Totara Flats Hut
23 - 25 June 2013
As the remnant winds from the severe southerly storm that had battered Wellington abated, we knew there would be a spell of clear winter weather to follow, so a decision to get away at short notice was made. Our intentions were to get to Sayers Hut via the Totara Creek track. However, the ferocity of the flow in Totara Creek meant we could not safely cross near the confluence with the Waiohine River, so it was Totara Flats Hut that night.
The wood shed was about one-third full with dry pieces that were easily split with the on-site axe, and there were about a dozen sacks of coal in the back porch. This fuel supply was compliant with the DoC poster in the hut stating that wood and coal would be supplied to the ‘serviced hut’. Needless to say, we were warm – and the fire box produced enough heat for us to cook our meal on the top plate.
The next day dawned clear and brisk, but no frost due to the gentle breeze down the Waiohine valley. We followed the track downstream with the aim of having a look at the new bridge across Makaka Creek. After we went up and over the terrace at the south end of Totara Flats we came across a new bridge [GR 008639; NZTopo50-BP33 Featherston] over a watercourse that drains a significant area of Cone Ridge. The remainder of the walk to Makaka Creek was pleasant and the new bridge is in the same location as the pre-bridge crossing site. It is our understanding that a similar style bridge has been erected across Clem Creek.
We then retraced our tracks back to the hut for lunch. Post-lunch saw us investigating the new bridge across Totara Creek. Our curiosity had been spiked the previous day when we sighted the structure on our way to the hut. The new bridge is located at GR 030667 [ NZTopo-BP33 Featherston]. At the time of our trip there was ‘construction site’ tape across the steps accessing the bridge, so it was not officially open but to our eyes it appeared structurally complete. It has to be presumed that there will be a new track on the true left of Totara Creek.
That evening we again enjoyed a warm hut and another ‘stove-cooked’ meal. The third day was just a standard exit walk from Totara Flats hut. We were back at the Mt Holdsworth car park for lunch. The trip had been a pleasantly relaxed early winter get away that provided awareness of positive changes DoC is making to improve access to Totara Flats hut from both directions.
As of 12 July the new bridges over Clem and Makaka Creeks are complete and awaiting sign off. Ed
- Party members
- Dave Reynolds, Bill Allcock (scribe).