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The Greenstone Track

Greenstone Carpark to Greenstone Hut

Lake Rere Circuit

We left the Greenstone Track unfinished at the Greenstone Hut, to head down the Mavora Walkway, and then we drove round to the Greenstone Carpark to finish the job.

The Lake Rere Circuit is a 4-6 hour walk starting and finishing at the Carpark, and sharing the first hour or two with the Greenstone Track. We decided to explore this on the way back.


There are three fords on the road between the Carpark and Kinloch. If it rains at all heavily you risk being unable to get out. The second ford is usually the deepest. It pays to have warm clothing and a little extra food and water in your car against emergencies such as this.

The DoC shelter is generous in space, with washing facilities and flush toilets. It was built with funds approved by John Banks when this was in his patch. Jaffas have some virtues, even old Banksy.

We park alongside the night before we start, and the benches are ideal for sorting and repacking for the overnighter. Campervans have some size limitations for tasks like this.

The Backpacker Express calls at 10am and 2pm. On another bus a large group of American tourists arrives to walk the Rere circuit, most of them older than me but all pretty much on the lean side.

We make, for us, a leisurely start, and 10:01am sees us stepping out past the DoC sign.

3-5 hours. Carol and Mike took 2hr 30. Fatman time is 5hr 18. Compared with some of the times we have been chalking up this is not bad at all.

The Greenstone is a well known fishing river.

photo by miranda woodward

It's pleasant easy walking for a few hundred metres, until we hit THE HILL. Where the Greenstone river narrows considerably the path climbs and climbs above the gorge.

Even the hill track is still good walking.

photo by miranda woodward

and down again.

We're back down to the river in due course. This picture makes it look as if the Caples - to the right - is the main river with the Greenstone coming in from the side. Not so, according to the river namers.

photo by miranda woodward

That's some active water.

I'd love to know how these are formed - huge growths on the trunk of the occasional beech

A couple of hundred metres past the Greenstone-Caples confluence there is a substantial suspension bridge for the Greenstone bound.

As you approach the near end it tilts somewhat alarmingly to the right.

This looks up to the Caples Valley. We veer around to the left

It looks very inviting, and despite suggestions that the top leg of the Caples, down to the Greenstone track, is well beyond the elderly and stout, I still have a mind to head up to the top and come back to here. Maybe next year. (I don't really need an excuse to come back. I love walking in this area.)

Have you finished day-dreaming yet?

This looks like familiar territory. One thing I like about matagouri. For all its fearsome spikiness I nearly always find that the spines bend to accommodate me when I squeeze past - as I often need to. The Wild Irishman has none of the vice of the Spaniard in this respect.

I wonder to myself how these names arose. It would be impossible to apply them brand new today in our more correct climate.

Talkl about squeezing past.... My instinctive sideways turn simply brings my pack into the equation.

For all it's a steepish slope we're crossing, the track is still generous and well-benched, though here and there it gets a little narrower. On the Heaphy three years ago, this would have caused me a spot of bother. I am gratified to find I cruise along with no difficulty at all.

For a while it's standard Greenstone superhighway.

Here's a young tree fuchsia, or kotukutuku. New Zealand has one of the tallest as well as one of the shortest fuchsia species in the world, and nothing inbetween.

Here and there an avalanche field adds interest, and a reminder that our mountain tracks were not designed in the Disney studios. We are seeing this country at its most benign.

The track is getting rockier. Standard beech forest track type 2.


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Track Reports

Annotated ARC




Fitness Building for the Elderly and Stout

Food for Tramping

General Advice:
Specifically oriented to the Heaphy Track but relevant to other long walks for beginners and older walkers

New Zealand Plants
(an ongoing project)

Links to Tramping Resource Websites