1000 Acre Plateau: Easter Family Group
It was a glorious way to spend Easter lunch, up on the Needle looking east across to the Haystack with Mt Owen behind; to Southeast, the Nelson Lakes mountains Angelus to Ella; and north we could see the Douglas Range, where we had been at Christmas. It was good that the ‘needle' was blunt as it was fairly crowded with over 25 people there, twelve from the Peninsula Tramping Club, a couple of other parties, two hunters and a dog called Reg, plus our party of nine.
We had left the Matiri roadend at midday on Good Friday, having packed up lunch quickly because of some over-amorous bumble bees. It was a pleasant trip especially once into the bush, with an abundance of darting fantails, cheeky robins and singing bellbirds. A stoat dashed across the track by the stream before the hut.
We arrived at the hut in 2 hours. This was an attractive site with great views across the lake with Paradise ducks and black swans. As the drizzle had set in and we didn't want to push the children too much the first day, we decided to stay at the hut. Several groups passed by to add to the 47 in the intention book at the roadend. It had been a fairly wet night and was still drizzling as we left at 8am and headed up the ridge. Again, abundant birdlife, including riflemen and waxeyes. Up to the lookout in an hour and through the dracophyllum.
Suddenly an hysterical scream from Nigel. The leading party had disturbed a wasp nest on the track. I tried to brush the wasps off, but they wouldn't budge, so I had to physically pluck them off one at a time. He had been stung about ten times on his legs, arms and head. Copious quantities of Stingo were applied. Later he said the bites didn't really hurt, it was the fear of more wasps attacking him. He was still a bit shaken as we lightened his load and headed up to the bush edge and across to Poor Pete's hut for lunch.
Then across the savannah grasslands of the 1000 Acres. We could hear frogs croaking around the tarns and there were tadpoles in the tarn. The children found a newly developed frog but it was too small to identify. Across the creeks to Larrikans Hut by 4pm. The sun was only around for six hours at this time of year. In winter, the Haystack limits the sunshine and it is no wonder the hut is named "the refrigerator" in winter.
Next morning was a sharp frost. There were shocked cries from some of the children as they tried to get their wet socks into iced boots. Next up to the saddle and across to the Needle and then time spent exploring the lichen on the white rock. Haystack looked a bit hairy to climb with the children. Next day we explored the 1000 Acres Plateau and Mt Misery, looking down into the Mokinui, lots of rock crevices and holes, not a place to be in the mist. Back to camp to explore the creek from the hut, which in less than ten minute's walk cascades over an impressive waterfall.
Next morning the clag was closing in as we left at 8am and we made Poor Petes by 10.30am, the bush edge by 11am and the hut by 2pm. We were going to stay, but the precipitation became more of a downpour. Remembering warnings of Bay Creek becoming impassable even using the cage and also needing to negotiate several streams with the van, we decided it best to head out while we could. It had been a great Easter trip.