Jan 31 2020

Walrus Bridge. Nardoo Scientific Reserve. Little Peak.

Published by under Trampers

Distance from Bush Road Car-park: 50 Km.


Tramp area map

Suggest leave Mosgiel 8.30am to get to ‘Little Peak about 1km above ‘Walrus rock’.

9. 29/1/2020. Trampers. Nardoo Reserve. Leader Phil

17 trampers headed off in to the wild blue yonder in vehicles suited to the terrain; picking up Chris at Lee Stream and then on to and up past Lake Mahinerangi ( according to one translation – ‘ moon glow of the heavens’; the lake being named after the Dunedin Mayor Burnett’s daughter, Neil S commenting he did not know marijuana was smoked back in those days).

We ventured past the windfarm and on down and up past the ‘old’ Waipori Cemetery ( prompting the question from John – where is the ‘new’ Cemetery?), the  Lammerlaw bridge crossing and through Waipori Station, following large tractors doing silage on the lower slopes, till we came to the road end – where we startled 3 fine red deer spikers that easily hurdled the fences and raced off down the valley.  Gary needed to be restrained and was seen to be frothing at the mouth and muttering under his breath….


Having saddled up we traced around an old water race, one of 16km of races that served the Waipori goldfields, and entered the Nardoo Scientific Reserve ( the sign not being visible from the road end)  where a group photo was requested, it being decided we may not look so good if the photo was taken at the end! (this proved to be so true).


Photo and Caption Gordon – “All 17 and all still happy”

A bit of useless info was provided on the meaning of Nardoo, thanks to Dr Google….a name given in India to a plant powder used in cooking and also called ‘aboriginal flour’ in the West Island, having been extracted from a type of fern……not sure who has the naming rights.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Heading to morning tea break”

It was then onwards and upwards through a ‘garden’ where over 500 different plants exist, competing with and strangling each other in the process and yes well almost the trampers themselves, as we picked up our feet to negotiate silver tussock and spaniards and ground coprosmas and celmisias, these all punctuated by windflowers and the higher we went the purple orchid, Thelymitra.

Morning tea was provided on the first main rock outcrop where views to the Blue Mountains, the windfarm approaching Lawrence and on around to the Waipori catchment , the Maungatua and to Swampy and Flagstaff and the Silverpeaks were evident.  The main route for goldminers in 1861 from Outram, the upper Maungatua and across the upper Waipori River and leading ridge to Gabriel’s Gully was outlined as well as where 2000 folk lived and mined in the 1860’s at Waipori Township.


Photo and Caption John – “Pale blue flowers in bloom”


Photo and Caption John – “Morning tea from the first rocky outcrop”


Photo and Caption John – “Lake Mahinerangi from morning tea spot”


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Heading uphill to Walrus rock”

From then it was a steady ‘zig zag’ pattern across low saddles and up ridges till we made lunch at the base of the Walrus Bridge rock outcrops; the herb fields were parched (as were the trampers), dry and crisp and the models in the group posed for photos in the reflective waters of the tarn under the rock.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Models posing in front of the reflective waters of the tarn at Walrus rock!”


Photo and Caption John – “Lunch out of the breeze”

It proved quite easy to ‘rest a while’ in the wonderful environment with the extensive views and silence and to spend time to find the first flowering gentian for the summer.



Photo and Caption John – “A well deserved break for Arthur”



Photo and Caption John – “Beautiful flower believed to be a gentian”


Photo and Caption John – “Small orchids could be found”


Photo and Caption John – “The very fine coral lichen”

A little thought had been given to moving on to Little Peak but it was unanimously agreed that time to return to good coffee and ice cream in Outram was the more important so downward we went trying hard to re trace our upward steps to save energy….which amazingly we managed to do, with only one or two ‘off track’ moments.  A benefit of leading was seeing numerous skinks playing chicken……


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Heading down to cars and Wobbly goat”

Not too far from the vehicles we were strafed by a low flying Cessna type plane flown by ‘Snoopy’ Morrison who gave us and received the appropriate salutes.  Why he did not land on the airstrip to offer some a ride back?    We managed to make it back to Outram in time to catch up with Hikers and Ramblers to finish off a great club day out.

For future Nardoo walks a suggestion is to start this walk at 8.30am to give time to get to Little Peak and a return to Outram for coffee and craic. And why not – a quote from our recent European escapade ‘ coffee does not ask difficult questions, coffee understands’!


