This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in July 1997
The Peak - Mukamukaiti
8 February 1997
The party of 12 set off from the mouth of the Orongorongo River on Saturday 8 February. The usual walk up the river and then up Peak Stream brought us to the bottom forks of that stream. The bush route to the top of the range starts up the spur between the two stream branches and follows a series of ridges and old animal tracks up to point 743 on the main range of the "Orongos". A few short sections have become overgrown during the last year and there were a few recent windfalls.
From point 743, 35 minutes of travel south along the top of the range, brought the party to the Peak. Much of this section has become more overgrown. The actual summit is on a spur just off the main range and is rocky on top, giving a good clear view point. It was an ideal place to spend some time over lunch, although the exposure to the winds made it cold - on many trips to the Peak I don't think I have ever been really warm.
We still had a long way to go, so we eventually terminated our lunch period and set off north to the saddle at the head of the Mukamukaiti and dived down into the headwaters of that stream. We had to aim for the tributary furthest to the true right, because the three tributaries to the left of that one joined together to go over a waterfall about 30 metres high. It was also necessary to travel as far downstream as possible before dropping into the waterway of that stream, in order to bypass obstructive vegetation. Finally it was necessary to find reasonable routes down fairly steep slopes. These three factors made the navigation interesting and governed by logic.
Travel down the middle section of the Mukamukaiti involves quite interesting scrambles over large boulders. In the lower end of the stream there are another two waterfalls which are bypassed by a track over a bluff on the true left. The entrance to this track had been concealed by vegetation on the stream terrace. The track itself gives quite spectacular views down into the stream bed.
Peter had a heavy fall on the top of the range, which injured his leg and gave his head a hard enough blow to cause shock. After that accident he did well to negotiate the descent into the Mukamukaiti and the travel down the stream.
We finally reached the Palliser Bay coast and completed the trip with the long walk round the coastline back to the Orongorongo River.
We had had a very interesting trip with plenty of variety. One of the appealing features of tramping in the "Orongos" is the variety of trips that you can do that cross the main range from Orongorongo River to the Palliser Bay Coast. Many of the routes down to the coast are quite precipitous.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Michael Bartlett, Margaret Conal, Stephen Epstein, Hugh Fyson, John Henry, Peter Jagger, Syd Moore, Val & David Podmore, Dave Reynolds and Gordon McKenzie (leader and scribe).