Siberia Valley

Siberia Valley

Almost five years ago, My son Tim took us on a tramp into a very remote place in the Mt Aspiring National Park, the Siberia Valley.  He was really looking after his aged parents: had a sat phone in case of emergencies, was continually telling us what the weather was about to do, and in general was completely in charge.  (Actually, the reversal in roles felt very good indeed!)

The valley itself is a great place, accessible very quickly via helicopter (but a couple of days walking otherwise).

Siberia Valley

There was a well-maintained hut, with an outdoor toilet which had an amazing view.  (A white stone placed on the track ensured that one could enjoy the view undisturbed.)

Loo view

We set off for a short two-hour walk up the valley.  To my surprise, Tim insisted that we take food for two days, two sets of warm clothing, wet weather gear and sleeping bags.  At the head of the valley, he and his mother continued for another hour or so while I set up my tripod.  Here are a couple of the images:

About noon Tim announced that the blue skies would shortly disappear and we could expect torrential rain and flooding, starting around 1600.  So we needed to be back in the hut before then.  He was about 15 minutes out with his prediction.  When I saw the rain, I began to understand why we had taken so much gear.  The little creeks that we had walked through without wetting the uppers of our boots were now raging torrents.  Many of them would have become death traps, completely impassable.  The river rose a couple of metres in an hour or so. When the worst had cleared, all around us hundreds of waterfalls appeared up on the heights.  Some were upside down, flowing over a bluff and then uphill as the strong wind caught them.  Here’s one of them in the centre of this picture:

Right next to the hut was a small creek fed by a waterfall.  Delicate tendrils of water dropped down about 5-6 metres into a pool, a perfect water supply for cleaning your teeth (but not enough for a shower).  The next day we were scared to approach it too closely:

There was nothing to do but wait out the storm.

Afterwards we were treated to a cold southerly which brought heavy frosts but clear skies, just perfect for the 5 hour tramp out to the Wilkin River, where we were whisked back to Makarora at high speed by jet boat.

The region has been made much more accessible through a tourist operation from nearby Makarora, called the “Siberia Experience“.  People are flown in, walk 3-4 hours back out and pick up the boat.  It would be a very exciting and beautiful experience.  We loved our trip, especially as we had a few days in there.

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