Te Araroa Trail Locke Stream Hut to Arthurs Pass
We woke with the light after our cyclone Gita rest day at Locke Stream hut and had a quiet breakfast. We left the hut at 7.30 am heading towards Kiwi hut. We were really pleased to see that it was a shaping up to be a lovely fine day!! The trail started down the river valley, through bush, and then flattened out onto river terraces. There were lots of river crossings from the start, and the boys helped me across a couple. We were amazed to see snow on some of the mountains around us.
We took a short break at the 6-bed Kiwi hut at 9.30 am and left at 9.50 am.
The Otehake River
Immediately after Kiwi hut we had to cross the Otehake River which was pretty wide. The water was running clear, but after the recent rain, it was pretty high and swift. It was braided into a number of sections and we crossed the first ones ok, then crossed over a large couple of boulder banks and we saw another two braids. The final one was a little problematic – deep and swift, and we knew it wouldn’t be crossable here – even as a group.
We spent an hour looking for a place to cross. After a couple of attempts we finally picked a spot upstream and crossed, but this meant we had to bush bash for 30 mins back down again.
Taramakau River to the Otira River
Once back on track there were very few markers. We followed the true left of the Taramakau river and eventually found some again after we crossed Pfeiffer Creek. We stopped for lunch at 1 pm, then hung a left turn into the Otira river valley.
We took the flood track as the Otira river was up. The track sidled along a reasonably steep face in the beech forest, with lots of ups and downs and a decent amount of fallen trees. We were glad when we could pop out into the river valley itself and walk along the rocks to take a shortcut for the final couple of kms.
Morrison’s Footbridge – Arthurs Pass
We got to Morrison’s footbridge at 3.30pm and tried to get a hitch into Arthur’s pass. It was fruitless, and we were still there at 5.30pm.
Just as we were contemplating a cold night camping by the river, we saw a lone figure walking towards us. It was Bill from ‘The Sanctuary’ accommodation, who had been out maintaining Te Araroa trail (we missed him when we took a short cut by the river bank).
We piled into his van and we drove the spectacularly scenic 25 kms to Arthur’s Pass.
At The Sanctuary I booked into a beautiful little pod made out of an old water tank with a huge window cut out of it – with a lovely bed inside! Phil went down to Bealey as he’d got his resupply box sent there, and Mike set up his tent. There were lots of Te Araroa hikers there who had been waiting out the storms in various locations. There were also lots of Kea (large alpine parrots) hopping around the place.
Mike and I showered (woo!) went out to dinner and enjoyed magnificent (if pricey) fish and chips plus a huge dessert and a hot chocolate!