Jan 30 2019

Grahams Bush/Old Rd Car Park, Organ Pipes, Buttars Peak, Mount Cargill.

Published by under Trampers

Click Grahams Bush history for background information.
Click Mount Cargill history for background information.
No. 19 on old hardcopy list of 113 club tramps. “Sawyers Bay – Grahams Bush. M Deuchrass. Summer.”
Sawyers Bay Road 28 km from car park; Mount Cargill Road car park: 25 km.
14. 30/1/2019. Hikers. M. Leaders: Jan Y and Pam.

We were down in  numbers owing to several of the hikers going to Herbert with the trampers, but after some initial confusion between Hall and Station Roads, 16 of us set off for the Grahams Bush track.  The four ramblers followed for a bit, then peeled off on a different route.  A very hot day had been forecast, but it was reasonable under the bush cover.  The track is quite steep in places and not easy going, but fortunately it was much drier underfoot than earlier in the week when we did the reccie.  The creek crossing has been replaced by a bridge, which made things easier at that point. There was quite a bit of bird activity, with fantails and tomtits.   Reached the top of the track by 12ish and had lunch at the organ pipes car park.

(Wyn pic)

Watched with interest as a van carrying cyclists and their gear arrived and unloaded.  The cyclists were heading back down North Road – I’m not sure of their destination.  The heat was ramping up, and we trudged along North Road to the turnoff to Upper Junction Road.  The views were fantastic tho, as the harbor looked a picture and there was a bit of activity with a couple of cruise ships in.  Headed back down to Sawyers Bay which was a more enjoyable walk as groves of trees lined the road in places and gave us some shade.

(Wyn pic.)

  Arrived back at the cars around 2, and the co-leader (whose suggestion it actually was) was overheard to remark that it was a hard tramp, and next time it appeared on the programme she wouldn’t be doing it!!).  We headed round to the Carey’s Bay Hotel for a very welcome drink, some alcoholic and some non-alcholic (the beer went down very nicely). It was so pleasant sitting in the shade at the front of the hotel we lingered for quite some time.  Had a slow trip home once we hit the motorway as an accident ahead forced al the traffic through Fairfield, and there was a huge buildup of vehicles.  Finally got back to Mosgiel well after four.  

We did 10.9ks, so not a bad effort for a very hot day.  Jan and Pam

13. 12/9/2018. Trampers. Sawyers Bay/Mt: Cargill/Bethunes Gully/Upper Junction/Sawyers Bay. Leader: Phil.

15 intrepid walkers set out from Hall Rd on a pretty balmy Harbour day up through Graham’s Reserve.  Birdlife was rife including some nice plump Kereru.  This may be in part due to the community trapping initiatives that now encircle the Eco Sanctuary as birds there stretch their wings to increasingly safer climes.

Morning tea was taken on and around wooden steps,

Morn.tea break in the bush. (Gordon pic and caption.)

looking through the canopy of a wonderful lady rimu; the quality of the bush was ‘right up’ there, with good stands of Rimu (also on the downward beat to Bethunes Gully).

I thought progress was steady, but when we arrived at the carpark on North Rd, and checked the watch, to my surprise 15 walkers did it quicker than 1 person on the recce, and that included morning tea time……must have been that the track was now so much drier!  Or was this a particularly talented and fit group of walkers?

A short break to catch breath and have a swig was taken at the carpark, where we also co opted a Welsh tourist to join us up to Buttars Peak, the Organ Pipes

Not much of Organ Pipes left. (Gordon pic and caption.)

having lost much of their points of interest.

Lunch was taken on the battlements at Buttars Peak,

A Welshman admiring our Valleys. (Phil pic and caption.)

what a place to repel the invaders, and although a coolish breeze tempered things a bit, the views were still ‘top notch’.

View from Buttars Peak. (Gordon pic and caption.)

