This is one of the best overnight tramps I have ever done. It’s near Ashburton. Here is a map.
I started from Sharplin Falls car park. The track goes up to a spot height.
At the spot height there is a 10m detour to this viewing spot
Then the track descends and follows Bowyers Stream for a while. It’s very pretty.
After you cross the stream the track slowly ascends.
Then there’s a steeper climb and the track comes out of the bushline.
I was surprised at how quick the travel was – it only took me about 2 hours to get to Pinnacles Hut.
Here I met one man running west, then two women and a dog running east. I sat down and had lunch and was attacked by 50 sandflies. Owing to some technical difficulties (not passing a Coupland’s on the drive in) I tried having English muffins for my lunch. NOT WORTH IT. They squash, and the purported ‘cheese’ flavour was more like cinnamon. C+, must try harder.
The track then crosses a couple of spurs. The alpine scenery is very nice.
The views really are quite epic.
The track then crosses a plateau of sorts.
Then descends on a good gradient. It feels like it was surveyed for a road judging by how well graded everything is.
Then there’s one more stream crossing.
Then there’s a nicely graded ascent and on the other side is the hut. It took me about 2 hours from Pinnacles Hut.
Woolshed creek hut is very recent and has 2 large bunk rooms. Evidently this can be very busy during summer weekends but when I went (mid-week in November) it was about 1/2 full. There was one group of Y9/10 school girls in residence so I spent most of my time reading outside.
As is usual I took a bunk next to a window. This is because for some reason people don’t seem to wash when tramping. Soap is not heavy! I know things are a bit different when you’re tramping but some people really ming.
The next morning I took the track towards Woolshed Creek car park.
The visible track here is a 4WD access road. The track goes along the bushline.
After about an hour I reached the site of an old coal mine!
Evidently it opened in 1935 and shut in 1936, before being unsuccessfully mined by a coop, then mined opencast until the 1960s.
From here I took the Sidewinder track that goes near where the old incline went.
The track is then very wide and flat to the car park. It took me about 45 min from the mine. There is a large car park here so you could just do an A to B tramp if you wanted. I’d recommend this if you can as the northern side is the best. However I was doing the loop. Then the track has a steep ascent up Rhyolite track. It has zig zags but you can’t get around the fact that it’s a 400m gain.
It took me just under an hour to reach the track junction with the south face track.From here it’s just tussock and plains for quite a while.After coming around to the south side you will see a rather nicely graded track going up a western ridge. I didn’t go up this but it looks a LOT nicer for ascending Mt Somers than the track marked on the map, which is basically straight up.
The track does go in to the bush a bit.
From the shelter there’s a well-graded ascent over a pass.
It took me 1 hr 5 min from the shelter to the junction with the summit track.
This is the face that the marked summit track goes up! Compare that to the unmarked one from earlier!
From here it’s just one long descent back down to the car park. It takes forever.
After a while the track goes in to the bush but it’s all just beech. It took me 1 hr 20 min from the summit track junction to reach Sharplin Falls car park. The car was covered in beech sap.
Overall this is a very good tramp. The tracks are very well maintained and the scenery on the northern side is excellent. Well worth a weekend out.