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Messages - timd

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Maunganui, Mt / Climbed the Mount at last
« on: May 04, 2010, 07:52:48 AM »
First time that we came here we just walked around the base of the Mount, but this time we went to the top. View was great, not just from the top, but most of the way up and down: we went up via the south side, down via the north. It was hot work on a hot day, plenty of people on the track and at the summit.

Boulder Hill / Boulder Hill
« on: April 15, 2009, 03:24:52 AM »
See my Belmont Trig and Boulder Hill joint trip report under Belmont trig.

Belmont Trig / Belmont and Boulder Hill in one trip
« on: April 15, 2009, 03:23:34 AM »
Weather: strong north westerly wind and cloudy. Track: dry.

Decided to walk the Puke Ariki Track from end of Cornish Street at Korokoro, the southern end of Belmont Regional Park to Dry Creek, the northern end of the park. We left a car at Dry Creek car park and got dropped off at Cornish Street for the start by our daughter. However, as both ends of the track are only a few minutes walk from railway stations on the Hutt Valley line, it is quite feasible to do this walk using a train to make the connection. We were passed by a tramper who was doing just that. There is only room for 2 cars at the track end at Cornish Street and it is an industrial area, so not a great place to leave a car parked all day, yet we felt it was a good way round to do this walk.

Track starts narrow but flat for 3 kms going up the Korokoro Stream. At Baked Beans Bend there is a clearing where you can picnic, then you turn right up a steep clay-surfaced track for the climb to Belmont summit at 456m. There are some attractive bush sections on the track, including one near the summit and most of this section is sheltered from the wind. There are also about half a dozen stream crossings to undertake: if it has been raining a lot expect wet feet; if dry you will still get wet feet unless you are wearing waterproof boots.

Once at the summit there are great views over Wellington Harbour, Lower Hutt and Porirua, but from there on until after Boulder Hill you get the full force of the blast of the standard Wellington north-westerly almost the entire way. It is both cold (due to wind chill) and very wearing after 3 or more unrelenting hours. We passed some amazingly inappropriately clad people up there on this trip: you DO need a windproof jacket and hat of some sort to be comfortable and if you don't have them and have to stop due to injury, hypothermia would be a real risk.

The Puke Ariki Track is, in the main, well marked with orange disks on bendy poles across the farmland, but there are so many tracks up there a map can be useful. Most of the track runs through a working farm: no dogs are allowed, yet we still passed one man with a dog (albeit on a lead). This is a wide track most of the time, often grass underfoot, some of it follows well worn animal trails (the farm runs sheep and cows). The track is open to cyclists as well as walkers and some of it is also open to horse riders. Views in all directions abound from numerous vantage points. At one point you follow the old coach road (now grassed over) that ran between the Hutt Valley and Porirua before the Haywards Hill road was built. Part of the track also follows a gravel road for a little while.

Boulder Hill is aptly named with the summit strewn with some large boulders. Getting in the lee of the biggest provided us with a little respite from the wind, which was at its strongest by the time we got there. Views from here are at least as good as from Belmont trig. The final descent to Dry Creek finishes on a gravel road: probably the least scenic part of the track. The park at Dry Creek is a good place for a picnic though and nicely sheltered. This has the ONLY toilets on the Puke Ariki track and they are 400m from the car park.

Times and distances: Cornish St to Belmont trig, around 6.5 km and 1:50. Belmont trig to Boulder Hill, around 11.5 km and 3 hours. Boulder Hill to Dry Creek car park, around 4.5 km and 1 hour.

Climie, Mt / Mt Climie on a fine day
« on: March 31, 2009, 04:09:29 AM »
6 November 2007, dry, sunny, not too much wind.

We have been up Climie three times altogether, the first time many years ago with the children. It is a hard slog up the 4wd track to the summit ridge and the temperature drops noticeably as you get close to the top. In winter the top can have snow on it on rare occasions, but we had a fine spring day last time we went up and the views from the top were great, over Wairarapa and Upper Hutt/Mangaroa Valley. There are a couple of places near the summit of Climie No2 (the higher peak) where you can get out of the wind to have a rest and a bite to eat.

Total distance is just under 6 kms each way from the Tunnel Gulley car park. Took us 1:56 to go up and 1:35 to come back down on this occasion. As we live only 4.5 kms from there in Kaitoke we always walk to/from home (mostly along the old railway route) making it a 21 km round trip.

Pinnacles, The / Bagged on our Coromandel holiday
« on: March 28, 2009, 11:16:57 AM »
We did the Pinnacles walk while we were staying for a week at Whangamata. Dry until just before we reached the Pinnacles Hut, started raining a few minutes before we got there and then bucketed down for 40 minutes while we were under cover on the Hut deck. Talk about lucky. Track was wet for the climb to the top of the Pinnacles, but no more rain and had nice views from the top. The metal rungs set in rock near the top are a challenge if you are getting on a bit ;) and wearing a pack. Descended the longer route via the Billy Goat Track. A good all day round trip.

Round trip measured 20.6 kms by GPS. Distances and time they took us on the day (includes brief rest/photo stops) were: Car park to Hydro Camp 4.7 (1:47), Hydro Camp to Pinnacles Hut 2.5 (1:03), Pinnacles Hut to summit, then back to Hydro Camp 4.9 (2:32) - didn't note the time it took from hut to summit :(, Hydro Camp to car park via Billy Goat Track 8.5 (3:10).

Rimutaka Trig / Rimutaka Trig on a fine day
« on: March 25, 2009, 03:36:53 AM »
This is a great short walk with outstanding views over the Wairarapa, but don't go up here if it is windy. Our first time, many years ago, the dog almost got blown off the top :o! This time was calm and sunny :)

Hawkins Hill / A very windy day
« on: March 25, 2009, 03:30:06 AM »
20 May 2007, dry but very windy. I bagged Hawkins Hill as part of one of Wellington Scottish Athletics Club's 3 Peaks Challenge series that runs every year May to July (well recommended). A very windy day, such as Wellington provides from time to time. Went up the track beside Happy Valley Tip and back down the main track and then the road past the wind turbine. Good views as this is the highest peak close to Wellington City.

As I was racing (walking) that day my trip times are not representative of how long it would normally take to get up and down (44 minutes for the climb, 24 minutes back down to the wind turbine).

Holdsworth / Mt Holdsworth - first ascent
« on: March 24, 2009, 05:34:50 AM »
21 March 2009, fine to start, cool and little wind.

Mel and I finally managed to get to the top of our first Tararua peak. The day started calm and sunny, but the forecast was for showers from midday (never eventuated until the drive home  :D), so we got away as early as we could (just after 8:00 am from the Holdsworth Lodge car park). The trip reports on this site helped us with planning as we reckoned on a 9 hour return journey and we knew that the Gentle Annie Track would help get us well on our way.

We were surpised to find we got to Rocky Lookout inside an hour and Mountain House shelter another 50 minutes after that. Had short breaks at both places. Then it was the harder ascent up to Powell Hut. Mel is very short, which always makes these steep ascents a challenge: what is a big step for me is a bit of a scramble for her. Causes problems on the descents too, so we are always being overtaken on our tramps, both up and downhill. Once again, though, we were surprised to find ourselves at Powell Hut only 1:10 after Mountain House.

By this time the tops had low cloud hanging over them. As we left Powell the cloud dropped further and by the time we got to Pt 1330 it was the last view of the Wairarapa that we got. The wind stayed away until a few minutes after we got to the summit, then freshened rapidly. We cancelled our original idea of having lunch at the top, couldn't see anything anyway, and even with 4 layers on it was getting cold, so we headed back down.

With breaks briefly at Powell Hut and Mountain House, as well as lunch in a sheltered spot by the track a little above Powell Hut, we got back to the car park 20 minutes faster than we had gone up. Altogether the trip took us 8:50, with 7:35 of that on the move. The GPS measured the whole trip at close to 21 kms (via Gentle Annie both ways).

The trip back down Gentle Annie caused a lot of aches and pains in our knees, although we found it quite easy on the ascent. Next time we think we may try turning left just after Mountain House on the way down and dropping faster to the Atiwhakatu Track, then return along that. It looks like a shorter distance too.

