Red Rock Stream, Kotumu Wednesday
Red Rock Stream flows from the Kotumu area of the Rimutaka Range into the Orongorongo River, about an hour’s walk up from the Coast Road, just before the Forest Park boundary.
I’d previously been impressed by the amount of rubble that had worked its way down to the stream mouth and had wondered what it must be like further up the valley.
It turned out to be an attractive walk. It was fairly straight-forward at the start, mostly open, with the usual coastal scrub on the sides of the valley. Not far up Red Rock Stream is a side valley on the true right, and being sheltered from most winds, the bush is mature, quite healthy, and supporting several tui. Further up we saw several goats, sheep with lambs, and many signs of pig.
Beyond there the valley became quite narrow and steep, with many slips and cliffs, but progress wasn’t too difficult. Nearer Kotumu, the map shows the valley to swing from about SE-NW to E-W. A small stream continues in the original direction but is not credited on the map with a blue line, although a wiggle in the contours accepts its presence. The main stream becomes very steep and narrow from here, with many small waterfalls and rock falls, so after a while we pushed our way through dense, scratchy scrub and bush lawyer towards some bigger trees on the spur between the two branches of Red Rock Stream. We’d been walking up the stream for about 2 hours.
After lunch (where it was only 8°C) we continued for about half an hour up on to Kotumu (786 m) which gave great views, particularly of the Wairarapa and coast. There were several signs that cattle had been in the bush on the south side of Kotumu – bad news.
We then battled our way in the very strong norwester along the main ridge back to the cars, making it about a 7 hour day.
None of us had been up Red Rock Stream before, and for four of the party, it was the first time they’d been to Kotumu too; they were most impressed with the dramatically severe erosion in the Kotumu Stream, and we all enjoyed Red Rock Stream. But where were the red rocks? We saw very few; maybe they are all buried under the erosion rubble.