13. Te Araroa, Arthur’s Pass to Lake Coleridge Village

This was a short section with a mix of terrain and a whole host of river related logistical issues to overcome…

We started out from Arthur’s Pass by hitching to the Cass Lagoon trail head, which is a short drive (or a long walk down a braided river). We got very lucky with the weather and had stunning views as we ascended out of the beech forest and over a low saddle. The track was nicely formed and easy to follow as it wound down to follow a small stream all the way to Hamilton Hut. This hut was purpose designed by an architect so a lovely overnight stop, albeit with beds that were about 2ft short of the normal length!

 

Harriet walking in the high country
Harriet walking in the high country

 

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On top of the saddle

The following morning we set out with Nicki and Mat on a section which followed a pleasant 4 wheel drive track all day. We’re on the TA so it obviously involved several river crossing throughout the morning. We missed the highlight of the day; ‘The Pinnacles’ which are small limestone towers, apparently we crossed the river next to the them… We pitched up at the Harper River campsite for an afternoon of Yahtzee and relaxation!

Walking along the 4wd track

Walking along the 4wd track

 

Camp life
Camp life

Day 3 consisted of a 25km gravel road walk followed by a short section through farmland and pine forest into Lake Coleridge Village. The cloud cover lifted slightly so we enjoyed views of the scree covered mountains and 3 small lakes. We then passed through the farmland and power station into the pine tree arborteum where we enjoyed some of the Latin tree names. Once we arrived into Lake Coleridge Village we were hoping for a warm welcome and beer at the lodge. Sadly the welcome was much less than warm with the proprietor making statements such as ‘I don’t like hikers’ and ‘hikers are so needy’ or ‘hikers don’t spend any money’, anyway after a pleasant introduction we managed to purchase a beer and some ice cream.

 

Road walking!
Road walking!

 

Single file, safety first
Single file, safety first

 

Blue sky over Lake Coleridge
Blue sky over Lake Coleridge

 

Impressed by the hydro power station
Impressed by the hydro power station

Onto the fore mentioned logistics, this section of the walk is bisected by two rivers which for people with our level of experience are definitely not to be crossed! This somewhat impacts the ‘continuous’ nature of the trail. Our problems were solved by Wayne from Alps 2 Ocean who provides an excellent lift service to avoid said rivers. He charges a very reasonable fare, is great conversation and very knowledgable on the local area. So there we go, problems solved and onto the Two Thumbs Range.

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