Skirt Around the Bush Edge – Arthurs Creek (Part One)

“On a Mish” #33 Arthurs Creek(Point 2065m) – Part One. Whakaari / Richardson Mountains. 10.3.2014. Topo maps in New Zealand are 1:50,000, and this can easily make moving from one location to another on foot look a lot easier than it really is. Many times I have studied a map for a mish, and I’ve learnt that, after working out a place to explore, I need to factor in two things – elevation gain / loss, and foliage encountered enroute…

Arthurs Creek is one of the many large valleys that feed into the Rees Valley and on to Lake Wakatipu near Glenorchy. I had read about Mt Ferguson(2480m) and access to the mountain via Arthurs Creek in Moirs Guide North (an excellent guidebook for anyone wanting to explore the South Island). The description read “Skirt around the bush-edge into the upper valley”. A vague description that both me and my girlfriend at the time would come to question in anger.

Mt Ferguson(2480m) seemed like the type of adventure we both enjoy, so after sorting gear we hit the road to Glenorchy and beyond. The climb was a big ask with the small weather window we had, so we were just going to see how far we could get. I have started many journeys at the Muddy Creek car park, and with everything looking good we started off up the Rees Valley.

Upper Arthurs Creek

We got to a point where we could see up to the Arthurs Creek Valley, and we began the climb up to the hanging valley. So now apparently all we had to do was “skirt around the bush-edge”… It was far from that simple as the lower parts were full of matagouri, which I’m sure someone had just sharpened! About a million scratches later we got above the bushline and thankfully away from the horrid Matagouri bushes.

From here it was easy terrain and the climbing eased after we reached the hanging valley. The magnificent upper valley was very pleasing to the eyes, and we found an excellent campsite beside Upper Arthurs Creek. With the trickle of a mountain stream as our soundtrack, we set up a campsite that was as good, if not better than what we had hoped for.

The barren landscape made it seem like firewood would be an issue, but after some searching we found a good supply and we had heat to accompany our alpine dinner. The small amount of cloud in the sky cleared as afternoon became evening, and everything was all good in Arthurs Creek. As the fire crackled and became the valley’s only source of light, the sky lit up with stars, planets and everything else that you get when looking up in a place of zero light pollution.

The going was tough in places, but the reward of our campsite and the incredible night sky eased any pain. With the next day’s adventure looming we retreated to the tent and the warmth of our sleeping bags. Last job for the day was drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of Arthurs Creek…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter