Oct 07 2020

Taieri Ferry and Finlayson Roads, Bells farm, Kennedys, Millennium.

Published by under Trampers,Year round

Read “Taieri River Geology” for some background information.
“Legends of the Lower Taieri” includes a section about John Bull if you persist in reading down far enough.

Wardells’ White House 25 km from car park.

15. 7/10/2020. Combined. Millenium Track. Leaders: Eleanore Ryan, Heather Kirk, Jay Devlin, Adi Whitson

This morning 38 Trampers, Hikers, Ramblers along with Ian Fleming (Good to see you Ian) were assembled at Peter Johnson carpark waiting to be taken to the Whitehouse at Taieri Ferry by Richard Trainer in his Good Company bus.  Today Richard got the bus to the start of the track.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Starting off.”

The weather forecast was sounding rather dodgy, with rain forecast. We left with jackets on at 9:45am to walk about the 10km track.  We walked about 20 minutes to the Picnic area to regroup for smoko.



Photo and Caption Gordon – “Truffles for morning tea.”

We were treated with Marshmallow Balls by Jenni Wright to celebrate her Birthday—-Thanks Jenni, Bruce had the pleasure of carrying the rest up the hill to the lunch stop—-Thanks Bruce.
We watched a couple of fellows(known to some members) trying their luck white baiting

After a leisurely break the Trampers headed off first followed by the Hikers,  up a short climb, then the track levelled off as we wound our way along the bush covered banks of the river.



Photo and Caption Gordon – “Great bush to walk through.”

The track crosses a small spur before joining at the Junction of John Bull Flat and the DOC track from Taieri Mouth.  It was warm, sunny and no wind, so jackets were discarded back into packs.  John Bull Flat is pretty much the half way point.


Off we went again(their used to be a shortcut up a steep track, no longer maintained). We went up and up some more, enjoying the magnificent tree ferns and native bush along the way till we reached the seat which also has great views of Moturata Island and the river——-not the whole hillside of gorse above the river though!!


Photo and Caption Gordon – “91 years not out!”

This was our long lunch stop, enjoying another round of Marshmallow Balls in the sun shine.



Photo and Caption Gordon – “View from lunch spot.”

By the time we were leaving with the sky threatening another shower, jackets were on once again as we headed towards Taieri Mouth.  By now it was down, down down.  In no time we hit the 200 or so metres of newly formed clay surfaced track, which has turned to slush.  We managed to slip and slide our way through the bog, hopefully, it will be gravelled one day.  Soon we came across the board walk at Muddy Gully, noticing lots of crab holes in the sandy shore.


Photo and Caption Gordon – “Heading back to bus.”

Then only a short walk had us out to the quaint row of cribs (including Jay&Steve Devlins) spotting the Good Company bus in the car park.

Trampers were back around 1pm followed an hour later by the Hikers.  Meanwhile, the Ramblers enjoyed their smoko break at Waihola followed by leisurely drive  to Taieri Mouth for lunch.  We had no longer left the car park before heavy rain showers started.

Thanks to fellow Leaders, Heather Kirk, Jay Devlin and Adie Whitson


Photo and Caption Gordon – “91 definitely not out!”

Was nice to hear, quite a few Members had not been through the track before, and had enjoyed this tramp.  As always, good company makes a happy day.
Eleanore Ryan, Heather Kirk, Jay Devlin  and Adie Whitson.

14. 21/8/2019. Trampers: Millenium Track/ Kennedys/Wenita Forest. M. Leader: Phil K.14.


16 trampers departed the car park and linked up with the Outram 3 at the carpark at the end of Taieri Ferry road.

Conditions were ‘standard’ for this walk, with cloudless skies, no breeze and the promise of a shoal of whitebait, but for the brown colour of the river.

G.1st photo -- 19 enthused trampers setting offc

19 enthused trampers setting off. (Gordon pic and caption.)

The group agreed with the suggestion by the guide to have a belated morning tea at the Café John Bull, about an hour’s walk away.  So off we set, an above average chirpy group that drowned out the numerous birdlife……The steady climb

G.2nd -- Heading up to John Bull gullyc

Heading up to John Bull gully. (Gordon pic and caption.)

came rushing back into the memories of those who had dared travelled this way before…..plenty of dappled light along the way, giving way to darker and damper forest as we descended through the shady side down to John Bull Gully,

G.3rd-- John Bull creekc

John Bull creek. (Gordon pic and caption.)

where just before arrival we had some craic with Dermot and his new search and rescue dog. Yes the dog, being Irish, could talk too…

Café John Bull lived up to it’s reputation of good seating in an inspiring environment,

P.1. Morning tea at Cafe John Bullc

Morning tea at Cafe John Bull. (Phil K. pic and caption.)

the scene punctuated by a tinny zooming by, occupied by two disappointed white baiters?

