The ArgyleBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestRiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
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Take a headlight!
This is a trail that DOC have stopped looking after. It is mostly easy to follow, but in places is quite overgrown and you need to work out where to go. Early on it is reasonably flat, you will come to the Argyle Stream - there is a small sign by the trail. Hop down there and check out the cave the stream goes in to. It looks accessible if you don't mind wet feet.
Keep an eye out on the trail after this as it follows the stream for several ribbons in a tree and a worn patch down to the stream on you left. If you look across the stream you will see a tall narrow fissure type cave. The fissure goes right through the hill for about 80 to 100 metres and it is very cool with lots of small cave wetas. At the other end turn around and head back.
Back on the trail you will start climbing, and once up on the first plateau you will start to see the remains of the old water race. Then you will come to a section where the track points you through a water race tunnel - it is only about 20 to 30 metres long tall enough for most. After this the trail goes from excellent to not so good to 'where the bloody hell is it' and back to ok again. At times you will have to stop and work out where to go.
There are two more tunnels to go through and another two that you can if you want but those have trail options as well. At about 4km you will come onto a gravel road (Four Mile Road). Turn around here (or explore further if you're feeling intrepid!)
This is a magic trail and worthy of being called Wild!
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Features of interest
Old water races, tunnels, caves, mining detritus.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: o%
Technical Single Track: 50%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
From Westport head to Charleston and just on the Southern side of Charleston turn into Darkies Terrace Rd. Head along there for about 1.4km and just after a slight left sweep in the road there is a small non-DOC sign at the side of the road.
The road is wider near the trail start and I had no trouble.
Take your time, you can usually work out where to go.
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, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.
There is the stream and occasional streamlets... most streams around ex-mining areas they warn not to drink so best take enough.
Looks like it could get mushy in places over winter
There are lots of hazards in places where the trail is not looked after and there has been windfall etc. This is one trail not to skimp on having your safety gear with you - you could easily get stranded and it is not a well used trail.
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