Permission Granted (Part Three) – Northern Otago Hills

“On a Mish” #359 Permission Granted (Part Three). Oteake Conservation Area. Northern Otago. 26.11.2022. I will never forget the time (when working for Ultimate Hikes) when the guides opened up one of the lodges in the Greenstone Valley to find that someone had broken in and stayed for sometime at the lodge. I just can’t understand how you would get any enjoyment out of breaking into a lodge. Surely the paranoia must be on edge as you could be caught at any moment. Maybe not in that situation, but in others, just asking for permission might have been met with the answer you’re after. And then you wouldn’t need to worry about being caught in the act!

After unloading our gear and setting up camp, we kicked back and relaxed knowing we were allowed to. The multi-room Chimney Creek Hut (station hut) provided excellent accommodation for some of the crew, while the rest set up their camping gear outside.

All sorted, so now we could now begin to yarn about the outdoors. A couple of fellas had done a lot in the area and listening to their stories was a great way to pass the time before retreating to the warmth of our sleeping bags.

Day one done, and it would be a challenge to have a better day than what we had had.

Early-ish the next morning we were up cooking breakfast and preparing ourselves for a forecasted weather change. The blue above was being replaced with ominous looking dark grey and black, we should probably get on our way!

Starting at just above 600m, with the day’s high point being well over 1500m, meant we had a lot of up to do. We immediately climbed our way out of the Chimney Creek Valley and bumped into a bikie gang (off-road bikes!), and for a few seconds it was rush hour in the mountains of Otematata. We stepped aside and let the bikes get on their way and once again we were on our own, slowly creeping upwards.

The track took us to the tops and along a ridge that connects to the Ida Range, it was here that we left Private Land and entered the Oteake Conservation Area (Public Land). The Ida Range being public land sees a lot more traffic than the station, and the ruts and ruggedness is a rough sign of activity. We really appreciated our unique opportunity to be alone, thanks to Adam asking for permission.

In dreary conditions we bounced along the well used tracks and came across the first hut of the day. At Wire Yards Hut we bumped into some people, and the further we travelled the more trucks we saw. At the next hut (Ida Railway Hut) we came across a lot of people and the yarning and banter began. Adam’s Jimny was a discussion point, as there aren’t too many Jimny’s on 33inch tyres!

We left the masses at the hut and continued on to Top Chimney Creek Hut where we stopped for lunch. The tin walls and dirt floor of the hut probably had a tale or two to tell of musters of the past. The area is rich with history and is a fascinating location to explore.

A couple of ups and downs took us to what we thought would be our home for the night, however this hut was also filled to the brim with fellow adventurers so we needed another plan

Ida Railway Hut

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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