Wed 3 February
At 8.30 13 of us climbed up Norberts Creek track and down the 4wd road towards the Eastern Hutt River. We turned off before the bottom and followed a route to a collapsed private hut, then dropped down into Phillips Stream. It wasn’t very long before the valley became very narrow and steep with countless rock scrambles, pools and logjams. The steepness mostly kept the sun off us, which was a relief – it was 26°C above the valley in the late afternoon and 30°C at the carpark at 5.30.
Several pools required cameras to be stored safely, not necessarily because of the depth, more due to the risk of sliding off the slippery rocks and logs that didn’t offer quite as many footholds or handholds as one might prefer.
We lunched further up the stream than on our May 2013 trip then carried on with the struggle to the peninsula. However, 45 minutes after lunch David McNabb rounded a bend and exclaimed “we won’t be going any further!” There before us was a magnificent waterfall crashing down into a deep sunny pool which two members made good use of. Height estimates varied, but 15 m seemed to be a consensus. This was the waterfall we had been looking for since our August 2010 trip when we could hear it from the ridge just north of the stream, near bump 533. On a previous search in March 2011 three party members could see where the waterfall seemed to plunge from.
From the high waterfall, we went back downstream perhaps 100 m towards the protruding spur coming in from the TL. Before getting to it, we angled up through the bush to its base which turned out to be a rock wall with an excellent route quite steeply up on good earth at its base all the way till we got out on to the beech forest above. We then continued on up to the ridge that led back to the 4wd road and home. Although the trip was 2 hours longer than it should have been for a medium trip, everyone said they felt that it was worth it, just to see the waterfall.
I expect many people will remember this trip for quite some time.
- Party members
- Ian Cairns, John Dement, Trish Gardiner-Smith, Jim Gibbons, Allan Holden, Justin Kerr, Bernard Molloy, David McNabb, David Ogilvie (leader and scribe), Pete Smith, John Thomson, Bill Wheeler, Glynn Woodbury.