventuate, however the East to Sou Easter wind was a made it a bit cool whilst sitting around as we were planting amongst a bit of shelter it only took us just over an hour to get the plants in the ground.   Lunch was had, Brian Rance gave us a run-down on Te Rere and then Bruce McKinley (DOC – Dunedin) the Yellow Eyed Penguin expert gave us the low-down on what is going on with the yellow Eyed Penguins.

After lunch we headed back into an area that had been planted over the past couple of years to clear grass from around growing plants and to remove the combi-guards (plastic covers) from around the plants so they could be re-used.

Getting on for 3 o’clock we broke up into 3 groups and did an annual tour of the 90 hectares of Te Rere (Check Facebook for photos) before we boarded our transport for our return to Invercargill – Well done everybody - Barry

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​August  Saturday12 - Monday 14 - McKellar Hut

4 people braved winter conditions and headed to McKellar Hut.  After numerous attempt to get the hut warm we finally had a roaring fire going and tea warming on the stove, and when three hunters turned up they were very grateful.  On Sunday we heading further up the Greenstone Valley for a meander, as the forecast was for rain in the afternoon.  Back at the hut for a late lunch, stoke up the fire and break out the games (99, rummycub, scrabble and even a musical card game).  The predicted rain turned into slushy snow.  During the night the sky was clear with brilliant stars, but the morning greeted us with light fluffy snow.  It snowed all the way back to the Divide.  Thanks Barbara for organising a trip with a winter wonderland component.  Barbara, Neroli, Susan and Anne

​​​​​​​August 8th - Club Meeting - Photo Competition 

52 photos were entered over 6 various categories by 8 people, with all 8 winning a prize in one of the categories.  Thanks Ian for judging and commenting on our photos

August - Sunday 6th - Waituna Lagoon

I was picked at Vic Ave at 8.25 and we headed to Waituna Lagoon, but alas when we got to the turnoff, we were greeted with " Road Closed" as there was water over the bridge.  Plan B - head further along the road to find a spot to access the beach.  The thought was to walk along the fine gravelly beach until we got to a flock of birds, but the further we went the further along the beach the birds moved.  After Graeme found a sack we proceeded to pick up rubbish (glove, sock undies, razor, plastic, cans and string) on our return to the car.  Plan C - we will head to the Waituna Restoration project and have a wander round, but the track was overgrown so after reading the info in the shelter we went with Plan D - which was to head down Moffat Road to where a boat ramp was marked on the map, but alas once again  we were thwarted by high water.  After exhausting all our walking options in this area - the Lignite Pit Cafe was also Closed - we headed home.   Graeme, Jan and Anne

​​​​​​​July - Saturday 29th - Monday 31st Luxmore Hut

Everyone departed Invers at various times and headed for Te Anau.  Anne's brother kindly transported five of us across the lake to Brod Bay.    By the time we were climbing up, and up everyone was on track somewhere along the way.  We arrived at the hut to find Pip waiting and the fire was burning.  Four members of the Wakatipu TC were also at the hut. Tea cooked and a few games were played and a jigsaw started before it was time to retire!  With a stunning sunrise next morning everyine did their own thing during the day.  A group of us headed out to climb Mt Luxmore, with clear skies and 360 views, with entertainment by eight keas and their antics.  Others headed along to explore the caves.  As some only stayed one night there was a smaller group to play games and complete the jigsaws.    The Hut Wardens (Maurice and Phyllis) looked after us with some extra logs for the fire and also brought afternoon tea of scones with cream and jam.  Monday morn was overcast and threatening rain so quick pack up and head down, down.  We regrouped at the cars and completed our weekend with lunch at the Sandfly.  But Boy did I have sore thighs for the next two days!!,  One night Vignesh and Raol, two nights Graeme, Barbara, Sandra, Callum, Annabel, Rachel, and Anne.

Saturday 22nd July - Xmas Themed Pot Luck Christmas Dinner

On a cool winter evening it was a pleasant surprise to be joined by a group of fellow trampers enjoying a winter Xmas dinner.  Everyone got on their glad rags and dusted off their favourite recipe and we all enjoyed a fabulous meal, with a little vino or mulled wine.  This was followed by a variety of hot and cold deserts.  Sandra, Geoff, Anne T, Donald, Ann I, Adrian, Ron, Martha, Ann F, Blair, Callum, Rochelle, Susan, Robyn, Barry, Rabbit, Margaret, Anne McD, Graeme and Jan.  Thank you to Sandra and Geoff for hosting.

​​​​​​​Sunday 16th July - Castledowns Wetlands (listed on behalf of Rural Women)

Contrary to the forecast the weather up in Dipton was fine and sunny.  We left at 9 with 10 people involved in the day which included 3 new faces, with two that were coming called out to a search at Mavoura for two children.

The surprize and shock when we arrived was to find that our bridge was washed away and the vegetation showed that it had been the highest flood since we had been coming to the area. However, being a resourceful crew, it was located downstream and with a route taken through the paddock it was put back in place. When we left it was placed further away from the stream!!  During the day there were 70 plants put in the ground and others weeded around. The tracks were all sprayed and vegetation cut back.  The tracks were all checked in June by Toby Haliday’s crew and they checked the traps then and rerouted the track in two places where there had been washouts.  The work was paid by ES as part of the funding that we received from Environment Enhancement fund.  The trapping results were A24 traps recorded 3 strikes in Number 1, 1 strike in Number 6, 1 strike in Number 8, and 1 strike in Number 11 – 2 traps were removed because they don’t have gas.  Stoats in Trap 8 and trap 32, Possums in trap 2 and trap 32.  Anne, Adrian, Sandra, Judy, Ian, Heather, Ann I, + three others.

​​​​​​​June - Sunday 25th June - Pourakino Track Maintenance

We had one group of 4 starting at the southern end of the track and Anne and I started at the Pourakino Picnic area.  It was very disappointing to see the vehicle damage to the picnic area, making the area muddy and untidy.

Using scrub bars both teams worked towards each other meeting at the midpoint on the track about 12.30pm. We had lunch together and then made our way back to our vehicles.  The track is in good condition, no mud, needs a few more track markers.  Track clearers: Annabel, Anne, Dene, Sally, Elizabeth, Graeme.  Thank you team

Kings Birthday weekend - ​​​​​​​STC 75th Jubilee.   

Friday 2nd June -  2:00 pm Bushy Point.

The weather was not the best, we’d had showers all day so everyone was rugged up for a walk around Bushy Point.   There were 14 of us who made the 3 Km trek around the site getting caught in hail and rain and a bit of Sun as well.

6:30 pm was the Get-together

We had 132 people registered to come to one or more events and 114 registered to come to the Friday night Session.   We gathered at the Waiau Room at the Ascot Park and with a Cash Bar in the corner and plenty of room to spread out on we soon had groups of people catching up with old Tramping friends, some they hadn’t seen for years and some they hadn’t seen for a couple of days.   Supper was served later in the evening and we had to kick a few of the Yackers out so we didn’t over-run our booked time.   If the weekend was going to go like this then it was going to be a great weekend

​​​​​​​Saturday 3rd June - 8:45 am Parkrun

The weather had improved markedly and although it was cool, the weather was fine and remained so for the rest of the weekend. There were about 5 or 6 of us from the Club who wandered around either part or all of the 5K Course

9:00 am Queens Park Amble - There was a group of about 30 people turned up for a leisurely wander around the Pathways of Queens Park. Both the Park Runners and the STC Park Walkers turned up at the cheeky Llama for a cup of Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate

12:00 noon – Tree Planting - We had organised a a planting session, part of a project that the STC has been involved with over the last 3 years.   The site was the Oreti Totara Dunes Forest, past of an extensive network of sites around the country owned by the Native Forest Restoration Trust.   We had 700 plants set of ready to plant and about 80 volunteers.   It was about a 1Km walk through the forest for many whilst a few of the less able were driven in in 4WD utes.   Since there were so many people we picked up a further 100 plants from the pile the ICC had dropped off.   It took us about an hour and a half to get them all into the ground.   We then departed to the Otatara Community Centre on Dunns Road for Afternoon Tea.   People continued yacking as they obviously hadn’t caught up from the night before.

5:30 pm – Jubilee Dinner at Transport World - With the doors open at 5:30 pm people were able to enter the site and begin a self-tour of the building looking at the large array of vehicles on display.   6:30 pm the MC, Ian Smith, called for everyone to be seated.   With introductions to the event, housekeeping and a Welcome the first course was ready to be served (buffet style) to the 122 people assembled.   Catering for the event was done by MASH catering and they provided a large variety of beautifully cooked food that was suitable for everyone no matter what your dietary requirements.   More speeches ensued after the main course before we descended on the dessert table for an overindulgence of calories.   The Jubilee cake was then cut by the three members who had been financial continuously for over 50 years.   Shirley McMillan was the longest serving member followed by Ann Irving and Ian Smith.   There was a fruit cake and a vegan cake.   Many thanks to Sandra Napper for making the cakes and to Elizabeth Simonka who donated the decoration.   With the food out of the way there was more yacking and catching up before departing for a sleep before an arduous tramp the next day

Sunday 4th - 10:00 am  Bluff Hill Tramp - Like Browns Cows people descended on the Stirling Point Car park.  With a variety of walks available from the relatively easy amble along the coastal route to an over the top trip people picked their choice of walks.   This meant that people arrived back at the Stirling Point car Park area and descended on the Café in dribs and drabs.   Lindsay Beer, the Bluff Promotions Officer had pre-warned Bluff Businesses that there would be a bunch of us hanging around on that day.   With the longest trip being the one over the summit they were also the last back and into the café.   At that stage there were about 30 ~ 35 of the Jubilee people on site so I guess that although they had a busy day, it would have been financially beneficial as well.   All over there were probably about 50 ~ 60 people who attended

