Participants: Chris, Laura, Viv, Paul, Nick & Margaret Trip report: Chris
As the walk up to Atiwhakatu Hut is a route that is very familiar to many of us, we thought we could report on points of difference that we noticed on the way. Firstly, it was a less usual kind of trip into the Tararuas, because it was a warm, sunny, T-shirt day, with just a gentle breeze to keep us cool. The sun bounced off the flaxes and ferns and a lot of the vegetation was noticeably sending out new shoots and growth. Juvenile rimu and lancewood seemed to be loving their growing conditions and were plentiful. The Piupiu (Crown Fern) is in a spring growth phase when lighter coloured new fronds emerge from the centre. Then we found this flax look-a-like, which a bit of research tells us is kōwharawhara, or perching (because it’s often an epiphyte) astelia. We saw both the stunning yellowish and maroon flowers, which are called tākahakaha, and are supposed to be sweetly scented. (but they weren’t for us.) Finally, we all individually noticed that the long, ‘1-person at a time’, swing bridge has got very ‘swingy’, so that it’s important to keep balanced and moving or the bridge takes a slightly, disconcerting sideways lean. Other than that, it was a very enjoyable day out for our group of six trampers, who didn’t have to go to work on a Monday.
Mid King Bivvy. Trip 2. Paul and Sandra walked in to Mitre Flats hut fri night leaving the road end at 545pm, meeting were heading out, avoiding torches although the last 15 minutes was quite dark and arrived 845pm. The hut was empty and no others arrived that night. On Saturday, Paul and Sandra left Mitre Flats hut at 830am, took the Barton track from the main Waingawa swing bridge and crossed South Mitre stream to the true right, then over baldy creek to get to the bottom of the ridge. We followed rough trail in places, past rock cairns, and a few bits of long life pink tape. Upwards all the way nice gradient for most, 700m climb. Lovely bush, beech and podocarps, lots of crown ferns. Heard kereru, warbler, tui, kakariki and long tail cuckoo. Out above bushline to scrub and wonderful 360 degree views. Sunny and clear. We headed down a little track (with orange markers) to biv. Arrived 1230pm. After lunch and and explore of campsite, Sandra climbed another 400m uphill to the top. Lots of grasshoppers jumping in the tussock, spiky speargrass and golden daisies. Amazing views. Jason and Kate arrived about 5pm. Lovely dinner of free Radix meals and telling tales of the day that was. Paul and Sandra up at 530am Sunday morning, left at 630am. Only 1 hr 40 min to get back down the hill which was pretty fast for my knees! And about 3.5 hrs out to roadend. Hot and sunny, a few people swimming in the river.
Mid King Bivvy – A meeting in the middle 1 st – 3 rd November 2019 With a stunning weekend weather forecast, Jason, Ralph and I set off on Friday evening for Jumbo Hut. This was a slight deviation to the original plan of commencing on Saturday morning and heading directly to Mid King via the Atiwhakatu Valley, Baldy and The Kings. Jason hadn’t taken much convincing that it would be worthy of an early escape from long Spring grind on farm. So with his calves fed and a lightning dash to PaknSave, we met at the Holdsworth roadend. These rapid supermarket visits can be a bonus to fellow Trampers with excess food purchased! Sandra and Paul were going to head into Mitre Flats and should work commitments allow, would possibly meet us at Mid King Bivvy on Saturday night. The track was quiet until a pair of Ruru stopped us in our tracks halfway up the Raingauge Spur track. After their haunting calls in the dim light, they settled on a branch to observe us. It was to be a good omen for the following days. As darkness surrounded us, we continued, determinedly without headtorches until the final 10 minutes. Jason did feel it was a bonus following in the rear, with the white tip of Ralph’s tail bobbing about like a beacon. The lights of the Wairarapa Valley twinkled as we arrived at an unoccupied Jumbo Hut. There was a cool south westerly breeze, so it was good to make a brew and get a late dinner underway. Contrary to the belief that Dairy Farmers cannot sleep in, they can! Jason was horrified when a runner was heard approaching the door and would find him mooching in his sleeping bag drinking hot chocolate at an unmentionable time in the morning. As we got underway, the cool wind and grey skies departed. Heading towards Angle Knob there was still the occasional snow drift. We wandered on past McGregor and the Broken Axe Pinnacles. At the southern end of the BA Pinnacles there was new signage pointing around the sidle track which read “Mid King Bivvy”, at the northern end of the sidle the sign pointed south and read “Jumbo Hut”. This could lead to some confusion. There were many snack/lunch stops as we wandered along, drinking up the stunning views east and west, listening to the skylarks, watching Falcons soaring and feeling life down on the plains peeling away, just being. The glossy Ranuncula flowers were smiling up at us. As we looked down from Mid King in the late afternoon, we could make out familiar figures. Jason determined to find Nancy Sharpe’s tunnel, we headed into the leather wood for a direct approach to the Bivvy. Not recommended unless leaders have sadistic tendencies! A welcome brew was awaiting, and Sandra had wandered up to Mid King during the afternoon. I marvelled at Pauls highly organised, meticulous fly camp whilst I piled my dishevelled gear into teeny tent for dog and I. Previous visits to the bivvy had found it damp and cold. The Ruru was looking after us, and we were rewarded with perfectly dry conditions not even a morning dew. It was a 6.30am start for Sandra and Paul, heading out to the Pines via Mitre Flats. Jason and I leaving at a more leisurely hour to Holdsworth roadend via South King, Baldy and the Atiwhakatu. You could say…we were a couple of Dairy Farmers really stretching the weekend! What better place could you do it. Many thanks to Jason , Sandra and Paul for their good company. Kate and Ralph
Murray’s Track – Wednesday 30 October 2019 Chris, Laura, Mike, Rita, Nick & Margaret Six of us set off from the Holdsworth carpark with blue skies overhead. It seemed a few others were out to enjoy the nice weather today too. We enjoyed a leisurely morning tea at Rocky Lookout where we had good views of Powell, Jumbo and Mitre Peak. Plans started to hatch for future mid-week tramps. The wind started picking up so we headed on our way up Gentle Annie Track further until we reached the start of “Murray’s Track” or also known as “Runners Track” which isn’t actually a marked track but is well padded and obvious once you are on it. Once at the bottom of the track it was on to the main Atiwhakatu track back to the carpark, stopping for lunch by the river at Donnelly Flat on the way. A most enjoyable day tramp.
After a potential sleep in for day light savings starting, the group of 9 left Masterton at 930am for Onoke Spit. We stopped on the way to look at Lake Wairarapa quickly then headed down Western lake road and Beach road to reach the car park. Several other kayakers and white baiters were there ahead of us. We packed up lunch and headed across the small footbridge to read the Onoke Spit sign. Following the rough track we walked through the gap in the dunes to get an awesome sea view, waves crashing and light winds. We headed east along the spit, starting on the ocean side and then moving up to the central track to find the ship wreck of the Addenda. After a further 10 minutes (past the noisy black backed gulls) we arrived at the Addenda site. Rusty hull fasteners were the only remains to be seen jutting above the sand. We discussed the history of the 4 mast barquentine that originated from Oregon in 1895 and ran aground in 1904. Retracing our steps along the Spit, we found a sheltered spot for lunch with a sea view. Heading east we walked along the central track into a strong wind to return to the cars. We saw some dotteral’s, pimelea, lots of driftwood amongst the gravel habitat. The three groups then drove around to Lake Ferry settlement via the East-West access road. We checked out the native plants at Okorewa lagoon- that the Club members helped plant in 2018. Some of the plants had not survived the harsh conditions of the coast, others were ok and some were doing really well. We stopped at the Lake Ferry hotel for hot chocolates, coffee and hot chips. On the trip were; Thea, Paul, Janet, Mike, Laura, Kay, Chris, Denise and Sandra.
Attempt on the new Centre of NZ Extended Continental Shelf – Mt Reeves Saturday 14 September 19 = The weather was not looking that great for Saturday, but with no streams to cross we decided to still go. It was raining as we left and started up the hill, but it turned to drizzle on and off for the rest of the trip, so not too bad at all. There were some great views along the way and some cloud cover that lifted so we could see the excellent views. After 3 hours walking the consensus was made to turn around, we did not get to the centre of NZ. We will have to try again. Those on the trip were Denise, Janet, Robyn, Sara, Viv and Ron
I’m a prospective new member and this was my first trip with the club. I’ve set myself a goal of walking the Dusky Track before I’m 50 (in 18 months), so decided I needed to get some tramping in before then. I’ve done a reasonable amount of tramping in my youth, but was wanting to avoid the heuristic trap of being a middle-aged male, and assuming I can just as easily do now what I could do 25 years ago. And what better way than joining the club and tagging along on some of the more challenging trips? The trip from the Waiohine Valley road end to the Mangatarere Valley road end, via Cone Ridge, Totara Flats and Sayers Hut was almost all “red line” for me (a term I learnt from Ange) so was an enticing prospect, especially as the weather forecast was for fine and calm weather. We (Ange, Sandra, Kate, Ralph (Kate’s dog) and I) left Kate’s farm at 8am and were on the track by 9. Some steady climbing saw us at Cone by lunchtime. Although there was a slight delay at Cone Saddle while we tried to determine how the old signs were attached 3-4 metres up a tree (we nearly managed to persuade one of the group that there was an aluminium ladder stashed nearby). Kate, Ralph and I were at the top first and enjoyed the views, but by the time Sandra and Ange arrived (5 or 10 minutes later) the mist had descended cutting off most of the vistas. After lunch and a brew up we passed some lovely tarns and moss covered trees before finally reaching Totara Flats at 5pm, about 5 minutes before Paul arrived (who had walked in from Mt Holdsworth). Paul and Ange then went on a mercy mission to try and locate the pack of an over equipped, solo, first time tramper who had slipped off the track ½ an hour from the hut (back towards Mt Holdsworth), and in regaining the track had left her pack behind (and decided to carry on the hut to get help). Paul and Ange arrived back after dark, with the 25+kg of gear that they had found 80m down a near vertical bank – they had certainly done their good deed for the day. After a pleasant night in the hut (dinner being dehydrated Wild Version with Leek & Thyme – curtesy of some free meals given to the club by Radix Nutrition) we headed off down the flats before crossing the river to Sayer’s Hut. The water was cold but mostly only knee deep, or a wee bit more for those not prepared to zig-zag around the deeper patches. Then it was back to more hill work on a track that had seen plenty of pig rooting, and then we dropped out to the road end at 1pm. And the main thing I took from the weekend, other than the enjoyment of the company and the scenery, was that at need to upgrade almost all my kit. A sewing job the night begore meant my 40+ year old pack lasted the distance, but my boots raised some eyebrows (at 7:25am on the Saturday morning I decided my tramping boots weren’t up to it, so had to go with the only other option available – my old steel capped work boots which had also seen better days (although on the plus side there was no problem draining the water out of them after crossing the Waiohine)). I’m now looking forward to my next trip
A series of short walks that showcased a variety of terrain, significant ecosystems and historical sites on the western side of the Tararua Range prompted this trip by a group of six from Masterton Tramping Club. After a light frost in Masterton the temperature was to rise to 19 degrees. With some reluctance we headed toward the Paremata-Plimmerton coast where the maximum for the day was set to just 14 degrees. Just over the Remutaka Summit we parked our vehicles and started up Te Ara Tirohanga, the short zig-zag climb to the Trig at 725 m elevation. The climb of 180 metres switches back and forth through the slowly regenerating bush before breaking out to the rocky outcrop upon which stands the trig. With barely a breeze noticeable at the carpark the strength of the wind at the trig was an unpleasant contrast. Stopping long enough to take in the views the party retreated back to the carpark for the half hour drive to Pauatahanui Village. Here we wandered the boardwalks of the Pauatahanui Wildlife Management Reserve, a unique transition of continuous vegetation from tidal flats to coastal forest. Restorative planting and careful management seeks to protect the habitats and breeding grounds of over twenty species of resident and migratory birds. With the expertise of our guide Hamish, we identified (and tasted) many of the coastal plants as well as shrubs and trees that symbiotically ensure a habitat that feeds and shelters various bird species, many of which are endangered. Our next stop was Taua Tapu Track whicht runs north-south from Plimmerton toward Pukerua Bay. Areas of marginal farmland are being planted with manuka and other coastal native varieties amidst the lifestyle blocks that dot the landscape. From the Taua Tapu Track the views are stunning, especially toward the south, overlooking Mana Island and Cook Strait. Stopping near the Trig for lunch we hunkered down for shelter from the cool breeze to eat lunch before retracing steps back to our vehicles. Ngatitoa Domain at the channel entrance of Porirua Harbour was our last stop. Here we viewed the remains of barracks that were part of the historic Fort Paremata. Built by order of Governor George Grey from 1846 the Paremata Barracks housed troops whose orders were to disrupt the flow of supply and reinforcement of Maori travelling the coastal route in and out of Wellington. The stockaded area was used by troops until 1852. However the barracks were damaged beyond repair by an earthquake in 1848. Following a short walk along the domain, alive with family activities and motorhome campers, we drove around the Paremata road to the ever-changing junction at Pauatahanui where the Transmission Gulley Motorway is taking shape. Then back to the sunny and warm Wairarapa Those on the excursion were Christine, Laura, Robyn, Stan, Thea & Paul. Special Thanks to Hamish.
On Sunday 11th August; John, Robyn, Danielle, Laura, Ian and Sandra headed east from a damp and grey Masterton to Glenburn. On arrival at the coast the sun was shining and the drizzle had stopped. The walk start point sign said only 3 hours return, but we weren’t in a hurry. Across the paddocks we followed the orange triangles and blue poles heading south. In places the sea had worn away the land and we headed to the beach to walk around driftwood and over white stones. The track was varied – at times on the beach, sometimes on the farmland and farm track. A few boggy patches needed careful navigation to keep the feet dry. We walked past large seals, found some dead eels on the beach and playful skylarks flying above us. After 2.5 hours we arrived at the first bumpy, lumpy rock. Dark coloured ‘dinosaur teeth’ rocks were imbedded in the holey lighter coloured rock. Crazy spidery and web -like patterns were hiding under rock shelves. We continued on 5 minutes to the main Honeycomb rock. We had lunch in a light breeze on some flat rocks watching the seals head into the ocean. Then we headed to the big honeycomb rocks to explore and take lots of photos. Again lots of different patterns in the rocks, some small ‘hanging gardens’ on the rocks and baby seals peeking out of the rock caves. We met 4 and talked to 4 others (2 from France and 2 from Czech Republic). We returned to the lunch spot, picked up our packs and returned mostly along the track to the cars. NOTE – Honeycomb rock track is closed in Sept and Oct due to lambing. Respect the private landowner wishes and keep to the track / follow signs.
Six of us headed off from the Holdsworth carpark at 9am on a calm and fine morning. Although it was a bit cool as we started off, once we headed up the hill to the Holdsworth lookout we soon needed a stop to remove a layer of clothing. Within an hour we were sitting in the sunshine on the seat at the lookout enjoying morning tea, pleased to have the hardest hill of the day done and dusted. We could see Carrington Ridge from here, where we would be climbing up later on in the day. The new Powell hut stood out with its red roof. After an enjoyable break we headed into the bush again but now the uphill was hardly noticeable. We stopped to view the remains of the old hut along the way before dropping down to Gentle Annie Saddle. It was great to hear the tui and bellbirds along this section of track. After reaching the saddle it was uphill again, but the gradient was a lot easier than our initial climb up to the Holdsworth Lookout. We were soon on to Carrington Ridge and travelling through lovely almost goblin like bush with beautiful mosses all around. The old signposts at high point 801 marked our lunch spot. After lunch and some photos we headed east along the old track and dropped back down on to the main Gentle Annie Track. After seeing only one other person up until now, this part of the track was certainly a lot busier with day trippers, runners and overnight trampers either heading out or on their way back home. We were back at the carpark 5 ½ hours after we left. Those on the trip were Denise, Thea, Brendan, Laura, Viv and Margaret