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May 2012 Issue
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High flat ambience

Scrubby Flat Creek, Hawea Conservation Park

This remarkable stream running between the Hunter and Makarora valleys forms part of the major pass-crossing between the catchments – Scrubby Flat Saddle, a moderately challenging tramping route.

It’s remote, seldom-visited and strikingly beautiful particularly in the mid-section of the stream where large spacious flats allow the streambed to meander over gentle contours for two kilometres before tipping the river’s flow into a mighty chasm that plummets 600m to the Hunter Valley.

The grassy flats above the gorge have numerous delightful riverside camping spots nestled among boulders and scattered copses of mountain beech as well as an ambience magnified by the massive bluffs of Tent Peak (2089m) on the south side of the valley.

All the ingredients that are desirable for camping are here, especially a strong sense of isolation – it takes two days just to reach this location. For that reason it’s likely to be part of a multiday trip and you may never pass this way again. As trampers and climbers we have a stash of so many iconic valley settings through which we have passed over the years of travel in the hills. Those places we would love to have had the time to stop, set up camp, and lay back and listen to the sounds of the hills.

With no one about, you could claim it for yourself for a day or so sitting snugly between the valleys and long days of endeavour over the Alps. A rest day in the golden tussocks before collecting your gear and heading on your way, Hunter Valley bound, and deeper into the wilderness.