7:30 pm – Movie / audio-visual evening - About 105 people attended our Sunday Night session.   We had put together a programme trying to caver the whole history of the STC.   We were very lucky that we were able to access some images of the Late Duncan Wilson.   He was followed by presentations from Gordon Duston, Les Duston, Robinette Pari, Chrissy Parker, Roy Lilly, Jackie Knight, Barry Smith, Callum McLeod and Anne McDermott with the finale being a tribute to those former members who had passed away

Monday 5th - Brunch - With a trip to the Awarua Satellite Tracking site off the list of things to do a suggestion arose as to us being able to go to the Langlands Hotel and have a look at the top floor bar, the one that has a 360⁰ view of the city from the 7th Floor.   About 50 people took up this opportunity for a Brunch and a tour of the Top floor (which is normally closed on a Monday)

The Jubilee:

The whole weekends programme was only made possible by the work carried out behind the scenes by the Jubilee Committee:  Barry S, Robyn S,  Jackie K,  Ann I,  & Les D.  (Editor comment) A wonderful and very successful weekend which was enjoyed by all attendees.  A very big thank you to the Jubilee Committee!!!

​​​​​​​May 13th-15th May - MacLennan Hut

Four of us headed to Cairn Road where we parked a car and headed across farmland to the bush boundary where there were three DOC huts making up the Thisbe Bivvy and used for Mohua monitoring.  

The track follows the true right of the tiny Thisbe Stream through silver beech, with tree ferns near the stream. It’s easy walking clearly visible through the crown ferns that cover the ground. At one point it crosses the stream then a few metres along crosses back. After a time, there is steepish but not too long climb, gaining most of the altitude up to the saddle. The track drops a bit after this, regaining the Thisbe Stream.  The forest changes from beech to mixed, including fuschia, kamahi, horopito and broadlead.  In this area the bird life increased noticeably with constant bird chatter.  We even managed to listen and watch a flock of Mohua.  There is a steady descent from the saddle, returning to the beech forest and crown ferns. Finally, the track reaches the attractive MacLennan River. You are now only a few minutes from MacLennan Hut, soon visible in a clearing on the opposite bank.  The track is about 10km and took 4 hrs one way.  It is a two bunk hut and we had intended to sleep two in the canvas shelter attached, not realising it has holes in it and was sun perished, so it was a cosy night with 4 in the hut.  Up early, torches on and wet feet crossing the stream walking out.  The Bluffy's headed home and we met Barbara at Papatowai.  We walked into Matai Falls with the old railway cutting and round the Old Coach Track and headed to the Whistling Frog for the night.  Monday morning up and walked to McLean Falls, round Lake Wilkie and into Lenz Historic Reserves completing our walking before coffee at Fortrose.

Pip, Barbara, Anne and Sarah & Rachel (Bluffy's)


Sunday 30th April - Cifton Caves (Joint trip with Hokokui TC)  

Five HTC and one STC member joined forces and agreed to meet at 10.30 at the entrance to the Clifton Caves.  At around 11am we were all ready to get into the caves.  We took a picture at the entrance of the cave and after turning our head torches on, we proceeded into the caves.  Annabel was leading the group and Enrique was at the end.  The first few meters were just normal walking but soon we encountered the first spot where you had to kneel to get through.  The pace was slow because we were chatting and took our time to enjoy the cave and take pictures.  We found a few more narrow spots but nothing difficult.  Everyone went though them with ease.  After 45 minutes into the caves we found a small pool which required a short sidle along a narrow ledge situated around the left-hand side of the pool.  The smooth wall made it hard to use your hands to secure yourself.  Luckily the ledge was not slippery and slowly, one by one, we managed to get through it without falling into the pool.  Apparently this ledge is usually underwater but on this day the water level was low enough so we could see it.

After the pool we found a few other spots where a couple of the people got their feet wet.  Once over them we found a few ladders to go up or down and not much longer after that we started to see some sun rays.  Once out of the cave we walked for about 5 minutes to get back to the cars.  We drove to the nearby Clifton Bridge and had a very enjoyable lunch under the beautiful sunny and warm weather.  Enrique

Here is a link to a very short video I made: https://youtu.be/8J_8Ajkgd3A

Friday 28th-Sunday 30th - Homer

With Ultimate Hikes cancelling our marshalling we decided to go to Homer Hut anyway.  On arriving at the hut we stashed our gear and claimed a bunk and headed up the Hollyford Road to Pass Creek Track.  Three walked up to the new Howden shelter via this route and the other three drove to the divide and walked up to the shelter.  Both groups arriving with 5 minutes of each other.  The Pass Creek team encountered some windfall and had to put their navigation skills to the test!, but saw an amazing number of different fungii on this track.  An enjoyable evening at the hut with a lovely fire and a few games of Rummy-o before we retired. Megan, Catherine and daughter arrived for the evening also.  Saturday morning the young ones left early to walk to Lake Marion as they then headed to Hope Arm Hut.  The more Senior trampers started a little later and leisurely walked up the track to Lake Marion for lunch and an explore round the edges of the lake.  Another evening round the fire was enjoyed before retiring.  Sunday morning was another leisurely start with a stop at Mirror Lakes before heading to the shops in Te Anau and then round to Tracey's for a cuppa before dispersing to our various residences. Eliz, Ian, Neroli, Susan, Barbara (Trip Leader) and Anne

