Stony Bay Stream, Hinewai Circuit

Saturday 22 June 2019

From Akaroa the cars turned up Stony Bay Road at the well-known BNZ landmark. We parked at the top of this winding and narrow road/track at Stony Bay Saddle.

The forest track starts very close to the saddle and leads down alongside Stony Bay Stream. Doug, our able leader and guide called a tea-break when we crossed the stream and got on a farm track at the physical low-point of our walk. A steep climb along a fence adjacent to Marks Bush on Armstrong, then Narbey farm land got us to the Stony Bay ridge-top where we crossed the fence to The Stones, though on ‘Topomap’ it’s just Point 518.

Late morning and the 8 trampers. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore

We found a way up to this natural rock wall and walked along it. With gorse and scrub all around it, walking its length is the only way to progress onto the Stones Track. While we were eating lunch, we had surprise visitors—Graham, Chris and John caught up with us. Our 7:30 meeting at the Princess Margaret car- park was in darkness and the three stragglers hadn’t seen us assemble.

Lunch time and our numbers had swelled to eleven. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore

Stony Bay Ridge looks like it would be the logical way to Stony Bay Peak, but gorse has overgrown any track that may have been there. The Stones Track took us down to Hinewai’s Lisburn Track and on to Broom and Manatu Tracks. The Brocherie Flat car park and Purple Peak Track was familiar to most of us and led to Stony Bay Peak. Climbing the peak was the shortest way back to the cars so we got a good view of the harbour, bathed in the golden light of a low sun. During the day Doug was keeping an eye on the time as this was the shortest day. When we got below Stony Bay Peak and caught up with three “hares” he was reassured that we’d make it with daylight to spare and wouldn’t have to go looking for the sprinters.

This is a great circuit with excellent coastal views and a super variety of vegetation. Hugh Wilson has labelled the major tree varieties. You don’t expect to see red and silver beech on the peninsula. Many thanks for leading the trip, Doug.

We were: Doug Forster( leader), Sue Piercey, Susan Brechin, Hilaire Campbell, Peter Umbers, Shi Ping Wang, Norman Burden, Graham Townsend, Chris Leaver, John Robinson and Kerry Moore (KM)