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Gerhardt Spur Bivouac, West Coast

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September 2023 Issue

The trail to Gerhardt Spur Biv tantalises with brief glimpses of the mountains ahead as you walk through spicy-scented pink pine. By Paulette Birchfield

It’s a farm track to start, up the true right of Diedrichs Creek from the Diedrichs Creek Bridge on Whitcombe Valley Road. There are narrow laybys on the road for your car, but be careful not to block farmers’ accessways.

The farm track has walking access only and markers to follow. This is freehold and grazing concession land, and there may be stock, so be sure to leave all gates as found.

Cross Muriel Creek and continue up the true left of Diedrichs Creek for 1km until the river hits against a high shingle bluff where the creek bends sharply to the east. Cross the creek to connect with the track on Gerhardt Spur. This is the last water until past the 960m contour where there is a tarn off the main track, so fill up here.

The track climbs in earnest and is steep initially and there may be some windthrow to tangle with, but the track is well marked and easy to follow. At Pt867 the spur flattens, then rises in alternating benches and ‘steps’ from where there are glimpses of the peaks of the Diedrichs Range. It passes through bands of spicy-scented pink pine over a carpet of mosses. In places you can look back down on the Hokitika Gorge and the tourist traffic far below.

Around 960m where some open tussock patches are reached and there is a tarn approximately 100m to the right of the track. There are also picnic spots where you can rest and gaze over to Mt O’Connor in preparation for the final couple of short climbs. These look daunting but are well marked and cut with plenty of handholds for the bigger steps. 

Gerhardt Spur Bivouac is on a flat area at 1260m beneath the western end of the Diedrichs Range. It has two bunks with mattresses (one better suited to the shorter person), but no toilet. There is a shallow tarn close by (although it may dry up in summer).

In fine weather a 30- to 45-minute climb above the biv to Jumble Top (1610m) rewards with views to the Toaroha Range. It is all easy going aside from a short section which crosses a steep scree slope that could be dangerous if icy.

Total Ascent
4–6hr to the biv
Gerhardt Spur Bivouac (basic, two bunks)
From Whitcombe Valley Road, 100m past the bridge over Granite Creek
BV18, BV19

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