Rimutaka Café - Abbots Creek Pylon Track Burnt Spur
25 September 1999
Abbots Creek, the southernmost in Tararua Forest Park, rises on the Wairarapa side of the range and flows east, parallel to SH2, Rimutaka Hill Road, from near Rimutaka summit tearooms. At Featherston it turns south and flows into Lake Wairarapa east of the Lake Domain. The valley provides excellent medium/fit grade tramping in its bush clad upper reaches.
From the tea-rooms we walked about 300 metres along SH2 toward Featherston, crossed the fence and were soon enjoying excellent travel in attractive beech forest. After a steep final descent into the creek just above a 2m waterfall, we had good travel all the way downstream. At a point about 1km before the "Twin Bridges", we climbed onto the true left terrace, pushed through some bush and cut our way through a band of blackberry to reach a grassy old farm road.
Highlights in the valley were the forest cabbage trees, young nikau, mikoikoi (iris), angle iron from a long-gone fence - it is hard to imagine that the upper valley was ever farmed - a railway-iron telephone pole complete with cross trees and insulators, and a truck wheel with solid rubber tyre. Spindly gorse hanging over the creek provided little trouble, but the willow infestation on the true right may be troublesome if not eradicated.
We had lunch a short distance up the Pylon Track, then continued the 1¼hr 700m climb to the ridge above Smith Creek. In windy, chilly weather we tramped through beech forest, past a car wreck, and a hut perched above the road cutting. After half an hour, we left the main track and followed a pylon service track to the start of Burnt Spur track which traverses Burnt Spur (653m) and Turnbull (635m). Here we had a blend of exposed travel on scrub-covered land with good views, and sheltered travel in pleasant, mossy forest. On the former we saw Wellington Regional Council's recently bulldozed road to be used to bring pine and fir logs from the Pakuratahi Valley plantations near the Rimutaka Incline Walkway.
Our trip lasted 7 hours. No doubt there are variations, such as descending into Abbots Creek from points along Burnt Spur. The creeks and spurs north of Turnbull look worthy of a reconnaissance.
Party members: Yvonne Ashworth, Dave Dyett, Chris Horne (leader/ scribe), Gordon McKenzie, Bernard Molloy, Sieny Pollard, John Thomson.