Flowering Kowhai adorned the cliff faces above us, as we re-entered the track and began the ascent out of the Gully, initially nicely graded through a saddle, then steeper for half an hour before arriving at ‘the seat’, with views, high above the river.

Following lots of photo taking

G.5th -- That’s where the fish arec

That’s where the fish are. (Gordon pic and caption.)


and water top up, we went off track through some pines to link to a farm track, thence through a pine forest and then out to the open fields, trying hard not to disturb a deer herd beautifully standing on the crest; most would have got a good photo.

G.6th -- Whats going onc

Whats going on? (Gordon pic and caption.)

From there it was steadily up, staying on the straight and narrow deer lane,

P.2. Staying on the straight and narrowc

Staying on the straight and narrow. (Phil K. pic and caption.)

through gates to arrive at Finlayson Road, where lunch was taken at 12.30pm.

G.7th -- Lunch breakc

Lunch break. (Gordon pic and caption.)

At 1pm we set off again, turning right down Galloway Road; great views of sea and plain and moors

G.8th -- Phil {obscured}giving information on wetlands & forestyc

Phil {obscured} giving information on wetlands and foresty. (Gordon pic and caption.)

and in the NW distance the snow capped Mt Kohurau and Kakanuis? Moving on down good views of Taieri Mouth and the Island as it was fully low tide.

Gate hopping and climbing, along with stiff legs was fully tested at the locked gate into Wenita Forest; from there it was a steady stretch out down through the open and newly planted forest; the highway was clearly done by engineers from the good old USA, with sweeping bends providing great views and an appreciation of the scale of the forestry operation.  Across the other side of the river the Takitakitoa Wetlands, newly acquired by Fish and Game showed promise of whitebait breeding grounds and game birds for the future.

We arrived back at the cars at 2.30pm, 13.11 kms later and burning 956 calories, that were offset by around 1200 calories per person at Wals

H.3.Coffee at Walsc

Coffee at Wals. (Helen pic and caption.)

…….another great day out. – Phil K.

13. 2/5/2018. Both. Millennium Track. Leader: Eleanor.

Trampers: Millennium/John Bull Tracks. M.

38 fit looking Trampers/Hikers and Ramblers  assembled at the car park for the combined tramp along to John Bull Gully and Taieri Mouth.  The day was calm and mild (after a lot of rain over the weekend).  On arrival at the White House at roads end, quite a lot of jostling of cars was necessary for the drivers to find a spot to park.

All of us set off along the very brown looking river bank for a short walk into the Picnic spot

Morning smoko. (Gordon pic and caption.)

where we had smoko.  The 25 Hikers were going onto John Bull Gully and the 13 Trampers were heading to Taieri Mouth and back.

We set off at 10:15 am  and after a short climb, the track levelled and wound along the bush covered banks of the river.  We then crossed a small spur which is where the 2 tracks meet.  After climbing into a gully with large tree ferns, the track emerged at the high point, with a welcome seat

½ way. (Gordon pic and caption.)

and good views.

View from the top. (Phil pic and caption.)

2 of our party were quite happy to sit and chat, so enjoyed the sun waiting 2 hours for our return.  Along the next section the native bush is slowly overtaking the gorse.  Another climb around Governors Point, where we got great views up and down the gorge.  By now it is downhill to the board walk across Muddy Gully, then finally the welcome sight of the bridge …

Nearly there. (Phil pic and caption.)

… and cribs come into view.

An enjoyable lunch and catchup was had at the picnic tables.

Cafe Taieri Mouth. (Phil pic and caption.)

A Kingfisher was spotted on the power lines near Jay’s crib.

Half an hour later we headed off back the way we came.   Was surprising the track was so dry, considering recent rain.  Quite a lot of bird song heard, also, a little Robin was spotted.

We walked 18.6 km’s.  Similar times of 2 1/4 hours each way.  Was a first for some trampers to do the return trip.  Followed by a very welcome hot drink at Wal’s @ 4pm by a few of us.  Ending a great tramp with great company. – Eleanore

Hikers. Millennium Track. E. Sub-Group Leaders: Bob, Ian.

Route map, courtesy Ian.

