Saturday, 19 March 2011

Day 4 : Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut (8.2 km)

Pelion Hut
This was defininately a shorter day of the walk, but I think with some of the best views.  I think if the distance had been any longer I wouldn't have finished as I would have been taking too many photos.  There was about a 300m elevation gain during the day as we climbed up to Pelion Gap before dropping back down to the campsite on the banks of the Kia Ora Creek.

Lots of packs at Pelion Gap, Mt Pelion East in the background
Cathedral Mountain in the background
Mt Oss
On this day we started to see more of the tour groups.  It was a bit surreal to see these quite large groups of people walking with little day packs halfway along the track.  We noticed them stopping for lunch and they all pulled out tupperware containers and started eating sandwiches.  I don't know where they got the fresh bread four days into a trek.  I assume these people paid an awful lot of money and they would be staying in the private huts with beds and clean sheets.  Very luxurious.
Mt Oakleigh and Cradle Mt in the distance
Looking up to Pelion Gap on the right, with Mt Ossa and Mt Doris on the left
It seemed that a lot more people had joined the track at Pelion hut.  That hut is really at the junction of a number of other tracks, and is also where the Arm River track joins the Overland.

Cathedral Mt from the plains before Kia Ora hut
Cathedral Mt at dusk from our campsite
As I said before the numbers starting the Overland are quite heavily controlled, with only about 35 people allowed to start everyday.  This means that in the summer season it can be quite difficult to find an opening.  In fact we were hoping to do the walk around Christmas time, but when we had looked it was fully booked and we had to do it around Australia Day instead.  But what we found out at Pelion Hut is that you can do the Arm River track without needing to book anything.  Then once you hit the Overland Track you can go North or South or whatever you want.  The even better thing is that it is only a four hour walk from the start of the Arm River to Pelion Hut.  So that's certainly something to consider if you want to do the Overland, but can't find an opening.

I think it would be a shame to miss the first half of the track though as that was some really spectacular walking.

This day was another fantastic day.  The views from Mt Ossa and Pelion Gap were incredible.  We didn't go up Mt Ossa, we had been a bit scarred by the Cradle Mountain experience, but apparently Mt Ossa is easier.  Less rock climbing and more walking.  But the views from just the saddle between Ossa and Mt Doris were pretty spectacular.

The campsite was close to the Kia Ora creek, so for the first time in 4 days we were able to have a bit of a wash.  That felt so good.  We were also able to wash out our clothes a bit, and after 4 days of hot walking the fabric had certainly started to get a bit scratchy, so it was nice to try and get rid of some of that salt.

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