A Mid-Winter Circuit
Map Reference S26 Carterton & R26 Paraparaumu
The South Mangaone Road end offers tramping options aside from the well known walkway. To the west are untracked ridges in the headwaters of a branch of the Waikanae River. To the east lie the foothills of the Tararua Ranges; and it was east that we headed. It had been several years since any of us had been in this area. All three recalled being introduced to the adventurous potential of these foothills a decade previous by Peter Jagger, Gordon McKenzie and Michael Bartlett.
In the intervening years since our last visit there has been domestic incursion of the land. What previously was a treed forestry access road currently has one new home and a second is under construction. There has been considerable logging along the road, and a couple of times we had to stop and re-orientate ourselves.
Once over spot heights 318 and 374 we welcomed the natural footpad of the easily-followed route. About grid reference 908322 we dropped east off the track down a steep slope to a western branch of the Waikanae River. We crossed the river and scrambled up a steepish slope rising to the east through supplejack and kiekie to the crown of the spur on the true right of the river. On the crown we identified the old venetian blind track markers we knew from previous trips; and then followed the route to the junction with the Henderson Shelter sidle route.
We then followed the Henderson route, which runs just west of south to spot height 890 on the Kapakapanui track; and hence down to Kapakapanui Hut for lunch. This hut has a distinctive new door and a new fire box and is currently in good condition.
After lunch it was a relaxed, straight-forward descent along the track marked “overgrown” on the map (it is easily followed) back to the car. It was a trip with a variety of logging road, track, off-track, and clambering conditions, and with the pristine winter weather, made for a very enjoyable day. Trip time: seven and a half hours.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Marg Conal and Dave Reynolds