Bob’s Camp Bivouac, just off the back of Mt Thomas, is the perfect overnight trip when the weather is looking a little iffy in the main divide or you are pressed for time; as was the case when I visited. Being unable to leave Christchurch until 1pm on a Saturday this wee bivvy was the ideal location for a quick overnight trip to get away from the city.
The drive to the start of the track at the Wooded Gully camping area takes just over 1 hour from Christchurch via Rangiora or Oxford. Once parked up and ready to go you have a few options of route to reach Bob’s Camp Biv. I chose to take the ridge track but you could just as easily take the more popular wooded gully track up to the top of the ridge (if you do take the wooded gully track turn west once you intersect the ridge track in order to reach the track heading to Bob’s Camp Biv).
From here the track is above the bushline for a while giving stunning views in all directions before dropping down towards the intersection with the Whare route. The Whare route leads down to the popular, and much larger, Pinchgut Hut. I had been following plenty of footsteps in the snow up until this point which abruptly stopped when I turned west onto Bob’s Camp route. The route itself is well marked and easy to follow, with just the odd bit of windfall when I went through. The route drops down towards a small saddle before climbing gently up towards an area of open tops just above the biv site.
The biv itself is located about 10 minutes from here in beech forest near a small stream. The hut is a cosy two-bunk affair that used to be located in Upper Salmon Creek before being relocated to its current site. There is a good camping area at the Biv so don’t be put off by the small size if you’re happy to tent it up. Water is available from the nearby stream (this may run dry at the height of summer). There is also a large outdoor fireplace that appears to get regular use (although I couldn’t find an axe when I visited). One of the great things about this area is that it is dog friendly so I was joined by my furry friend for the trip.
Time: 2h 45m - 5 h one-way depending on your fitness
Distance: Just under 10km with about 1000m ascent into the biv.
In New Zealand we don't go hiking, walking or frolicking in the wilderness - we tramp.