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1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range

Posted by Alison 
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1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
December 17, 2006 09:46PM

Has anyone go over from Larrikins Hut on 1000 Acre Plateau to the site of the old Haystack Hut and from there on to Hurricane Hut? Is it bushbashing all the way?

I'd also be grateful for any information on the Matiri Range as a tramp from Hurricane Hut to Nugget Knob might be on the cards for Christmas.



(PS. I bought some new boots today - part paid for with the voucher from the photo comp so thanks WTMC!)
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
December 18, 2006 12:29PM

I did this a number of years ago as a club trip with Jo and Andrew and some others and its a superb fit trip. It was a four day trip - day 1 from the Matiri roadend in to Larrikin Creek, day 2 to Hurricane Hut, day 3 to the hut near Wangapeka Saddle, and day 4 out to the Wangapeka roadend. Unfortunately I don't have my maps with me but a rough description of the route from memory is as follows:

Larrikin Creek to the top of the Haystack
There are two options which I've done. Either head back southwards along the track from Larrikin Creek Hut towards the 1000 Acre Plateau for about a kilometre (?) and then go up a spur which leads directly to the top of the Haystack. This is very steep towards the top but it goes ok. Alternatively go north-westwards for about a kilometre or so (?) past Larrikin Creek Hut up onto another small plateau towards the Needle, then head up to the low saddle between the Needle and the Haystack, then follow along the crest of the ridge south-eastwards back to the top of the Haystack.

The Haystack to Haystack Hut
I haven't actually been to Haystack Hut itself but I've been along the open tops to the east of it and it's all straightforward, except for one little tricky bit dropping down off the top of the Haystack towards the saddle to the north where there is a kind of deep gulch (like an earthquake scarp) cutting right across the ridge. You have to find your way down into and out of this, which involves some scrambling through scrub down some bluffs (alternatively it might be possible to go around under the eastern end of it).

Haystack Hut to Hurricane Hut
On the top of the range to the east of Haystack Hut and a kilometre or two (?)northwards there is a spot height marked on the map. From this spot height drop down off the range to the east, first down a steep tussock spur and then down through bush towards a large open grassy clearing in bush on a plateau about halfway between the ridgetop to the west and the track to Hurricane Hut to the east. (There's a big bluff in the bush immediately to the west of this clearing which you have to avoid.) From this clearing, do another bush-bash eastwards down to the track. (We followed a bit of a spur running north-east on the east side of a stream, and I remember it being pretty straightforward.) Once you're on the track you can follow it all the way to Hurricane Hut. The only bad bit is the last few hundred metres before the hut itself, which is through an unpleasant swamp. (There is a poled route through the swamp but it's easy to lose it and find yourself hopping from tussock to tussock or waist-deep in the swamp.)
From Larrikin Creek to Hurricane Hut is a day.

Hurricane Hut to Wangapeka Saddle
From Hurricane Hut there is a track up through the bush onto the open tops of range to the east, then you follow the open tops all the way north to Wangapeka Saddle. I don't remember any problems, but it's a long way with a lot of up and down. Right towards the end I remember a fairly razorback section (just north of Nugget Knob?) but it goes ok. From the northern end of the tops there is a track down through the bush to Wangapeka Saddle itself (I remember this track being steep with a lot of scree).
This is a long day but it is a superb tops trip in good weather.

I hope this is helpful and you have a good trip!

- Harry
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
January 16, 2007 01:52PM
Many many thanks to Harry and also to Shane c and Richard D who all sent really good route descriptions. We had a great trip - the days were indeed long but it was fantastic country. Heartily recommended if anyone else is looking for a longer tramp:

Day 1. Lake Matiri road end to Larrikins Hut
Day 2. Up & along Haystack and bash down to Hurricane Hut
Day 3. Hurricane Hut along the tops to Wangepeka Saddle
Day 4. Follow the Wangapeka to Rolling Junction
Day 5. Up to Granity Pass Hut
Day 6. Climbed Mt Owen and then went west to Branch Creek Hut
Day 7. Out down the Fyfe Valley to Owen Valley (Saw 5 blue duck! DOC were doing a huge amount of trapping & it was lovely to see the positive results)

It is not quite a loop so we got Nelson Lakes Shuttles to pick us up on the Owen Valley road and take us back to our car at the Lake Matiri Road end.

