Otaki Forks – Elder Biv – Kime Hut – Otaki Forks
January 10-12, 2004
Map S26 Carterton
The over-riding reason for this trip was to visit Elder Biv one last time before DoC’s scheduled removal of the biv during the summer months. It was also an opportunity to visit untracked territories in several river catchments. From the Otaki Forks road end Dave and I followed the track to Waiotauru Forks, and then followed the four wheel drive track and its non-driveable extension to grid ref 939265. Our objective was the spur rising south from grid ref 939262. As we sat in the sun having lunch at the bottom of the spur, we commented on a patch of thick young beech - in this territory an indicator of previously used logging roads.
Our presumption was right and we spent the first part of the afternoon pushing our way through predominantly beech regrowth as we followed a former logging road up the gentle grade of the spur. When the road stopped we entered open bush, but as we continued up the spur we were not able to get into a tramping rhythm due to persistent windfalls and no consistent animal tracks usually found on the crown of spurs.
Late in the afternoon we reached the Renata Ridge track at grid ref 940241 and took a couple of hours to move east on to Elder Biv, with stops on Renata and Elder to appreciate the views in to untracked territory north and south of the ridge.
Ah! Elder Biv. What a gem! And what a shame that this ‘dog box’ from the Forest Service era is to be removed, as it is within the catchment of the Hutt River. A replacement shelter is to be erected in the headwaters of the Eastern Waiotauru River. The biv was in good shape, and we quickly gathered dry leatherwood and had the billy on the boil over an open fire. One of the features of the biv site is that from ten metres in front of the biv a tramper is treated to a magnificent view down the Hutt Valley to Wellington Harbour, and beyond to Mount Tapuaenuku.
The next morning we continued along Renata Ridge to Aston, on the Southern Crossing. Then it was along to Atkinson. After a prolonged break in the warm sun we went on to new territory for both - False Spur. This spur runs south from Atkinson and at its southern end gives dramatic views in to the headwaters of the Tauherenikau River. After a down-and-back jaunt along the spur we continued along the Southern Crossing and ended that warm summer’s day at Kime Hut.
Day three of our trip began with familiar damp mist enveloping Kime Hut. We took just day trip essentials and went via the former Vosseler Hut site to the start of the southern main range, and down into the first deep saddle, just below Boyd-Wilson Knob. Before reaching the low point of the saddle we chose a scoured stream bed and picked our way carefully down to the true-left upper branch of the Hector River. It was about this time that the mist began to dissipate rapidly and we moved upstream in warming conditions. We continued upstream , passing the stream entering on the true right, and arrived at the top forks, where the water courses become very steep and confined. We chose to exit the headwaters via a steep slip on the true right and came out at the bottom of the Kime Hut basin, where the stream plunges in a series of narrow waterfalls. From there it was back to Kime Hut for lunch.
The afternoon was spent travelling the familiar track back down to Otaki Forks. The trip had taken us along familiar tracks and through new territory in three river catchments. The Hector River catchment is adventurous country, while the Waiotauru River catchment is recommended to medium fitness / ability trampers who wish to develop off-track skills.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock & Dave Reynolds(leader and scribe).