Sunday 23rd April - Castledowns Wetland 

The day did not look so promising but Adrian, Anne and I set off at 10- to meet Jan and Graeme at the wetland. We were loaded with lots of machines, trees and mats, options if we had lots of people to help. Anna from E.S. came to help. Graeme had Carex and Toitois and about 30 trees and we had 40 as well.  We met Gordon and Gavin on site so the three trappers set off while the rest of us laid out traps along the new track.  12 new traps are now ready to do some damage to the pest population. There were 4 hedgehogs and 3 rats in the traps.  Keiran came to join us planting trees along the south bank while Adrian and Graeme finished putting through the access track to the hill track.  The day was completed with afternoon tea and as we hopped into the vehicles the downpour started. Thank to everyone for your help. Anna, Keiran, Graeme, Jan, Gordon, Gavin Anne M, Adrian and Ann I

​​​​​​​Saturday 15 - Sunday 16th April 2023 - walk the Taieri River and  Millenium Track and Kayak Taieri River at Waihola

Day 1 - We started near the Taieri River Mouth bridge on a perfectly still bluebird day.  A good condition up and down track with small hills and one steep patch, it led us through bush following the river,  at times like a dark jungle when shaded from the steep hill above us.  The gorge was bigger than expected.  Up on top, extensive views were seen out to the Taieri Island and along the coast to Dunedin, the large sand dunes visible at Sandfly Bay.  Lunch had us watching locals fishing for Kahawai on the river beach.  Excellent support from Geoffrey meant we were picked up at the other end of the track at end of day and we had a fine dinner and some laughs at local pub in Waihola. I'm dropping in for second dessert next time I'm going pass.
Day 2 - We took a side trip to Sinclair Wetlands, viewing native plantings and a variety of waterfowl, kayaking is apparently an option there.  Annabel joined us as we met at the previous day's finishing spot, this is where the Taieri river enters the gorge and historically an old ferry crossing service was.  We launched our kayaks on to the mud coloured smooth water and meandered downstream, chatting away, taking in the bush clad sides and birdlife. Various skiers zipped past and we powered in to beach the kayaks for lunch at same spot. There was a stark colour and water clarity contrast between the river and incoming tide when we reached the river mouth bridge and boat moorings. Seeing the river from the bush and on water was an interesting and different perspective, a brilliant idea for a trip and an easy going and very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to Sandra for leading and Geoffrey for support. Sandra, Annabel, Susan.

Wednesday 22nd  March - Walk taking in the Town Centre Street Arts - ​​​​​​​Shirley

Tuesday 21 March - 2nd April - Northland

Tue 21st -  12 Southland Tramping Club members joined with 4 from Whangamata Tramping Club to begin exploring the Far North of NZ.  Our first stop was the Matakohe Kauri Museum where we spent a couple of hours tracing the history of kauri and kauri gum.  This museum was well laid out and there was plenty to interest everyone.  Our accommodation for the night was at the Grade 2 Heritage listed Northern Wairoa Hotel est 1878 in Dargaville.  BJ & Graeme went back to Whangarei airport to pick up Anne & Gillian who arrived late via Queenstown (and a $813 taxi ride) due to wild weather.  The Team was now complete. Jan

Wed 22nd - Dargaville - Paihia.  We left the hotel at 8.30 for Te Whare Taonga O Tunaatahi (Dargaville Museum) where there were two different museums, 1 with machinery, and 1 with area history.  After a talk about gum digging/washing we headed up towards Opononi for lunch, stopping off on the way at the picturesque Kai Iwi Lakes and Tane Mahuta.  After lunch break it was onto our lodgings at Haka Lodge Backpackers in Paihia.  After a full day of travelling everyone did their own thing for the evening.  Pam & Peter

Thu 23rd - Yay, today we are going to start the first leg of the twin Coast Rail Trail from Opua to Kaikohe.  Graeme had booked and later confirmed with the Bike Company that all was go.   On the night before and the morning of our trip Graeme couldn’t get a hold of the guy, 14 ignored phone calls later and a trip to the I-site and the guy had decided that since there was a cruise ship in he’d cancel our booking, and not bother telling us (Mutter mutter).   The I-site got us in touch with another company so we could cycle the trip, but on Friday and Sunday.   So, 9am time was road trip time and we headed off for a 2hr 40 minute, 200Km trip to Cape Reinga for a look at the meeting of the Oceans, the Tasman Sea and the Pacific.   We had a walk around and obligatory photos of the light house.  A slight detour at Awanui took us to Ninety Mile Beach where a snapper fishing competition was being held.  That night 4 of us dined in the Thai restraunt that employs 2 robots to deliver food to the tables.  BJ

Fri 24th - The first day of our bike trip and since our new bike hirers were in Kaikohe we headed off there to cycle the leg back to Opua, a much better idea since it was more downhill than the other way.   We were greeted at Kaikohe by Tipene, an absolutely great Director of First Impressions, he fitted us with bikes and told us to “Ride like it was Stolen” and sent us on our way.   This is the Twin Coast Cycle trail and follows the old railway line which goes from Opua to Okaihau where the trail then heads around farms to the Hokianga.   We cycled the 40 odd K from Kaikohe to Opua, arriving in Kawakawa for lunch.   They were running their heritage diesel train on this day and for us cycling about 4K further on to the Taumarere Railway Station meant that for a gold coin donation us and bikes were loaded onto the train for a ride for a further 4K.   There we got off and cycled the rest of the way to Opua.   It was this day that Adrian thought the best part was still being able to cycle at the age of 83.   We saw large Kauri Snails, the Hunderwasser Toilets in Kawakawa and came across a very wobble swing bridge​​​​​​​. Robyn

Sat 25th - Our van departed from Paihia at 8.30 for the Kerikeri market where we had some retail therapy for a few hours.  A visit to the Makana chocolate factory where samples were delicious , was followed by a visit to a kauri workshop.  Off to historic Stone and Kemp houses.  Tours were available and also a  short bush walk to the falls.  Some of us were able to meet a mum with triplet girls aged 3 whom were delightful.  After lunch in Kerikeri it was a free afternoon.  Some of us visited outskirts of Waitangi Treaty grounds.  As we had all previously visited this site , we decided that now Kiwis were charged to enter the grounds we didn't go in.  Gillian

Sun 26th - Kaikohe to Horeke.  Easy riding on a disused railway line passing through a 80m curved tunnel built in 1915.  Changing views of farmland, native bush, streams following Lake Omapere to Okaihau for a well-deserved cuppa.  The track continued downhill with steep zigzags along Utakura river to Snows farm for lunch.  Following 1km of boardwalk to Horeke and onto Manganau Mission house to meet our shuttle.  Jenne

Mon 27th - Cape Brett.  14 keen walkers caught "Island Getaway" boat to Deep Bay before starting our uphill walk to the Cape Brett Lighthouse.  This was a challenging up and down 6km (2.5 hr) walk to the Lighthouse with stunning views and a great lunch spot.  4 of us up walked downhill to the old Lighthouse Keepers house which is now a DOC hut accommodation with a couple of toilets decorating with old lighthouse stamp pictures.  We climbed back up to the lighthouse to join the others before walking up and down to catch our boat for the return trip.  A swim to ease aching legs was had by several while waiting for the boat and return to Paihia.  Anne

Tue 28th - Another early rise to another beautiful day in the Bay of Islands.  Today we left the wharf at 8.30 for our trip to the Hole in the Rock.  Our first stop was Russell to pick up more passengers.  Russell is famous for a number of things including the first licensed Pub in NZ, the oldest restaurant and the place where the first Bible was printed.  Then on to the Hole in the Rock which was the site of the first shipwreck in NZ in 1808 at Cape Brett.  The lighthouse at Cape Brett was run by three families and those three families raised fifteen children between them.  The lighthouse operated from 1910-1978, before it was automated.  Unfortunately we were not able to go through the Hole because of the swell making it too dangerous for the size of our boat.

On our way back we stopped at Urepukapuka Island where we got off the boat for lunch and a walk around the island was enjoyed by some.  The island has many walks from easy to steep and you would need all day to do them all.  Some left on the 12.15 boat but most stayed for the 4.15 boat.  Those leaving at 12.15 were able to get off in Russell and walk around the quaint village and waterfront.  A must do boat trip with so much history and so many sights present and past.  I am sure it was another day that we all enjoyed, and will remembered as a day we could all participate in.  Kevin and Carol

Wed 29th - Paihia and Whangarei - We loaded up to begin the trip from Paihia to Whangarei and crossed on a car ferry to Russell that took about 10 minutes and cost $16 and then off around a series of bays to the east with views of Cape Brett, to seeing the shells at Oakura to the more developed dairy farms then to Tuakaka, a very upmarket place with very expensive boats and yachts moored in the bay, where we struggled to find a reasonably priced lunch.  We visited the Jack Morgan Museum which had a large collection of farm memorabilia including motors.  Next stop was the Whangarei Holiday Park, our accommodation for the next three days. Ann

Thur 30th - On a nice chilly morning a van and car load went for a day exploring on Whangarei Heads.  One the way we picked up Stephanie and Terry (aka Guide Rangi).  The intention was to climb Mt Manaia but to the relief of some of us it was closed for the day, so straight to Plan B (works all the time) we split into two groups.  1st group did Smugglers Cove walk around the coast and reports were it was just great and very picturesque.  2nd group walked up Mt Aubrey, and at the top the vista over the harbour and surrounds was amazing.  The last 10 metres to the top was a bit of a scramble, being steady on your feet was the order of the day for this section.  Well worth it with the sun out and nice and warm.  When we descended there was a short walk around Little Munro Bay where we had lunch and met the others.  In the afternoon we did the Abbey Cave walk which lasted about an hour or so. This walk was also stunning with the many caves and rock formations.  So many photo opportunities.  Over-all a wonderful day followed a great big dinner of pizza.  Dene

