Tramping in the Robinson Valley
|Mid Robinson Hut, Victoria Forest Park|
|Robinson River Valley, Victoria Forest Park|
A cautionary note concerning the Robinson Valley
- Palmer Road: This is the name of the 20 km gravel access road you need to follow to get to the track head. It can be problematic as there are nine fords to be crossed between the Lake Christabel track and the road end. Most are fine but three are not - they would be impassible with even the slightest amount of rain to 2 W/D and 4 W/D vehicles. There were several notes in the hut book about the fords being impassible, one talking about "....a shocking torrent of angry brown spray...".
|Palmer Road: One of nine fords on the access road to the Robinson Valley|
- Robinson River Track (?): Some parts of it are good but they are in the minority, it isn't really a track, it is more like a route. There are fallen trees, track washouts, overgrown track, river crossings, slippery conditions and rock scrambling as a part of it. I lost the track 12 times heading upriver, twice on the return trip: the track marking is shocking in places. Also there are two points where you will need to enter the river to get around obstacles, not possible in moderate to heavy rain.
|Palmer Road from the car park at Newcombes Farm|
- Track times: The DOC site states this is a three hour trip, it is not! It took me 5 hours including a 30 minute lunch break. times in the hut book ranged from 4 to 6 hours, bear this in mind.
Day One: Newcombes Farm to Mid Robinson HutI have long coveted tramping in this Valley, this is the last of four attempts to get here. The problem is that access road...it is atrocious. If there is any rain falling then you cannot even get to the start of the track.
The track starts at the end of Palmer Road which is 10 km's west of Springs Junction on the road to Reefton. Stated track time on the sign below is four hours, take this with a grain of salt...
|Robinson River Track sign|
|Parking area at start of Robinson River Track|
The track goes around the outside of Newcombes Farm along the bush edge....
|Start of the Robinson River Track|
|Robinson River Track: bit muddy at the start|
|Looking fresh...at the start of the Robinson River Track|
|Robinson River Track: climbing to start of track along deer fence|
|The deer fence around Newcombes Farm, on the Robinson River Track|
|DOC sign on the Robinson River Track...in other words...bugger off!|
|View of Newcombe Farm from the Robinson River Track|
|...and Weka two!|
|Track along deer fence, Robinson River Track|
|On the Robinson River Track, a bush interlude...|
|Descending to the Robinson River|
|In the Robinson River Valley|
|Robinson Valley looking East|
|Robinson River Track, there is a track under that....|
|First swing bridge on the Robinson River Track|
|First swing bridge, 1.5 hours in, Robinson River Track|
|Robinson River Track: rest spot upstream from bridge|
|Start of Lynches flat, Robinson Valley|
|Robinson River Track: end of Lynches Flat|
I took few photos through here because I was too busy negotiating my way through the mess. At one point you climb about 60 meters up from the river to get around a gorge - this was hand over hand stuff as you climb and descend a series of steep root steps.
|Robinson River Track...where is that track...?|
|Robinson River Track: the track sidling above a gorge|
|Flood damage on the track mid Robinson Valley|
|Interesting pole beech re growth on the Robinson River Track|
Make sure you find the track on the far side as there is a gorge just past here that stops you travelling in the river. Personal experience....
|Robinson River Track: compulsory river wade|
|Entry point into river on the Robinson River Track|
|Side stream on the Robinson River Track|
|Nearly at Mid Robinson Hut|
|Robinson River Track: Is that a ladder to salvation I see...|
|Mid Robinson Hut, built 1967|
|Hut interior- Mid Robinson Hut|
|Fire and bench area Mid Robinson Hut|
|A brew on the go!|
|Robinson River from the Mid Robinson Hut window|
|Robinson Hut: view down river to swing bridge|
|View up Robinson River from the hut flat|
|Mid Robinson Hut from river level|
|Clearing surrounding Mid Robinson Hut|
|Cooking bench in the Mid Robinson Hut|
|Mid Robinson Hut: Jon and good view of hut size|
|Jon "at home" in the Mid Robinson Hut|
Readers Digest from the 1990's
|Firebox loaded and ready for action at Mid Robinson Hut|
|Video of the river from the hut window|
Very tasty...I recommend you try this variety.
|BCC freeze dried meal with olives/tomatoes added|
|Tucking into my Tomato Chicken Alfredo in Mid Robinson Hut|
|The second swing bridge near Mid Robinson Hut|
Day Two: Mid Robinson Hut to the road endAfter an uneventful night I set off for the road end at around 06.30am, I was slightly concerned about rain during the day but it was unfounded. It was dry, in fact it was warm and muggy by 0830 in the morning. The surrounding peaks were covered in clag, probably not a good day for crossing the saddle at the head of the valley as the clag had not cleared when I got to the car at 11.30.
|Last view of Mid Robinson Hut...adieu!|
|Typical West Coast bush in the Robinson Valley|
|Flood debris in Robinson Riverbed|
|View towards head of Robinson River Valley|
|Approaching the lower swing bridge over the Robinson River|
If road access wasn't such a problem I would be tempted to re cut this track: go up for 3 days, fly camp and slowly cut and mark the track as I went. I'm sure it would be appreciated by those following along behind you. Honestly, a bit of cutting back, some debris clearing and marking would make a world of difference to how difficult it is to walk the track.
Miscellaneous: Palmer Road has nine required fords, three of which are impassible to all traffic in moderate rain. Long, rough track to hut, two stream crossings these will flood in heavy rain. Track condition is poor in sections.