This track had been recommended to me. On further investigation it turned out to be a track a lot of families do with children. However I happened to be nearby and needed to fill in the time so I did it. You could take up to 5 days to do it if you want, but I did it in 3 days. If you’re fit you can reduce the DOC times by 1/4 or even 1/3. A map is here.
I started at the end nearest Springs Junction.
The well-maintained nature of the track was immediately apparent. The track descends quickly down to a stream.The track was very pretty at this point. The track then crossed some stones.After an easy climb the track came to Cannibal Stream!This was the only point on the track with an interpretation panel. If this track is intended for families with children then they really need to add a few more.
On the other side of the stream the track was reasonable, but no paved highway. The track contours around the gorge for several km and crosses several streams. The vegetation changes from beech to . . . not entirely beech.The track then descends and comes out at the stream level.After that you go in and out of bush on a fairly flat track. Then there’s a bit of an ascent. When you get to the swing bridge you’re close to the hut.
I reached the hut after 2 hr 20 min. There were about 20 towels hanging outside and the sound of teenagers so I pushed on at speed!
There was one woman sitting outside with a fire. I left her to make dinner inside. However something was wrong with my white spirit stove. It just let liquid fuel out and wouldn’t light. I thought perhaps if I applied a burning taper to a pool of fuel it would light and warm up the generator. One fireball later (solved by a dixie over the top of the flaming stove) I decided cold dinner would be the best option.
For some reason the woman outside decided to stay outside that night. Well, whatever. I had only packed a woobie rather than a full sleeping bag in anticipation of summer temperatures. It was cold. Then at 3.30am the woman came in from trying to sleep on the deck.
The next day I set off to cross Ada Pass!
After a vertical gain of about 1m I crossed the pass!
Then the track crosses through beech for a while.
After remarking how well-maintained the track was I came across a patch with a LOT of VERY LARGE deadfall.
About 2 1/2 hours after leaving Ada Pass hut I came to Christopher Cullers Hut.
The track continues through the open. 30 min on from the tin biv I reached Christopher Hut.I stopped for lunch here and decided to take my boots off. This was a mistake as I was immediately covered in sandflies and had to eat with one hand (the other trying vainly to keep them away).
There are horses here. This is as close as I went.
The track is very similar until the next hut. This track may be easy but the scenery doesn’t change much so it does get a bit boring. I brought a mp3 player in anticipation of this and started using it here.It contours around next to the Ada River for a while.At some points the track is quite narrow while it crosses a slope.Then back to this.While crossing this section there are several buildings on the eastern side. They’re Ada Homestead. An interpretation panel or two would help here as I’m guessing people would like to know something about the house they’re looking at for an hour.
It started raining exactly not quite enough to put on a raincoat, but enough to be wet, for maximum annoyance. The track marries up with Waiau Pass Track, which is a 4WD track. Then it continues on until it crosses the Henry River.
Now if you can’t see where the track continues on the other side that’s because it scales the cliff face for a bit. Fortunately there are cables to hold on to.
A rare sight in my photos – people! These were two idiot teachers who were walking about 2 hours IN FRONT of their students. They hadn’t briefed the children on how to contact them in an emergency, they were carrying the group’s PLB, and they hadn’t read the students’ risk management, if indeed they had made the students write a RAMS in the first place. When we arrived at the hut the students were further behind than they expected and they were wondering when they should be worried, and only then started thinking about what the students would do in an emergency.
‘One of the fit students will run ahead, I guess. It’s all part of the fun.’
How would that sound in front of the coroner?
(I spent 7 years as a qualified outdoor instructor and secondary teacher so blase people like this make me very angry).
The track goes up to a plateau.
3hr 30 min after leaving Christopher Hut I reached Anne Hut.
As well as the teenagers (who arrived very hobbly) there were 2 old men and 3 Te Araroa Trail walkers. What is it with TA walkers that they never wash?! They STANK. And I have spent a month with soldiers who didn’t have a shower the whole time. Everyone else in the hut washed that afternoon. Have some consideration for your fellow hut users! And also protect yourself from fungal infections and prickly heat.
The 2 old men decided to SET ALARMS for 5.30am the next morning. After waking everyone else in the hut up they were on the track by 6.30am. Why??? They were only walking to the next hut so would have arrived by midday. So then they would just be sitting around all afternoon. Why? WHY??
This was all reminding me why I do real backcountry tracks where noone else goes.
The next morning the weather was still all hazy and wet without raining properly.
There is a cullers’ hut marked on the map here but I couldn’t see it.
The track then follows Anne River up to the saddle.
Then there is a sign pointing to Anne Saddle. Why? It’s not like there are any other saddles around.
Near the bottom of this I came across some rather interesting fungi
The track then follows the Boyle River. There isn’t much variation.
There is actually quite a bit of mud on this track. Gaiters are necessary. But this was the first time I took a photo.
3hr 40 min after leaving Anne Saddle I reached Rokeby Hut.
After lunch here (SO MANY SANDFLIES) I continued on.
50 min after leaving Roby Hut I reached Boyle Hut.
1 hour after Boyle Hut I came to the track junction leading to Magdalen Hut.
When you can see the hut the track markers direct you off to the east. This is why
As you can see you could just cross the stream, but I had dry boots so I used the plank.
This hut is much less used and is very neat. But the long drop had a wasp nest in it! After sitting down a huge wasp came out and I discovered you can’t really avoid one inside a 1m x 1m building.
I was alone in the hut so after 2 nights with cold food I cranked the stove up to heat my dinner. Given the outside temperature was about 24°C with the stove going the temperature inside the hut was like a furnace but it was still better than another cold dinner. 1 meat pack, 1 cake of noodles and some scrambled eggs later I collapsed on my bunk with a surfeit.
The next morning I went back to the track junction then headed towards Boyle Village.
There is a dong drop, a nature trail and a bus stop right next to the road.
Overall I would say this would be a good first ‘proper’ tramp for a child – it definitely warrants boots, but isn’t too demanding. It could also make a good first tramp for an adult who hasn’t been tramping before. The large number of huts mean you can have long or short days depending on your preference. As an adult I found the track rather boring as the walks are quite long (about 20km per day) without the scenery changing very much. Added to that is the annoyance of the track ends being so far apart.