Mar 18 2020

Bendoran: Gap, ABC, Orbells, Fiddlers.

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9. 18/3/2020 Trampers. Bendoran, Mt Misery, The Gap, ABC caves. Leaders – Arthur and Eleanore
On Wednesday 18 March, 4 trampers had wood, coal, gas and food packed into 2 cars ready to travel 60 km to Bendoran for 2 nights.  Along the way we met up with the other couple in their car.  We travelled up to the old Cherry Farm site, onto McGrath road—then a very dusty trip up the gravel road to Bendoran.   On arrival, we tidied the hut, lit the coal range and had lunch.

Photo and Caption Gordon – “We have arrived at Bendoran Hut.”

On a lovely sunny afternoon, with Arthur as our Leader, we walked up Mount Misery (714 metres) which was reasonably steep, however, we had great views of each every direction.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “On our way to Mt Misery”


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Mt Watkins from Summit.”

After coming down rather thick tussock, and heading back towards the hut, we then climbed up the fence line to Terry’s Knob (refer Hamels book section 7:13), then a downhill, uphill to get back home.

Photo and Caption Gordon – “Next stop top of Kerry’s Knob.”

Once back, it was time to light the open fire and enjoy a tasty selection of nibbles and have a yarn.  Followed by dinner, consisting of a rather large stuffed chicken, new potatoes, carrots, broccoli and peas.  Then, as if we hadn’t had enough to eat, it was time for Hot Cross Buns with butter and Jam (some members hadn’t matched up jam with the buns) don’t quite know who is right!!
Next morning all were eager to get to the Gap.  Kevin(Barney) Black was Farm Manager and now leases the 5000 acre  Bendoran off David Malloch, arrived to meet us.  We started off at 8:40am, stopping to watch his clever dogs bring in a mob of ewes that were being trucked off.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Where we are heading Thursday morning.”

The morning was very clear, warm and sunny.  While the happy group were following the track up and down, all of a sudden a Falcon was spotted sitting on a fence post. He wasn’t bothered by our presence allowing us to keep creeping up to take photo’s.  Soon, enough was enough, and he flew off.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Friendly falcon posing especially for us.”

A while later another was spotted in flight.
After a while and a steady climb to a hilltop, it was 10:15am and time for a 15 minute  smoko break, enjoying the  magnificent views as we talked.

Photo and Caption Gordon – “A view of Waikouaiti Bay.”

By now the Gap was looking closer, however, one could also see a few more hills to climb before we made it .  Also lopers were taken along,  to cut back gorse in places which made the going a bit easier.  We got onto the ridge leading to that big missing chunk, finally arriving in it at 11:35am.  A steady three hour effort by all.

Photo and Caption Gordon – “The gap between two large rock formations.”

On the way up 3 of the group were keen to revisit/visit the A.B.C. Cave (refer Hamels book section 7:12).  We all went to the trig at the north end of the Gap admiring views and happy with ourselves to have made it there.
Soon after the 3 decided to delay lunch for a while and headed off to the Cave.  Leaving  3 of us to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the sun.  Meanwhile, guess who realised her phone was missing!!!  meaning a walk back to the trig by 2 to find it, while the other cut back more gorse.
We three then started the trip back.  Arthur had made a meeting point with the A.B.C. Group, so 2 of us headed off up another hill with Arthur and his Hi Vis top in view.  We waited till we spotted them heading into the rough gully——where they had spooked a ginger pig for Arthur to see.
Once again all headed towards home, meeting at a junction on the track.  The A.B.C. group were happy to have went the extra mile to visit the cave, enjoying reading entries in the visitors book.
We stopped on the same hilltop as the smoko break, to enjoy well deserved energy bars etc.



Photo and Caption Gordon – “Heading back to hut after the Gap visit.”

By now the hills were almost behind us and Bendoran trees in sight.  8 hours later at 4:30pm, 6 weary but happy trampers were  back home.
In no time, the water was hot and welcome showers had by all.  The open fire lit,   drinks and more tasty nibbles eaten.   Dinner tonight was a delicious (3 recipe) pasta/mince meal with a freshly made lettuce salad.  We must have been a bit weary because the Hot Cross Buns were forgotten!!



Photo and Caption Gordon – “Relaxing in front of fire after Gap tramp”

Lots of photo’s(Is mine better than yours?) were taken of the amazing cloud formations.  However, later on we paid the price,  battered—-huts shaking, doors being  blown open by gale force winds, which had us awake much earlier than we wanted.
Friday morning had us up and away quite smartly, this time the dust was being blown off us!!   Meeting up for coffee at Blueskin.
We all enjoyed great company, great scenery and great food on our trip into Bendoran huts—-a very special piece of Paradise.
Eleanore and Arthur

8. 29/11/2017. Trampers. Bendoran over-night, Orbells Cave. H. Leader: Art.

