Orton Bradley—Packhorse Hut—Te Ara Pataka Circuit

Sunday 20 Nov 2022

Our five paid the requested $10 to Orton Bradley Park for Bill’s SUV and we must have been walking before 9am. A sign steered us onto the OB valley track because the Tablelands Track had danger from rolling logs. Images of this came to mind. Blue posts showed us the way to the well-maintained Falkner Track leading to Packhorse Hut.

Mt B was shrouded in mist in the morning. After an early lunch at the hut, we got onto the Te Ara Pataka Track and looked down on a very green Kaituna Valley. Nearing the ridge between Mounts Bradley and Herbert we were passing through brightly flowering gorse and the whole land-block, now owned by the NZ people is well-endowed with this nitrogen fixing import.

At a junction we chose to go down the left (west) side of the valley which is more open and lacks the forest tracks of the right side. From our side of the valley, we got a good view of the waterfall, illuminated by afternoon sun. We chose the Tablelands Track that stays high, then drops steeply to the car park. Our team of Dan Pryce (leading), Bill & Wendy Templeton, John Robinson and Kerry Moore took a leisurely 7½ hours in super weather. [KM]

Kerry grudgingly admits that the foxgloves enhanced the view

Pack Horse Hut from the zig-zag