KRP – Eastern Hutt River Gorge – Phillips Stream – KRP
Saturday Nov 3, 2007
Map: 260-S26 Carterton
This trip was one that had been niggling at me to be attempted for some time, and with a relatively dry week preceding the trip and with favourable weather eventuating on the day of the trip, the time was right.
We departed from the picnic site just below the Kaitoke intake weir and Neil led us up to Warren’s Saddle. Then we made our way along the ridge track to the top of the access road and down to the confluence of Phillips Stream and the Eastern Hutt River. We followed the track the short distance to the wire bridge that crosses the Eastern Hutt and then entered untracked territory along the true left of the Eastern Hutt River.
The first section of terrace travel is through quite boggy terrain. Where the river turns abruptly west in its flow, we left the boggy bits and went up over several river-side terraces for several hundred metres. Quite quickly the terrain narrows into the gorge section and becomes very steep-sided. After a bit of up-and-down as we proceeded upstream we encountered a well-established animal track. This was the key to our travel through the gorge. Despite a few spots where there was a precipitous drop directly to the river bed, the going along the animal tracks was straightforward. As we sidled through the gorge we were not much more than fifty metres vertical above the river bed. Throughout the gorge the terrain remained quite steep. The time to traverse the gorge itself was about an hour.
We then had a pleasant walk up the river bed to the point where the WRC-disked track meets the Eastern Hutt River. We then followed the route on the true right of the river to the first compulsory river crossing spot (GR 982172). We crossed the river to meet up with the small side-stream that flows off the southwestern flank of Marchant Ridge and went up the spur on the true left of that stream to spot height 790. We continued over the broad top and went down the spur running slightly west of south that took us to what is known as the ‘Phillips Stream Forks’, where we had lunch.
After lunch we scrambled up to spot height 630 on the true left of Phillips Stream and followed the ridge top that winds its way to spot height 592 and hence to the top of the access road. Then it was the interminable plod down the road to the car park at the ranger’s office, where we met up with Dave Reynolds and Ken Fraser, who had been exploring the terrain along the Ridge Track between the waterworks and the Te Marua lakes.
The main focus of the trip - the investigation of sidle travel through the gorge - was challengingly straight-forward. The remainder of the trip was pleasant affirmation of bush navigation routines.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock (leader & scribe), Bernard Molloy and Neil Challands