Supplementary Report. From the Picnic Spot, 22 Hikers, leaving 3 Ramblers behind to plan their own trip, eventually stirred themselves to trace the Trampers’ steps up to the regular winding-down-in (to gullies) and up-out (around ridges) Millennium Track to John Bull Gully

Ian explains about the old track out of John Bull Gully. (Clive pic and caption.)

– for an early lunch there, overflowing the two  eight-seater picnic tables in the process.

Shortly after our arrival, an informal small sub-group from among the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club, whom we had earlier met at the car park arrived, full of praise for our website which they regularly used for excursion ideas. They found their own spot seated among some obliging rocks.

The sun shone, the slight wind dropped, we leisured,

We leisured. (Ian pic and caption.)

and eventually stirred, to make our way back to the car park, there to find the Ramblers happily sunning themselves by the river.

We can echo the Trampers’ report on the state of the track. How surprisingly dry it was {mostly} and how wide and well kept too. A pity the occasional thoughtfully placed resting seat along its way has been denied its  river view by the relentlessly growing native bush.

A pleasant fulfilling walk topped off …

Relaxing coffee chat. (Ian pic and caption.)

… with a relaxing coffee chat. – Ian.

12. 23/8/2017.Trampers. Millennium Track, Kennedys, Bells. M. Leader: Arthur.

Galloway Road tracks map. (Map courtesy Arthur.)

Only 8 trampers were out today to enjoy the good weather and the  tramp. The Taieri Ferry Bridge was closed for ongoing (all winter, so far) repairs, so we travelled to the south end of the flood free highway before turning back onto Taieri Ferry Road.

Parking at the usual parking area, it was 10 am as we began walking. The low lying bits of the track were quite wet and muddy, as expected.

Looking at the damage from the rain. (Helen pic and caption.)

After 15 minutes we came to the picnic area on the riverbank for our smoko stop. It was about low tide and the river was very low.

Following the Millennium Track again, a side trip to the river was made at John Bull Gully where two DOC workers were cutting the grass around the picnic area. They had arrived by boat, which was sensible.

At John Bull gully where some maintenance was being done. They traveled by boat. (Helen pic and caption.)

From John Bull Gully it is rather a good uphill grunt for some way, but eventually the highest point of the track was gained – a 5 minute stop being taken here at the observation seat to admire the views.

View from the seat. Magic. (Helen pic and caption.)

We turned off the Millennium Track now, uphill beside the gorse, and then through the pine trees to reach the end of the deer fenced lane on the Kennedy Farm. It was up slope all the way but the lane took us up to Finlayson Road. It was 12.30 pm now, so was time for the lunch stop. High cloud was making the sunshine a bit weak, but with almost no breeze, so it was a pleasant, high up spot for the occasion.

We had to follow Finlayson Road towards Waihola before turning onto Galloway Road and followed it down to its end. We were high up here giving us very good views to enjoy.

The last leg was down through a recent logged forestry block.

Down through the felled forestry and lots of sticky mud. (Helen pic and caption.)

The going was good at first, but further down a digger rowing up the “slash” had left the dozed dirt track in rather a mess. But by taking care we negotiated this area safely. It was about 200 metres down through the standing pine trees to get to the bottom, where we emerged back at the carpark.

Today’s tramp was 12.7 km, and all were happy. On returning to Mosgiel THE BLEND coffee shop enjoyed our patronage.

It had been another good day’s social tramp for our group. Thanks to all. – Art.

11. 23/7/2014. Trampers. Millennium Track, Kennedys, Bells.


GPS of route courtesy Ken. We walked 13.4 km; moving ave 4.5 km/hr; moving time 2 hr 44 min; climbed 530 m.

Ignore the missing piece of track on the Google Earth view, as I forgot to reset the GPS before we started off.
With the day looking promising weather wise, 4 set off to walk the Millennium Track from Henley , then up through Kennedys property, & back down one of the ridges onto the river road again. We stopped at the Taieri Scenic Reserve picnic table for morning tea, & then went on to John Bull Gully, where we had a short rest before tackling the steep climb up to the seat on the John Bull track, & over the fence behind here to walk up past Kennedys house & onto Finlayson Rd. where we stopped for lunch in the shelter of some flax bushes.

Neil enjoying his cuppa at lunchtime.

