Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Campsites around Arthurs Pass National Park

A variety of camp-sites in Arthur's Pass...

There are a number of camp sites within Arthur's Pass National Park, all of them are accessible from SH73 so you tend to share them with freedom campers and tourists in camper vans. There is one on the western side and six on the eastern side of the pass.

Kelly Creek Camp-site: West Coast

Kelly Creek camp-site is on the western side of the main divide about 2 kilometres past Otira settlement. It is a very basic camp-site located next to the car-park along Kelly's Creek. The Cockayne Nature Walk is co located at the car park, this is a nice 20-30 minute ramble through the local bush. This is also the start point for the track to Carroll Hut which sits on the ridges over looking Kelly's Creek. 

Kelly's Creek car-park and camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Located 20 km west from VISITOR CENTER on Highway 73.
  • FREE
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Facilities: Long drop toilet, water is from Kelly's Creek (treat before use)
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • Note: Roadside shelter was removed in December 2007!


Map: Kellys Creek Car-park and Cockayne Nature Walk



There are a lot of car break-ins at this car park so hide any valuables out of sight if you leave your car here for any length of time.

Avalanche Creek, Camp-site and day shelter

The main camp-site and the one closest to Arthur's Pass township is the Avalanche Creek shelter and camp-site. There is space here for about 10 small tents as well as lots of space for camper vans to park. The shelter is large and can easily hold a sizeable number of people. 

Note: you may not sleep inside the shelter and this is regularly policed by the local DOC Rangers.

Avalanche Creek Shelter and camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Located across road from the Arthur's Pass DOC visitor centre
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Cost $8 pp / night. Payable at site, or DOC Visitor Centre opposite.
  • Facilities: Water, toilets, day-use shelter with tables, rubbish disposal.
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • No open fires permitted!
  • Warning: Do not leave your tent unattended as the Kea will dismantle it for you!


Map: Avalanche Creek Campsite

The shelter is a substantial affair, you could easily get 40 people inside at one time as it has numerous tables and benches. Camping sites are on the lawn to the front, side and rear of the shelter. 


Avalanche Creek Shelter and camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

Plenty of space for camper vans at the Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park


Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

Interior of the Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

Interior of the Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

Interior of the Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

 
Useful information board in the Avalanche Creek Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

 The Avalanche Peak Track starts close to this shelter, it is located right next to the DOC visitor center on the opposite side of SH73.

Greyney's Shelter

Greyney's Day Shelter is the start point for a number of tracks: the Old Coach Road, the Mingha-Deception Track and the route to Edwards Hut. This used to be a DOC camp-site but since recent road realignment camping is no longer permitted here.


The picnic area at Greyney's Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park
Self contained camper vans CAN use this site, there are clearly marked spaces they are allowed to occupy.  The very busy SH73 is right next to the shelter site so it is a bit noisy. There is no water anywhere near here so you need to bring supplies with you.
  • Located 5 km east from Arthur's Pass DOC visitor center on State Highway 73.
  • FREE
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Facilities: Day use shelter, long drop toilet
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • Fires in shelter fireplace only!

Map: Greyney's picnic & shelter site


Greyneys Day Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park


Interior of Greyneys Day Shelter, Arthur's Pass National Park

 Klondyke Corner shelter & camp-site

 The Klondyke Corner shelter and camp-site is located on the edge of the national park just off SH73. The shelter is available to all visitors and is open on three sides with a fourth wall which includes an open fireplace. The camp-site is very basic there is no water so it is really meant to be used by camper vans or self contained campers. 

Klondyke Corner Shelter at the edge of Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Located 8 km east from Arthur's Pass DOC visitor centre on Highway 73.
  • FREE- no charge to camp
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Facilities: Day use shelter, long drop toilets
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • No open fires permitted!
  • Warning: Do not leave your tent unattended as the Kea will dismantle it for you!

Map: Klondyke Corner Campsite

Klondyke Corner camp-site in Arthur's Pass National Park


Klondyke Corner camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


Klondyke Corner Shelter with Bealey Spur in background

It would be a bit dusty here if any breeze was blowing...

Hawdon Valley shelter & camp-site

There is a vast section of Arthur's Pass National Park to the east of the Waimakariri River in the Hawdon, Andrews and Poulter River Valleys. All of these areas have many excellent tramping destinations and there are also two camp-sites. 

Looking North west into the Hawdon River Valley, Arthur's Pass National Park


The Hawdon Valley camp site is the largest in the whole park and comprises a area of bush with a huge open space around it. You could easily pitch a thousand tents here and still have space to spare. The valley is accessed from the Mt White bridge turn-off about 30 km's east of Arthur's Pass. 



