Waikanae - Kapakapanui Stream - Bump 611 - 1949 Lodestar Air Crash
Saturday 24 April 1999
Those of us departing Wellington/Hutt were glad to leave rain behind, whereas Waikanae was in sunshine. We welcomed back Bill Allcock after injury. The 10 of us assembled at the Huia St access of the Hemi-Matenga Reserve. From here to the western ridge top was a steady climb of about 400m/1300ft.
At the track junction we proceeded north for 15 minutes or so to an easterly spur, down which some weeks ago I had made a route through dense supplejack and kie-kie. We had to descend about 260m/850ft to the rarely visited Kapakapanui Stream, for brief refreshments.
I was not going to take the party up the spur to the east and then traverse north. Michael Bartlett and I had previously made a recce of that route, and to our chagrin had 3 hours plus of supplejack, kie-kie and scrub to struggle through!
A more adventurous and probably less painful alternative was to go up the Kapakapanui Stream north to a prominent side-creek on the true left. The map indicated the stream bed would rise 120m/400ft to that point. We estimated stream travel between 1 and 1½ hours. After some minutes there were two waterfalls in quick succession but these were easily sidled. Despite the valley being narrow - sometimes between rock walls - there were little terraces giving good travel. The water level was low and the many crossings were easy. We passed two unlisted side-creeks, and checked our position and direction despite many stream bends not shown.
Having reached the prominent side-creek, Colin led us up to its forks - to identify it beyond all doubt. At these forks - much to our surprise - was old roofing iron, other debris and a former camp site! We carried on up the steep north arm to another forks. From here a spur rose due east - where we should go. Margaret and Mike led us up through open forest to our delight, to a small clearing on the eastern ridge a little north of bump 610m. We had lunch at this pleasant spot which gave long views of Kapiti Island.
However, we were surrounded by 2m high dense scrub, so I cut a passage across to tall forest. We then swung more north to a known pine plantation road. Next, round to the previously seen microwave station as at bump 611m. A quick visit to the 1949 Lodestar crash site, then back onto the grassy route through the pines, and picking up the track south.
Still in fine weather we returned down to Huia St by about 3.30pm
The party: Margaret Conal, Mike Arnold, Gordon McKenzie, Colin Cook, Dave Dyett, Dave Reynolds, Bill Allcock, Tim Stone, Daniel Casagrande and Peter Jagger (leader & scribe).