New Zealand - a place full of the most outstanding landscapes and scenery; I think most people know that. This my 3rd year here yet I feel I haven't even scratched the surface of this beautiful country.
Recently i've been day dreaming a lot, conjuring up new adventures in my mind, getting a hold of various topographical maps and speaking to others who have undertaken some cool hikes and steadily plotting a new awesome adventure.
Here in Golden Bay, we're very fortunate to be bordered by 2 national parks; the Abel Tasman and the Kahuranghi. 2 of New Zealand's 9 great walks lie within these parks; the Heaphy track and The Abel Tasman coastal track. However, both these parks hold hidden, lesser-known trails which offer exceptional views, ones of which, I wanted to see for myself.
The trip I had pulled together was by no means going to be easy, and in fact if the weather wasn't going to be playing ball, there would be no chance I would be attempting it. I was definitely more relaxed and in a sense, relieved when my Uncle, Richard Brown a highly experienced hiker himself, text me somewhat a week beforehand, having told him of my intentions, asking if he could join me. I was definitely pleased he was coming for it always meant for a heap of laughs along the journey.
Friday 31st March we set off for the Cobb Valley, a popular hiking spot within the Kahuranghi national park offering a famed valley floor trail with huts with historic value laid out along the way. The route we would be taking was to be very different however. The trail to Sylvester Hut is a relentless uphill climb on an old 4WD track from a small carpark over the Cobb Dam, through beech forest until you get out onto the tussock tops. There is a major view to the east, D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, the Richmond Range and if your really lucky, you can even see Mt Taranaki(North Island) on a clear day. We made a pit stop here before carrying on and with daylight fading we still had a bit of walking to do until we made it to our proposed first night camp site.
A little way past Sylvester hut through a section of small tress and tussock, you'll be greeted with the taking view of Lake Sylvester and it's partner, Little Lake Sylvester. We made way through the tussock cutting in between these pair of alpine lakes heading ever upwards, until we looked upon the comely sight that was, Iron Lake. Lying at the base of Iron hill, this alpine lake enjoys views out across to the other side of the valley to the Lockett range and also also the Peel range. With darkness coming upon us we would make camp here for the night.
Eager to try out my new tent, a Macpac Minaret (find details of this in the gear section at the bottom) I pitched up with my entrance looking out to the view of Mount Lockett and lying at its base, Lake Lockett. This is where we would hope to spend the following night, if everything went according to plan...