Carkeek Picnic

Info:13-17 hours 50km

A difficult version of Northern Crossing. Idea invented by VUW Tramping club to cross ranges in one day and meet in middle and have a picnic at the remotest spot possible.

In 1875 William Carkeek drew first map of Tararuas naming a ridge after himself for the troubles.



History of carkeek picnic. In 5 minutes! In the mid 80s a group of us at vuwtc decided to adopt carkeek hut ….it was our favourite hut, and we organized many trips, work parties, and parties based on the hut.
That evolved into a bit of a competition between Richard Haverkamp and Mike Sheriden  to record the most visits. Don’t remember the score. That evolved into a competition for the most different routes into the hut. My red line map has every spur, river and track covered.

And getting into a bit of mountain running at th is t time this then evolved into heading into carkeek on a Friday night after work, having a quick sleep and trying to get back out by Saturday lunchtime.

And that finally evolved into the picnic. The first picnic we definitely had a checked red table cloth that we brought out along with cucumber sandwiches. And we had two parties doing a car swap, meeting at the hut. I will have to do some research to try and remember who was there. And how long it took!


Poads Rd

Ohau River dry or Gable Ridge wet


Te Matawai



Carkeek Hut

Park Forks

McGregor Spur

Jumbo-Holds ridge


Eric Duggan 11:44

and Ben Clendon 11:40

Erics story:

I left the road end just after 6:30am. It was just over 2 hours into South Ohau Hut.
I was surprised at how rough the river is these days with quite a few deep wades.
I reached Te Matawai in 3 hours and then onto the tops and hot sun. Just over 4 hours to Arete Peak and 5 hours 10 to Thompson. I reached Carkeek in just over 6 hours and met up with Ben who was finishing his lunch. The hut is looking great after a VUWTC work party was in a few weeks ago.

I had a bit of a shocker beneath the hut and lost the track for about 20 minutes. The ground trail is very indistinct these days and it was hard work to follow it down the ridge (helped by fresh markers though!).

The river route down from Park Forks to Dorset Creek was a bit different with a couple of chest deep crossings which used to be knee deep at most. It was 7 hours 50 to the base of McGregor Spur. It was very hot work getting onto the tops and I was quite dehydrated when I reached the Eastern Range tops north of Angle Knob in 10 hours 35 minutes.  It was another 40 minutes to Jumbo for a bit of a break and then down to Atiwhakatu in 10 hours 51 minutes. I tried to run out fast but could only manage a shuffle on the down hills reaching Holdsworth Lodge in 11 hours 44 minutes. I took a plunge in the river by the picnic area and it felt like I was soaking in a hot bath!

I got a text from Ben saying he had completed his picnic in 11 hours 40 minutes.


VUWC Article

VUW Article