Trip Reports
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1  South Island / Sandymount / Nice half day trip to Sandymount Date: January 26, 2010, 11:53:50 AM
We took a trip out on the Otago Peninsula to visit Sandymount, Lover's Leap and the Chasm.  There are a number of tracks that take you out to all of these features.  Sandymount is the highest point and we started off by heading up there first.  Unfortunately the track was a bit overgrown with gorse and other nasty stuff so we had to push our way through it before reaching the top.  At the top there is a trig and an information plaque, but unfortunately it's a bit overgrown at the top too, so the views are hard to see.

After Sandymount, we took the loop path around and down to Lover's Leap.  There is a lookout there, from which you can look down into a gaping hole and see some impressive cliffs.  Rock climbers were having a go at making their way up the cliffs.  The walk loops around a bit further, and you come to The Chasm, again another impressive lookout down a sheer drop.  From The Chasm it was back to the car and back to Dunedin.
2  South Island / Flagstaff / Foggy Flagstaff Date: January 26, 2010, 11:40:35 AM
We bagged Flagstaff Peak in Dunedin a couple of days after Christmas 2009.  It has to be said it was a great way to get some exercise and fresh air after all the Christmas fare, and a rainy day on Boxing Day!  It was a short outing and took us maybe an hour return all up at a leisurely pace.  Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy on the hill tops so all we got were a few glimpses of Mosgiel and not much else. 
3  South Island / Iron, Mt / A busy walk up Mt Iron Date: January 26, 2010, 11:22:35 AM
We went up Mt Iron just after New Year, with every other man and his dog  ;)

It was a stinking hot day (probably one of the very few so far this summer) and everyone was out doing the walk.  We did the loop around Mt Iron, starting off by walking anti-clockwise around the base and then up to the top.  The views of Wanaka and the mountains were amazing from the top.   From the top we headed down the steeper way. Took us about 1.5 hours, I think, at our leisure.
4  South Island / Thomas, Mt / Mt Thomas - bagged Date: January 26, 2010, 11:17:11 AM
A trip report for Mount Thomas.  We camped in the Wooded Gully campsite overnight, and headed out on a cool but sunny day to bag Mt Thomas.  We went up via the Summit Track, which while steep is fairly easy going.  The track goes pretty much straight up a ridge through pine forest, the pops out above the bushline.  From there its a short, easy walk to the top of Mount Thomas.  On the top of Mt Thomas is the usual trig and a bunch of electronic aerials/ equipment.  From the top there are great 360 degree views of the mountains and Canterbury Plains.

We decided to do a round trip, so from the top of Mt Thomas we followed the ridgeline to the Wooded Gully Track.  The Wooded Gully Track is pretty well formed and is a bit up and down in elevation, popping in and out of valleys and over hillsides.  As the weather hadn't been great the track was a bit muddy.  The bush was pretty though - all beech trees.  We popped out at the bottom of the track about 5 hours after we had started.  Then headed back to out campsite nearby to soak our feet in the stream.

Jon managed to lose his sunnies out of his pocket while we were walking, so if anyone finds them please return to us, hehe  ;D
5  South Island / Queenstown Hill / Queenstown Hill at Easter 2009 Date: April 21, 2009, 02:28:34 AM
Jon and I had a go at Queenstown Hill this easter.  Its an interesting walk...there's a nice gentle upward track that meanders up through forest (as part of a loop walk) and then you pop out above the trees near a 'big bowl' sculpture. (The 'basket of dreams' or something like that??).  At the sculpture there are fantastic views of the Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu and Queentown.

Then continue on about 15 minutes upwards until you reach a cairn, from which there are more great views.  Be warned though the cairn is not the top of Queenstown Hill - you need to walk a little further along undulating countryside to reach the true summit.  A map (and GPS) would certainly help identify when you are really there.

