Cloustonville - Pakuratahi Forks (off track exploration)
Sat 2 September 2006
Clothed in dense bush with scrub and tussock at higher levels, the Maymorn and Quoin ridges form a complex area of ridges and streams which link the Hutt water catchment areas between the Marchant Ridge and the Waiotauru headwaters. It is an area that has fascinated me for over 45 years especially as Wellington’s water collection area; it was forbidden territory until 1997, when it was opened to trampers for day trips.
Unfortunately the Cloustonville access has been closed since 2000, but with the kind permission of Roger Redington, we were able to organise a crossing of the ranges west to east gaining access through his land. We left our cars at the Kaitoke car park and were shuttled round to Cloustonville (courtesy of Hutt Valley Taxis) which made things easier for car pickup later. We walked up the old logging road over to Frances Stream, past an old stone hut I once built and started the climb still on logging tracks to a branch of the Maymorn Ridge. Near the top we left the old bulldozed track and headed north to the Pukeruru junction where the ridge went to the east. At bump 707 we went north again just to puzzle Neil and Colin but it was a false trail; we just called in at the Redington boys’ hut to shelter from the wind and have morning tea. From the hut, now in a sad state of repair, we climbed up the ridge that leads east to Pukeruru. We found the iron pipe which marks the top and then headed down a gentle ridge in a southerly direction past the-hard-to-find junction with the main Maymorn Ridge, until nearly at the Kerekere, where we had a steep scramble down to the stream.
Once we were out of the stream, a steady climb lead us up to the ridge where we made our way east between the Kerekere and Putaputa Streams. The ridge twisted and turned in a few places keeping the navigators on their toes, and a very dark afternoon did not help. Eventually the ridge turned to the south and we started to descend to Pakuratahi Forks, arriving there about 5pm. A brisk walk along the road back to the ranger’s house and to our cars saw us complete the crossing from Cloustonville just as the rain started which again was perfect timing to finish an interesting trip through a virtually untouched wilderness area.
- Party members were
- Colin Cook, Marg Conal, Neil Challands, Tim Stone, Sieny
Pollard, Ken Fraser, Bernard Molloy, and Barry Durrant (leader/ scribe).