Pukeatua via Waiotauru River M
Saturday 18 August 2012
Eight of us plus one dog set off from the campsite at the end of the Otaki Forks road. After only half a kilometre we came to the big slip. It has a sketchy track across it, quite exposed in places, requiring a bit of care. Not good for anybody nervous of heights. About an hour later we reached the horseshoe bend in the river. The big slip above the bend which is marked on the map is now partly covered with vegetation.
Very soon afterwards we came to the bottom of a gentle spur leading south-west. We left the main track but soon picked up some old markers, many of them Peter Jagger ones. It was good going to the top of the spur at about 440m where there was a tree with three PJ orange dots. Here we stopped for morning tea. Our route was due west, dropping down to a tributary of the Waiotauru. This was true virgin bush territory without tracks or markers of any kind. We struggled across several shallow gullies and veered right when it got steeper. Soon we picked up a spur and dropped down through very awkward country to the stream. Across the stream we still followed a due west bearing. The hillside confronting us was very steep at the bottom but we managed to find a foothold. A steep climb of about 300m eventually deposited us on a flat part of the ridge at about 620m altitude. The time was 11.45am and there was relief in the party because we were close to Pukeatua and lunch. However it took us another 45 minutes to get there. Pukeatua summit at 812m is open and we had wonderful views of the coast. The Tararua tops were covered in cloud, which made it difficult to identify all the ridges, but we thought we could see Tregear Spur.
Somewhat cold after sitting around, we soon warmed up along the new Te Araroa track which runs roughly north east over Bumps 710 and 550. Unfortunately the track has been reduced to a sea of mud by the increased traffic. It was a bit of disappointment after soft moss underfoot on our off-track experience. However eventually we popped out into sunlight to find a beautiful track leading through open spaces with views down to Roaring Meg on the left. This section is marked with new DOC blue plastic poles. Turning right off the ridge we dropped steeply down to the Link track and back to the carpark. Total time was a little over 7 hours.
- Party members
- Neil Challands, Robin & Sue Chesterfield, Marg Conal, Ken Fraser (scribe), Matai, David McNab, Pip Newton, Sieny Pollard