Turn off to the Hawdon Valley, Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Located 27 km east from Arthur's Pass DOC visitor centre. Turn off onto Mt White Road and follow signs.
  • FREE- no charge to camp
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Facilities: Long drop toilet, day-use shelter.
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • No open fires permitted! There is a fireplace in the shelter that may be used.

Map: Hawdon and Andrews Valley Camp-sites

Crossing the Mt White bridge to the Hawdon Valley

Entrance to the Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


The Hawdon Shelter and upper terrace, Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


Hawdon Shelter, Hawdon Valley, Arthur's Pass National Park

Below are some photos of the camping area and particular spots where it might be good to pitch a tent...

Masses of space at the Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


Example of the spots at the Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

Some campers in residence over a recent weekend...Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


No fires allowed at the Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park


The ubiquitous DOC long drop...Hawdon Camp-site, Arthur's Pass National Park

This camp-site will be very busy at the start of any long weekend, over Easter and in the Christmas/New Years break. It is sand-fly heaven so if you are camping here get used to raising your tent at the speed of light or they will consume you alive....

Andrews Shelter shelter & campsite

There is a camp-site and enclosed day shelter at the end of the Andrews River on the Andrews-Binser Saddle Route. The Andrews Shelter is on the road to Mt White Station it is approximately 6 kilometres from the Mt White bridge over the Waimakariri River.  The shelter is quite nice, the camp site is a scratch affair, it is basically the flat area surrounding the shelter. 


Andrews Shelter on the Mt White Station Road, Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Located 29 km east from Arthur's Pass DOC visitor centre. Turn off onto Mt White Road and follow signs.
  • FREE- no charge to camp
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Camper vans permitted (no powered sites)
  • Facilities: Long drop toilet, day-use shelter.
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • No open fires permitted!

The Red Beast parked at the Andrews Valley car-park in 2012...



Andrews Shelter from the Mt White Station road, Arthur's Pas National Park

Andrews Shelter and the surrounding flat camping ground, Arthur's Pass National Park

Arthur's Pass National Park: the shelter and camping area at Andrews Shelter

The Andrews Valley Track is next to the shelter

Again...lots and lots and lots of sand-flies here.....

Bealey Hut and camp site

 
At the start/end of the section between Lake Coleridge and SH73 at Cora Lynn Station lies Bealey Hut, this is in the Craigieburn Forest Park. As well as the six bunk hut there is a large flat area in front of the hut which can be used as a camp site. The hut is about 5 minutes walk up the track making it roughly equidistant from the West Harper River Valley and its huts and Arthur's Pass township. 

The entrance to the track to Lake Coleridge from the Cora Lynn Station access road




Bealey Hut is an old SF70 design hut, it was originally built for the New Zealand Forestry Service 0 and was utilised by the foresters working in the nearby area. It is an old hut but is still perfectly serviceable, it is dry, and has an open fireplace so you can try to warm it in winter.


The six bunk Bealey Hut, Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track

Bealey Hut built in 1960 and still useful!

Interior of Bealey Hut, Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track

Interior of Bealey Hut, Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track

 As you can see there is a lot of flat ground around the hut on which to pitch a tent, there are also some nice spots in the nearby forest. There is no charge for using this area to camp as the hut is a basic or free hut due to its age.


Start of the track to Lake Coleridge at Cora Lynn Station


  • Located 14 km east from Arthur's Pass DOC visitor center. Turn off onto Cora Lynn station  and follow signs for Cass-Lagoon Saddle track.
  • FREE- no charge to camp/stay in hut
  • NO Advance Bookings - first in, first served!
  • Facilities: Long drop toilet, water from tank.
  • No pets permitted under any circumstances.
  • Take your rubbish with you!
  • No open fires permitted!



Flat ground for tents outside Bealey Hut, on the Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track, Craigieburn Forest Park

I hope this information is of some use to those of you who intend to camp while in Arthur's Pass.



Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Points along the Trail: Pelorous Bridge


A look at the facilities available at the Pelorous Bridge camp-ground

One of the iconic spots you will visit on the Te Araroa Trail is Pelorous Bridge, roughly 20 kms north of Havelock.There is (obviously) a bridge at Pelorous but there is also a camp-ground you will need to stay in as Pelorous Bridge is the gateway to the Richmond Ranges, one of the more difficult sections of the TA.


Pelorous Bridge on SH6 between Havelock and Nelson

Map: Pelorous Bridge and the approaches from Daltons Track and Maungatapu Road


I stopped by recently on the way to Nelson and thought a few photos of the facilities might be useful.

