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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Days 57-65 Boyle to Arthur’s Pass

Day 57-59 ~ Walked: 0km, ~ Start: Hanmer Springs ~ End: Hanmer Springs (km 2080)

Thurs-Sat 24th - 27th November

As much as I’m enjoying the trail, I love the rest days 😍 We feel justified in treating ourselves - so we do. It’s nice to reflect on the section just been and plan for what’s ahead. Also to catch up on personal hygiene and reconnect with family and the world. Excited to be in Hanmer springs for this break. It was fairly nearby to Boyle so we shared a shuttle with Karan and arrived here in some hot summery weather. We’ve eaten well, I’ve had a massage and we’ve hung out at the pools. Our tan lines definitely need some work. 😂

We’ve also met up with Kim, Phil and Jackie. That was exciting as Kim has been just behind us the whole trip. She started at cape reinga two days after us, then restarted in Whanganui like us, but it’s taken till now for us to meet. Also Phil and Jackie are the first couple we’ve met. It’s all been solos up till now. Plus they’re all about our age. So the six of us (with Karan) are going to do the next section together which will give us good safety on the river crossings. Phil and Jackie’s daughter Mel joined us for dinner.

There’s currently heavy rain warnings for the area we’re heading into but are delaying our start and have it planned to not hit the river crossings until the rain has considerably eased and had time to drain away.

Day 60 ~ Walked: 16km, ~ Start: Windy point ~ End: Hope Kiwi hut (km 2105)

Sunday 28th November

We didn’t start off till after lunch which was perfect as the morning rain had come to a complete stop by then. It was great to get moving again. It was starting to feel like we were just waiting for time to pass in hanmer.

This was our first time actually walking with others so I hope we got any etiquette right. I’m sure they were all thinking what is this numpty doing with us, when I had a completely klutzy and avoidable fall five minutes in. I enjoyed being in the group, it seemed to make the time go faster. And I’ve got a few new photography subjects!

The rivers were huge, muddy and flowing very fast. Luckily there were bridges across them.

The side streams were thankfully very manageable. Apart from one narrow one that had a very swift deep current. But Phil made sure we all got across safely, pulling us across it.

Phil giving directions on where to step
Good save Phil - Kim about to topple
Phil thinking “oh no Kim’s in the river”

Terrain has been similar to previous few days (of walking- not hanmer) with grassy riverside flats and beech forest.

We did see a little group of ducks surfing the rapids in the river. Not 100% sure but they may have been whio.

The evening put on a surreal sight with the ground fog.

Day 61 ~ Walked: 18 km, ~ Start: Hope Kiwi hut ~ End: Hurunui hut (km 2123)

Monday 29th November

A leisurely start as not a big day planned which is nice after the big stretches needed through Nelson lakes and the Richmonds. More riverside flats and beech forests. I’m not sick of that scenery yet but to many photos of the beech forest is probably a bit tedious.

We went alongside lake sunmer for quite some time barely catching a glimpse of it. We even did a little side jaunt up to a lookout which unfortunately had long ceased to have views due to the tree growth. But finally we came out to the end of the lake and had a beautiful lunch spot.

Lake Sumner overflowing

The previous nights hut book and others staying in the hut had given us lots of warning about attacking falcons. So we knew the exact area to be on the look out. We assembled with the strongest most intimidating at the front and back (Phil and Karan). A good hour went past and the suspense was excruciating. I was wishing for them to hurry up and attack us so we could deal with it then relax. But unbelievably we got through unscathed and they left us alone. Must have been our intimidating pack size and formation.

The cows left us alone too
Karan on the last bridge for the day

Lucky the hurunui hut was a fairly big one as there was a huge crowd for some reason. Our little family of six filled one sleeping platform all lined up like sardines. Two other platforms were full, two slept out on the deck (with mosquito nets over their heads) and two slept on the floor. They were all seperate groups of 2-3 heading in different directions and separate routes. Apart from the last two to arrive which was Cory and Britt, fellow TAs. We’d chatted to them briefly in Hanmer just before we caught our ride back to the trail. Karan was pleased to have someone more his own age and speed to head off with the next day. Time for him to fly the coop from his surrogate three mums and two dads. We’ll miss him after being together over two weeks now.

Day 62 ~ Walked: 10 km, ~ Start: Hurunui hut ~ End: Hurunui no 3 hut (km 2133)

Tuesday 30th November

Another hot sunny day and another leisurely walk. The huts in this section seem to be around 5-8 hours apart which makes it the perfect walking time for us. It would be to much for us to get through 2 huts in a day.

There was a natural hot pool just off today’s track but I’d already decided not to go in it after Phil’s horror story of getting cellulitis from one. I’ve got so many cuts and scratches I didn’t want to risk it. It sounds like it was quite shallow anyway. As it happens we didn’t find it as we decided to go off trail and make our own way up the river flats instead of through the bush. It felt quite adventurous and we criss crossed the river to do so. The river levels have dropped massively in the last two days so felt very safe.

Cow graveyard

We got to the hut in time for lunch so had a nice relaxing afternoon.

Relaxing in the shade of the thorn bush

It was a good chance to have a good wash on the river and wash and dry some clothes. Kiwi are quite abundant around here and there were a lot of prints down at the river. I heard a pair of kiwi calling just after we got into bed but they didn’t sound close enough to warrant getting out of bed again for a look.

I thought kiwi prints but maybe weka?
Hurunui No3 hut with three story bunks
The orphan calf at the hut put itself in this “pen”

Day 63 ~ Walked: 14 km, ~ Start: Hurunui no 3 hut ~ End: Locke stream hut (km 2147)

Wednesday 1st December

Today we crossed over the southern alps to the west coast through the Harpers pass. It sounds difficult but was nothing like the mountain climbing we did through the Richmonds and Nelson Lakes area. This was the original historical pass through the alps for Maori searching for pounamu, and later used in the gold rush era. It was subsequently replaced by Arthur’s pass.

After the fairytale like beech forest beginning the climb to the pass itself was new terrain.

Fungus cake

It had a garden like feel and the path was overgrown with flaxes and grasses.

Path under the cutty grasses

We stopped at two tiny little emergency shelters for our morning tea and lunch breaks.

Harper pass bivvy

There were a few challenges today from obstacles,

three wire bridge,

and finding a route over an enormous shingle slip

Cairn at the start of slip but no further help

and smaller landslide, and the average quota of stream crossings. Today was a good challenge level - not too hard, but challenging enough to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.

After Harpers pass now on the west coast

A nice surprise for Kim, her son Callum had walked in (a day and half) to meet her, meeting us on the track just after lunch. He’d bought monopoly deal along so tonight’s entertainment was sorted.

Locke stream hut had a bad reputation for rats. From the signage, to the comments in the book to the traps and large container of rat bait.

Despite being an 18 bed hut very few people seem to stay here. We went to bed with our food all hanging out of harms way and hoped for the best.

Day 64 ~ Walked: 18 km, ~ Start: Locke stream hut ~ End: Aickens car park (km 2165)

Thursday 2nd December

We woke from a great nights sleep undisturbed by any rats thankfully. We had a lovely group photo before leaving courtesy of Callum.

Immediately after this I stepped off the deck onto a log hidden in the grass and had a great fall with a soft landing that Kim managed to capture the end of.

The day was fairly long following the river downstream. A mixture of grass flats, a little forest and a lot of dry river bed rock hopping with a few river crossings.

Lush forest growing in the river sand and silt

We’re getting some good experience on the crossings and are picking up lots of good tips from Phil. The hardest ones today were the Taramakau which we had to cross a couple of times and then the Otira had one crossing. Thankfully there’s been no rain for a couple of days as they had quite strong flows as it was.

We’d planned to camp near Morrison’s foot bridge before continuing over goat pass the next day but there was heavy rain forecast for the following few days which would make that section quite treacherous. Luckily we were nearing SH73 so we decided it would be best to exit there to wait the rain out. And even luckier for us Callum had his car parked there and could take all of us onto Arthur’s pass to find some accommodation for the night. We had time for a quick drinks stop at the Otira pub on the way.

We got to meet up with Karan Corey and Britt again for dinner as they’d just finished the goat pass section and come into Arthur’s pass as well.

Day 65 ~ Walked: 0 km, ~ Start: Arthur’s Pass ~ End: Methven (km 2165)

Friday 3rd December

Well the forecast rain duly arrived. We consulted with the local DOC office for advice. Basically the west coast was in for a lot of rain for the best part of the next week. All of the upcoming sections had river crossings that would be impassable. So instead of waiting it out we’ve skipped ahead a little to a section out of the rain zone. We’ll definitely complete this missed section when the weather allows. Part of the joys of trying to walk the South Island in spring.

It was a full day of planning, decision making, logistics, bookings, resupply, cafe meals, but we’ve got ourselves to Methven and will tomorrow begin the section from the Rākaia River to Rangitata River.

A huge shoutout the Tash at the Mountain House. She wasn’t around when we arrived (with no booking) but gave us details over the phone to let ourselves in. Then let us take her car to pick up our bounce boxes from Bealey. Then drove us to Methven as she was heading over to Ashburton.

Lupins by the river at Bealey

Day 60 ~ Walked: 16km, ~ Start: Windy point ~ End: Hope Kiwi hut (km 2105)

Sunday 28th November

Day 61 ~ Walked: 18 km, ~ Start: Hope Kiwi hut ~ End: Hurunui hut (km 2123)

Monday 29th November

Day 62 ~ Walked: 10 km, ~ Start: Hurunui hut ~ End: Hurunui no 3 hut (km 2133)

Tuesday 30th November

Day 63 ~ Walked: 14 km, ~ Start: Hurunui no 3 hut ~ End: Locke stream hut (km 2147)

Wednesday 1st December

Day 64 ~ Walked: 18 km, ~ Start: Locke stream hut ~ End: Aickens car park (km 2165)

Thursday 2nd December

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Dec 05, 2021

Wow, some great pics there Jenny, that 3 wire bridge looks a challenge but obviously well met ! Good to see a beer in your hand Gee ! Got to keep the fluids up.


Julia Dolan
Julia Dolan
Dec 03, 2021

Wow, you seem to be managing your weather windows very well which always makes it more fun to be outside! Nice to have some company too.

Dec 03, 2021
Replying to

I don’t know about managing well, the weather windows all seem to be a bit to short for us. And have taken a lot of planning to negotiate. But yes we’ve been lucky to have not walked in the rain very often.

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