Holdsworth to Totora Flats
A nice easy trip to a nice hut excellent for beginners and the not quite so fit. Also a major part of the Kaitoke Holdsworth circuit. However since Feburary the swing bridge over Totara Creek has been out of action due to one abutment being washed out. Instead of fixing it they have reopened the old track and done a good job of obscuring the top of the new track and warnings on the swing bridge at the bottom. There is a warning sign on the gate between the 2 carparks at Holdsworth but easily missed if that gate is opened but thats all. There is no warning about this on the Doc site or by the log book at Holdsworth lodge. It was a bit of a surprise finding myself by the stream on a freshly marked track in pretty good condition but I prefer that track anyway. However one has to consider that they originally closed that track because of issues with the stream crossing.
Your right, @geeves, the new track on the east side of Totara creek ascending the ridge was intended to bypass the 3 creek crossings on the old track. All 3 of them at times are in-crossable in heavy rain. Presumably the bridge will be repaired? The sign at the Holdsworth gate just mentions "totara creek". some would not realize that it was on the main tramping route to Totara Flats hut.
The big thing is we walked past the sign on the gate without seeing it and I checked the Doc website when I got home and could find no warning. There were 2 groups of teenagers going in as well. One was aware of this and had bought an old map as well as new so they had a track on the map. The other group didnt know and needed reassurance that this was a valid track despite not being on the map. This group was doing Duke of Ed with a school. As you say those 4 crossings can be difficult or worse. This is a popular choice for school groups and if there is no warning then sooner or later something bad might happen. Even worse if they manage to get down the new track and get faced with a crossing that is 4 times bigger than the crossing on the old track. Even on the weekend an experienced tramper would be asking how much they needed to cross just there. It wouldnt of needed to be much worse to be very unpleasant. As for the bridge repair the abutment on the true left is munted The concrete block is visible from the other side through the side of the washout. The bridge may need rebuilding from scratch in a new location. A lot of work has been done on the old track so obviously its not going to be a quick fix.
Who did you talk to regarding the DofE group? I know a provider up there who does a lot of school groups in the Tararuas.
Never asked their names or read their entry in the log if they filled it in.
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