Fri 31st - For once a full van of folk, just 2 by car.  Heading south we gravitated to One Tree Point, on the western side of Marsden Bay and heard stories of Graeme's childhood holidays.  Best of all was the silhouette of Mt Aubrey and the slope of the rock at the left on top, that 6 members scaled yesterday.  Very impressive with the sun behind it.  The eastern side is industrial where we could see the Marsden Oil Refinery.  Slow tour around, over and through viewing ultra modern residential area, still with a few iconic kiwi crib/batch's scattered through.  Onto destination Waipu.  Some visited friends/relatives, others had the opportunity to wander this township of near 3000 people.  Settled by Scots who decided Nova Scotia was too cold for them and chose to travel on, led by a Presbyterian Minister from Scotland, a Norman McLeod (1780-1866).  A Settlers Monument alongside a War Memorial and a Park recorded family, animal and war histories.  Stone fences, Norfolk Pine and Museum are of interest as was the Waipu Tartan, created by "local clans" over the years.  After returning to accommodation, the men went to the Packard Museum and the women went to the city centre to hunt out interesting arts and crafts.  An R & R day.  Sally

Sat 1st April -  Another busy day for our last day of the tour started with a Park Run / walk along the Whangarei basin for some, while the rest had a leisurely start to the day.  Other highlights for the day:

  • Hundertwasser  Art Centre         
  • Miniature Train ride
  • Whangarei Falls
  • Kiwi Museum and grounds  Jan

Sun 2nd April -  Everyone departed for home, some by car, some flying, at different times.  Six even got an extra days holiday with their flight being diverted to Tauranga due to fog and then returning to Auckland to find their flight home had already departed.  Air NZ kindly put us up at Jet Park for the night before we continued home on the Monday morning.  Anne

Jan, Graeme, Peter, Pam, Sally, Dene, Ann, Adrian, Barry, Robyn, Gillian, Anne, Jenne, and Charlie (STC)

Carole, Kevin, Terry and Stephanie (Whangamata Tramping Club) 


Friday 10th - Sunday 12th - Homer Stoat Trapping

Another successful trip by Club members - catches 4 possum, 4 stoats and 3 rats.  We even managed a trip through to Milford Sound on Sunday.  Graeme, Annabel, Susan, Neroli and Anne

Saturday 4th March BBQ 


Saturday 25th February 2023 - Waipahatu

Our walk started at a car park at the end of Waipahatu road, complete with a toilet and picnic tables.  To make this walk a loop track we started walking up a gravel road before heading into the bush.  This is stunning rainforest with some ups and downs and some muddy patches.  Great use had been made of ponga (the trunks of ferns) which had been cut and laid across the track.  We arrived at a tree with yellow markers pointing left and right, indicating the two waterfalls, and our first look at the lower waterfall was down some steep muddy steps, and was well worth the extra effort, but the spray from the waterfall stopped us from having lunch here.   On our return up the same track we headed to the upper waterfall, and managed to step carefully across some rocks to cross the creek to capture some stunning photos.  Returning to the main track we found a sunny spot to stoke the boilers.  Onwards and upwards before the track levelled out and we followed a babbling brook through the bush with sunshine streaming down through the canopy, and across a bridge to a small car park before heading onto a Hilary Commission Kiwi Walk, and the track surface was much improved here, before we popped out at the car park.  A compulsory cuppa was enjoyed at the Café at Fortrose on the way home.  This was a 7km loop track and thanks to Barbara for driving and leading this trip.  Barbara, Lara and Anne

​​​​​​​Wednesday 22nd Februry 2023 - Walk Talk & Cuppa - Seaward Bush

Four of us met at the gate at 7.00pm on a pleasant night. We walked through the long track and doubled back via the short track. It was great to see a lot of families out enjoying their night. Afterwards three of us called into Embers at the Ascot for refreshments.  Barbara, Shirley, Rabbit, Peter

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​18th ~ 19th February 2023 – Hut Creek – Glade Pass – Glade Burn   (F/O)

After parking her car at the Milford Sound ferry site, Annabel joined Barry, Enrique and I and we drove to the Earl Mountain Tracks car park, pitched tents, dined and turned in for an early night.  Our only disturbance during the night was the squawking and calling of the birds and a car pulling into the car park followed by surprised voices ‘People are camping there’, then the sound of the car leaving.

We left our campsite at 7.50am on Saturday, 18 February, crossed the walk-wire bridge over the sedate Eglinton Valley creek and worked our way along the Hut Valley track – over, under, and through multiple tree-falls, then across a wide valley of tussock and shrubs to the tributary leading up to Glade Pass. Stopping for morning tea at this junction we soaked up the grandeur of our surroundings: a gigantic valley, long waterfalls, steep, high rock faces and diagonally across from us, the deep fault line forming part of the route to U Pass. It was a brilliant setting and a brilliant day.

