27-Oct-2005 -- I went to New Zealand to spend just 10 day, therefore I didn't have enough time to visit the whole country. I had to choose carefully which places I would visit. Just by chance I had a look at project confluence site to see if there was any confluence to be conquered in New Zealand and ended up finding out not just that so but that the last one. I can't miss it, I thought. We hired a campervan (bed, stove, fridge, tap and so on), so we didn't need to worry about accommodation during the trip.
We got to Rotokohu (a little village close to Reefton) on the 26th of October of 2005, at 17:00pm. It was too late to start any attempt to the point (Confluence 42°S 172°E). So we stopped our vehicle to study the map. A 4WD came along with two people inside, a man and his daughter. I introduced myself, explained the reason we were there and asked the man (John Silcock) what would be the best way to get to our target. He was quite friendly, and showed me on the map which ridge I would have to follow to get as near as possible to the point. Mr Silcock is a dairy farmer and has spent all his life in that area, so he knows everything about it. Mr Silcock let us spend the night by the creek that goes through his property, and also invited us to have some wine in his house after dinner. Kiwis are definitely very friendly.
Next day we got up at 6am, packed our stuff, had a little breakfast and started our scramble up straight away. We walked up along the ridge on the southwestern leg of Brunner Range towards Bourkers Rock (east). There is a cow path that starts from the creek and goes up along the first portion of the ridge then it disappears and turns into mossy forest. It is a dense bush and we lost GPS signal quite a few times. After 5 hours walking up and wrestling with branches and trunks my girlfriend Merinda gave up and stayed on the way. I marked her location to pick her up on the way back. I left some water and food for her and continued my way to the confluence.
Still along the main ridge I realized that I would have to walk off it by scrambling down on the steep slope. I got to another ridge smaller than the previous one where I managed to get my coordinates for the last time (GPS photo) just a few hundred meters from the confluence. From this point I navigated using compass and map, however the navigation was not difficult because I knew I'd have to cross two creeks and keep on the same contour level heading northeast. It sounded good, but I took almost two hour to get there, the slope is quite steep and slippery which made the slog harder.
Finally I got to the point, took photos of 4 directions but big trees and the dense forest blocked GPS reception.
After a big rest I made my way back to find my girlfriend. It was 7pm when I got there. It was too late to risk any attempt to come back to the car, so we had to spend the night up there. We were very lucky because it didn't rain. Nights in New Zealand are pretty cold!!!!
At 5am we started our way back to the car, getting there early in the afternoon.
Confluence 42°S 172°E was conquered on the 27th of October of 2005, at 4:30pm. It's located roughly 20km north from Reefton town center, New Zealand.
Map used: 260-L30 Reefton.
Confluence Hunters: Jamal Jr and Merinda Voigt