Photo and Caption Phil -” The route that we followed”


8. 15/11/2017. Trampers. Nardoo Reserve Walrus Bridge. Leader: Art.
3 vehicles conveyed 9 Trampers out past Lake Mahinerangi to the Nardoo Reserve, for a day in the tussock. It was an hour’s journey.
On the last few kilometres up the farm road on Waipori Station we were able to admire all the ewes with their lambs. They obviously wanted to keep up their fitness, as instead of moving off sideways, they preferred to run uphill on the road in front of us!
From our car park we walked for 10 minutes to have smoko by the D.O.C. sign, as we entered the Reserve.
Up the zig zag and into the tussock. There was a faint trail to follow all the way, but concentration was needed at times so as not to lose it.
We stopped a few times to regroup and have a rest, uphill all the way. But our precautions taken to guard against sunburn were wasted as we remained under low cloud all day.
At one of the rest stops it was noticed the cloud was flowing up the gullies on either side of us, converging, and then going upslope in front of us. The cloud was close above us further up, but we had good visibility of several hundred meres on the group in all directions.

‘’ come on up Bruce, there’s a better view of the mist here”. (Phil pic and caption.)

And so we came to Walrus Bridge, some time being spent on admiring and photographing it, before drawing up to the festal board (we ate our lunch).

Walrus Rock. Dave up on top. Rest underneath. (Helen pic and caption.)

A swallow arrived, and to our pleasure began flying backwards and forwards over the water and under Walrus Bridge, no doubt looking for a snack.
Before turning for home, some time was spent by the botanists among us, in studying the large area of mosses, etc, just beyond Walrus Bridge.

There was a lot of interest in the flower. ‘’Possibly the buttercup ranunculus gracilipis (slender) ( A Mark ‘ Above the treeline’)’’. (Phil pic and caption.)

We retraced our path in the beautiful tussock, downhill now of course, and eventually arrived back at the D.O.C. sign for a photo opportunity.

The group. (Helen pic and caption.)

And so it came to pass the 9 very happy trampers returned to the cars after a very enjoyable day in the tussock.

A brief stop was made at the Waipori Cemetery on the way back. A tranquil place. And Lake Mahinerangi was very low, we could see.

Back at Outram refreshments were obtained at the “Gobbly Woat”.

A few figures now – our day’s tramp distance was 8.7 km. We parked the cars at an altitude of 624 metre, and Walrus Bridge was at 934 metres.

My thanks to all my fellow “tussock jumpers” for such a good day out. – Art.

7. 28/10/2015 Trampers. Nardoo Reserve.
On a cool morning, 11 trampers, 9 who had not been there before, set off to visit Nardoo Reserve,
After a tentative drive along the road from Lake Mahinarangi, past the old Waipori cemetery, desperately looking for any sign that I remembered where we were, we finally arrived at the parking spot where we would start walking from.
As it was already just after 10am, we decided to have morning tea before setting off on our walk. Then it was off along the old 4WD track around to the boundary fence of Nardoo Reserve, where we were puzzled by the fact that the gate was open into the reserve. This was later explained to me by the owner of the surrounding land, who had a legit reason for it being open.
On the way up…
Some great scenery (Heb pic, Ken caption)

Some great scenery (Heb pic, Ken caption)

… the long climb to Walrus Bridge, I let some of the group take turns with the GPS so they could follow the track on the GPS display of our previous trips here.
Taking a break on the way up (Heb pic, Ken caption)

Taking a break on the way up (Heb pic, Ken caption)

I also did this on the way home again, as I think it wise to let others see how the GPS can guide you in this type of featureless country, which is all tussock, with no track showing in most places, as it’s many years since anybody has had a vehicle up there. Most agreed that they had no idea how to return to the cars, & I think there would’ve been a lot of head scratching going on if they had to find there own way back.
After having lunch at Walrus Bridge,
Lunch at Walrus Bridge (Heb pic, Ken caption)

Lunch at Walrus Bridge (Heb pic, Ken caption)

where everybody was suitably impressed by the sight of the pool under it, we decided to go on a little further as it was still quite early. Se we trudged across to another rocky point where we had a rest & a good look around, trying to decide in which direction Lawrence, & some other towns were. Then we made our way all the way back to the cars,
Exiting the reserve (Heb pic, Ken caption)

Exiting the reserve (Heb pic, Ken caption)

where some expressed amazement that the walk was quite short, but felt as though they had walked much further.
There were some appreciative comments made about the trip, so I think everybody enjoyed the day out on the open tops. And I for one have some sunburn on the back of the hand I use with my Trekking Pole.Walked 9km
2h 54mins moving
climbed 382mtrs
max height 972mtrs.
6. 27/10/2010. Trampers. Nardoo Scientific Reserve. Little Peak. Medium. Leader: Ian.

GPS of Tramp. 10km. courtesy Ken.

The day was hot. Tempered by a strong but pleasant cool wind. Five of us enjoyed a return to Little Peak. To access Nardoo Reserve we had to drive through part of Waipori Station, whose permission was kindly given. The protected tussock of the Reserve was as long as ever but the 4WD track was still detectable. We stopped early at the customary zig-zag for the tea break.

Morning tea on the zig-zag. (Ken pic)

Then it was on up, across to the left, then right, along a bit of a gully before climbing to top the wee hill to our left, (see the first left point of the two major zigs on the GPS map.

View of Little Peak just discernable on skyline. About to climb wee hill on our left. 4WD track visible in tussock.

Then the swing down to our right, across a wet mossy decline, and up again, angling on a long reach to our left to reach Little Peak, (see the second major left point on the GPS route). Here we rested beside Walrus Bridge rock.

Break at Walrus Bridge. (Ken pic)

We had made good time and it was too early for lunch. We decided to head in the direction of Peak No. 2. The tussock on the top here shares pride of place with a large variety of mosses, and a profusion of celmisias. We made our way across these to a solitary rock on a bit of a rise and decided to lunch there.

Rock where we had lunch. Little Peak rocks in back-ground.

We were struck by the deep blue of a group of able 5 tarns in a dip, looking towards the Lake.

Deep blue of tarns viewed from lunch spot. Lake Mahinerangi. (Ken pic)

Then it was back down and across to Little Peak and to retrace our steps back to the car. Ken let us take turns with holding his GPS navigator to note just how accurately we were keeping to the track it had marked out on the ascent. (A good tool were we ever to get lost.) Only five of us, but good company. Wish there were more to share our enjoyment of yet another brilliant Wednesday. – Ian
5. 16/1/2008 Trampers. Walrus Bridge, Red Rock, Nardoo Scientific Reserve. Medium. Leaders: Ian, Bill M
Today, which saw the mercury rise uncomfortably high , 10 of us travelled in 3 very different cars to the start of the tramp, well past the turnoff to the Waipori cemetery beside Lake Mahinerangi.
This was going to be the day we all needed a large supply of water. Luckily it was only a slow leak from the water bladder and Ian did not run out of water. Ria, who is very fit, found the slow pace hard to take , although the rest of us appreciated the regular breathers Bill allowed us on the rather hot, tussocky ascent. Wonderful views surrounded us over the nearby slopes of the Lammermoors, and back over lake Mahingerangi. The area we were in was a scenic reserve called Nardoo and had been fenced off from the stock which roamed over the rest of Waipori Station.
Nardoo sign

Nardoo sign. (Bill pic)

This had allowed regeneration of the native plants and tussocks and on the summit of Little Peak 1 the Celmisias were everywhere and a real treat to see their lovely silver foliage and white, daisy like flowers. Walrus bridge is a large rock spanning a deep dark tarn and it was here we sought shelter from the midday sun and had our lunch.
Walrus Bridge

Close-up view under Walrus Bridge/ (Bill pic)

We posed. Emma, Marjorie, Tash, Doug, Hazel, Ian, Bruce.

We posed. Emma, Marjorie, Tash, Doug, Hazel, Ian, Bruce.

Bruce suggested it was called Walrus because a walrus moustache is shaped like a bridge over the mouth and droops down the sides rather like a walrus’ long incisor teeth. Hazel needed a good wake up call
Lunch snooze.

Lunch snooze. Ken, Doug, Bruce, Tash, Emma, Marjorie (Bill pic)

Overhang rock

Rock overhang. A walrus? (Bill pic)

Mahinerangi view

Mahinerangi view

as we headed back down after lunch and Ian managed to end up fighting to get up from the tussocks after falling dramatically into them. And so back the way we came, but this time all down hill.
Us on way back down. Ria, Hazel, Doug, Tash, Emma, Bruce, Marjorie, Ken, Ian

Us on way back down. Ria, Hazel, Doug, Tash, Emma, Bruce, Marjorie, Ken, Ian

A great day out in beautiful, wild country with blue skies, and white shaped clouds.
Cloud effect

Cloud effect (Bill pic)

A quick visit to Waipori Cemetery and memorial on the way out, and we still hadn’t seen a living soul.- Tash
4. 15/2/2006. Trampers. Red Rock, Nardoo, Walrus Bridge. Leaders: Ian, Bob H, Judy G.

Walrus Bridge.

3. 20/4/2005. Both. Nardoo, Walrus Bridge. Leaders: Helen S, Ria, Lance and Lois.
2. 19/3/2003. Both. Lake Mahinerangi, Red Rock, Walrus Bridge, Nardoo. Medium. Leaders: Ria, Evelyn, Molly, Mary M.
1. 14/4/1993. Lake Mahinerangi, Red Rock, Walrus Bridge, Nardoo. Medium+. Leaders: Ria L, Ria H, Jean, Lesley S.

One response so far

One Response to “Walrus Bridge. Nardoo Scientific Reserve. Little Peak.”

  1.   Angelaon 30 Oct 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Sounds like you 5 had a great time-probably too much for me tho’


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