Grandeur on Steroids (Part Five) – The Upper Rakaia

“On a Mish” #352 Grandeur on Steroids – Part Five. Manuka Point Station to Civilisation. Mid Rakaia River. Canterbury. Aotearoa. 9.10.2022. A special place in the wild usually requires a special journey to get there, and our mission into the upper reaches of the mighty Rakaia River will go down as one of the most epic. For years I had looked at the massive area on maps and wondered what the grandeur would be like, and now not long after having steroid injections in my spine I had been there and seen that! But what goes up must come down, and it was during our journey back down the valley that we almost brought the mish to a watery end…

From the jumbled rocks near the massive glaciers at the head of the Rakaia Valley to the gravely plains of the much more open mid valley near Manuka Point Station, the Jimny had overcome everything thrown at it. Now only ten metres of water stood between us and the easy tracks of the station. The wheels slowly began to roll into the flow and we looked for a spot with an easy exit on to the otherside. Round one had us travelling up the river but we couldn’t find a way out and had to retreat back to where we started. Round two was more direct and as the nose of the truck dropped to a point where we could feel the water on the floor and with haist Adam threw the truck in reverse. We had to get out and search for a better crossing spot, the whole time wondering where the hell our new friend had crossed in his more town friendly vehicle.

The View from Near Rieschek Hut

Eventually we did get across, and on the other side a small spot required extra area care to get over before we were back on the track we had used to get up the valley on the first day of the mish. Using the easier farm tracks meant we covered the ground (we got out of first gear!) that took two days going up in just a couple of hours going back down. This meant we could play in a large muddy puddle for a while and nothing puts a smile on the face of two grown children like bouncing through a big puddle! After the puddle it was a quick drive back to the final ford over the Rakaia River and after a big weekend we were looking forward to getting back home. The mission exceeded expectations and will be hard to top (I’m sure we will!) and I still can’t believe that I was staring at the grandeur not long after a dose of steroids!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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