Queentown Hill is a nice half day walk and certainly easier than Ben Lomond, if you're not keen on that option.  We were going to do Ben Lomond but were thwarted by Jon's foot injury plus the fact it snowed on the mountains the day before we arrived.

6  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Matthews, Mt / I hate Mt Matthews!! Date: February 10, 2009, 08:10:52 AM
A second failed attempt at bagging this damn oversized-hill!   >:(

This time we tried to shorten our trip to the top by walking 2 hours from the carpark the day before and staying in one of the huts (Oakes) in the Orongorongo Valley.  From the hut we walked about an hour up the valley to the start of Mt Matthews Track.  The river was really low and full of algae.  I was really surprised at the change of the start to the track.  In 2005 there were some big floods down the Orongorongo Valley and it looks like the valley where the Mt Matthews track starts has been completely innundated by a debris flow.  So instead of following a sign into the bush and walking up the valley though forest, you now follow large orange triangles up the stony river bed.  Eventually you hit the bushline and re-join with the original track.

The track really is a bit of a challenge - mega-steep and you are continually clambering over tree roots and steep banks.  By the time we got to the lookout above the South saddle we were tired and sweaty!  Of course, we did happen to choose what was probably the hottest day of the year to try the tramp...  I think it was over 30 degrees surely.  :-\

Jon decided to call it a day at the lookout and admire the view of the Rimatakas and the coast from there, but I (mad-person I am) decided to make a break for the top of Mt. Matthews.  So I went on for another hour - up another incredibly steep section, then along a flatter section for a while.  I checked the GPS, and wasn't far as the crow flies from the summit, so tried to continue on.  I could see there was another drop then a final steep section to the top.  Another 10 minutes down the track, I came across a slip which you had to walk around.  With hunger, fatigue, thirst, being alone and the fact I was probably running out of time to get back to the carpark before the gates were locked - the mountain finally did my head in and I couldn't go any further...arrrrgh!   >:( So I was probably 30 minutes from the summit but never quite made it.

It was a hard slog down, first to meet up with Jon, then to clamber back down to the steep and hot.  From there it was another 3 hours walk along the valley and out to the road-end carpark.  So in the end I was probably grateful I didn't do another hour of walking to the summit.  Especially seeing that we had to walk all the way out to the Orongorongo road-end, which was another 2 hours on from the hut we stayed in. 

So all in all it was about a 10 1/2 hour day for us, and that was minus 2 hours walking in.  I think you have to be a seriously fast walker to do this track from carpark to Mt Matthews return in 10 hours.  I am pretty fit at the moment, but I guess I'm still a slower walker (I am usually about the same pace as the DOC timings for most walks).

So what next....I have to stare at this mountain, knowing I still have to bag it one day!  I'll try again (and probably try to book a closer hut next time), but I'll wait for the pain to wear off first in a couple of years time.... ::)

Revenge will be sweet.

7  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Whakapoungakau / Bagged it - Christmas holidays 2008 Date: February 03, 2009, 02:31:48 PM
See trip report, posted on the forums already.
8  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Tuteremoana (Kapiti Is.) / Cool island, scary boat ride! Date: February 03, 2009, 02:30:04 PM
We bagged the peak on Kapiti Island just before Christmas 2007.  You have to take a boat ride out to the island and it was a little choppy the day we went!  Not so much fun, but at least its only a 15 minute trip.  There are lots of really friendly native birds on the island that fly down really close.  We saw a Takahe amongst others... 

There's a steep way to the top and a gentler way - so we took the steep way up and the gentle way down.  Both were pretty walkable tracks.  At the top there's a great lookout, with views of the island and mainland on one side and the other side dropping steeply away to the sea.

