Posted by: Talie Morrison | February 26, 2015

Still Wandering around Beautiful New Zealand

More Wanderings in New Zealand …


Since it has been over a month since I have “blogged”, I thought maybe I had better catch up.

After my wonderful South Coast Trip, I headed back to the little town of TeAnau.   I am sure lots of you have heard me say that TeAnau is my favorite New Zealand Town.   And it still is!   I had promised the ladies at the DoC center there that I would give them a report on the South Coast Track so that they could better tell others what to expect.

My next project was to find out why my lovely Kiwi Van (Abe) was leaking oil.   So I planned on going by Dunedin to see Muppet and having the van looked at.   Unfortunately, the mechanics found some pretty big problems and it was not “cost effective” for me to replace the engine to get the problem fixed.   So poor Abe was off to the graveyard!   I agreed to housesit for Muppet’s mom for a couple of days (with 3 dogs, 4 cats, 10 chickens and a pig!). Anyway, that gave me some time to look around Dunedin for vans for sale.   I didn’t find another van at the right price for the right mileage, but I did find a wee little red car that was totally recommended by the mechanics.   At least I knew I was getting a good engine – and it is also a 1993 Toyota.   That seems to be “my year” as my truck back home, GrayJay, is a 1993 Toyota (so was Abe –oops). So I have arranged it so, in a pinch, I can sleep in the back of this new little car – but since I love my hammock SO MUCH, I usually just find a couple of trees.   The wee red car is named after a lovely New Zealand Tree that blooms red – the Pohutakawa – with just a little change of name to: PohutaCARwa 🙂 .

I took PohutaCARwa North from Dunedin towards Arthur’s Pass.   On Waitangi Day (a NZ Holiday like our 4th of July) I woke up in my hammock with snow all around me!   Yikes!   But it was a short lived storm.

One of the hikes I had yet to do down here was to climb a mountain outside of Arthur’s Pass called Avalanche Peak.   Luckily the day I was there was a blue sky day – perfect for a peak climb.   It was beautiful and only about 20 people on top (sort of like doing a 14er in Colorado!).

The next 10 days or so, I spent with my friends, Dianne, from Auckland and Suellen, from Iowa (Mike’s 4th wife). We had great fun together and giggled and laughed a lot.   We went to the Kaharungi Park, and tramped around the Mt. Arthur Table Lands (the Trilobite Hut, Balloon Hut, Grid Iron Shelter, Asbestos Cottage, and Sylvester Hut).  Up above the Sylvester Hut, trying to find Iron Lake in the clouds, we got a “little bit lost” in the fog.   It was a “little bit scary” for about an hour or so.   But thanks to my Gaia App on my phone (GPS) we found our way back down.   Whew!

After sending Dianne and Suellen off, I headed back down to Murcheson.   I spent the night with good friends (Robin, Merewai, and Mela) and Merewai helped me do a car shuttle the next morning.   She dropped me off on the Tiraumea River and I hiked to the Tiraumea Hut (the sign said 5 hours, and it took me 7.5 hours!).   I was going to go to the Mole Tops and down a track called “Bull Creek” – but the comments in the hut book at Tiraumea said that Bull Creek was horrendous (and a DoC worker commented that it hasn’t been maintained since 1994!).   So I decided that one was not on the agenda! See – sometimes I make semi-wise decisions!

So I headed off to the D’Urville River and Hut, and the next morning some fishermen (with a boat) offered to take me and another tramper across Lake Rotoroa (saving me about a 2.5 hour hike!) to the Sabine Hut.   As I walked off the dock at the Sabine, I realized I had left my hiking poles at the D’Urville Hut!   AARGUH!!! So…. I spent the rest of the day, hiking BACK to the D’Urville hut – getting my poles – and hiking back to the Sabine Hut.   Oh, well…..

From the Sabine Hut, I decided I needed to have more “fun”, so I planned my route to the Speargrass Hut over Mt. Cedric and past the Angeles Hut.   Nowadays you have to have a reservation to stay at Angeles and you have to pay extra.   So having neither, I knew I wouldn’t be staying there.   But I was willing to go the long way because I knew it would be SO beautiful!   (And it was!) But it did mean 3.5 hours of climbing (steeply) to get out of the bush from the Sabine, then another 3.5 hours climbing (steeply) over the rocks and ridges on the tops (unfortunately it was raining and blowing – but it still was beautiful).   Then from the Angeles Hut it was another 3 hours to get down (yea – down) to the Speargrass Hut and through a beautiful alpine valley (it reminded me of Crested Butte and the Pyrenees).   It had been a long 10-hour day, with not long mileage, but hard hiking – I was glad to know that the old body could still do it!

From the Speargrass hut – it was a relatively easy couple of hours back to the trailhead where I had left PahutaCARwa!




  1. You go, Talie! Loved your blog and the pictures! Here I am in South Carolina, just finished my little workout class with other 60 somethings women, and we thought we worked hard! Nothing compared to your climbs!! I am glad to see you wised up a little in the rain and all. Hope you aren’t having the snow that the east coast of US has had this year! Measures in feet, not inches. Keep on trampin! XX Jane E.

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