Tramping Mt Owen

Gina, Simon, and I went tramping in the Kahurangi National Park to Mt Owen. Simon and I borrowed the truck on Thursday night and set off nice and late, arriving just before closing time at the Amberley Fish and Chip shop… Lucky us… After an infusion of fat we continued northwards musing over Simon’s discovery that the truck’s warrant was about to expire before we’d get home. We drove until the wee hours of the morning stopping finally at 1:30 am at the Nelson Lakes turn off. We had toyed briefly with idea of driving to the Mt Owen road end to surprise Gina who was already camping there…

We met Gina at the road end at Courthouse Flat and started walking in from there. It wasn’t quite as cruisy as I had expected (if I had looked properly at the map I would have realised this earlier). We slogged and sweated our way up the spur to Granity Pass Hut getting there in approx. 6 hours. The hut is very nice and tidy. It’s roomy and surprisingly considering the weather it was empty. I had lugged in a lot of food so we were well set for some lazing.

On Saturday we walked up from the hut to the limestone rock formations that surround Mt Owen and picked our way up between them to the summit. We did some most excellent tarn jumping on our way back to the hut which resulted in much pond-scum wetness and general fun.

On Sunday, we went for a wander up Billies’ Knob near the hut. Quite nice… And on Monday still in hot delicious weather we walked out. Simon and I drove back to Christchurch stopping for a while to puzzle over the truck after the powered braking-system broke. We discovered later in the evening that not only has the truck’s warrant run out it was also not registered. Oooh that could have been expensive.

Yay, a nice trip.


Heading up through the bush (Tramping Mt Owen)Nearing staircase (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: I’m sure Gina said it was a lazy man’s tramp… It was quite a sweat-fest slog up the ridge towards Grainty Pass Hut and a relief once we got under the beach forest about half way up. Above right: We’re about to hit a very steep downhill named staircase. It all looks flat and happy here though.


Gina (Tramping Mt Owen)Walking (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: Gina had her best grin on…   Above right: Strolling along under cliffy bits not so far away from the hut.

Above: Gina had an interesting bag of crackers for lunch.

Granity Pass Hut (Tramping Mt Owen)Having a break on the walk to Mt Owen (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: The Granity Pass Hut in all its glory. Above right: Gina and Simon look towards Mt Owen as we stop for a break on the way up.

Having a break heading towards Mt Owen (Tramping Mt Owen)Simon sinks into a hole (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: Gina demonstrates her compass skills. What’s this? Simon looking normal in a photo… I must have caught him off guard… Above right: Ahhh back to the way things should be. Simon pulling faces at the camera. Yes, it seems he has fallen into one of those nasty karst limestone holes of which there are thousands surrounding Mt Owen.

Spikeys (Tramping Mt Owen)Simon waits for Gina (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: One of them spiky things. Above right: Simon takes a break on our ascent to Mt Owen.

Simon on Mt Owen (Tramping Mt Owen)A hopper in the hand (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: Mr Mon with a grin on his face.  Above right: A little hopper has a rest in Gina’s hands.

Simon and Gina on the limestone (Tramping Mt Owen)Limestone sinkhole (Tramping Mt Owen)Cris jumping (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: Simon and Gina do some posing on their limestone bridge. Above middle: Don’t fall down! Above right: Time for some good old fashioned springing. Come to me Cris…

Above: An example of how to jump over tarns followed by an example of how to not jump over tarns.

Gina and Simon nearing the Granity Pass Hut (Tramping Mt Owen)View of Mt Owen and Granity Pass Hut from the Billies Knob climb (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: After a good day’s stroll and some exciting jumping over (into) tarns we returned to the hut. Perfect weather, not a soul around… Above right: We had a nice view back down towards the hut on our climb up to Billies Knob.

Cris on Billies Knob (Tramping Mt Owen)Dinner in Granity Pass Hut (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above left: Cris tries to obscure Mt Owen with his backside but is only partially successful. Above right: Yum, dinner time. It’s the usual slop, but delicious.

Simon and Gina walking out 2 (Tramping Mt Owen)

Above: Time to head back out to the car.

Tramping Copland Track, Jan 2013

After mostly throwing off the lurgi Leonie and I decided to tackle the Copland track. We drove down from where we had been camping at Fox Glacier after spending the morning walking around Lake Matheson. The DoC signs promised us 7 hours of entertainment but we headed in at a good clip and got there in around 4:45 hours.

We cooked dinner in the hut and went for a dip in the hot pools. I started to get excited about carrying on towards the pass instead of walking out and so we got up early the next day and headed up to Douglas Rock Biv. It was interesting to see the difference in the track. As soon as we left the Welcome Flat Hut highway the track narrowed and turned into a real tramping track, overgrown, washed out, small etc. Douglas Rock Biv is a tidy little hut up the valley nearish the pass. It would be a great place to stay but as the weather forecast was for the weather to turn bad we decided not to stay the night and instead wandered up a little bit further to the pass before turning around and walking all the way back out to Welcome Flat Hut. There we cooked dinner for an energy refuel, I went and lazed in the hot pools again briefly, and then it was back out to Architect Creek Hut where we arrived just before dark. The hut was somewhat less inspiring compared with Welcome Flat Hut and Douglas Rock Biv but it was still nice to have had it there.

We walked out the next day and drove North stopping in Arthurs Pass for lunch at Kennedy Lodge.


