Snowy Gorge & Hide-away Biv 2-3 December 2017
Departing Timaru at 7am and with a brief stop at Omarama it was approximately a 2 hour 45 min drive to the car park alongside the Ahuriri River. Ready and walking at 10am was to pick the best spot to cross the river which was at a reasonable level and flow to make crossing safely.
From here it was a long stretch of river bed and flats before reaching the Snowy Gorge River on the other side. The Snowy Gorge River had a reasonable flow but was easy enough to cross. From here we navigated our way upwards gradually onto large grassy terraces on the western side of the river. This is a non-poled route which follows the river all the way to the Snowy Gorge Hut. This was a pleasant walk under-foot in open tussock land. One could almost walk anywhere they desired, and it was easy to take in the surrounds whilst walking. The sun was shining and with little breeze it made for a hot thirsty day. Distance to the hut was aprox. 11kms and took pretty much the 5 hours as suggested (including stops) At the top end we arrived at a large rocky moraine area which we navigated our way through then out the other side we could see into the large basin flats beyond the hut. From a higher level we could see the roof of the hut which was tucked away beyond a smaller moraine wall.
After a bit of a spell and a cup of tea some of the group decided to walk further up towards valley head and take in views of the mountain surrounds. We could see where the routes directed to the Maitland and also Lake Dum-bell and beyond to Freehold creek. By the time we got back to the hut we had walked another 6 kms. Truly a satisfying day.
The five bunk hut was very tidy however most of chose to pitch our tents and sleep out with the fine weather and full moon which made a great night light. It had been a big day out in the sun and heat with no shelter so it was nice to get indoors for a spell. The river, now much smaller and spread across the more level flats gave good opportunity to freshen up. There is no toilet available at this hut.
We did encounter other people 2 x couples, 1 of which stayed in the hut for the night and the others moved on.
We were up early – as usual, packed and ready to go about 8am. The group split as we chose to take varying options on the way back down, however keeping everyone in sight most of the time and eventually meeting as we got out of the rocky moraine area and back to the open flats. It was quite fast walking as we made our way down the valley, then eventually crossing the Snowy Gorge River to head up the valley to Hideaway Biv. It was a short distance to the small lake then gaining a bit of height to the hut tucked away in a pleasant sheltered spot with a nearby stream. (About an hour from where we turned off). This is a historic hut, which is described as “has preserved our farming history in an interesting fashion” so true. A lunch stop here to take in the history and special character before returning down the valley, across the Ahuriri river flat to the river crossing to the cars parked on the other side. Truly a great weekend trip enjoyed by Wayne K, Ralph, Barry, Robert, Wayne C, Hazel, and Erica & Annie. Thank you for your company.