General Discussion / Re: Stony Bay Peak
« on: March 24, 2009, 03:36:53 AM »
Have uploaded a couple of photos, still have to search out some more. I have a GPS track plot as well if that is of any use to you when you write it up.

Cannon Point / The other way up Cannon Point...
« on: March 24, 2009, 03:30:02 AM »
There is a third route that can be taken to climb/descend Cannon Point, which is longer but more scenic than the 'official' route detailed on this site, and that is what we did on the last occasion we went up there.

You still start in the Tulsa Park car park, but instead of heading straight up the hill, turn left out of the car park on the road (California Drive) and head along the footpath to Larchmont Grove, left there until almost at the end, then right into Wyoming Grove. Go along the short footpath between 2 houses at the end of the cul-de-sac and turn left along the grass that runs along the Hutt River behind the houses. Some way along follow another path straight ahead through bush/scrub that comes out at the end of Bridge Road.

At that point turn left onto the walking track that goes through the bush along a stream to the old Birchville Dam, which used to be part of the Upper Hutt water supply. Steps go up the left edge of the dam and you can see the small lake at the top. From there it is a long path up the hill and across the top, with an occasional view over northern parts of Upper Hutt until finally reaching the highest point at Cannon Point itself.

At this point you can take any of the alternative routes back down. On this occasion, after a well-deserved rest and refreshments at the top we took the short but steep zigzag path back down the hill to the car park at the bottom, rather than the longer but more gentle 4WD track. The route we took made it an 8.6 km walk and it took us 2 hrs 30, including rest and photograph stops en route.

Hawkins Hill / The harder way up Hawkins Hill
« on: March 21, 2009, 02:44:04 AM »
As a much more challenging alternative to the easy walk up from the wind turbine you need to start right at the bottom of the Hill next to the Happy Valley Tip. This is a moderately steep 4wd track that winds its way up the hill, before coming out on the ridge a few hundred metres down the main track from the summit. Distance from the road to the summit via this track is almost exactly 4 kms according to my GPS. The day I went up was blowing gale+ with winds gusting over 100 kph at the top. There is a section of the main track to the top that cops the famed Wellington north-westerly in all its force. I was blown right across the road by one gust and there was nothing I could do to prevent it :o. Do NOT walk close to the downwind edge in such conditions!

The track from the wind turbine to the summit is a bit shorter (as well as much less steep) at 3.5 kms.

General Discussion / Stony Bay Peak
« on: March 20, 2009, 08:03:34 AM »
Bagged 2 February 2009, dry track. We walked up Stony Bay Peak on a recent trip to Akaroa and so far as I can see it meets almost all of the necessary criteria. Although it shows in the Possibles list as being a 2 hour trip, that is only the case if you park at the car park near to Purple Peak Saddle: most people who climb this peak ought to do it from sea level in Akaroa, which means that you climb the whole thing, not just the last 200m!

Start at the Information centre in Akaroa and walk up Rue Balguerie. Stony Bay Peak is immediately ahead of you: the road points right at it. You carry on up the road until it turns into a gravel road (a very steep tarmac bit lies before this). At the end of the gravel road you go through a gate onto a gravel farm track. The farmer has granted right of way to walkers and the walks are publicised at the Information Centre: the Banks Peninsular Walk uses this track as well. After another gate the farm track is just grass. Finally it turns into a narrow foot track up to Purple Peak Saddle at around 600m and 4.6 km from the start. Took us 1 hr 45 mins to here. At this point turn right (it is signposted) and the hard bit starts. The track up to Stony Bay Peak is very steep and quite overgrown, mainly with grasses. It takes the best part of an hour to traverse only 1.2 km to the top. At the top there is a bit of a plateau that you cross to get to the rock cairn perched at the edge of a steep drop. Views over Akaroa and the harbour are fabulous.

Return is the way you went up. Took us another hour to descend to the saddle, but only 1:15 back to Akaroa, so the round trip was 5 hours plus rest stops.

So, it is over 100m (806m). The highest point is actually just after you reach the top plateau, the rocky cairn and lookout are about 10m lower.

There are very rewarding views (most of the way down has great views too as the terrain is very open).

It is only 1:15 from Christchurch.

Summit is only accessible by foot.

It is named on all the maps.

It is the highest peak on the track.

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