A week in November
Hi all. I have a week off in early November and thought it would be a good chance to explore somewhere a bit further from my Dunedin home. Currently thinking Arthurs Pass, Lewis Pass or Hokitika areas. Keen to hear your thoughts for something that might fit the bill. I realise it isn't the ideal time of year for mountainous trips with snowmelt and spring westerlies. Criteria... - 5-9 days. - Loop route - or something easily joined up by hitching or <20km bike. - Probably mostly hut-based ideally. - Options to bail out if held up by rivers. - No problematic river crossings under normal November flow for a solo tramper. - Off-track and alpine ok. Also keen to hear about recent experiences regarding break-ins in Lewis/Arthurs and ideas to avoid. Cheers!
If you are looking Hokitika way, really enjoyed a week-long trip that was the following: Day 1) Whitecombe Valley Rd end to Rapid Creek Hut Day 2) Rapid Creek Hut to Frisco Hut via the Mungo River Day 3) Frisco Hut to Sir Robert Hut Day 4) Sir Robert to Poet Hut (went up to Mungo Hut for the afternoon then back down to Poet for the night as the forecast was poor) Day 5) Poet Hut to Cedar Flat Hut Day 6) Cedar Flat to Middlebranch Rd then round to Whitecombe Valley Rd (if you get lucky like me a local takes pity and gives you a lift otherwise it is a long road walk...) Original plan was sightly different and to go out via Mullins Hut and Diedrichs Range to return to Whitecombe Valley Rd but the aforementioned rain made the Toaroha uncrossable. It is not an easy route and for the experienced, but, you mention off-track is ok. Rivers definitely become uncrossable in rain but you can bail out fairly easily from most places.
re breakins: There is now video surveilance (viewable online) at Boyle Village carpark. Can't say if its made a difference to crime but it does mean you can come out from a tramp to find emails from random acquaintences asking what you're up to in the Lewis! Lots of fun country between Lewis & Arthurs. A challenging traverse - Doubtful, Waiheke, Trent, Haupuri, L Morgan, Crooked, Camp Str if snow level is low enough. Or many easier loop options from Windy Pt or Gloriavale ends of that country. Walked a week-long winter hutbagging loop of the St James area this winter - interesting but easier country in there too on the transition from west coast rainforest to dry beech forest to historic high-country. If you get off the main tracks and into places like Stony Stream and Tutu / Carlyle from the north. And the valleys north of Arthurs have more options than can be listed here.
Following up @madpom's comments. I really enjoyed the Doubtful Valley and especially up to Lake Man and along the tops, though haven't done enough in this area to recommend a week-long trip. Expanding on the St James idea, you could incorporate the Waiau River, Lake Thompson, Upper Durville Pass, Matikitaki Valley(s), Three Tarn Pass and back to the St James in to a loop. Should all be fairly doable for, again, an experienced tramper who doesn't mind off track travel. Is all fairly straight forward with the only less than intuitive bit when you leave Thompson Pass and climb up to pick up a cairned trail through the bluffs. Will most likely need a tent on this one though.
Thanks a lot fellas - you've managed to get me looking into even more trip possibilities! All sound great though. I reckon I might head Lewis Pass way unless the weather looks decent for the coast. Great to hear of camera at Boyle Village too! Pretty excited to get out of Otago for a change!
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