Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Kaikura to Kahurangi

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.

the view looking back to the east
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 log book.

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.

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