Day 1: Lewis Pass to Ada Pass Hut
After driving to Lake Rotorua we had arranged for Trips and Transfers to relocate us to Lewis pass and the start  of the St James walkway.
We started walking at 12 noon in drizzle and ended at Ada pass hut in the sunshine after 4 hours.
The walk starts in beech forest and bush and descends via zig zags to the swing bridge over the Mariua  River, at Cannibal Gorge. We passed the Cannibal Gorge Hut and followed forest and open fields onto the Ada Pass Hut were we had our first night, arriving just after 4pm. (Christine)
Day 2: Ada Pass Hut to campsite in Waiau Valley
After a comfortable night in Ada Pass Hut we carried out some morning yoga stretches in the sun before heading off.  We followed the St James Walkway through bushy sections and open grassy flats with views to the mountains, following the Ada River.  After a brief stop at the small but tidy historic Christopher Cullers Hut (or Ada Cullers Hut as it was called on the hut door), we continued on to the large, comfortable Christopher Hut for lunch.  This hut was surrounded by a fence which would have kept the cattle out during the St James Station days.  Those who had been in the area before commented on how much more pleasant it was now that cattle are no longer present.  There were still some wild horses spotted in the distance. 
Aware of the long distance still to go to the foot of the pass, we elected to continue for another 4 hours to a campsite in the Glacier Gully area that Astrid had read about in a Mark Pickering account.  We crossed the Ada River near the hut, and continued on the track to meet the 4WD track beside the Waiau River.  It was then a relatively uninteresting march for several hours along the river flats until we reached Glacier Gully.  All the side streams marked on the map along the way were non-existent, making it more challenging than expected to collect water.  The lovely campsite mentioned in the book wasn’t really apparent, however, we found a reasonable spot beside the track to rest our weary feet, and the flattened long grass made for a comfortable bed, despite the many sandflies! (Michele)
Waiau River campsite Day 2Waiau River campsite Day 2
Day 3: Waiau Valley to Upper Waiau Forks
In the morning Peter crossed the Waiau and discovered our “remote” campsite was in fact opposite a carpark for the Maling Pass road,  with mown grass and a toilet. There were also a 4 wheel drive ford across the river at this spot.
We set off walking at 8.45 and followed a well-worn track up the river flats, crossing back and forth over a braid of the river staying on the true right.  Late morning we reached the newish Waiau Hut nestled in a sunny position on the bush edge. It’s a stark contrast with the old Caroline Biv site an hour further up the river and where we had lunch. Nothing remains of the biv except a heavily shaded campsite in forest alongside the river.
From here on to the Waiau Forks the track became rougher and gained altitude as it crossed old avalanche fields. By 4pm we arrived at Upper Waiau Forks and put up our tents in a flat area under the trees. Several other people were camping in an open sunny area just beyond this spot. We envied their evening sun but not the February frost they woke up to. (Anna)
Astrid starting the climb upAstrid starting the climb up
Day 4: Upper Waiau Forks to Blue Lake Hut (over Waiau Pass)
Even though the campsite was only at 1100m and amongst the beech trees it was a chilly night for most. We left at our usual time of "just after 8:30" and almost immediately had two small creek crossings, enough to get your feet wet. We climbed up the side of a beautiful waterfall onto a plateau at approx. 1260m enjoying the surroundings and the clear water. We correctly identified the point where we left the stream, thinking it was our last water, and everyone topped up. After a bit of a climb we had a break beside a lovely stream running down the spur. From here on I felt some exposure (to falling) but it was just me. As we got to the 1700m contour I felt safe and enjoyed climbing the steep rock gut. The others followed without complaint. As usual we met people coming in the other direction and I think they found easier ways to descend. The top of the rock gut was not the pass but an easy spur / sidle walk of 150m took us to it. 
Team on Waiau PassTeam on Waiau Pass
At the pass we enjoyed chatting to Nelson and his friends, a group of kiwi Te Araroa walkers coming the other way whom we had heard about the day before. We'd also been told that the best view of Lake Constance was 200m down the scree. We spent 30+ minutes on top chatting to those that came through and getting our photos. After the initial descent we landed on a bench at approx 1700m with full views of Lake Constance, while we compared lunch menus ... hummus, types of cracker, camembert, salami.
Waiau Pass overlooking Lake ConstanceOverlooking Lake Constance
This was an excellent long lunch spot so we lounged for 45 minutes before the scree and rock descent for an hour to the valley floor. Lollies for all before we made our way to and around the edge of Lake Constance BUT WAIT. There are rocky bluffs that you cannot get around and thus a steep climb of 100m is a must and a sidle of 800m on tussock is absolutely needed before you descend more scree down to the top of the moraine. The party was spread out at by now and we each made our way to Blue Lake Hut with some good photo spots along the way. It was approx. 4:30pm.
The hut was only half full with many Te A walkers not prepared to pay the $20 required to stay. The last two tent sites were claimed by Kath (and Astrid) and Anna (and Chrissy) while Peter and Michele opted for the hut. Still Te A walkers were passing through but an unofficial camp area soon had six or so tents within it. The warden, a trainee DOC ranger from Nelson, had marked a new track along a dry river bed that took walkers to a flat rock below the outlet which was used to have a wash. There had been plans to have a proper dip but given the water was between 5 and 8 degrees we could not bring ourselves to do it. Three of us played Hearts so that Michele did not carry her pack of cards the whole tramp without use. (Peter)
Day 5: Blue Lake Hut to West Sabine Hut
We had a 3.5hr tramp on Day 5 from Blue Lake to West Sabine Hut and we chose to spend the morning lazing around and enjoying the Blue Lake environment. Michele had breakfast in bed, those of us in tents were up early but we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before all wandering off to do various activities, reading by the lake, botanizing, helicopter watching, and chatting to a team who had come in to service the DOC200 traps down to Sabine Hut (Friends of Rotoiti). We learnt that there is a plan to introduce Whio to the Sabine River.
Eventually at about 1.30pm we left for West Sabine Hut. This section of track is very rough, more likened to an obstacle course than a tramping track.  Pete stopped to take a photo of a small lake, and unfortunately catapulted his non-waterproof camera into the water!  The camera was quickly retrieved, but unfortunately not in working order (although the memory card with all the photos was fortunately undamaged). The track follows the river the whole route and just before the hut a swing bridge takes you to the opposite bank. 3hrs 20mins tramping time. We all chose to bunk in the hut that night, and all found the bunk mattresses worse than our thin airbeds. (Kath)
Day 6: West Sabine Hut to Sabine Hut
The easiest day led us through red beech and mosses, along some open flats, cruisily sidling above the Sabine River. We kept bumping into the Friends of Rotoiti group who had been choppered in to check the trap line and lay out wasp bait. During one of our many relaxed stops, we watched robins and admired Kath's impressive bruise from a fall on the rocks 3 days prior, which did not slow her down. Just before reaching the lake, we came across the most gorgeous turquoise swimming hole where the brave ones took a freezing dip, while the not so brave swam later on in Lake Rotoroa, off the jetty. This was kind of the wiser choice - about 10 degrees warmer! We reached the spacious Sabine Hut (32 bunks, no bookings) with great lake views from the veranda, where we had a relaxed cuppa for an hour before boarding the water taxi for a very scenic ride back to the cars parked at the other end of the lake. Back home around 7.30pm, after 6 wonderful days out, perfect trip planning and unbeatable weather! (Astrid)
Punters were: Michele (Leader), Peter, Astrid, Christine, Kath, and Anna.