Te Araroa Trail-The Motutapu December 2015
One car was driven to Glendhu Bay, the four of us piled into another vehicle, and a very pleasant drive over the Cardrona Range took us down into Arrowtown. Here we started walking up the 4WD track to Macetown. Not too bad a walk either, an attractive valley and all the fords were bridged for pedestrians, so it’s possible to keep feet dry. At Macetown we camped.
From here the recommended route is up the Arrow River. Stephen wanted views, so we took the high level route which traversed around a lot of the remains of old water races which were of vital importance in the Gold Mining Era. We ended up down at the river regardless, and then began a long steady haul up to Roses Saddle, where we had lunch. From here we could see our destination, Roses Hut, way down in the valley, but it took an awful long time to reach it. A 6 hour day, and a nice new and spacious 12 bunk hut, as all the huts were in fact. Our hut companions that night were a group of university researchers doing water-quality studies.
Our next day commenced with a long steep 600 metre haul up Knuckle Peak, followed by an equally steep 400 metre descent down a well-poled but very indistinct track to a nicely shaded creek. Then another 600 metre climb to another saddle. Somewhere in the maze of valleys Highland Creek Hut was situated, and it took another two hours of sidling up and down to locate the hut. Another big descent followed, and finally a steep climb up to the hut. A big challenging day, 9 hours. A young Czech girl arrived on her way to Roses Hut. We persuaded her, despite her age and agility, that she would be groping around in the dark before encountering the hut. Our advice was heeded.
From this hut the quality of the track improved, and another ascent took us up to Jack’s Saddle. From here it was a nice gradual descent to Fern Burn Hut, a mere 4 hours this day. Here we met Lawrie and Katie, aged 81 and 73 respectively, who had spent much of their lives sailing around the world in their own yacht. Now confined to land, they were seeking further adventures. An interesting evening followed listening to their tales.
Fern Burn Hut to the Glendhu Bay carpark was a straightforward and delightful walk through river flats and beech forest. We had great weather throughout, interesting tussock country, and lots of ascents and descents. Those on the trip: Stephen, Leo, Jim and Robert.
Track to the derelict Homeward Bound Battery beside the Rich Burn in the Harris Mountains west of Macetown.
“Those rocks are alive!”
Wild sheep bask in the sun on a ridge below Knuckle Peak (1,804m).
Rob, Leo and Jim take in the view from a spur north west of Knuckle Peak (1,804m) of a steep gully just crossed, the Motatapu River South Branch and the Harris Mountains.
Jim, Leo and Rob descend a spur offering a view of Highland Creek Hut and the route to it agonizingly obvious.