Mt Watson Croesus LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Katie Smith
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Back country - remote
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
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This route is part of the Rab Skyline Mountain Collection
Start from the Croesus track end. Within the first 50m of the track there is a signed turn-off on the left to the Mt Watson route - follow this. The first 3-4km climbs steeply through native bush before breaking out into tussock just before the Mt Watson trig and summit. From here on a clear day the views start to unfold.
Follow the route along an undulating ridgeline for the next 6km - it is poled, occasionally overgrown but in good visibility very easy to follow. Eventually you reach a better benched track cut into the slope. From here the track does a tight dogleg back to the left, with the main Croesus track visible below you. You can either cut steeply down offtrack to it, or follow the dogleg back left then right to join it.
From here the track is much wider and well-benched, with old mining stone culverts. Ces Clarke huts (historic and newer) provide a good rest and water stop at around the 12km mark, then the track continues on a steady gradient downwards back into native bush. There are a couple of short detours to mining relics which are worth looking at, then a few bridged river crossings before a final short climb back to the carpark.
Features of interest
Old and current mine workings visible, blue duck sometimes seen
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 48%
Technical Single Track: 12%
Easy Single Track: 40%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
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Start from the Croesus Track car park - head through Blackball, as you leave there's a signposted turn-off. Follow the gravel road for 10 mins or so to the end.
No public transport. Lots of parking
Good visibility needed for the tops travel - poles are quite spaced out and the track overgrown in some places
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Available at Ces Clarke hut and from creeks after this - water scarce for first 12km
Exposed to West Coast weather at any time of year, snow on tops during the winter.
Post run indulgence
Formerly the Blackball Hilton
Interesting old pub with good food
Blackball Salami Company
Worth a stop to stock up on delicious salami, black pudding, bacon, sausages or any other butcher's goods!
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