We’d originally intended to walk this track for access to Big Ben Mountain*, but low cloud put us off climbing this. So we settled for finishing the Dry Acheron Track, which follows the Dry Acheron Stream from where it passes through a series of small gullies and other valley landforms, to where it emerges from a rugged valley in the Big Ben Range. I’d heard the area around the stream described as ‘handsome scrublands’, and I think this is an apt description.
It’s a pretty if not spectacular walk, and mostly flat if you are wanting something a bit less intense than many NZ hikes. Track notes at the end. (* We ended up climbing Big Ben just a few weeks later. Click on the link for that blog post.)
Dry Acheron Track: The Scenery
The next few pictures are from the lower slopes of Big Ben…
Back on the Dry Acheron Track, returning to the start…
The track along the Dry Acheron Stream is intermittently marked. It crosses the stream on multiple occasions, and from reading other people’s blogs I know that if the water level is high enough you will likely get wet feet. It wasn’t so high when we did it in Autumn after a dry spell, and with boots and gaiters we kept entirely dry feet. The stream is in fact dry in sections, flowing only in some seasons (summer I think), but is perennial in others.
We took two side trips to visit nature reserves (called covenants) along the way. I think we did this only because we aborted our planned ascent of Big Ben due to low cloud, and I’m not sure these trips added much to the walk. Nice to see native scrub intermingled with cabbage trees though. One of them is at the end of the track and the section from Big Ben to this point was away from stream and next to farmland, and you might give it a miss if pressed for time or wanting to conserve energy. We did climb a couple of hundred metres up Big Ben and got some views, but we’ll return again to complete this walk.
You can get more information on this walk on the DOC website. There is a small car park at the start, and you walk for a while next to pine trees through farmland to meet the stream.