27-30 SEPTEMBER 2012

This is a bit of an awkward trip to plan and organise, but Dan did a great job of it

A DoC hut at Macetown would make planning easier. We drove down to Arrowtown and stayed at the Poplar Backpackers overnight, before setting off at 8am Thurs morning for Macetown, fifteen slow uphill kilometres away. The river crossings have been eliminated with bridges and bypass tracks, allowing us to reach this historic gold mining village in only 4 hours.

We enjoyed lunch in the shade then took the well-marked high track instead of the river because of recent rain. This proved to be a very slow, rough track, but was well poled as was the whole length of the track which eventually left the Arrow River and headed up a long ridge to Roses Saddle and then down another meandering ridge to Roses Hut. This was a long 10½ hour 25km day.

We set off early next morning in a light frost over tussock across river flats before climbing another long ridge with blue skies and views of Lake Wanaka in the distance. We travelled along the tops before dropping down through a small beech-forested gully, then up and over another saddle before reaching Highland Creek Hut after 8½ hours—a nice day out in really awesome scenery and sunshine, capped off with a chocolate cheese cake for dessert that night to celebrate Dan’s birthday!

We made another early start on a bright Sat morning. After a bit of contouring around, we climbed up and over Jack Hall Pass and followed a stream bed down to Fern Burn Hut, retiring for an early lunch in the sun-drenched tussock above the hut—a comparatively easy day of 4½ hours walking. All the huts were identical with 12 mattresses on two sleeping platforms, insulated, double glazing, veranda, plenty of bench space, a table and seating.

Sunday morning’s walk out was relatively easy with some sections contouring along the creek, through a pretty beech forest and across river flats to the car park—about three km. from Glendhu Bay—2¾ hours with light drizzle at the end. Our pick-up arrived just before noon to take us back to Arrowtown. After a shower at the Backpackers and a caffeine fix in Arrowtown, we headed for home, arriving about 10 pm.

The Team: Dan Pryce, Sue Piercey, Joy Schroeder, Penny Coffey, Rick Bolch. (RB)