Peak Hill Rakaia Sunday 13th December
David, Robert, Barry, Ross and Christine departed Timaru at 7am. The day’s forecast looked fine with a predicted southerly change in the afternoon. I think we were lucky as we enjoyed our day in mostly sun with strengthening winds, in particular at the top of the hill. This was a pleasant day out. David, providing us with stories of his year’s shepherding and working in this area in his younger days. We took shelter by a large rock and ate our lunch, watching the skies all around. The skies were constantly changing which made ever changing views of the mountains all around us. We could see the storm that passed up the coast; the one with the tornado which swept parts of the Canterbury plains creating havoc and some damage in intense spots. We missed it all.
Description as given in trips and events page Peak Hill track is well marked on the Algidus road beyond Lake Coleridge with a DOC sign and track description in the car park area. The climb to the top of Peak Hill (1244m) rewards walkers with sweeping views of Lake Coleridge and its surrounds. A poled route leads across private farmland onto the hill, climbing through matagouri and celmisia scrub to the ridge. From here, the route turns left and climbs easily along the ridge, arriving at the summit after 2 hours.
From the summit are spectacular views in all directions. Lake Coleridge dominates the view, but several wide river valleys offer expansive views: the Wilberforce River leads northward to edge around the western side of Arthur’s Pass National Park, the Mathias and Rakaia Rivers lead westward into the Southern Alps, the Rakaia River leads out across the Canterbury Plains to the ocean beyond.
We drove to the end of the Algidus road passing Mt Oakden. The Wilberforce appeared to have changed its path at the ford across the river to Algidus. As we set off for home we were to drive into the inclement weather. We indeed had escaped this at Peak Hill. Thank yopu to David for driving us and your interesting stories and information.