20-Feb-2015 -- I was intrigued by this confluence point, because it lies on the south bank of the beautiful Hokitika River, above the Hokitika Gorge, and had been visited only once before, in 2002. I first visited the Hokitika Gorge, and photographed the footbridge that Bruce James - the sole previous visitor - used to cross to the river’s south bank.
Bruce James visited the confluence point by hiking along the south bank of the river, which - according to his report - involved a lot of ‘bushwhacking’. I hoped to avoid this by instead taking the Whitcombe Track that followed the north bank. Although this would not take me to the exact point, I was hoping that I would be able to get within the 100 metres required for a successful visit.
I parked my car at the end of Whitcombe Valley Road - at 42.96949°S 171.01169°E, 3.5 km (as the crow flies) from the point - and continued on foot along the road (which was now called the “Whitcombe Track”). At about 1.5 km from the point, the track became overgrown and indistinct, so I backtracked and followed the orange triangle (which marked the continuation of the track proper) down to the river’s edge. I then continued hiking along the river’s edge (along the north bank). Although the shoreline was rocky, it was easily hikeable, and I was making good progress. I was confident that - by continuing to follow the river’s edge - I would get to the point that lies directly across the river from the point - which should be less than 100 metres away.
Unfortunately, however, at 260 metres from the point, I ran into an obstacle: the river bank turned into a sheer, rocky cliff face. It was not possible to hike any farther along the river bank. (Trying to wade across the river to the south bank was out of the question - even in mid-February (at what was likely its lowest flow) the river was flowing much too fast to attempt a crossing on foot.)
I tried hiking up the steep bush-covered bank (just before the rocky cliff face) in hope of rejoining the Whitcombe Track, but the hillside was too steep for this, and I wasn’t able to figure out the point (downstream) where the Whitcombe Track was supposed to leave the river’s edge to reenter the bush. So I gave up, leaving this as an ‘incomplete’ visit.
As I plan to be in New Zealand each (Southern Hemisphere) summer from now on (as I have a holiday apartment in Auckland), I will likely attempt to visit this point again sometime in the future. When I do so, I’ll probably instead follow the route that Bruce James took - even though it involves ‘bushwhacking’ - because that will take me to the exact point.