Tyge Bradshaw on Mt Siberia with the Polnoon Valley to the right

Walking the traverse

Since the completion of the Turks in mid December there has been a steady flow of people visiting. Occupancy has been at about 10% which is about what I expected for something new that people haven’t quite got their heads around yet. As well as the full traverse, day visits to the Vanguard and Crown Basin Turk have been popular.

Just to remind you, the booking page is here https://mountainturk.org.nz/booking/

Here are some photos from Phil Green and Wendy Johnston doing the traverse North to South in perfect weather  https://philgreen.smugmug.com/Adventures/Hiking/Mountain-Turk-Traverse-Jan-2021/n-wvg7p8/

Below a video of my family doing the traverse in less than perfect weather.


Walking the Mahu Whenua traverse with my family including feedback from my 8 and 10 year old kids.

I have been thinking through how best to organise trip bookings to facilitate the variability of the weather. This is especially critical over winter when there is a significant chance a particular day will not be suited for travel.

My thinking is to break things down into weeks and have a fixed number of groups for that week representing not more that 70% occupancy (maybe 50% for the first year). These groups are then encouraged to work together to coordinate Turks, transport and other issues. I can throw in the odd morsel of advice which might best be ignored.

Turk maintenance

There is a small list of maintenance issues that need addressing at the Turks. The helicopter lifting process has unsettled the doors so they are a bit tight or catch slightly. I am looking for two small teams, one each from Wanaka (Motatapu and Hyde Turks) and Queenstown (St Just, Vanguard, Deep Creek and Crown Basin) to keep an eye on such things. You need to be familiar with the setup and be happy carrying some tools in your back pack.

I have been working to install the ventilation system in the Turks. This is an involved job since it involves lifting the floor, drilling holes in the side of the Turks and installing ducting. The idea is to blow warm air from the solar collector into the gravel below the floor.

The system is currently partially installed at Saint Just and Vanguard Turks. The controller units are not wired in yet so the fans are wired directly to the solar panels. When the sun goes down the fan stops but it can be a little annoying during the day. The final design has 4 temperature sensors (room, under floor, solar collector and outside), a quiet mode and will make optimised decisions about when and where to move air.

Meetings and financial year

The club’s financial year ends on 31 March so we will have the finalised accounts of what the project costs were and my report of how it all went (both of which are very good). The committee’s thinking is to have a meeting to present the results and plan the coming winter in mid May which will also serve as the AGM.

I’m also planning to organise a meeting in Wanaka since there are a lot people involved and interest from there. I’m open to presenting in other centres (Dunedin, Invercargill, Christchurch etc.) if people want to invite me.

One of Phil Green/Wendy Johnston’s photos from above Motatapu Saddle Turk

New members

Over the last 2 months about 20 people have approached the club wanting to join the club by contributing labour rather than money. I have been too busy to organise anything but the club has agreed to help fly in the trees for the “Beech Party” (poster below). This works well with the club’s goals of doing conservation work on the land where the Turks reside (the Mahu Whenua Covenants).

My current thinking is to fly in the trees the day before (Saturday) and while we have a helicopter in the air drop some teams onto the ridge lines to work down-hill removing pines. Prospective members can join in the planting day or on the Saturday for a more vigorous workout.

So keep that weekend free. I’ll have more details closer to the date.

Erik Bradshaw
7th March 2021