Days Bay – Butterfly Creek, Off-track Return
17 February 2021
Temperatures had been sweltering, hence Plan A to go up Graces Stream, with the promise of cooling splashes and nikau shade. But in typical Wellington style, trip day was forecast to be bleak with a nippy south easterly and maximum of 13 degrees, hence dry feet Plan B in the Eastbourne hills.
Six of us left from the Duck Pond at 8.45 in cool, damp conditions - which were very pleasant up the steep of the Kererū Track - then turned right along a footpad onto the main ridge. It was actually lovely tramping weather up there, quiet, with little wind. The route is well-trodden by trappers and has one of the most beautiful branch-bouquets of earina autumnalis in the Ōrongorongo area. We joined the McKenzie Track for the last stretch to Butterfly Creek where we enjoyed the luxury of a picnic table and face-to-face conversation.
Our off-track route started behind the toilet and is quite lovely country, soft with leaves underfoot everywhere. The foot pad is reasonably easy to follow but a compass and a good study of the map beforehand are needed as there are trapping markers that could lead distracted trampers astray. It is a long spur with a sizable flat section (the few orange markers are very helpful) before the final climb to Hawtrey at 343 m. I was so busy watching the route that I did not notice the massive rata only minutes before Hawtrey, but fortunately the rest of the party were onto things. What a wonderful tree, and so close to the main track. We were back at the Duck Pond just before 3 p.m. and some enjoyed refreshments at the Pavilion Café before leaving for home.
- Party members
- Peter Barber, Trish Gardiner-Smith, Jim Gibbons, Marg Pearce (leader and scribe), Lynne Pomare, Helena Weller-Chew