We had a steep boulder climb up the tributary toward Glade Pass. 120 metres from the pass we encountered the large, gritty, grotty, slippery, rocky outcrop that needed to be sidled around to continue to the pass. It was essential not to slip as the sharply sloping ground was gravelly, any vegetation was shallowly rooted, and the gorge sides were steep.  Annabel led the way and began by sidling carefully to the right, around and under the rock protrusion. When she said, “This doesn’t feel good”, I called down to Barry “Which way did Moir’s guide say to take?” Barry called back “Go to the left”.  Annabel carefully retraced her steps and carefully sidled to the left calling out not to follow her, and that the route still “doesn’t feel good”. Looking for the elusive route and preferring not to retrace her steps along the narrow, crumbly ledge Annabel continued into a steep, narrow gorge but could see no way up, around or out.

I dropped my pack and climbed up to the opposing side of the gorge wall to position myself above Annabelle, then laid on the ground and reached over the side of the gorge, stretching my Leki stick down toward Annabel. Annabel untied the straps to her front packs and retied the straps to form a long cord. By stretching up she tied one end of the cord to the end of my Leki stick and the other end of the cord to her pack and one at a time, I pulled her 3 packs (2 narrow front-packs, and a larger back-pack) up beside me. Annabel was now unhindered by the weight and bulk of her packs.

Enrique dropped his pack and climbed up to join me. He lay on the ground, reached over the side of the gorge stretching the Leki stick out toward Annabel. Enrique is longer and stronger than me so the idea was that I would hold on to Enrique (acting as an anchor) while Annabel reached and either grabbed Enrique’s hand or the Leki stick and swung onto the ledge below Enrique and I. Between the 3 of us we may then be able to bring Annabel up to the ground Enrique and I were on. After brief consideration and discussion, the attempt was discarded.  Apart from setting off the PLB we could think of no other ways for Annabel to get out of that ghastly gorge. Annabel said she would work her way back around the rock face.

Enrique took Annabel’s back-pack and I took her 2 front-packs and we edged our way down to our own back-packs and a lower ledge with a better view of Annabel’s progress. As Annabel edged her way around the rock face Enrique called out to Annabel telling her of the obstacles she couldn’t see but were a possible hinderance or help; and I called out encouragements. Very carefully and gradually Annabel worked her way to the front of the rock protrusion. She was now back on familiar ground and safer than she had been. Enrique slung his pack onto his back, and Annabel’s pack onto his front, I slung my pack on to my back and Annabel’s front packs onto my front and we worked our way down, down, down toward Barry. Barry had now recovered from cramp and came up to help with the packs.

The four of us made a quick descent to the base of the tributary, had a late lunch in the sunshine and returned to the Eglinton Valley by going down the dry Hut Creek. The Hut Creek has magnificent big, white boulders to clamber and jump down. Instead of taking the slightly lengthier route to the walk-wire bridge and the car, we linked arms and crossed the Eglinton Valley Creek and were back at the car by 7.20pm. We had a safe, happy end to an adventurous day. We have each acquired a lot to think about and learn from from the day.  Stats: 9 ½ hours walking; 11 ½ hour day; 23 ¼ kms.  Barry (leader), Annabel, Enrique, Lynda 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​25th January 2023 - Walk Talk and Cuppa 

A beautiful evening with lots of others enjoying the park. Great to see families in there enjoying the lovely weather and all the amenities. We ambled around and along all sorts of “roads less travelled”. Stopped frequently to admire the foliage and surroundings, especially the Rose Garden. A great deal of catching up and world-problem solving as usual.

We ended the evening at the Langlands for supper.  Thank you to Peter for herding us all as we meandered into interesting nooks of the park that some of us hadn’t ventured into before.  Sandra, Susan, Shirley, Neil, Karen, Peter, Barbara.

Sunday 22nd January 2023 - Papatowai Kayak Trip

Outstandiing and epic adventure – this trip ticked every box – fantastic, fun, friendly, inclusive, intrepid, excellent leadership, & food – thanks Courtney and Matt & Jo for sharing the baking.

Most members were picked up including kayaks and water gear – and/or gear supplied if needed. The drive through via Wyndham, Tahakopa Valley to Papatowai was chilled and scenic. We meet up with other paddlers at Papatowai beach and group introductions held.  Post a briefing by the experienced kayakers on the trip - we entered the Tahakopa river at the Papatowai / Old Coach Track bridge –- so a nice and easy put in and take off - the paddlers were away, with smiles on the dials.  Barry worked the tides right for us and we paddled up stream – decision made at the conduit between Tahakopa and MacLennan Rivers to go up the MacLennan river to avoid the wind.   Good decision Barry. Heaps of checks / stops to make sure the group was all paddling together – nice and safe.