I've put a bunch of pictures up here ... [fankle.smugmug.com]

Hope everyone else had a good Christmas


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 18/01/2007 11:38PM by wtmc.
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
January 16, 2007 08:58PM
Great photos... and it looks like a great trip.
It would have been a long day getting over Haystack to Hurricane hut!
Rob McKay
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
January 31, 2008 06:39PM
Hi Alison - loved the photos - I'm a leader in the Auck tramping Club - three of us are doing this trip at Easter (just came across your photos doing some research.
Cheers Rob (McKay)
PS just did 10 day on the West Coast - Styx, Kokatahi and Toaroha rivers plus associated tops fabulous country but tuff going - we had only a half a days rain!!!
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
March 26, 2009 10:13PM
Hi Alison. Really enjoyed your pictorial description of what was a great trip. Glad you enjoyed our Murchison backyard!
A couple of questions if you don't mind! In Harry's description of dropping off the Haystack Ridge down to the Hurricane Track he talks about avoiding a bluff in the beech forest. Was that a problem at all?
Harry also talks about a razorback section ?north of Nugget Knob. Was that the piece that featured in your picture after Nugget Knob? If so, it did not look too bad. Would you agree?
Just loved the five whio!
Craig Evans
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
November 26, 2010 03:00PM
This sounds like a great hike, planning to due this one in Dec. Does anyone have any GPS or other details about problems we might encounter? Thanks, Craig
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
February 21, 2017 02:09PM
Hi Alison,

I know this is quite an old post of yours, but I am planning a solo tramp along the lines of that which you completed in 2006, and I was wondering if you would be happy to send me a few photos/ give me some idea of how challenging these two sections are.... 1. dropping off the Haystack Ridge down to the Hurricane Track, where it gets bluffy, and 2. the ridge section by Nugget Point...

Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
February 23, 2017 01:39PM
Hi Tarsh,

I believe Alison has returned to the UK, so she may no longer read this forum.

This is reasonably serious country and probably not the kind of place I'd recommend going for a solo tramp unless you're an experienced off-track tramper (or even if you are an experienced off-track tramper...). But if you are an experienced off-track tramper and are happy with solo tramping you shouldn't find it too difficult.

From Larrikins Creek hut to the top of the Haystack is not too bad as long as you've got a reasonable head for heights.

Dropping down off the top of the Haystack there's one slightly tricky little bit in the ridge as I described in my original comments above. (You can see this bit as a kink in the contour lines on the topo map). I've actually been down there twice and the first time I don't remember it being any problem at all; the second time I think we may have hit it slightly to the left or right of where we did the first time and it seemed slightly more tricky finding a way past, but still not too difficult.

From the northern section of the Matiri Range we dropped down off the range from spot height 1326. The range is very steep on the eastern side and I think this is the best place to drop off. You follow down the tussock spur and through steep bush towards the big grassy clearing down on the flat about half a kilometre to the east. If you do this you may unfortunately find yourself on top of a big bluff immediately to the west of this clearing. I’ve been down here twice and the first time we missed this bluff (I think we may have angled down slightly southwards but it’s a long, long time ago and I don’t really remember). The second time we ran into it and had to do an unpleasant bush-bash around the top of it through thick, steep, scrambly bush and down a bit of a spur at the end of it. If you hit this bluff it isn’t particularly dangerous or difficult but it’s a scrambly, time-consuming, energy-sapping annoyance! Once you’re down in the big grassy clearing it’s a relatively straight-forward bush-bash on a compass bearing out to the track about a kilometre or so to the east.

Nugget Knob isn’t a problem. As I mentioned in my notes, the ridge narrows to a fairly narrow, somewhat razor-backed section about half a kilometre beyond the top of Nugget Knob, but there’s no difficulty – it all goes ok. (The worst bit about Nugget Knob was actually approaching it from the south towards the end of a long, tiring day along the tops, looking up at the steep south face of it, and thinking “do we really have to go up there?”! It looks like a big, steep climb, but it’s not too bad.)

For an entertaining account of a recent trip through this area by a couple of club members, check out the story “1000 Acres of Perspective” by Beccy Day in our 2015 club journal [wtmc.org.nz]

- Harry
Beccy Day
Re: 1000 Acre Plateau to Matiri Range
February 26, 2017 01:43PM
I concur with Harry. It's a wonderful trip and a great area, but I definitely wouldn't tackle the route solo. The Haystack Ridge requires a head for heights and sure feet, you can hit bluffs coming off the Haystack ridge, and the bush bash down from the Matiri Range to the Matiri Valley is not to be taken lightly. We got bluffed out on the bush bash and this was only resolved by down climbing a small cliff.

Read the 2015 journal article we wrote on the trip for more detail.

If you do tackle this trip be sure to do it on a good forecast to avoid getting stuck behind the West Branch of the Matiri river.