Route Map, Bendoran to Orbells Cave/3 O’Clock Creek/Fiddlers Hut, courtesy Art.

This tramp was a First Time for our club.
Two cars(six trampers) left Mosgiel at 8.00 a.m. rendezvousing at Cherry Farm before travelling together to reach the Bendoran Huts at 9.30. Morning tea was taken, and five eager trampers set out just after 10 am on the day’s adventure. One stayed in camp to heat water for showers later.
The day was sunny and warm enough. High cloud drifted across after an hour, but it remained hot. We stopped several times to take on water – and we were going downhill!
We descended down to Orbells Creek, and followed it for some distance, being on a grassy 4WD track all day. Tussocky hills surrounded us, with many interesting rocks, such beautiful country.
A mob of grand Hereford cows with calves (beef) moved in front of us for a time, before going up a side gully.
Eventually we came to the first ascent of the day, leaving Orbells Creek for a time, the 4WD track going up and over a saddle. At the top we had a short descent and then a climb up to a second saddle.
But from here it was downhill all the way to the cave. We met Barney, the Bendoran Farm Manager, out with his dogs shifting a mob of cows and calves – black with white faces this time (Angus Hereford Cross).
We came back to Orbells Creek by the cattleyards, crossed over, and in a few minutes were at Orbells Cave (with Orbells Garden flourishing in profusion in front (foxgloves). It had been hot work, but to our great relief found that it was very pleasantly cool in the cave. The time was 12.20 pm. We sat and rested for half an hour here, while eating our lunch.

In the cave for a cool place to have lunch. (Helen pic and caption.)

 Fiddlers Hut was our next objective, about 2 km further on. Was we left, bird calls from high above the cave alerted us to the presence of a N.Z. falcon circling there. We saw it – or another one –  later in the day, too. Crossing 3 O’Clock Stream, we arrived at Fiddlers Hut at 1.3. We admired the stone walls, very neatly constructed, and with a vey sound modern corrugated iron roof.

Fiddler’s hut. (Helen pic and caption.)

But sadly the interior had been badly neglected, birds obviously had been the only tenants for some years past.

As we began the homeward journey, a light and very pleasantly cool north-east breeze arrived to provide some relief, especially helpful on the uphill bits. Five tiny little Paradise duckings were on the water when we crossed back over 3 O’Clock Stream. All water bottles were refilled.
The same route was followed going back as we had travelled out earlier. It was a long climb back up to the two saddles. At the top of the first one, 10 minutes was well spent in resting, while taking on water, eating fruit, etc.
In time we came back down to Orbells Creek, and walked, the kilometres behind us, with an occasional brief stop (water).

One long hill awaited us – the climb out from Orbells Creek. The hill seemed to go on forever, but by putting one foot in front of the other, we found the top. But our legs were mighty tired now, and there was only a few hundred metres left to go. And so we arrived back at the Bendoran Hilton …

View of Bendoran huts. (Helen pic and caption.)

… just before 5 p.m. A good list down and rest seemed to be the logical thing to do now, so that’s what we did!

All five had thoroughly enjoyed the day. An energetic tramp to equal any other that our club has done. VERY SATISFYING.

Total distance was 20 km. Orbells Cave was approx. 8 km from Bendoran, and Fiddlers Hut a further 2 km beyond. Bendoral Huts are at an altitude of 500 metres, Fiddlers Hut about 200 metres. – Art.
On completing the tramp we had a lovely muffin and cup of tea before showers and liquid refreshments. Fire lovingly looked after by camp mum Jennifer. Eleanor our great organiser had Also arrived by this time.
Tea was prepared consisting of silverside, stuffed chicken, new potatoes, carrots and two salads. Dessert: chocolate brownie berries and yogert. All had bought some part of it.
Jill Arthur Phil Wyn and Helen the walkers.
It helped revive us. – Helen
75 km from car-park.

11. 8/3/2017. Trampers. The Gap, and ABC Caves. M. Leaders: Arthur and Eleanor.

After a one and a half hour drive from Mosgiel, we arrived at Bendoran Huts.  David Malloch the station owner arrived to welcome us and give us a brief history of the 5000 acre property.

Us with David Malloch. (Helen pic and caption.)

After unpacking and eating lunch, we walked in a cool s.w. wind, overcast with a few skiffs of showers to Mount Misery @ 714 metres.

Eleanor on Mt Misery. (Arthur pic and caption.)

A great view for those brave enough to tackle the wind on such a rocky peak.  From there we ventured onto “Terry’s Knob” (refer Hamel’s book page 7:13), …

Terrys Knob. (Arthur pic and caption.)

… before returning to Bendoran for drinks and muffins.  After lighting up the coal range to heat the water and apple crumble, we then enjoyed home baked Chicken, vege’s and salad.  Next job was firing up the open fire, sitting round chatting for the evening.

Before 8.30am next morning we were up and away tramping in ideal conditions for 3 hours to the “Gap” @ 670 metres.

The Gap from morning tea stop. (Arthur pic and caption.)

After numerous photo shots of surrounding valleys, peaks, ranges and the trig,  we then headed down onto a new track, where after a lunch stop, we approached the A.B.C. Caves.

Helen Janine & Eleanor at abc caves. (Arthur pic and caption.)

After a challenging tramp, we were impressed by the cave interior, …

From in ABC cave. (Helen pic and caption.)

… but were disappointed the “visitors book” left no room for our claims to reaching this  monumental milestone!   We then had to return steeply uphill a little before bush-bashing a track across a gully to join back onto our original track, leading us back to our cosy “Bendoran home”.

Bendoran where we stayed. (Arthur pic and caption.)

Arriving back @ 4.15pm, we found 2 members (who returned without going to A.B.C. Cave) had the coal range going with the kettle boiling for drinks and a HOT shower!!  All fresh and clean again, we dined …

Dinner. (Helen pic and caption.)

… in front of the open fire on beef casserole, new potatoes, peas and salad, followed by brownie and peaches—-not your average tramping food, and certainly above standard accomodation.

It was an exceptional tramping trip for Arthur, Neil, Carol, Helen, Janine and Eleanore, with new tracks and experiences for some of the party. – Janine and Eleanor.

10. 25/3/2015. Trampers. ABC Cave from Bendoran Huts.

On a day when the weather was a bit suspect, we arrived at the Bendoran Huts to see fog in the valleys, but clear around the tops. Because of the distance travelled to get there, we decided to have a late morning tea break,…

Late morning tea stop. (Ken pic and caption)

Late morning tea stop. (Ken pic and caption)

…at one of the high points on the track. After this, we walked around the road [farm track] to a point at the head of the valley leading to ABC cave, where we arrived for a late lunch in sunshine.
After lunch we more or less retraced our steps back to the cars, with a couple of refreshment stops on the way.
The day turned out ideal for tramping, with just a trace of breeze at times, a little bit of sunshine for lunch, & the temperature just right, & the fog actually lifted during the day.
Next time we do this, it would be a good idea to start early, as it’s a long way to drive, & the road in is all narrow gravel. – Ken.

9. 8/5/2013 Trampers. ABC Cave from Bendoran Huts.

GPS of route, courtesy Ken. We walked 13.6km, 4hrs moving, 2hrs stopped, total ascent 839mtrs, max elevation 701mtrs.

There have been MANY new tracks bulldozed in around the area, making it very difficult to know which track to take. The original idea was to go to the Gap, & then down to the ABC cave, but we were running out of time, due to the distance travelling there, getting held up for about 1/4 hr by a very large mob of sheep with no sign of humans or dogs anywhere. Plus as we didn’t know where to go, we ended up bush-bashing our way down a ridge on the top side of the bush, as you can see by the Google pic. We eventually got down to the DOC track leading between the GAP & ABC, so just carried on to ABC, had a quick drink/snack, & left there at just on 2pm. Then we struggled up another ridge that was a lot clearer than the one we had came down, but it was steep, & it took us an hour to reach the top. From there, it was a relatively easy walk back to the 4wd track that we had left to go down past the bush. One or two of the climbs on the track back to the car were certainly a bit ‘trying’, but we all made it back to the cars OK, & after the drive back to town, got home at just after 6pm.

George didn’t go down the ridge to the cave, so he sheltered for a while, then wandered back to the cars, leaving suitable signs that he had passed that way. There were 7 of us in the group, one of whom was heard to say on the way in, “you think this group is a serious walking group?” so by the end of the day when I asked if they still didn’t think we were a serious walking group, the answer was ” that was a serious walk”. – Ken.

8. 22/2/2010. Trampers. ABC Cave from Bendoran Huts.

GPS of route, courtesy Ken.

It had been many years since any of us had done this tramp, and memories were hazy. So much so, that we parked the cars at the end of Blucher Road, mistaking the shearing shed location there for the actual Bendoran Huts site about six kms further on. So we walked the farm 4WD route to the huts, instead of driving it!


A hut ruin on the route. The fog was round us all the way. But it was dry! A fog, not a mist, as one of us distinguished.

An pic of interest on the way.

Lunch across from one of the Bendoran huts. (Ken pic)

Lunch in lee of the hut. (Ken pic)

We walked on beyond the huts on the track we should have originally started on, for a further km, but there was nothing to be seen through the fog which accompanied us all the way, except for only one brief respite. We then retraced our steps to the cars. About 14 km walked that day. – Ian

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