Phillips Stream - (M/F)
August 2010, March 2011, 2012
Wednesday trampers are developing a close understanding of the Phillips Stream valley. Phillips Stream flows off the southern end of the Marchant Ridge, predominantly in a westerly direction, meeting the Eastern Hutt River near the hydrology tower, about 500 m upstream of the Hutt Forks.
On 25 August 2010 a MF trip climbed up the ridge on the north side of the valley from the mouth of Phillips Stream, over #790 and on to the Marchant track at about 900 m. About half way up we heard a waterfall below us on our right; it made enough noise to suggest that it may be quite large. We decided to return one day to find it.
On 9 March 2011 (medium trip) we climbed up the same ridge, over #533 and progressed along the flattish section without hearing any sound of a waterfall. The route began climbing again, towards #790, still with no sound. We decided the side stream shown on the map couldn’t have enough water to make the noise we had previously heard so we back-tracked to the point where we agreed was the most likely spot to be above the waterfall. We went down a minor spur to the stream, meeting it soon after it had completed the large 180° bend. There we found a fairly small waterfall and a very large logjam. We assumed some of the logjam had been swept away during the previous 8 months, and with the late summer flow, the noise level was now much lower. We crossed the stream and scrambled up a high steep bank and then on to the ridge between the top of the 4WD road from Kaitoke Regional and Dobsons hut site, meeting it almost exactly on #630.
On 28 March 2012 (MF trip) we retraced our steps to #630, then headed mostly in a northerly direction down a spur a to a prominent “peninsula” which the map indicates is dead flat at 400 m asl. The peninsula was very narrow with mostly extremely steep sides. It was not particularly flat, of course, but was a fascinating landscape. Luckily there was easy access to the stream bed from the end of the peninsula. After lunch we walked up Phillips Stream for about 20 minutes when we reached a magnificent waterfall, about 10 m high, plunging in two flows into a large deep pool with pretty much vertical cliffs surrounding the pool. The stream at this point is quite a long way from where we heard a waterfall in 2010, so it may not be the same one. We back-tracked a short distance and found a route on the true left that enabled us to by-pass the obstacle. After more scrambling over many fallen trees we met the side stream that flows off #790. After that, travel up Phillips Stream became much easier until we met a deep pool and narrow cataracts. We decided to leave the rest of the stream for a summer trip, and climbed back up on to the ridge that we had left earlier, meeting it about 20 minutes SW of #705. We returned down the Marchant track, making it an 8 hour day.
All that is left now is to walk up the lower part of the stream to the waterfall, and to clamber up the very top section. The Phillips Stream valley is reasonably accessible, with some good off-track routes, and some great bush. We recommend it!
- Party members