We paddled up this beautiful river for an hour and half plus, just magic – hauled out onto the river bank for a lunch stop / picnic and found our agility skills were put to the test – thanks to Jo and Matt for the helping hands and bringing all the boats ashore.  Following lunch, kayaks were re-floated, boarded, and we paddled downstream. It was just divine, so good for the soul – the water and the green bush - we are so lucky / privileged to have these beautiful spots on our doorstep.  An exceptional day – so cool to meet fellow paddlers, share stories, laughs, and experiences.

Grand organizing thanks Barry - trip list covered everything needed – excellent advice and well-crafted event.

Thank you so very much Barry – super epic trip. 

Participants / paddlers: - Barry (Leader), Courtney, Enrique, Annabel, Richelle, Susan, Jo, Matt Sandra & Jude.


​​​​​​​7-12th January 2023 -  West Coast Wilderness Bike Trail 

Day One - Travel from Invercargill to Methvan

Day Two - We all met at the bus  at 8am ready for departure to Greymouth.  Bikes were unloaded, lunch and then we were off on the first leg of the trail at 1pm.  The track was a good mix of wilderness and mountain views as we cycled our way to Kumara.  We stored our bikes for the night at Kumera and returned to Greymouth for a meal and fun at Monteiths before retiring for the night at Noah's Ark Backpackers. Richelle

Day Three - Kumara to Milltown - 36km Grade 2 & 3.  Breakfast at Noahs Ark before departing to Kumara to start the day, but a HUGE bouquet needs to go to the drivers who so willingly and ably took on the extra driving and relocating the vehicles for pickup at the end of the day!!.  A very scenic ride - reservoirs, lakes, weirs, canals (beside trail) wooden dams, water races, bush and reasonably smooth cycling most of the way, but there were switchbacks which had riders had feet on the ground in order to negotiate the corners, and there were a few walkers, but all accomplished the trail.  Lunch at grotty, rusty old machinery over near Cowboy Paradise (which no longer provides accommodation or fodder).  All continued in THE HEAT to glide down a winding road to Milltown Shelter.  An 0830-1330 riding day where one experienced a flat battery on his E-bike, one very experienced cyclist came a real cropper in loose shingle, and one got pushed off the trail by the maintenance 4WD motorbike.  Stayed at Hokitika Holiday Park and dined at Stumpers followed by a short hilarious afterward session.  Sally

Day Four - Milltown to Hokitika - Another lovely day but not so hot and a small problem finding our destination Milltown. We all mounted up on our bikes and headed up the hills on a gravel road to Lake Kaneire claimed to be New Zealand’s the most beautiful lake. It was surrounded by bush. This lake like many of the others was part of the power generating scheme so we travelled along a narrow bush clad track with dropoffs on one side and a control channel on the other with lots of concentration needed. We then followed a newly formed track through large kahikateas, rimus, and matais back to Hokitika for lunch. We all had a free afternoon when I visited an old tramping club member Marge Riley and caught up on the years in between.It was an opportunity for others to explore and visit the town shops.

At 5pm we went out to the Woodstock Hotel where we joined the crowds at the hotel for 2 for 1 cost meals which we all enjoyed as did many others. This was followed by the awards ceremony and off to bed .  Ann I

Day Five - Hokitika to Ross (on to Haast) - ​​​​​​​The final day of biking.  Another fine sunny day.  After packing up most of us set off at about 8 am in the general direction of the Hokitika Bridge to find the track.  At least one person who left earlier had  bit of trouble finding it and had to wait until the later ones arrived in order to get onto the track.  Following the long but spectacular bridge crossing as well as riding along side the main road we moved on to the old tram track and through of native bush before arriving at the Hokitika Tree Top walk where several hardy souls tried out the Zip Line and the walk while the rest of us drank coffee.

After the Tree Top walk it was onto Ross where the trail finished and where there was a pre arranged photographer waiting to take a Group photo. 

We then piled into the various vehicles and drove to Haast for a night at the Wilderness Back Packers where we were greeted by the Mozzies and the Sand-flies.  This was followed by a tasty dinner at the Hard Antler and back to the Backpackers for the night where the day’s highlights and misdemeanours were rewarded with an additional item item of clothing for the lucky recipients.  Sandra

Day Six - Haast to Invercargil (and Bannockburn) travelled home

The Team (Riders) Barry, Robyn, Ann I, Adrian, Ann F, Blair, Richelle, Sandra, Paula, Carl, Jimmy, Hilary, Gillian, Sally, Dean, Anne, Annabel and Neroli

​​​​​​​2nd January 2023 - Bald Hill Walk and BBQ

15 walkers braved hot conditions and walked from the Gravel Pit 3.8km to the top of Bald Hill to celebrate the first tramp of 2023.  The views were 360 degrees from the top.  After talking to a couple of TA walkers we returned to the vehicles and had a visit to the Pourakino Picnic Area before returning to Appleby's for a BBQ Pot Luck tea.

Neroli, Hilary, BJ, Robin, Catlin, Sandra, Graeme, JK, Jenne, Liz, Emma, Zak, Austin, Louise and Anne