Leonie and a ferny track (Welcome Flat Hut Tramp)Mmm water (Welcome Flat Hut Tramp)Bites and stripes (Welcome Flat Tramp)

Above left: Leonie and I tramped into Welcome Flat Hut on the Copland Track. The weather was great and we made a mockery of the DoC time arriving in the evening after walking 4:45 hours instead of the prescribed 7 hours. Above middle: Leonie has a quick drink from a stream on the way into Welcome Flat Hut. Above right: Leonie dips a toe in the Welcome Flat hot pools.

Cris ankle deep in delicious warm water (Welcome Flats Tramp)Cris and Leonie having a romantic candle lit hot chocolate in the hut(Welcome Flats Tramp)

Above left: Cris posing in the delicious thermal pool. Above right: After dinner in the Welcome Flat hut.


View from the hut at night (Welcome Flats Tramp)Leonie the rugged mountain woman (Welcome Flats Tramp)

Above left: Night time at the Welcome Flat Hut. Above right: The track to Welcome Flat hut is a highway but the track leading from there onto Douglas Rock Biv is much more rugged. Ok, this picture doesn’t look that rugged…

Leonie in action (Welcome Flats Tramp)Fern (Welcome Flats Tramp)Cris speaks to his audience from the bridge near Douglas Rock Biv (Welcome Flats Tramp)

Above left: Ok, that’s a little more rugged. Leonie navigates the stream. Above middle: The track into Welcome Flat hut was very ferny. There were less ferns on the way up to Douglas Rock Biv but still a few. The vegetation was generally more mountainous… not surprisingly. Above right: Cris does some posing on a bridge just before Douglas Rock Biv.

Leonie at Douglas Rock Biv 2 (Welcome Flats Tramp)Leonie on a patch of snow (Welcome Flats Tramp)Mmmm pretty colours (Welcome Flats Tramp)

Above left: Leonie takes a break at Douglas Rock Biv. We had some lunch down by the river and then walked a little further up towards the pass from here before turning around. Above middle: Leonie finds a patch of snow near Douglas Rock Biv. Above right: The ground near the pools is full of funky brown colours.

Leonie eating lunch at Kennedy's Lodge in Arthurs Pass (Arthurs Pass)

Above: After finishing our tramp into Welcome Flat Hut we drove through Arthur’s Pass on our way back to Christchurch and stopped for lunch at Kennedy Lunch.

Seakayaking Manapouri Jan 2013

Leonie and I zipped down to Lake Manapouri from our camp in Te Anau for an overnight seakayaking trip. We hired gear at the lake and not long after midday we were on the water paddling out of Pearl Harbour. After not long we portaged over to Circle Cove and stopped and had lunch on the beach. We then found a camp site a little further to the North on a nice little deserted beach. After pitching the tent we went for a cruise up around Mahara Island, had a peak into the Hope Arm and returned to camp. We had a cosy evening in front of a fantastic fire that Leonie rustled up although the wet and cooler temperatures seemed to take their toll as we both woke up with colds the next day. A speedy kayak back out the way we came and we were zooming back up to Te Anau.

Leonie with kayak about to launch (Seakayaking Manapouri)Kayak portage (Seakayaking Manapouri)

Above left:  Leonie about to set off for a quick overnight sea kayaking mission on lake Manapouri. Due to limited time we zoomed down to the lake from our camp in Te Anau and hired a kayak for a couple of days. Spontaneous trips are fun. Above right: Not long into the trip we had to portage the kayak over a low section of land to avoid a longer kayak around into Circle Cove. The portage section was from Surprise Bay to Circle Cove and took five minutes or so but only because the lake was in flood and the portage section had almost enough water in it to allow us to kayak through. A couple of families were camping on the remains of the beach (flooding again) and helped us with the portage.

Landed on a beach (Seakayaking Manapouri)Kayak on beach 2 (Seakayaking Manapouri)Leonie looks around (Seakayaking Manapouri)

Above left: Leonie and Cris at our lunch spot on a beach at the south end of Circle Cove. Above middle: Parked up. The kayak on the beach in Cricle Cove at our campsite. Above right: Leonie kayaking.

Leonie burning the beach down (Seakayaking Manapouri)Leonie at campsite (Seakayaking Manapouri)Leonie on campsite beach 4 (Seakayaking Manapouri)

Above left: Leonie rustled up a great fire in the evening at our camp site in Cricle Cove. Someone before us had already set up a fire place so it was just a case of grabbing some of the dried leaves and twigs on the dead tree in the picture and finding some bigger drift wood. We cooked around the fire and tried to dry some of our clothes. In my case this resulted in me melting some stuff instead. Above middle: Our campsite viewed from the fallen beach tree. Above right: Leonie standing on the beach at our campsite.

Mmm fire (Seakayaking Manapouri)View from campsite 2 (Seakayaking Manapouri)

Above left: The fire kept us warm in the evening. Above right: View of the kayak on the beach at camp.

Rainbow across the water (Seakayaking Manapouri)Rainbow on the water (Seakayaking Manapouri)

Above left: A rainbow on the water in the morning. Above right: The lake seemed to be filled with rainbows.

Above: Seakayaking on Lake Manapouri with seabirds.

Above: Rainbow in the morning.

Above: Seakayaking on Lake Manapouri.