29-31 October 2017. Mt Titiroa is a prominent feature of the skyline from Te Anau and Manapouri. It appears to be snowclad all year round, belying its modest 1715m height. This appearance is due to its unusual geology – granite boulders and white sand.
Mike of Manapouri Track Transport took us across the Waiau River in his tin dish. From there we followed good tracks to Hope Arm then over a low saddle to the Snow White Clearings in Garnock Burn. A clearing adjacent to the saddle offered a great view of Titiroa and our route for the next day.
The Snow White Clearings are very scenic.
Our camp here would have been idyllic but for the sandflies! The next morning we headed up a generally open spur with beech forest giving way to a short section of tussock and then sand-separated boulders.
Looking back down the ridge, we could see Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau stretching into the distance.
To the west we could see up Garnock Burn to the Hunter Mountains.
This boulder pile reminded us of the rock monster in the film Galaxy Quest.
The overhanging rock in this group looks physically impossible.
Lake Rakatu looked lovely to the east.
There was some real snow near the summit.
On our way down, we noticed little patches of alpine vegetation between boulders. You can see flowers of Haastia Sinclairii in this patch.
Back at Snow White Clearings, we decided to move camp to somewhere with fewer sandflies. The clearing near the saddle we crossed the previous day looked ideal – and was. But what’s wrong in this photo?
Yes, this is kea country. And one took off with one of Sue’s socks. We searched extensively. But it was only after giving up that we found the errant sock about 25m away.
The clearing had some beautiful tarns.
Each little islet in this tarn was covered in sundews Drosera arcturi. Sundews are carniverous plants that attract insects who become stuck, then get slowly “digested”.
We headed back to Manapouri via Back Valley, which offered many spectacular displays of wildflowers See our blog post https://darkcloudrange.blog/2017/11/01/spring-wildflowers/