Stewart Island - North West Circuit - Winter
Hey Rob, I might see you down there. I'm heading down to Oban on the 24th June to begin the Grand Slam. Starting at Freds Camp and heading clockwise around the island. Should be walking back into Oban round about the the 6th July.
Ive done the NWer before in summer so I know all about the mud. While its pretty legendary in my opinion the mud on the Dusky is worse so Im not too phased about that. The combination of cold and mud might make things more interesting though. Looking forward to it!
Hi Yarmoss, I'll probably miss you. I'm looking at mid-late July however based on some work commitments that arose today I may delay until mid September - not quite the mid-winter getaway I was hoping for. Good luck for your walk - I'll pick your brains once you've been around.
The first time I did the NWC, it was in June. I do recall requiring 2 layers on my legs. I've done 14 trips tramping on Stewart Island including 3 trips in May and understand the weather is milder than the mainland due to a moderating sea current. We have found this to be the case. We've been out tramping in storms a couple of times as well including a trip up the Freshwater Swamp to Benson's Peak. You'll enjoy the cosy fires in the huts in the evenings.
Useful info thanks. More keen than ever to get amongst it.
I'm thinking of having an extra night at up to two of the huts - simply to enjoy the chance to chill, have a bit of solitude and explore. What would you recommend as the two best huts on the NW circuit to stay the extra night at?
People usually stay 2 nights at Christmas Village hut in order to climb Mt Anglem. I certainly did last time but had bad weather for the climb so it was a bit of a waste.
Any of the huts from Long Harry around to Mason Bay are stunningly located and worth spending an extra night.
Long Harry is perched on a rocky point with dramatic sea views in 2 directions nearby, the point itself to explore and a tunnel which goes right through the point (walk through it at low tide although you cant get out at the Eastern end). Theres a waterfall at the Western end of the Western beach to have a shower under too.
East Ruggedy has 2 large beaches nearby to explore. I had bad weather when I was here last so stayed in the hut but I'm keen to get out amongst them this time. Watch for quicksand though, I struck 2 patches of it near here.
Hellfire Pass is a beautiful spot to watch the sun set over Codfish Island from the top of the sand dunes. You can descend down the dune where there is a lovely secluded beach. Its a long climb back up the dune though.
Mason Bay is all about the sand dunes and the huge beach. Another great place to watch sunset. And Mason Bay is the best place to see Kiwis in their natural environment. If you haven't seen on your trip around the island then you almost certainly will here.
Thanks Yarmoss. Long Harry and Masons sounding like the biz.
At Hellfire Pass you can also go for an explore down into the Freshwater swamp. I think most people find Long Harry to be their favourite hut. And Mason Bay is da bomb for sighting kiwis.
How did your 'grand-slam' on Stewart Island go? Keen to hear of your adventure as I complete my final prep before heading down there for the NWC this Friday.
I'm sorry to say I didn't get down there. Had a week on Rarotonga in mid June and a recurring back injury flared up again while walking the Cross Island track. If a 4 hour hike was enough to trigger it then there was no way I could handle 8 hour days with a 25kg pack!
As it turned out I was due to go across to Stewart Island on the 26th June which is the day that big Southerly blew through. Snow to sea level in Southland and 120kph winds in Foveaux Straight probably meant the ferries weren't running anyway.
Extremely annoying. I had to cancel my trip at Easter due to my back as well. All in all this has been a very frustrating year for tramping for me.
Good luck for your trip!
How did you get on on Stewart Island, Rob?
Flag this post if it is spam, off-topic, or inappropriate.