Neil enjoying his cuppa at lunchtime. (Ken pic and caption)

Arthur and Ian at lunchtime. (Ken pic and caption)

Arthur and Ian at lunchtime. (Ken pic and caption)

It was then a short walk along to the turn off onto Galloway Rd. We walked the full length of Galloway Rd. & climbed the fence into a very wet & sloppy grassed paddock, which was quite steep in places, but luckily nobody fell over. All this area was new to everybody on the tramp, so it was a case of following our instincts to find the way back to the cars, which was accomplished without any trouble.

10. 11/7/2012. Millennium, John Bull, Kennedy’s Farm, Finlayson Road, Galloway Road, Bell’s Farm ridge, Ferry Road. 12 km.

Kms indications 1 & 2 are Millennium, 3-4 is thru John Bull Gully, 5 is up Kennedys Farm, 6 is Finalyson Rd turning off into Galloway Rd, 7-10 is down ridge, 10 to end  is Ferry Road. (Phone died before completing circui!)

Seven of us enjoyed a good winter tramp, warm in the sun and calm, even on the top. Went down the same ridge on Bells Farm that we did last time. Note: the way to find it (better than last time!) is to turn down 4WD track adjacent to a large corrugated shed part-way down Galloway Rd before the road swings away over to the right. The track skirts the top of a gully before emerging onto the ridge. Then just follow your nose down.
We elected to do this ridge rather than the even better one at the end of Galloway road as the leasee had reported he was running bulls in a paddock near the bottom of the ridge! – Ian

9. 17/6/2009 Trampers Taieri Ferry Road, Millennium, Kennedys, Finlayson Road, Bells Farm. Leaders: George, Bill M
It was only at the carpark that we were sure that frosty road conditions were going to turn out safe enough for setting out. Four of us in Bill’s car met George at Wardells cottage. George had planned a clockwise walk this time, starting on the Millennium Track. We stopped off soon at the track turn-off to the river for morning tea.
Cuppa on Millenniu. Lex, George, Bill

Cuppa on Millennium. Doug, Lex, George, Bill

Snow on the track was more obvious as we ascended to the seat on the John Bull where we planned to turn off up to Kennedys farm.

Pause at seat on John Bull. Bill, George, Doug, Lex.

Pause at seat on John Bull. Bill, George, Doug.

As we got up near the house snow (and a chilly breeze) was at its thickest.

Snow thicker here. Doug.

Snow thicker here. Doug, George, Lex, Bill.

At this point George had already determined to ask at the house where we might lunch in a bit of shelter. “Boots off and come inside!” was the response, providing a lunch stop in the most civilised of surroundings.
A long time after, we (reluctantly?) resumed the tramp. Snow had been graded off Finlayson Road and only semi-melted slush was left. We turned down Galloway Road, but had gone only a short distance before George decided it was time to turn off to to descend a ridge. After descending the ridge for a considerable distance we were bushed out by heavy scrub and had to return up far enough to try another next-door ridge. This gave clear access to the marshy flats below.

Going down farm ridge.

Returning down farm ridge. Doug, Lex, Bill, George.

Matters got a little dodgy at the ridge’s base but we soon got onto a squelchy paddock yielding to a less squelchy track that led out alongside a drain to Ferry Road.
A final walk along the road back down to the cars ended a most enjoyable walk out on the snow.
I now realise there are at least three navigable ridges between Finlayson and Ferry Roads, although George seems to have done them all some time in the past. There was the one we did 7 years ago, the one we did today and a further one from the foot of Galloway Road that Bill recalled Mr Kennedy advising we take but which George must have failed to pick up on. – Ian.

7. 12/4/2006. Trampers. Henley, Waihola Road, Millennium Track. Medium. Leaders: Irene, Dot B.
6. 12/1/2005. Trampers. Wardells, Waihola Road, Millennium Track. Leaders: George, Bob H.
5. 31/7/2002 Taieri Ferry to Waihola Road and Bells farm. Kennedys, Millennium. Bell Farm. Seek permission. Lambing Aug to Oct. Cars park halfway down Taieri Ferry Road, end of forest. Up hill till lunch time. Wenita permit.  Wenita Map. Leaders: George, Bob H, Colleen
4. 13/11/1996. Henley Ferry to Waihola Road and return. Leaders: Les and Margaret, Bev McI.
3. 21/8/1996. Taieri Ferry to Waihola Road and Bell’s Farm. Medium. Leaders: Les and Margaret, Bev McI
2. 15/3/1995. Between Galloway Road and Waihola Road. Medium. Leaders: Doug and Ngaire, Margaret and Les.
1. 6 Apr 1994 John Bull track, over paddock to Finlayson Road, back on John Bull Track. Leaders: Les S, Bill H, Doug & Ngaire.

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