4 February 2016

Styx River - Browning Pass tramp , West Coast to Haast

First of a series of five posts from my recent NZ trip ,written in early April after my return home.
Link to photo album from  first stage of my trip.

Another of my many trips to South Island ,New Zealand and the third in a row with my pal Andrew.On his first visit we did tramps at the top of SI and on the West Coast ,and two years ago were on North Island , so this time we concentrated on the southern half of SI.

After some rest and travel across to the West Coast from Christchurch we did a three day tramp starting from near Lake Kaniere inland from Hokitika ,up the Styx and Arahura rivers to Lake Browning and Browning Pass on the Divide (1411m) returning the same way.Stayed at Grassy Flats and Harman huts.

Andrew approaching Grassy Flats, upper Styx
Grassy Flats Hut - replaced since my last visit

I'd been this way before over 10 years ago but the going is a lot tougher now in the lower Styx with sections of what was an fairly easy track having been destroyed by land slips.There are now quite a few diversions either up into the bush or along the river beach which means much slower travel.

Styx Saddle

Harman Hut,upper Arahura

Lake Browning
Looking down into the Wilberforce from Browning Pass
Recrossing the Styx below Grassy Flats
Settled sunny weather with the promised rain not arriving.The South Island "honeypots" turned out to be very busy in March due in part to Chinese New Year and there was not much accommodation to be had in Hokitika on our return from the tramp.However as we had our small tents with us we spent a couple of very pleasant nights camping in the grounds of the former mental hospital above the town.It proved to be the cheapest and best spot in Hokitika! Also the best fish and chips on South Island ?
A day off visiting Hokitika Gorge and then a drive down the West Coast to Haast taking a look at the snout of Fox Glacier on the way.

View over Hokitika from the campsite

The beach

Hokitika River Gorge swing bridge

Boots at Hari Hari

Fox Glacier

We stayed an extra day at Haast as heavy rain was forecast for Thursday night into Friday so we delayed the start of our next tramp until Saturday to let the river levels go down a bit.A good trip to Ship Creek in Friday afternoon sunshine after the overnight downpour.

Ship Creek beach and wetlands

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