Recent Changes - Search:

Wellington Caving Group

2009 Te Anau NZSS Expedition

2007-06-06 15.29.25 P6040029 Rauroa.jpeg: 600x800, 443k (2009 Apr 03 00:00)

2009 Te Anau NZSS Expedition - Sat 24 Jan to Sun 8 Feb

All around Te Anau lies some of New Zealand's finest karst - yet there has never been an NZSS expedition to the area. But the time has come - so mark your diaries with the period Sat 24 January to Sun 8 February 2009. Come for as long or as little as you like. WCG will be attending the first week.

There will be caves for everyone from easy going local limestone caves, to boat-accessed fiord cave exploration, to fly-in Fiordland alpine top exploration. Likely to be casually based in a central Te Anau campground (self-catered while there), with more organised day or multiday trips branching out from there. People can easily mix caving with the many other activities and sights accessible from Te Anau.

Contact Dave Smith (HTG, 07 878 8534) or Oz Patterson (NSG, caltrol [snail] xtra [period] co [period] nz, 03 5477395) with any queries in the meantime.


Quick guide to the caving available

The limestone caves

The Tunnel Burn formation is a great limestone band that runs N-S between Fiordland and the farmed land of Southland. It hosts almost all the known caves of the Te Anau area. None are particularly difficult.

Aurora

The northernmost cave is Aurora –undoubtedly the best cave in the bottom half of the South Island. Access is by permit only, in the Takahe Special Access area across Lake Te Anau. The cave is an hour’s walk uphill from the lakeshore, and a range of horizontal caving trips can be done in the one cave. The resurgence cave is near the lakeshore and home to the Te Anau-au Glowworm Cave tours. We should be able to get some rides across the lake with the tour operator, or more likely by water taxi (approx $200 for up to ten people each way).

Luxmore

Up on the Kepler track are a couple of small karst fields containing numerous short caves. It is about four hours uphill walk to the karst, so it is likely that people will want to come and camp in here for a night or two. Or its only a few minutes flight! We can’t camp within 500m of the Kepler Track where the landing pad is, so there will be a little walking. Fly in – walk out might be an option. Could book the Luxmore Hut. There is a good project to be had at Luxmore: relocating caves, sorting out multiple names, and perhaps resurveying. The second karst field may not be that well explored.

Titiroa

A karst area south of Manapouri. Little known in caving circles. Likely to be long day trips. The only known cave is called Jericho – look for it on you tube! Potential prospecting.

St Peter’s Cave

Apparently in the Borland Valley again about an hour south of Te Anau.

Waiau – Clifden Caves.

Easy access, short well-known cave. About 1½ hr south of Te Anau.

Helmet Hill – Goldie Hill

Apparently quite a lot of low quality limestone here with some prospecting potential

The marble karst

Small marble outcrops seem to be scattered throughout remote Fiordland. Almost all are 2-3 days walk in, or a short helicopter flight (likely to be $2-3000 for 6 people return). Only one well-developed cave is known, on the tops above Doubtful Sound. Trips to all these sites will require alpine camping, cold/wet weather clothing, and extensive walking.
The marbles reported seem to be karstified, but are limited in extent. Some are only metres across and hundreds of metres long. There’s only one way to find out. 4 day trips might be about right to reconnoitre these sites.
A number of the known marble sites are in Ian Turnbull’s report. Trips are already planned for the Mt Irene, Cascada Bay and Mt Hall sites.
If you’re interested in a remote trip, let us know and we’ll try to group people up, or maybe it will come together in Te Anau. You will need an alpine quality tent and sleeping bag, wet and cold weather clothing, and a deep wallet.


Commercial

Aurora Caves

From Part Five – Visitor Management 5.3.4 Takahe Specially Protected Area (Murchison Mountains) Fiordland National Park Management Plan – June 2007

The following restrictions should apply regarding access for non-guided recreation visits to the Aurora Caves:

  1. Only two visitor groups per month should be permitted;
  2. In addition to (i) above, a further two extra visitor groups per annum may be permitted for public awareness and education purposes into the Caves;
  3. Total visitor group size should not exceed twelve persons inclusive of group leaders (i.e. a maximum visitor group size of ten persons exclusive of group leaders);
  4. All visitor groups should have a minimum of one member of the New Zealand Speleological Society included within the total visitor group size. This person will have to demonstrate knowledge of conservation ethics associated with caving and provide approved references;
  5. Access to the Aurora Caves should only be permitted for day visits (no overnight opportunities); and
  6. Access to these caves may be declined should monitoring determine an unacceptable level of impact on the natural values of the caves (refer also Implementation 4 of this section). (refer also to section 5.14)

d) Concession access to the Aurora Caves should be subject to following conditions:

  1. Due to sensitive cave environments only one concession should be granted for access to the Aurora Caves;
  2. No facilities should be permitted to be developed in the caves;
  3. Total party group size should not exceed twelve persons inclusive of guides (i.e. a maximum concession group size of ten persons exclusive of guides);
  4. All parties should have a minimum of one member of the New Zealand Speleological Society included within the total party size. This person will have to demonstrate knowledge of conservation ethics associated with caving and provide approved references;
  5. Concession access to the Aurora Caves should be limited to one visit per month;
  6. Concession access should only be permitted for day visits (no overnight opportunities); and
  7. Access to these caves may be declined should monitoring determine an unacceptable level of impact on the natural values of the caves (refer also Implementation 4 of this section). (refer also to section 5.14)