After my previous tramp I thought I’d do another one while in the area. I had fish and chips at Tapawera, then headed down the Wangapeka River Road. All the campgrounds around Nelson are full at this time, or charging $40/night for an unpowered tent space. I decided to stay at the DOC campsite at Siberia Flat. It’s near the end of the road – about an hour from Tapawera if you’re driving slowly on the unsealed road like I was. If you have a car with higher ground clearance you could probably do it faster.
While on my last tramp I’d been thinking about how nice a bit of car camping would be.
The campsite has no facilities except a longdrop and some picnic tables. I was the only person there. It seemed lovely . . .
. . . until I was descended upon by ONE JILLION SANDFLIES. A jillion! I had 80% DEET insect repellent but they just laughed at it. The only chance of some peace was to walk around or wrap myself entirely in my sleeping bag liner.
The next day I drove the last few km to the road end. It’s the site of an old gold mining township in the 1870s and revived in the Depression.
There’s a 30 min track that takes you past some old relics.
The track crosses a river
and goes to a stamper battery
Up this track a bit further is the Blue Creek resurgence. It’s a pool.
I headed back then took the track up to the main ridge.
The track then follows this ridge for a gain of 500m.
Fortunately there is an excuse to
collapse in asthmatic wheezing stop and take photos.
I met two people coming the other way but I must have looked like the giant read sweat monster.
Composure Man – “Hello”
Me – <Wheeze> “Glarbablurgh!”
After this there is a section marked as Staircase on the map. It’s not actually a staircase – just a nickname.
Not far after this there is a lookout off to the right of the track – you should see it – it’s a mossy clearing a few metres off the track.
Eventually it goes back in to the bush and flattens out a bit.
In the bush here was my main objective – the ‘Old prospector’s hut’. After 8km what did I get????
The vegetation changes again.
And the track heads up a dry streambed.
It took me 4 1/2 hours exactly to reach the hut. It obviously has quite a lot of traffic with people climbing Mt Own and other surrounding peaks. The tracks aren’t poled but apparently have cairns.
The hut is new (2009) but does not have a stove – many hut book comments noted how cold it was. I did not have this problem, but there were a LOT of flies.
The next morning I headed back out on the same track. For once I could start with dry boots and socks!
It took me 1 hour 50 min to reach the track junction again.
There are a couple of ascents but eventually it breaks right to a wider track. This is nearly at the end.
The very last 100m is actually quite muddy – so watch your footing if you don’t want to have to clean your boots!