A three day 35k tramp from the Wangapeka to John Reid Hut via Kiwi Saddle Hut and Mt Patriarch. Mt Patriarch is situated at the southern end of the 40km long Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park. We choose a clockwise loop via the easier Wangapeka and Kiwi Track to Kiwi Saddle Hut. Chummies Track to John Reid Hut is much steeper. A ground trail leads up to the summit of Mt Patriarch from the saddle above Kiwi Saddle Hut which on a good day provides spectacular 360 views of the southern end of Kahurangi National Park. An 8km ridgeline traverse provides easy access to John Reid Hut when the weather is favourable. Chummies track gets you back down to the Wangapeka.
NOTE: Access via the Wangapeka River Road Dart River Ford The Dart River Ford provides access to the southern end of the Arthur Range and Courthouse Flat. The pipes under the ford often fill up with gravel which forces the water over the ford at any time. After rain this gets high enough to prevent cars crossing. High clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles struggle to cross after heavier rain. Once the rain stops the Dart River flow drops reasonably quickly. Check this article on Wangapeka River Rd access - Dart Ford damage
River flow data can be found here: https://www.tasman.govt.nz/my-region/...
Trip Report by Brian Renwick
The drive to Siberia in the Wangapeka was without incident, apart from Brian missing 2 turnoffs. Thankfully he didn’t repeat this during the tramp! The Dart ford was straightforward, water levels having dropped substantially from the high flood 4 days earlier.
The walk along the Wangapeka went without problem, the occasional muddy section offering opportunities to exercise avoidance skills. An innocuous-looking “soft” spot up Kiwi Stream claimed more than one victim however, Brian taking a few minutes to extricate himself, taking care not to lose a boot.
We found 3 others in residence on arrival at Kiwi Saddle Hut, and “tent city” appeared promptly.
Sunday dawned fine, suggesting good conditions with little breeze for the traverse along the segment of Arthur Range to John Reid Hut. On arrival at the open tops Era and Kath took off up the ridge towards Mt Patriarch, and stopped partway up for satisfying views of the surrounds. The west was almost totally clear, Mt Kendall dominating with a mantle of snow. The remaining 7 continued to the summit, while Kath and Era descended from their rocky crag and continued along Arthur Range to John Reid Hut.
The route along the range is unmarked but is, due to the passage of many boots over the years, readily discernible, the occasional sidle marked with a cairn or two. This section was a great test of tramping skills; fitness, agility, route finding and, occasionally, a head for heights. The turn off to John Reid was clearly marked; a line of blue poles showing the way.
This time there was no one else in residence, 6 occupying the bunks, and the remaining 3 camping in the nearby forest. John Reid Hut was “adopted” by NTC some years ago, upgraded and refurbished, including by some of those present who were able to inspect their handiwork with a critical eye and work out what they had done particularly well, and where they might have done better.
The trip down Chummie’s Track the next morning was reasonably straightforward, the occasional bit exercising route-finding skills, and a fair bit of agility in places. On arrival at the ford across the Wangapeka the opportunity was taken to give river-crossing tips to those less experienced in the craft, and the river was safely crossed (almost!) without incident.
We called at the Kohatu café on the way home, to find a zillion motorcycle enthusiasts had almost cleaned the establishment out of food, but enough food and drink was rustled up to satisfy our party nevertheless.
Many thanks to all for a wonderful trip and companionship, and especially to Astrid for organising it all.