Thursday 28 September 2017

A Stunning Walk in the Mountains- Part 1


We had another walk we wanted to do while we were staying at Kaiteriteri, it's one we missed on our last visit even though we had visited the area twice.

As the sign says, it's 7kms of steep, winding and narrow road straight up the side of the Arthur Mountain Range to the Flora Carpark and into the Kahurangi National Park. Mt Arthur is the prominent peak in the range that forms a backdrop to the Motueka/Tasman area.

Back in 2014 when we visited the Park we walked to Flora Hut and then we came back a few days later to do the walk to the Mt Arthur Hut as we'd heard it was a stunning half day walk and we'd already seen how much bird life there was. Unfortunately it had snowed and we only just made it to the carpark before turning around and heading back down.

This time the weather was good and we allowed enough time to get to Mt Arthur Hut, a 8.4km return walk from the carpark where the old stone and cedar shelter above marks the entrance. After our marathon 17kms walk to Lake Daniells the other week, we weren't keen to take on a tramp to the summit of Mt Arthur; a 18.2km return walk from the carpark and a steep climb, once past Mt Arthur Hut. 

There are numerous single and multi-day tramping tracks throughout Kahurangi National Park and several start (or end) at the carpark.

We follow the 4WD track to a junction 600metres from the carpark, the Flora Hut walk heads off to the right, our track to the left. The bush we pass through at the beginning of our track is nothing short of spectacular, and while I'm waiting for David to finish a bit of bird spotting, I take a little bit of artistic license with my camera and shoot some creative blur photos.

These two photos (above and below) are of the same piece of bush. To achieve creative blur in your photos slow the shutter speed down (these are 1/50sec) and then as you push your shutter button, quickly move your camera up and down. Play with settings until you get the desired effect, it's fun to see what you can produce. I enjoy doing this with colourful flower beds too.

Here's a couple more taken in bush similar to the top photo, I like the effect a little bit of sunlight has had on the green moss on the forest floor. Cool aren't they? 

Anyway, back to the task at hand, the track is well formed and it's a steady, easy climb upwards.

There's a major change to the vegetation and bush as we break out onto a ridge. I've only ever seen these unusual trees in suburban gardens (including my sister and parents) I've never seen these plants in the bush before but they are the native Dracophyllum traversii, aka Mountain Neinei.  

A gorgeous little Grey Warbler/Riroriro was checking us out as we detoured off the path into his moss laden 'enchanted forest'.

Back on the path and we reach a clearing where Mt Arthur can be seen ahead of us. There's also a picnic table to the left and we decide to stop for a snack. As David's heading to the table he suddenly calls back to me 'Listen, listen.....there's something in the bush and it's heading our's wild pigs!!" he says, as really loud snorting, grunting and rustling noises reach me. I'm about ready to run and jump on the table when...

...out of the bush bursts one small Weka in full flight (they are flightless) followed by another weka twice the size! He has evil intent on his mind and he chases her around and around a tree trunk, then  across the clearing, round the table, back around another tree and then back across again, all the time emitting this really loud grunting noise. Both of them take no notice of the two shocked spectators as they disappear back into the bush. (Excuse the blurred photos, I wasn't expecting quite so much action to happen in the quiet bush)

We sat down for a snack and it wasn't long before they both emerged to see if we had anything they might steal. And looking at the state of her, I think he must have finally caught up with her.

We move off the ridge and back into the Mountain Beech forest where the tallest canopy trees are hundreds of years old and have obviously escaped the early settlers logging operations. Through a gap in the trees we can see some of Tasman Bay, Rabbit Island and the Richmond Range behind Nelson.

We must be getting close to the hut; the track has many switchbacks and we're now climbing steadily. back, forward, back, forward. We start to wonder if we'll ever get there.

Around a corner ahead of me I find a mother and her young son (about 3yo) sitting in the middle of the track checking out something in the dust. I have the feeling he had refused to go any further. His father suddenly appears from ahead of us, he's carried on to the hut with some of their gear and has come back to hoist the boy onto his shoulders. They carry on up the track while I wait for David to catch up.

Finally we reach the hut and what a surprise awaits us! It's like Piccadilly Station, there are four different groups of people including three groups with children, all under five, one of them just a baby of about 3 months old. There's even a small child's balance bike and a pushchair with a flat tyre- 'Have we got a bike pump?", they ask. As if! 

This is an 8 bunk hut and I have the feeling it's well and truly oversubscribed tonight! All I can say is thank God we're not stopping. It is lovely to see families enjoying the great outdoors and introducing their children to tramping and huts at such an early age though. 

We have our lunch and a few laughs at the picnic table before deciding it's time head back to the carpark. David's decided he's going to return the way we came, I've decided to do the loop and head down another track to the Flora Hut and then back up to the carpark, it shouldn't be too hard it's only 1/2km longer. Famous last words...

To be continued...Part 2


  1. Mrs Brown thought your narative, along with the photo's of the Wekas very hilarious and they remind her of the Doves she has befriended.

    1. I bet the doves don't try to steal your gear! :)

  2. Hi Shellie & David,
    Very familiar territory to me, having spent two new years eves on top of Mt Arthur, even played saxophone from the top. I bow to your native plants and birds knowledge.
    There is really only one steep climb not to far after the hut, the rest is long but easy!
    J & C

    1. Glad you enjoyed a trip down memory lane Jimu, if you remember rightly, it was you who encouraged us to return and do the Mt Arthur Hut walk, I'm glad we followed up on the recommendation.


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