From Nelson to the Hurunui High Country Track

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November 18th 2011
Published: November 23rd 2011
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The CookhouseThe CookhouseThe Cookhouse

The Cookhouse which is the beginning and end of the track circuit. The is a very comfortable place to stay.
Karilyn, Neil, Corrine, Dougal, Anne, Joce, Lindsay and I left Richmond at 1pm and headed south stopping first at Maruia for a coffee and then on to Hanmer Springs for dinner before continuing south to Hurunui where we turned inland towards the Alps. We travelled 20 kms on the Amuri Plain alongside the Balmoral Forest before turning north from the Hurunui River along the Dove River through steep sided valleys with steeply dipping greywacke cuttings until we arrived at the Hurunui High Country Track start at the Island Hills Station. Here we were met by Mandy Shand and shown our quarters for the first night at the old Cook House. The building is split into several rooms consisting of a shower, large kitchen and lounge, four double bedrooms, a bunkroom and two outside toilets (flushing). Since it was coldish, I lit a fire in the large open fire place and we all settled down to a hot drink and cake for dessert. Mandy came and gave us a talk about the track, some safety issues to remember and a run down on the day to day timetable. Each day our large packs and food containers would be taken through to the next hut which left us free to walk unemcumbered by heavy packs and food. Excellent. Each hut would have comfortable beds, a fully equipped kitchen, lighting, hot showers and toilets. I can tell why we call this "Boutique Tramping"! It certainly leaves carrying everything in on your back for dead, but does feel a little like cheating compared to the Great Walks experiences.

The day was rounded off by a game of fireside Uno, guaranteed to bring out the worst in each of us with it's rivalry.


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