We set off after lunch at 12.30pm and turning left at the Junction we descended to Bethunes Gully in 66% of the time the signposting stated.  Most took advantage of the low wooden fence to chill out, almost like waiting for the bus,

Waiting for the bus at Bethune’s Gully. (Phil pic and caption.)

which did not come, so we went up up and up Norwood St; it did not seem like this when I recce’d in the car…..

From here it was a short trip along North Rd before descending down through Upper Junction.  The Harbour areas and gullies have such a great eclectic mix of housing and gardens tucked away.  From Upper Junction Rd a small detour was made to by-pass the closed road and works, following major road slumping.

From here it was back up Hall Rd to the cars, and noticeably this road seemed quite steep in places!  A suggestion for another time being to park the cars at the bottom of the hill!

There was some differing perspectives on how far we had walked, depending on the country of origins of the myriad of devices, whether or not they spoke to you etc.….going by the DCC pamphlets and my car speedo I thought 14 km but then again I know my speedo understates speed by about 10%…….This proved to be a challenging loop walk but one that was appreciated and proved the all round fitness of everyone who came. And yes everyone knows how to tell if a Rimu is male or female.  Some even how to identify a Miro tree by the berry fruit.

It was agreed we would return to Blackstone for coffee, but because they had had such a busy day did not want our patronage, so we crossed the road and enjoyed great craic at Blend ( debating the merits or otherwise of traditional roles v sensitive new age males); we had to apologise to some other customers for the noise, and as they left said we were just like teenagers!  Wow what a complement to finish the day. – Phil.

12. 8/8/2018. Hikers. Mount Cargill from Old Road. M. Leaders; Phil and Raewyn.

24 intrepid hikers drove to the Organ Pipes track carpark on Mt Cargill.

Mt Cargill Road carpark. (Clive pic and caption.)

  A few ‘Oh dears’ were voiced when the steps at the beginning of the track were first seen, but taking it slowly we finally reached the morning tea stop, 15 minutes in.  Then it was onwards and upwards again with those jolly steps appearing around every corner.  Soon though we came across the pile of rubble which was once the Organ Pipes formation, and taking turns, everyone viewed the last remaining pipes standing.

New organ pipe evolving at the Organ Pipes site. (Phil pic and caption.)

  After a slippery boardwalk, the track evened out and it was a pleasant walk through the bush up to the turnoff to Buttars Peak.  Eight adventurers climbed to the top for a ‘wow’ moment,

Buttars Peak….Harbour Cone will be nothing after this. (Phil pic and caption.)

while the rest of us waited and waved from below.  Onwards around the base of the transmitter tower and the final ascent to the top – Oh no, those darn steps were back again with a vengeance.  Determinedly we all made it to the top for lunch…

Mt Cargill at the top. (Clive pic and caption.)

Lunch….listening in for contact from the galaxies. (Phil pic and caption.)

…and the 360 degree views over Dunedin, the Peninsula & Blueskin Bay.  The cool breeze that whipped up soon had us on the return trip and facing all those steps in the opposite direction.  Our ‘Ramblers 3’ joined us for morning tea, and did really well to continue upwards to have their lunch by the organ pipes rubble.  Well done ladies.  A great day followed by coffee at the Plaza Café. – Raewyn.

11. 18/10/2017. Trampers. Grahams Bush – TV Mast. M. Leader: Helen.

Only eight trampers today. Lots away. Started at Hall Road in Sawyers Bay. Parked cars at the start of the Grahams Track. Lovely walk up through bush and also some muddy areas. Had our morning tea stop on this section of the tramp. Up the steep steps to the Mount Cargill Road.

(Margreet pic.)

Across that and up to the Organ Pipes most which have fallen down now.

Organ Pipes. (Helen pic and caption.)

Continued on up to the top of Mount Cargill going past Buttars Hill. Had our lunch up there in the shelter as was quite windy on the top. Down we went again after conversations with other hikers and workman on our way down to the road. From there we decided to walk

View from road. Roseneath Quarantine Island and Portobello. (Helen pic and caption.)

in a large loop back to Sawyers Bay and cars. Distance was 16.5kms. Coffee at Blackstone in Mosgiel. A very enjoyabld day with lots of chatting. – Helen

10. 10/6/2015. Trampers. Grahams Bush – TV Mast.M.
We had a good turnout of 10 trampers for todays assault on Grahams Bush — Organ Pipes, & track up to the transmitter mast on top of Mt. Cargill.
We had morning tea break at the junction of the private road, & the left turn onto the track. I should’ve waited till a bit later as once into the bush the ground was nearly dry, whereas where we stopped was quite wet.
We made good time up to the road at the top of the Grahams Bush track, & after a short rest stop where we learnt that a couple from the Czech Republic had their car broken into, in the Organ Pipes car park, & a backpack stolen, which contained their passports along with other items, we carried on up to the Organ Pipes.
Those that had not been there before, or for a long time took the opportunity to view the tumbled down remains of the once great landmark, before we set off for the junction with the track leading up to the transmitter mast. We found a reasonably sheltered spot among the bush edge to sit down for lunch,
Lunch stop. (Ken pic)

Lunch stop. (Ken pic)

before going up the rough track [in places] with the big steps up to the top, where it was very windy.
After having a good look around up here, & admiring the great view, we started to retrace our steps back down & along the Organ pipes track to the Mt. Cargill Rd. I was very pleased to see that the boardwalks that I built in the mid ’90’s are still like new after nearly 20 yrs.
Once at the road, two of the women members decided that they would walk back via the road down into Sawyers Bay, instead of negotiating the Grahams Bush track in reverse direction.
The walk back out to the cars was uneventful, with everybody making it safely.
A good workout for the lungs, & legs, with almost 1 KM climbed, but I didn’t hear any complaints, so I guess they all enjoyed the day.
Walked 11.6km @ 3.6km/hr.; moving time 3h 15min; Climbed 891mtrs. – Ken.
9. 9/2/2011. Hikers. Old Mt Cargill Rd car park, Organ Pipes, Mt Cargill, return. Leaders: Bev. and Lesley.
The title of the walk was “Tracks and Trails” – which allowed our leaders licence to take us anywhere. And so the 15 of us climbed to the organ pipes and continued past Butter’s (DOC signboard) or Buttar’s (expert Lex who remembers the family farming there from when he lived in Leith Valley) Peak and on to Mount Cargill …

And so on the Mt Cargill. (Bob pic and caption)

View back to the harbour mouth. (Bob pic and caption)

… where we lunched in the lee of a now keen southwester with a great view overlooking Pigeon Flat and the Waitati area. We then met up with the upward track again and returned.
Morning tea was at Hard Rock Café as Bob called it – that huge boulder decked with drips from the night’s rain sparkling in the sunlight. See if you can identify the drips in the photo!!

Identify the drips. (Bob pic and caption)

The Organ Pipes don’t impress as much these days as I can remember them doing from years ago before earthquakes tumbled many of them down. There are still a few standing tall but most are the ‘dis-organ-ised’ pipes now. (See below under the 6 Nov 08 entry for an “Organ Pipes” pic  of the ‘few standing tall.’ – Ian.)

Identify the dominos. (Bob pic and caption)

The track to them climbs up steps composed largely of fallen columns. After passing a track junction to the Mt Cargill Walk, you find a scree slide of columns where there was once a viewing platform. There is a good view of the Organ Pipes from here.
Wikipedia says of them, “… a prominent formation of columnar jointed basalt known as the Organ Pipes. Similar outcrops are found elsewhere in the Dunedin area, at Blackhead near Waldronville and at Second  Beach, Saint Clair. A second point of interest is the small temperate cloud forest which dominates the vegetation of the upper slopes. Though not a true cloud forest, in that it is not tropical, it bears many of the hallmarks of true cloud forest, with abundant moss and fern cover under thick low canopy. The cloud forest is protected within a 1.8 square kilometre reserve, which includes the peak of the mountain as well as several secondary peaks.”
The Organ Pipes rock formation was formed by the cooling of lava that flowed across Mount Cargill during the last period of volcanic activity in the Dunedin area. The hot lava cooling against the cold rock caused powerful expansions and contractions. When the volcanic ock cooled at the time, it cracked along long joints and consequently looks much like organ pipes standing up – that is, when they were standing up!!

