This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in October 1998
Otaki Forks - Maungahuka - Tarahanga Spur - Hector River - Bump 1055 - Kime - Otaki Forks
Waitangi Weekend 1998
This three day trip was to serve as a recce for a club trip later in the year. The plan was to drive to Otaki Forks on Friday and then tramp to Maungahuka. On Saturday we planned to travel to Kime Hut via Tarahanga Spur and the Hector River and on Sunday an easy downhill walk from Kime back to Otaki Forks.
We set out for Field Hut in hot sticky conditions, the bush offering protection from the heat but not the humidity. We were able to spend some time at Field Hut admiring the handiwork of Michael Bartlett and his team who had made such a superb job of installing the historic displays. We decided to carry on to Bridge Peak and have lunch in the vicinity of the old Vosseler Hut site where we knew there was a reliable water supply. During our lunch stop the weather started to close in and by the time we were ready to move off to Maungahuka, the tops were coated in thick mist and light drizzle. By the time we had negotiated the saddle between Vosseler and Yeates, the mist, and by now light rain, was accompanied by an ever strengthening wind. As we passed McIntosh and the Tararua Peaks got closer, the wind got stronger and the rain heavier. We soon put the Tararua Peaks and the chain ladder behind us and were making good progress to Maungahuka Hut in what were now rather difficult conditions. We were to be the sole occupants of Maungahuka Hut on the evening of Waitangi Day 1998.
The next day did not dawn bright and clear, in fact it was just as wet, windy and misty as the previous evening. Before leaving the hut we had a close inspection of the map and tried to remember as much as possible about the route we were to take down Tarahanga Spur. After passing Maungahuka Peak and travelling a short distance down Concertina Spur a rather large cairn marks the start of Tarahanga spur the direction of which is south. The spur is well defined and in open tussock to about 1000m after which the spur is covered by small stunted scrub before entering the bush. Once in the bush the direction is a little west of south and at about 800m the direction moves further to the west. We did not go off the end of the spur into the Hector River, but down into Tarahanga Stream which we followed a short distance into the Hector River. After crossing the waist deep Hector River we found a good lunch spot on the true right a little downstream from a rather good camp site on the true left of the river.
After location of the spur leading to bump 1055 to the west of Neill we had a very steep climb out of the river up the side of the spur the direction of which was a bit east of south, but which changed to west of south at about 600m, to south at about 820m and finally to west of south at about 1000m. The top of the spur is very good travel in open bush with none of the leather-wood which we had expected. From bump 1055 we made our way up the Winchcombe Ridge in steadily improving weather past Mt Hector and down to Kime Hut where we spent the night.
Wouldn't you believe it, the weather on our way back to Otaki Forks was the best of the trip. We made our way directly to Otaki Forks so as to avoid any delay in the holiday weekend traffic returning to Wellington.
Party members: Michael Bartlett, Tim Stone and Dave Reynolds (scribe).