The Cobb Valley
At the foot of Takaka Hill at Upper Takaka is the turnoff to the Cobb Valley. A narrow winding road (pictured left) with some spectacular gorge scenery provides access to the Cobb power station and to the Cobb Valley.
The Cobb is the Kahurangi National Park’s most accessible glacial landscape. Short and long walks explore the tussock-carpeted valley floor and surrounding glacial lakes.
This region is one of the most interesting in the country for trampers and naturalists with its impressive mountain and bush scenery, remarkable botany and geology and interesting human story. There are many interesting walks, which in the summer months have an impressive array of alpine flowers.
(Cobb Valley photos by Tony Hitchcock)
ASBESTOS FOREST WALK AND TRACK
This easy nature walk leads through attractive beech forest to a small waterfall. The walk starts about 3km past the Cobb powerhouse and return, takes about an hour. At the old mine rusting relics remind us of another era. Beyond the mine the track steepens and climbs for 30 minutes to rustic Asbestos Cottage (4 bunks), home of Annie Chaffey and her intrepid, Asbestos miner husband, Henry, for 40 years.
Bullock Track (Asbestos Cottage to Cobb Reservoir) is an old cattle and sheep droving route from the Cobb Valley over the Cobb Ridge and down to Broken Bridge in the Upper Takaka Valley (2-3 hours, 4km one way). Early last century graziers used this track to get their stock from the Tablelands and Graham Valley to summer grazing in the Cobb. The track goes downhill for 30 minutes from Asbestos Cottage to join the Bullock Track , then winds up to the Cobb Ridge where the gradient eases and it joins the Cobb Ridge Track at Peat Flat. It then crosses part of the flat before descending steeply to the road beside the Cobb Reservoir.
COBB RIDGE TRACK
From the Cobb Ridge Track there are magnificent views of the Upper Takaka Valley and across to the Arthur Range in the east, west over the reservoir to the Sylvester Basin and southwest to Mts Mytton and Peel, in the Peel Range. The track leaves the Cobb Road at the ridge lookout and follows the ridge parallel to the reservoir to Peat Flat (2 hours), then to the Peel Range and Lake Peel (another 2-3 hours).
From the western side of the Cobb Dam a 6km (2-3 hours) walk follows a vehicle track along the side of the reservoir and up through beautiful beech forest to the tussock fields of Sylvester Basin. There are a great variety of wild flowers during the spring and summer months in the vicinity of the Sylvester Lakes, making it a must for those interested in our alpine botany.
Beginning at the Mytton carpark, near the head of the Cobb reservoir, this track leads up to Lake Peal and across to Balloon Hut (3-4 hours, 8 bunks) on the open flat expanses of the Mt Arthur Tablelands. the first 15 minutes is on part of the Myttons Nature Walk to Myttons Hut, then a well-graded track zig zags up through the beech forest to the open tops of the Peel Range. From above the bushline there are magnificent views of the reservoir and the U-shaped glacial valley of the Cobb.
MYTTONS NATURE WALK
This pleasant 45 minute nature walk is situated near the head of the Cobb reservoir. The walk begins at the carpark just off the road near the staff hut. The first section to Myttons Hut is also part of the Balloon Track. Just beyond Myttons Hut take the right hand fork across the clearing, the result of fires in earlier grazing times, offering fine views of the upper Cobb Valley with its tussock-covered flats and forested valley sides.
UPPER COBB VALLEY
A wander up the gentle Cobb Valley from Trilobite Hut (12 bunks) is the easiest walk in the Cobb area, being virtually flat. A well-marked track leads up this picturesque glacial valley, through patches of beech forest and across grassy tussock flats. Opportunities for picnicking, swimming and fishing abound. Follow the walking track from Trilobite Hut up the Cobb Valley for 1 hour 30 minutes to reach Chaffey Shelter (derelict). From there a tramping track continues up the valley floor. It takes about 2 hours 30 minutes to get to Cobb Hut (4 bunks) where a 30 minute walk will take you to Cobb Lake, with Round Lake a further hour.