We were busting to get out somewhere but there wasn't time for anywhere further than Banks Peninsula. Dayle was keen to get out for a walk too. We drove over the Port Hills to Orton Bradley Park.
The goal was Mt Bradley. We opted for the direct route, up via the Tablelands track, and continued on up the fenceline to the Eye of the Needle. This was an interesting rock formation where a large boulder was jammed over a gap on a sharp and steep section of the ridge. You have to go through the gap under the boulder, then double round and up and over the top of the boulder. Hence the reference to threading the "eye of the needle".
Immediately above this the mountain flattens out with a large summit plateau. We stopped for lunch on top, sheltering from the cool breeze in the lee of a gorse bush. Afterward, a circuit around to the Packhorse Hut appealed so we dropped down to the track on the Kaituna valley side to join the track to the hut.
A magnificent stand of lancewood saplings on the Kaituna side of Mt Bradley
At Packhorse Hut we bumped into Dave Garlick, whom we'd met last November in Dunns Creek. Dave was at the Packhorse with his two daughters. A large party from the Over 40s Tramping Club also passed through while we were there.
We returned to Orton Bradley via the track around the front of Mt Bradley and followed the "red pole route" down into the valley.
Others were walking out the valley track at the same time as us. And for us, that was a novel experience as we're generally the last ones out of the hills on a weekend. And it's usually dark too when we're coming out of Orton Bradley.