Mar 06 2014


Published by under Trampers

Motatapu Trip

Motatapu Trip. We walked 21.7km; Moving time 7 hrs 19min; Ave 2.9km/hr; Climbed 1283mtrs asl; Total height climbed 1296mtrs.

Away back about the middle of last year, while casting around for an adventure for the trampers, I came up with the idea of walking the Motatapu Track. After discussing this with a couple of others, it was decided to do the first 1/2 of the track only, as the logistics of getting cars to the other end was rather difficult.  This track goes from the Glendu Bay end of  Lake Wanaka, through to Macetown/Arrowtown via a walking track put in place by Soho Properties. It has 3 huts along it’s length which are very comfortable 12 bunk units.
We originally had 9 interested trampers, but this dwindled to 6 as time went on. We only had two informal meetings [one at the Waitati coffee shop, the other at Neil & Carole’s place] to sort out who was going to do what in the way of food, hut tickets, cars, etc.
4 of us left Mosgiel at 6am on the 4th March, to meet up with Neil & Carole  in Wanaka, at Neil’s daughter’s place, where we quickly loaded up everybody’s packs with a share of the food supplies, had a cuppa, & then drove around to the start of the track …

Six intrepid trampers (Ken pic and caption)

Sign at the start. (Ken pic and caption)

… where 6 intrepid trampers set off on what we had been told many times was a rather hard slog.
It’s only 7 km to the first hut [Fern Burn], but when you are carrying 20+kg for the men & 15+kg for the women, & not used to it, it is quite a distance, & the track, apart from the first few kms, is narrow, & has some quite steep climbs, & drops along it’s length. One of the group [who shall remain nameless] pulled a muscle in a leg about 2 km from the hut, at a part of the most difficult/steepest section of the track & was unable to carry his pack, so Neil & I did a back & forward shuffle. We would carry our pack along the track a bit, then go back & pick up his, carry it forward some more, then go back for our own pack, & repeat the process, until we eventually got everybody, & everything to Fern Burn hut. As we sat around recovering, it was decided that the  next day the injured party would stay at Fern Burn hut until the rest of us arrived back again. This meant that we could leave behind a small amount of our gear that we would not need for the next two days, so our packs would be marginally lighter.
The next morning 5 set off on the 2nd leg to go to Highland Creek Hut, which is about 6 km away, but a much more arduous section of the track, & climbs to about 1280 mtrs ASL. After what seemed like hours, & many  rest stops, we finally reached…

We made it (Ken pic and caption)

We made it!! The top of Jack Hall’s Saddle. (Ken pic and caption)

… the top of Jacks Pass [1280 mtrs]  to a majestic view of the surrounding valleys & snow topped mountains, where we had a well deserved rest & lunch. On looking down the imposing other side, …

Looking down (Ken pic and caption)

Looking down towards Highland Creek Hut (Ken pic and caption)

… [very narrow track along the top of a very steep, narrow ridge, with drops on either side] the ladies decided that they were not going any further, & that they would go back to Fern Burn hut. So it was left for me & Neil to decide what we would do. After discussing the prospect of having to climb back up the imposing track the next morning, we decided that, as we wouldn’t see much more than what we could from where we were, we would also go back to Fern Burn hut. I guess there was a sense of disappointment for us, that we wouldn’t fulfill our original idea of going to Highland Creek hut & back, but our tired bodies from yesterday’s efforts, told us that enough was enough. So we packed up after lunch, & headed back the way we had come. At least this time, it was mostly all downhill, …

Looking back (Ken pic and caption)

Looking back to Fern Burn Hut (Ken pic and caption)


… & we made good time back to Fern Burn hut, where our injured member was reasonably surprised to see all of us coming back. We had only one incident on the way back, when another party member [who shall also remain nameless] had a leg collapse under them & toppled over the track edge. This was done without any damage to body or equipment, so all ended well.
After another good evening meal, a night’s sleep, & some breakfast, we packed up in preparation for the walk back to the cars. This time we shared out most of the contents of the injured person’s pack between the other members of the party, & sent the injured member off on his own to see how he would manage, the rest of us following about 1/4 – 1/2 an hour later. I finally caught up with him when he took a rest stop, about 2/3rds of the way out, so there was no real problem getting everybody back to the car park.
We had brilliant weather all the time, not too hot, & just about right for tramping. All agreed it had been a hard 3 days, but was enjoyable. A good bunch to go away with, & we had a good few laughs along the way. – Ken.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Motatapu”

  1.   Jillon 04 Apr 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Good report n photos of the event thanks Ken

  2.   Kenon 04 Apr 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the comment Jill. Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.

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