23-Nov-2002 -- This is one of the two closest confluences, on land, to Christchurch City. Yet getting there does involve some effort. It’s a two-and-a-half hour drive from Christchurch, to the remote Mt White station, located in the Canterbury high-country. Then from the road-end, it is several kilometers up the Esk valley and a climb to the confluence, located some 1300m above seal level. As it is on private property, access permission is required from Mt White station.
My plan was to tackle the confluence by climbing Mt White, continuing along the range, and then dropping down to it. I started from the Mt White road-end at 9:30am (600m), climbed a short way up the 4wd track, then headed straight up Mt White. I reached the summit about 12:00 noon (1741m). After lunch I continued the 4km or so along the range (Picture #2) until I was roughly above the confluence.
I sidled below a knob (1680 on the map) around to the spur on which the confluence was located. This is the spur just before “Haircut Gully”. Navigating the last 100m was fun. I wanted to continue down the spur, but the GPS indicated I had to drop off to the right, which was decidedly steep and difficult, with loose rock. The safer approach was to continue down a few metres and then sidle back across some steep but easy tussock slopes.
I finally arrived just before 3pm. My GPS placed the precise location of the confluence right in the middle of a small stand of trees shown in picture #1. Picture #4 is the northeast view looking straight up to the spur I had descended. The best view, picture #3, is looking southeast, across the Esk River valley, towards the Puketeraki Range. Chest Peak (1936m), to the right of the picture, is the highest peak in this range. Pushing through the trees to the other side, we get the view shown in picture #5, looking south across to the adjacent spur.
The return trip was straightforward. After sidling back onto the spur, I found a scree slope that provided a quick descent into a small stream. From there it was a short walk across tussock slopes to a good 4wd track. Picture #7 is a view from about 2km along the 4wd track looking back up to the confluence (arrowed). Another more direct route to the confluence would be up the spur immediately to the right of the bush in the picture. After several more kilometers of walking, I finally arrived back at the Mt White road-end just before 6:30pm.