Craig and I drove to St Arnaud after work on Friday evening. We parked near the west bay and set off in the dark. A bit under two hours and we were at Coldwater Hut. Annu had walked in at a more sensible time and met us there.
On Saturday we set off early along the track towards John Tait Hut. It was a fresh morning and the sun was out but struggling to get into the valley. We took a right and started ascending the Cascade Track to Angelus Hut. After quite some time in the forest the track emerged and we stopped for some warm sunshine and wraps by the track. Continuing on the track got steeper turning into a poled route. It was amazingly perfect weather, a fresh crisp winter feeling. There were patches of snow and ice on the route to navigate but it wasn’t too difficult to reach the top. DoC hadn’t yet taken out the bridge crossing the stream, which the website promised they would do.
We arrived at Angelus Hut and spent the afternoon outside in the sun drinking the whisky Craig had brought with him and sitting up on the hill behind the hut.
On Sunday we walked out via Robert’s Ridge. It was another amazingly sunny and still day. The route reminded me a bit of Europe. I’d forgotten how nice a autumn/winter day can be. It was great to be out. We dawdled along the ridge arriving at the carpark late in the afternoon. We said goodbye to Annu and I drove Craig to the airport for his flight back to Wellington.
We left Coldwater Hut in the morning. The weather was very nice again. A slight breeze compared with the day before but warm and sunny.
We stopped at the a jetty and walked up to see the Whiskey Falls before returning to the lake. I swam for a while and enjoyed the fresh water.
We kayaked to the end of the lake and packed the car again and began driving North. We passed through the outskirts of Nelson and drove towards Motueka, over the Takaka hill and set up camp at the Hang Dog campsite. We went for a quick climb at Paines Ford in the evening.
Above: We kayaked back down the lake the following day. In the afternoon we drove to Golden Bay staying at Hang Dog in the evening.
Above: We climbed at Paines Ford in the evening. Not much at all. Just enough to say we’d been climbing.
We left our camp site at the beginning of the Old Ghost Road on the Buller River and drove to Murchison. We took over the park bench and dried the tent, had breakfast, and started packing for an overnight adventure in the kayaks. We drove to St Arnaud and packed everything into the kayaks trying to stay out of the hot burning sun. There was no wind and it was a perfect day.
We kayaked along the length of the lake arriving at Coldwater Hut after a few hours. Before dinner, we went for a little walk from the hut.
1) We drove to Nelson Lakes stopping in Murchison for breakfast and to repack and sort all our gear. We got the kayaks ready for an overnight trip.
2) We kayaked across Lake Rotoiti to Coldwater Hut at the head of the lake.
3) The hut was quite nice. We shared it with a few others in the evening.
4) The kayaks went well on the lake. It was completely calm and warm and the crossing of the lake was enjoyable.