20 February 2016

Tuatapere ,Lake Hauroko,South Coast Track

3rd post from my recent NZ trip written in early April after returning home.
Link to photo album.

After travelling down through Central Otago and Southland we arrived at Tuatapere on the southern edge of Fiordland National Park. The fine weather plan had been to walk the Dusky Track in the centre of the Park but as prolonged heavy rain was forecast it was not the place to be ( I did it in the mid 2000s and encountered heavy snow then flooded river valleys so want to do it again in fine weather!).
Instead we decided to do the South Coast Track as a wet weather alternative, after spending the promised fine day driving to the east shore of Lake Hauroko and climbing up to the lookout.

Tuatapere artwork
Landing stage Lake Hauroko
View from the lookout
We started off on our seven day tramp with heavy packs ,westwards round Te Waewae Bay from Rarakau to Westies Hut and return the same way.
For the first day and a half the path is well made in "Great Walks" fashion as it shares the route with the Humpridge Track (pay to stay in luxury) but further on becomes less defined and you are more reliant on the orange markers.Early on there are sections along the beach but it's then mostly a little inland with only occasional glimpses of the coastline.

Port Craig Schoolhouse DOC Hut
 


Old wharf at Port Craig

The first hut night was at Port Craig Schoolhouse which DOC has adapted for trampers.It's now the only building left over from the early twentieth century logging town and mill site (more info from Port Craig link).
The easy stretch of track continues part way from Port Craig ,along the old logging tramway crossing several viaducts ,but then becomes more of a (muddy) tramping track climbing in and out of creeks to reach Wairaurahiri Hut.We'd made quick progress here and despite the steady rain continued onto Waitutu Hut to make the best of our time and food supplies.





Waitutu Hut
Day three from Waitutu to Westies Hut is only measured at 9 km but was very slow going with lots of mud to avoid and creeks to cross using "alternative bridges". One mile an hour travel. Westies Hut was one of the highlights of the whole trip.










The return trip was more leisurely as we stayed at all three huts and had time to go off track to take in more coastal views and explore the river mouths and shoreline.

Back at Waitutu River
3 wire bridge

Wairaurahiri river mouth
 

Wairaurahiri Hut
Percy Burn viaduct
 



Port Craig beach




Mince on toast
One of the things that had kept us going was the thought of mince on toast when we got back to Tuatapere.We'd seen it served in the old fashioned cafe the day before our tramp. Kiwiana on a plate.Yum.
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