Norbert Creek – Eastern Hutt River – Marchant Ridge F
1 March 2017
Our first challenge was to get into Kaitoke Regional Park; the sign on the automatic gate at the bridge said that it opened at 6.00am but at 8.00am it was still firmly closed. We found a contact phone number at a house a little further along the road and a bemused ranger said he would release the gate – which he did – but by the time we all got back in the car, it had closed again! Second time lucky – we were all ready to drive away the moment the gate opened (but saw it slowly close again after we were through!)
Our group of three - all other likely participants being down south on Peggy’s trip - left the car park near Norbett Creek a short while later and made our way up to the ‘Golden Road’ leading down to the Eastern Hutt River. Does anyone know how this nickname came about?
Crossing the river on the swing bridge took us to the aptly named Gutbuster track where David pointed out several clumps of Dawsonia superba, the tallest moss in the world, which at approx. 400 mm barely looked like a moss. More about it here: http://www.indefenseofplants.com/blog/2016/8/15/the-tallest-moss(approve sites).
Then back down to the river where we had morning tea in the sunshine before making the first of many crossings; fortunately the water was not high or cold but the rocks were slippery in places, which kept us more slow fit than fit! The river is very attractive and would be a lovely place to loiter and swim on a summer’s day. We found the Eastern Hutt hut nestled in the bush a little back from the true left of the river but as it was very shady with no outside benches we opted to go back to the water’s edge at the confluence with Quoin Stream for lunch soon after midday. Although the hut was unlocked and could sleep six, it is part of the water catchment area and for emergency use only.
A half hour walk after lunch, still following the river, led us to the toe of a very open spur heading south to Marchant summit. We reached the Marchant Ridge Track at 2.45 and kept going until we found an open spot where we could sit and admire the wide views of the Tararuas whilst enjoying what we felt was our well-deserved afternoon tea. Well the Marchant Ridge is what it is and we tried to forget about this as we focussed on getting back to the Kiwi Ranch carpark where we had left our shuttle car. A quick ride back to Kaitoke, where thankfully the gate was open, and we were on our way home.
The stats: Distance 25.5 km Total Ascent 1460 m Time 9.5 hours
- Party members
- Tricia French, David McNabb (leader), Lynne White (scribe)