Pelorous Bridge Reserve, Marlborough

There have been four bridges over the Pelorous River between Havelock and Nelson, the current bridge was built in the 1950's and is still going strong. There has also been a camp-ground in this scenic reserve for over 10 years now, this is the last taste of civilisation before starting the 7-10 day crossing of the Richmond Ranges.


Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve:from the northern terminus

There is a sizeable car park at Pelorous Bridge it is well sign posted from both directions so it is impossible to miss. There are public toilets and fresh water available near the car park as well as the DOC office and a small cafe I will talk about below.


Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: the car-park off SH6

The Pelorous Bridge cafe and DOC office

There is a handy DOC information kiosk showing the surrounding area located on an island in the middle of the parking area. It has details of all the walks and facilities available here.


Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: map of the scenic reserve and information


Map: Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: detail of the reserve

As you can see there are a lot of nice bush walks in and around the bridge area, Te Araroa trekkers will approach the area using Daltons Track or Maungatapu Road. The camp grounds are scattered around Kahikatea Flat for the most part with a picnic area where the lower camp-site used to occupy. 

The Pelorous Bridge Cafe

There has been a cafe at Pelorous Bridge since I was a child, I remember stopping here on occasion for a swim in the river and an ice cream while transiting between Blenheim and Nelson.


Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: directions to facilities
The cafe building is readily visible as you enter the parking area, the building contains the DOC camp ground office and the attached cafe.

The Pelorous Bridge Cafe, Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: map of the area near the cafe
The ownership of the cafe has recently changed hands (2017), the new owners have carried out a lot of renovations and have improved the food on offer immensely. I had a quick peruse of the wares and they looked top quality and I assume really delicious. 

There is no camp shop at the cafe as in older times, what they sell is your usual cafe fare: cabinet food (pies, sandwiches, rolls, cakes and slices) and a small menu of fresh cooked meals. They also sell ice creams, cold drinks, water and good coffee if you need a fix.

View into the Pelorous Bridge Cafe

There are some nice outdoor seating areas if you want to enjoy your repast el fresco, one area is covered and the other consists of outdoor seats and picnic tables.

Pelorous Bridge Cafe: outdoor seating area



Pelorous Bridge Cafe:the bush comes right up to the door

It is my understanding that the DOC office will accept bounce box packages BUT there is no outgoing mail from here and you would need to burn/pack out any and all packaging if you deposit a resupply box here.

  The Kahikatea Flat camp-ground


The Department of Conservation camp ground is located at Kahikatea Flats which is accessible using a short road way next to the cafe building. It looks like a really nice area and has a wide grassy clearing with about 30 established camp-sites. Over the busy summer period (November-April) the sites need to be booked, it would probably be a good idea to call the camp grounds office while you are in Havelock.

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground sign


Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground sign

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground


There are a number of short and medium length tracks which start right next to the camp sites, they range from 30 minutes right up to a four hour tramp. 


Some of the tracks accessible from Kahikatea Flat, Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve

It is a very nice looking area, I camped here once in the early 1990's while on the way to Nelson for a summer holiday and the camp-ground is very busy at that time of the year.

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground

There is a new and nicely appointed cooking shelter/toilet block located at the camp-ground.
 It looked like it would hold about 30 odd people at one time. I would imagine the TA hikers spend a bit of time hanging out in the shelter while they are here.


Camp shelter at Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: Kahikatea Flat camp ground


The shelter at Kahikatea Flat camp ground: Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: cold water showers

The shelter at Kahikatea Flat camp ground: Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve



The shelter has fresh drinking water inside the shelter and coin feed warm water showers around the back of the building. The shelter also has a couple of gas cook tops with a small selection of pots and pans you can use. 


Inside the Kahikatea Flat camp shelter at Pelorous Bridge
Inside the Kahikatea Flat camp shelter at Pelorous Bridge


Because this is the beginning/end of the Richmond Ranges there is a standard DOC intentions book in the shelter, I had a look and about 80% of the entries are from TA hikers passing through. I recognised a few names from the 2017/18 season...


The DOC intentions book in the Kahikatea camp-ground

In the depth of summer the Pelorous River is a very nice place to swim, the river emerges from native forest so it is not contaminated. There are a number of deep pools both above and below the main bridge.

The Pelorous River, next to the Kahikatea Flat camp-ground



The Pelorous River, next to the Kahikatea Flat camp-ground

The water is often warm as it travels most of the way through the Richmond Ranges warming up as it descends to the bridge area. I have been in the water here and it was lovely on a hot summers day.

Pelorous Bridge Scenic Reserve: downstream of the bridge