St Awesome (Part One) – Boyle Creek to St Arnaud

“On a Mish” #387 St Awesome (Part One). Boyle Creek to St Arnaud. Nelson Lakes National Park. 11.8.2023. After so many missions a question I get asked often is what or where is your favourite place / track. A response I often give is a place I haven’t been to or a track I haven’t hiked yet. The mystery of what’s around the next corner makes the adventure its own unique outing, and sometimes even time can seem a little distorted by the distraction of new terrain to trek. With winter doing its best to stop me getting to where I wanted to, I had to revel in the fact that I was on a mish with my best mate and in a vehicle which had all of the comforts I needed…

My cousin is rather fond of the Suzuki Jimny. I think if you own three then fond is an understatement!

A huge part of my soon to be successful recovery was going out with my cousin in his awesome little truck. When you can’t walk, bounce, and we managed to bounce our way to some pretty epic places over the last three years. This is why I can fully understand why he would take another step deeper into the Jimny Jungle and purchase two trucks to turn into rentals. Ever since our first mish up the Havelock Valley I have dreamed of owning a Jimny and now thanks to my cousin I had the chance to live the dream, temporarily.

Night one of my two night mish was spent alongside Boyle Creek due to winter storms battering the north of the South Island. My goal was St Arnaud, but for night one Boyle Creek was an excellent plan B.

The next morning showed more promise, and now that the snow had been cleared from the roads I was plotting a course up and over Lewis Pass towards St Arnaud.

For years I had ventured into the hills above Christchurch to Hanmer Springs, and each time I have looked up the Waiau Uwha River with wonder. It did look like the weather might stop the mish before it started. But thankfully patience had produced the goods, and I was now driving north with winter working its magic as far as the views go.

I had to pull into the parking bay near the top of Lewis Pass as the fresh snow and crisp air had to be taken in. I was now a tourist in my own backyard and I can once again understand why people come from all corners of the globe to see the sights on offer in the spectacular southernmost group of inhabited islands in the South Pacific.

After the pass I was on mostly empty roads, and this meant I could drive slow and stop when the sights got too much. Stops were a must when the scenery is so scenic!

Because I hadn’t even been to the area I had planned the route before leaving, and the way I do this is to make a list of the little towns I had to travel through to get to St Arnaud. The ‘biggest’ of these was Murchison. I was very surprised when I rolled through as its size means that happens rather quickly.

After Murchison I was driving alongside the famous Buller River with the mountains beginning to grow in grandeur. This was going to be the day when I found out what all of the fuss is about a little mountain town called St Arnaud…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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