The Havelock River, Rangitata - A True High Country Adventure
My cousin is a hiking guide and knows many of the South Island mountains well. But he's injured, so can't go exploring like he normally does.
Bring in the Jimny!
The Havelock River is right at the top of the Rangitata River, one of the major braided rivers of the South Island. It's full of challenges for hikers, hunters and 4wders.
We left Christchurch just before lunchtime on Friday and headed for Mayfield for fuel. We then headed inland from there, up to Mesopotamia Station. Even the shingle road into Mesopotamia Station is stunning, the scenery up through there is amazing.
At Mesopotamia Station the road ends, and after going through a couple of gates we were soon on the rocky riverbed, bouncing West. After a few river crossings on the south side of the Rangitata river we head up the Havelock River Gorge, aiming to get to the Growler Hut before darkness set in.
A few weeks earlier there was a fairly good flood through this area, and as we got to The Growler (stream), we found that the track had been washed out. Crossing the Growler was a challenge, especially as the sun was going down. Luckily we had a drone, so we were able to put the camera in the sky and find a way through.
Once we were through there, we were only 5 minutes from the Growler Hut. Such a good hut! It's a popular hut with hunters, there are kennels there for their dogs and even a grass runway for those that want to fly in. On Sunday we saw a couple of microlights leaving, after they camped there on Saturday night.
After cooking dinner at the hut, we headed out on a night mission to find somewhere to camp. The lightbars on the roofrack were ideal, lighting the way, through long grass and up steep banks. 4WDing at night is tons of fun!
We found a good spot at the mouth of Camp Creek and settled in for the night.
On Saturday morning we got up and continued West, crossing the very rough Carneys Creek. After a long day of exploring and bouncing around the river bed, we found a great wee campsite next to the Forbes River.
In Summary, this is an awesome location. A real mission to get to, but such an awesome part of New Zealand. There are a few hunters in there, so no worries about going in there solo with just one truck. Lots of great wee spots to camp, too!