Waiorongomai in the wet MF
Nine members set off at 8.45am from the car park off the south Wairarapa Western Lake Access road. Despite a forecast for clearing weather in the afternoon the whole tramp was conducted in the rain, as well as involving long spells of wet feet travel in Waiorongomai River and Oreore Stream. However because there had been a long dry spell, water levels were low and did not inhibit travel.
We reached Waiorongomai Hut after 90 minutes and sheltered inside for morning tea. Returning to the river we went about 200 metres upriver to the mouth of the Oreore Stream. After going south up the stream bed for about 400 metres we reached a fork, at which point we left the stream and started up a known route. This track climbs the ridge separating the west branch of the Waiorongomai River from Oreore Stream. The track was a bit scruffy for the first 50 metres of climb, but then became well defined and led up through a magnificent stand of beech. After reaching the top, we meandered through flat featureless land towards the saddle. Lunch was taken about 200 metres north of the saddle sitting in an area of attractive ferns.
Because it was still raining it was decided not to bother going to the precise location of the saddle (there was nothing to see there that was any different from our lunch spot). After some scouting around we reached the eastern edge of the plateau and looked over a precipitous drop down to the Oreore stream. (Google Earth suggests that the slope is 60 degrees in some parts!) Confident assertions by the leader that he had managed to go up and down this route the previous week encouraged the group to follow him down and everyone descended safely. From here it was a wet slog down the stream battling buddleia and tutu until rejoining the river and diverting to the hut for afternoon tea.
The return down the river was faster than the trip in, taking just over 80 minutes. 15.5km, approx 750m climbing, 8 hours.
- Party members
- Colin Cook, Gerald Leather, Paul McCredie, Peggy Munn, David Ogilvie, Wayne Perkins, Bob Stephens, Lynne White, Warwick Wright (Leader)