Since we were there last year some new alternatives have emerged. On the way out we were able to follow a lovely dry even old hunter’s route along the coast to the crossing of the Crombie Stream, then walk up the ridge on its true right bank (facing downstream) and rejoin the South Coast track. Many beautiful views along the way.
There used to be a convenient hunter’s hut at the Crombie Mouth (the ‘Manuka Lodge’) but it has ‘unfortunately’ been burned down. An educated guess about who was responsible would be reasonable. DOC is also in the process of dismantling an excellent ‘survival’ hut at Knife and Steel Harbour, the next inlet West of the Grant Burn. It is no longer usable.
This alternative route along the coast avoids about half of the worst section of the South Coast Track. From the Wairaurahiri River to the Crombie Stream is muddy and rough. From the Crombie to about half an hour after the Angus Burn it is even muddier and nastier. After that, there is a short wet bit for half an hour after the Waitutu, then it is a fine track all the way to Westies.
Also, about an hour after the Angus Burn there is a new track down to the DOC hut at Long Point – worth a side trip if you have the time. You can stay there. The hut is about an hour off the main track and nearby the lighthouse there with many beautiful views. It is about two hours from the Long Point Hut to the Waitutu Hut. We noticed another track off towards the coast only about half an hour from the Waitutu Hut. This may be a loop track to/from Long Point. The first exit was marked with white triangles; the second with orange. Some exploration would no doubt reap rewards. A little closer to the Waitutu you will also notice a track which head off upriver to the Slaughter Burn, Lakes Poteriteri & Hauroko. There is some tape nearby these three exits, but you have to be watching out for them nonetheless. For variety it may also be possible to walk some of the distance (out to the Crombie for example) along the beach at low tide.
On the way back to the Wairaurahiri, about an hour after you cross the Crombie Stream keep your eye out for a short cut track to the Waitutu Lodge off to your right (just before the steep stream crossing – Tiny’s Creek). If you are staying at the Waitutu Lodge (You Should!) this dry short cut will be most welcome. I guess it cuts off about hald an hour of unpleasantness.
Della at the Wairaurahiri Mouth (looking East) before setting out. So clean:
Wairaurahiri looking West:
Giant Rimu. There are lots of them. The Waitutu Forest was never inhabited by man:
Setting off on ‘Tiny’s Track’ towards the Crombie:
Deer pen just off track half way to the Crombie: looking West. Beach walkable.
Same spot looking East.
Detail: Crombie Mouth:
Sophie at the Crombie Mouth:
Pete, Steve & Sophie surveying the Crombie Mouth:
Crombie Mouth looking back East: Walkable?
Pete & Della: Crombie Mouth looking West: Beach looks walkable all the way to Long Point from here.
Here is a zoom of it:
Della crossing the Crombie: return journey:
The track is very muddy from the Crombie to about half an hour after the Angus Burn (Long Point turnoff):
Angus Burn resident robin:
Crossing the Angus Burn:
Half an hour after the Angus Burn the track suddenly improves; the last hour or so is dry and pleasant:
With numerous beautiful vistas:
And interesting things to see, like this stump:
And this mushroom:
A fine dry track:
Pretty much all the way to Westies:
Quite open just before the Waitutu:
Waitutu: first view of the sea:
Waitutu River crossing:
Beach at Waitutu looking back East: