Kowai Valley and Bobs Knob

Saturday 24 April 2021

The day trip was originally set down for High Peak in the Rockwood Range at the western end of the Malvern Hills, just north of Windwhistle. Due to the stag roaring season the landowner preferred that we did not do the trip at this time, so it was back to the drawing- board. Mt Oakden on the western side of Lake Coleridge was the next option considered, but was once again thwarted by the roar.

So, the reliable Kowai Valley once again came up trumps. Seven of us set off from the big pines on a glorious, fine and sunny morning to head up the valley. The trip option was for a moderate-hard climb to Red Peak or a more moderate trip to Bobs Knob, located up behind the John Hayward Memorial Hut. At the hut the unanimous team decision was for the Bobs Knob option. It was certainly more inviting than the more distant and much higher Red Peak, and besides it was already after 11am. With that decision made we relaxed a while, soaking up the sunshine as we sat facing down-valley, outside in the hut chairs.

Back on task, it was a steady climb through tussock and scree areas to the first high point at 1211 metres. From a lunch spot on the ridge, we had great views in all directions but what most think of as Bob’s Knob was in fact the higher point of 1261m about 500 metres further along the ridge and unmarked on the map. The knob was on our way back to the cars anyway, so we set off as the wind was beginning to strengthen and getting cold. Since leaving the hut, both Kerry and Peter had their pruning saws out to deal to the wilding pine seedlings that we came across from time to time. At least in this relatively small area of the wider Kowai Valley, the wildings were being kept at bay.

We progressed further along the main ridge getting closer to SH73. Six of us went down one spur while Kerry thought the other neighbouring spur was going to be the better option. As it worked out, neither spur was particularly easy. We had to weave through gaps in the widespread matagouri and patches of kanuka. Eventually, we all arrived on the Kowai River track for the final ten-minute walk back to the cars. This concluded a very enjoyable day-trip with plenty of good banter.

We were: Kim Ashmore, Joanna Frampton, Mary McKeown, Mike Wong, Kerry Moore, Peter Umbers and John Cook (Leader). (JC)

A relaxing smoko outside the hut before starting up the hill. Photo by John Cook

The view to the west with SH73 climbing up to Porters Pass, and the Craigieburn Range, top- right. Our cars are under the big pines to the left.

Photo by John Cook