Flora Saddle - Kahurangi National Park
Monday 20th February
We booked the Farewell Spit tour and a motel in Collingwood, bought
hut tickets, looked around Nelson's bookshops, and then headed off.
Camilla's laptop was left in a lodge in Motueka, where we had lunch in
the museum cafe and packed in the information centre car park.
looking up at Mt Arthur under cloud
It took us an hour to get to the Flora Saddle car park, which we reached
a bit after 4. The the road was steep in places and a little corrugated,
but our little car had no problem.
We got away at 4.40 but ten minutes past the saddle we met people going
the other way who warned us that there was no water at the hut. So I
went back and got another four litres from the car.
On the way up we passed many traps baited with eggs, for stoats or rats.
It was pleasant climb in the cool late afternoon, but Camilla was tired
and not too fit, so we didn't get to the hut till 6.45. The Mount Arthur
hut is a really lovely little hut and we had it all to ourselves.
Dinner was soup followed by pasta, after which we sat around reading.
A weka came up and wandered around the hut fearlessly, coming right up
to us, before wandering off down the track.
The lights of Motueka, Richmond, and Nelson
were visible in the distance.
Tuesday 21st February
The plan for today was to climb up onto the ridge following the track
towards Mt Arthur, but to turn off on the route over Gordons Pyramid
to Salisbury hut. But we turned back within about half an hour, facing
strong winds and fog rolling in from the southwest — the area was
new to me and Camilla wasn't so fit, so I wasn't game to try navigating
the ridgetops in poor visibility.
back at Mount Arthur hut
We had soup back in the hut, where we met a solo tramper, then took the
track down to Flora Hut, which we reached in time for lunch. We decided
to have a lazy day there so I walked back to the car to get more books.
There were some sandflies, unfortunately.
We talked to other trampers, some who had also turned back from the tops.
Flora Hut was rather dingy hut, perhaps because it was due to be pulled
down — there was a sign up about that, and complaints in the
We went on a night wander looking for weta, but didn't find any.
Two trampers turned up after 10pm, but put up tents and didn't disturb us.
a giant (?) weta
Wednesday 22nd February
Walking back to the car in the morning, what did we spot but a big weta
— it must have been a good 10cm long, plus another 10cm of antennae
— on the bank by the side of the road! (We thought it was a tree
weta at the time, but research suggests it was too big for that and
must actually have been some kind of giant weta.) It just sat there and
didn't move, even when being photographed from half a metre away or less.