Norbett Creek, Hutt Forks, Phillips Stream Spur, Marchant Track.
Wednesday 7 April.
An inauspicious beginning. The intended early start was thwarted by closed gates at Kaitoke Waterworks. The car shuttle to Kiwi Ranch proceeded with Joan’s car at the Ranch end, and the other three cars proceeding to the Norbett Creek start, where the sun had yet to appear. Then Peggy found that she had left her boots behind in Joan’s car, so off she went – but wait, there’s more. Peggy went without Joan’s car keys, so Warwick headed off in pursuit: deed successfully done. The sensible thing to do was leave Warwick’s car at Kiwi Ranch, for the return trip. But Bob suddenly realised that he had left his pack in Warwick’s car. After promises of being fed and watered by the remainder of the group, a sigh of relief was heard when Warwick did return with his car.
After that, the day was excellent, with brilliant sunshine, no wind, and lively chatter. Those who had stayed at Norbett’s quickly warmed up with that initial steep climb and then steadily climbed up through the lovely bush until the yellow brick road was reached: it seemed short and not too steep. [Why anyone would go up the yellow brick road from Kaitoke is beyond belief – little bush, a solid trudge and no views.] Then down to the Hutt Forks, across Phillips Stream, and just by the bridge there is a faint footpad that leads straight ahead. This leads though the usual supplejack and other lianes, avoiding the worst of the bogs, until the spur is reached. Another scramble up to start with, through fairly open bush. A GWRC blue marker for the water supply was seen, but thereafter is was just a pad, which sometimes came back to meet us. It was reasonably easy going, travelling south-east to bump 533 through a mixture of rimu, rata, beech and kamahi. Morning tea in the sunshine at around 350 metres altitude.
A reluctant restart after the warm sunshine saw us head north-east to bump 790, with two isolated and irrelevant orange markers on the way – the spur was reasonably narrow with limited options. The Phillips Stream waterfall was heard tinkling below, near bump 533. Lunch, again in filtered sunshine at bump 790, with magnificent trees and ferns. It is necessary to be a little bit careful here as the spur continuing north takes you down to the Eastern Hutt River. So due east, over flattish land, before a gentle climb but not a clearly defined spur (and two more isolated markers).
Last time I took the trip we went up to bump 967 on the Marchant Track, and that proved a very stupid option, as every conceivable nasty appeared at every turn: bush lawyer in abundance, leatherwood, muehlenbeckia, regenerating and closely packed beech and kamahi, plus many more, with it taking well over an hour for a few hundred metres. This time a continuation east, with some debate whether to turn down the berm on the 900 contour, or go on to 920 and drop to the Marchant. We took the latter, with little difficulty, though David Ogilvie had taken the former without too many difficulties. (David’s route through the burn is represented by the black line ‘cutting the corner’. Ed) Down the Marchant, afternoon tea at Dobsons and on to Kiwi Ranch, with no dramas on the reverse shuttle.
Trip time 7hr 40min, elevation gain about 1200 metres, 15km distance.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Tony Black, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook, Gerald Leather, Peggy Munn,
Bob Stephens (leader and scribe). Lynne White, Warwick Wright.