The 85km Old Ghost Road, New Zealand's newest long-distance track, is proving popular with Whanganui trampers since it was walked by a Wanganui Tramping Club party led by Graham Sutcliffe in late 2015. This summer several more club groups have enjoyed the track which traverses native forest, tussock tops, river flats and valleys with stunning views.
The track's builders have resurrected an old gold miners' route between the ghost town of Lyell in the Buller Gorge and Seddonville on the West Coast. It's the ability to traverse the wilderness on purpose-built, flowing track, staying overnight in remote huts, that has made the Old Ghost Road instantly popular with trampers and mountain bikers.
Remote, rugged and long, the Old Ghost Road deserves its grade 4 (advanced) rating and should only be attempted by riders who are technically competent, fit and totally self-sufficient. They usually take two to three days, although some cycle it in a single day. Trampers can take up to six days.
The track can be tackled in either direction but it's recommended to start at Lyell and travel north, climbing through virgin forest to Lyell Saddle Hut. From continue on to the exposed Lyell Range tops and the high point (1280m) before reaching Ghost Lake Hut. The middle section to Goat Creek starts with 11km downhill into the Stern Valley followed by a sharp up and down to Goat Creek Hut and the confluence with the Mokihinui River south branch.
The next section traverses giant podocarp forest to Mokihinui Forks and beyond, downstream to the head of the Mokihinui River gorge. This last leg undulates as it hugs the sides of the impressive gorge before reaching the Seddonville trailhead.
¦The club's April programme: -
Sat 1, Taranaki wandering, leader Sandra
Sat-Sun 1-2, Crater Lake, leader Brian
Fri-Sun 7-9, Wainuiomata trails, leader Jacky
Sat or Sun 8 or 9, Mystery farm walk, leader Earle
Thurs-Tues 13-18, Around Mt Ruapehu, leader Dave
Fri, Sat, Sun or Mon 14, 14, 16 or 17, Ngauruhoe, leader Esther
Fri-Sun 21-23, Cycling Hawke's Bay, leader Mark
Sat 22, South Taranaki wander, leader Dorothy
Sat 29, Rangitikei reserves, leader Graeme
Sat-Sun 29-30, Rangipo hut, leader Mike
Make all enquiries about trips to Barbara phone 348 9149 or the club secretary Dorothy phone 345 7039.
The midweekers have a full programme of interesting trips every Wednesday. Those who get out on Thursday are in two groups, with longer walks on April 6 and 20 and shorter ones for the TT2 group on April 13 and 27. The Wednesday contact is Margret, phone 344 3899, and the Thursday contact is Barbara, phone 348 9149.
¦ To join weekend trips call the leader by the previous Tuesday at the latest. Call by the night before for day trips. As some trips have limited numbers, leaders have the final say about who to take as they are responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone on their trips. For further information contact Barbara at 348 9149 or visit our website www.wanganuitrampingclub.net
The next meeting at the Deerstalkers' Hall, Peat St, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, April 5 features an illustrated talk by Jeanette Prier and Carolyn Shingleton on the recent Alps to Ocean bike ride by a group of club members.