NELSON BASE CAMP
EASTER 6–9 April 2012
The team left Christchurch on Thursday afternoon, planning to reach Nelson in the evening. Despite a dodgy weather forecast during the week, the weather was great for all of Easter.
On Friday morning everybody did the historic Dun Mountain Railway. Starting from Brook Street, we headed up the track to Coppermine Saddle, and onto Dun Mountain. This track was the route of a horse-drawn railway, used for mining chromite in the 1850’s and 60’s. We made it to Coppermine Saddle at approx. 1.30pm for lunch. After a nice snooze in the sun, some of the party continued onto Dun Mountain, arriving at 3pm. The trip back down the mountain was fairly rapid. The last of us made it back, just as it was getting too dark to see where we were stepping.
On Saturday we decided on an easier day after our big day. We took a shorter walk up Hackett Stream. Everyone made it to the Hackett Hut, with the keen trampers going onto the Browning Hut. Along the track were clumps of flowering Gentianella stellata, which only grows on ultramafic soils in the upper part of the valley. This plant has a very limited distribution. We were all back at the motor camp by 5pm, and ready for an evening meal out at the Honest Lawyer. Some visited friends instead.
On Sunday the weather was still fine—unbelievable. Most of the team headed off to Abel Tasman Park. By this time there were a few sore feet and wobbly knees, so we took it quietly from Marahau to Stillwell Bay and back again. The sky was blue and the views divine (Why did we ever leave Nelson?). We finished with refreshments at the coffee shop in Marahau. This was pretty good too, with the Tasman Sea close enough to touch. Despite being footsore and weary, we had clocked up about 60km of tramping during the Easter break.
On Monday morning (still fine), the fun was over and we headed back to Christchurch. We dropped Marion off at the beginning of the Matiri Track near Murchison, to head off for another week with Keith. Unfortunately, they weren’t taking extras.
We were home in Christchurch by mid-afternoon.
The group were: Helen Harkness, Jill Fenner, Tim Hines, Marion McQuillan, Mary and Geoff Korver.
Keith Patterson (aka gatecrasher).