Well, after all that, there was one still standing. (Bob pic and caption)

Which craggy protuberance is George? (Bob pic and caption)

Some of us simulated the domino collapse of the pipes, namely Bob who
slipped on a wet boardwalk and catapulted into Lesley who lost her
glasses in the process. Fortunately they were recovered !! Whew.
A good day’s outing. Bob
8. 11/6/2008. Trampers. Grahams Bush, Buttars Peak, Organ Pipes, with Mount Cargill option for some. Medium. Leaders: Ian, Leonie

Tea Break

Organ Pipes

Buttars Peak summit

Buttars Peak summit

Trampers met at the top of Sawyers Bay Hall Road to walk from sea level to the “Top of the World” on yet another
glorious Wednesday. The tramping gods were certainly on our side as there was not a cloud in the sky as we started our ascent. The track is well maintained and a flat benched in track all the way which made for easy walking. Parts of the walk were in beautiful bush but every so often we would come to a clearing where we could look back over the harbour,

and enjoy glorious views while we got our breath back. Morning tea on the track a short way into Grahams Bush to give us sustenance for the hill climb and then onwards and upwards. Eventually we came to the road after ascending a steep flight of steps. Then over the road and up another flight of steps. During our lunch stop Evelyn entertained us with her story of the TV being blown by a gust of wind from its place in the wall into the conversation pit.

Sounded amazing. Lots of discussion about chloresterol levels and how to control them while some of us ate cheese (the bad boy) for lunch. Nearing the top there is a branch off the track which we followed to ascend Buttar’s Peak with its rugged basaltic columns. Sitting up there was like being on top of the world with uninterrupted views all along the coast from north to south with the harbour below with its picture-perfect reflections

Harbour from Buttars Peak

Harbour from Buttars Peak

and then over to the peninsula and all its magic beaches. That view has stayed with me since and hopefully for ever! After scrambling down from the peak the track divided and one group went back down and to the cars while the others went on to ascend Mount Cargill which was just in front of us.

Mt Cargill from Buttars Peak

Mt Cargill from Buttars Peak

A wonderful day and a good introduction for a visitor, and a few others who hadn’t tramped for a while. – Tash.

7. 23/8/2006. Grahams Bush, Mount Zion, Buttars Peak Organ Pipes round trip. Medium. Leaders: Jacqui, Doug J.

6. 21/4/2004 Leaders: Barbara M, Evelyn C
Enjoying the view. Glenice, Tom.

Enjoying the view. Glenice, Tom, etc.

The Buttars Peak scramble.

The Buttars Peak scramble.

5. 9/10/2002. Grahams Bush – Mount Zion. Medium. Leaders: Donny, Barbara McC, Sandra P.
4. 22/8/2001. Grahams Bush – Mount Cargill. Easy. Leaders: Graham, Bill H, Lesley S.
3. 9/11/1988 Grahams Bush to Organ Pipes. A good tramp with native bush and lovely views. Leaders: Mary Y, Peg A, Betty
2. 29/11/1995. Alternative to Hindon Pipeline: Grahams Bush – Organ Pipes. Leaders: Diana, Jack M, Les W.
1. 9/11/1989. Graham’s Bush to Organpipes. A good tramp with native bush and lovely views. Cars meet at Hall Road. Leaders: Mary Y, Peggy A, Betty B.

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