Once we were down from the top we had some time to relax on the beach and enjoy the sunshine while we waited for the boat to come and pick our group up.
9  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Tongariro, Mt / Bagged it New Year's eve 2008 Date: February 03, 2009, 02:21:45 PM
See my trip report on the forum for this bag!
10  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Tarawera, Mt / Bagged it twice, late 90's, when you could still walk up Date: February 03, 2009, 02:18:19 PM
Mt Tarawera is an awesome peak to climb.  It's such a hard slog up because of it being a steep sided rhyolite dome.  Views at the top into the chasm are awesome, and it's so much fun to run down the scree slope into the crater.  It's unfortunate you can't walk up it independently any more, as the walk itself is very rewarding.  Such a sense of achievement to get to the top!
11  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Ruapehu, Mt / Great climb! March 2008 Date: February 02, 2009, 11:55:43 AM
We bagged Ruapehu in March 2008. Bagging Ruapehu was awesome. On the way up, we took the chairlift from Top of the Bruce to the top cafe (which saved us some energy). From the cafe, it was a pretty hard slog up to Dome Shelter and I felt shattered by the time we reached the top (sandwiches helped  ;D). 

Getting down was more difficult than I had expected as negotiating the boulders and the lava flows was tiresome, and you often ended up coming accross lava cliffs you couldn't get down and having to backtrack.  I definitely recommend trying to go back down the way you came up to avoid having to pick out a new path.

The chairlifts from the top cafe stopped at 4pm and we just missed catching them down.  So we had to walk back down another 1.5 hours to the Top of the Bruce.  A bit of a bummer, but the track was pretty easy on the way down (as long as you stick to the right hand side).
12  South Island / Robert, Mt / Bagged Mt Roberts - January 2008 Date: February 02, 2009, 11:41:39 AM
Bagging Mt. Roberts was the perfect opportunity to escape the sandflies at Nelson Lakes (they drove us nuts).  >:(

This was a really enjoyable walk with plenty of variety.  We walked up a series of switchbacks and through beech forest to reach the top of Mt Roberts,  and then down a different way via a couple of huts and a few small scree slopes.  At the top of Mt Roberts there are good views of Nelson Lakes area.  As the summit is at the end of the ridge, you always feel like you could go higher, and thus the opportunity is there to go on to Angelus Peak and overnight at Angelus Hut if you want.  But for a simple  day-walk, Mt Roberts still provides a nice high point from which to get views of the surrounding countryside.
13  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Rimutaka Trig / 1 Dec 07 - Bagged Rimataka Date: February 02, 2009, 11:11:43 AM
This peak has got to be one of the easier ones on the's the getting there that is the challenge, via the windy Rimataka Road!

Don't think I'd attempt this walk on a gale-force day as it is pretty exposed.  But on a fine and sunny day it's just a short walk to the top, and there are great views of the Rimatakas and the Wairarapa.
14  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Rangitoto / Bagged Rangitoto twice in 2001 Date: February 02, 2009, 11:04:00 AM
Rangitoto is just aweeeeesome!  I love the desolate feel to it, with the blackened lava fields and the regenerating bush.  Because its a gently sloping volcano it's not too hard to climb up, although you definitely have to allow a couple of hours for the return trip.  Make sure you have solid footware as the lava is pretty tough on shoes (no jandals!).  At the top there is a viewing platform so you can see views of Auckland.  You can also look into the crater, and along the way there are lava caves you can stop and look at (bring a torch).

Auckland can get pretty hot, so when we finished out walk there in early 2001, we took a dip in the sea off the wharf (in our clothes cause we didn't have any togs  ;D).
15  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Rainbow Mountain / Rainbow Mountain - Bagged March 2006 Date: February 02, 2009, 10:58:20 AM
Rainbow Mountain is worth stopping at just for the geothermal area at the base.  There's a pretty coloured geothermal lake at the bottom of the mountain that is a five minute walk from the roadside.

And while you are there you may as well take the hike to the top as well!  The track is a combination of bush track and gravel road.  At the top there is a little hut and some antennas, and of course a great view of the Rotorua area.

We bagged Rainbow Mountain while on holiday in March 2006.
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