Lookout Point - (M/F)
13th March 2010
Lookout Point appears on both the 260 series and the recent Topo50 series of 1:50 000 maps. It is located on the eastern side of the Waingawa River valley part way down an insignificant spur that drops into the valley about 1½ kilometre above Mitre Flats. The 1950 edition of the “map of the Tararua Mountain System” published by Lands and Survey also shows a Lookout Point but, as well as can be discerned in the absence of contours and with only major ridges and a few spurs shown, it sits about a kilometre south of the Topo50 point, part way down a spur on an old route over Mount Blake into Mitre Flats. On this warm autumn day we planned to visit both points.
From the Mikimiki road end a DOC track (the old tram track) bridges Mikimiki Stream at its major forks. We left the track there and ascended the spur rising northwest towards Bruce Hill; a good pad with numerous markers. There is a viewpoint shortly before Bruce Hill but cloud had descended to shroud the tussock tops of the ranges to the west and the fresh snow from yesterday’s Southerly “bomb”, glimpsed on the drive north, was hidden. Near the top a swing southwest is required for southward travel along the Waingawa eastern watershed. A small marked clearing tempted but we climbed a little higher before leaving the pad at a point where a local increase in marker density was suggestive.
The entire section of Blue Range ridge from Bruce Hill to the southernmost of the two Bumps 865 is pretty well devoid of decent pad and markers. At southern Bump 865 a cairn and two permolat markers appear. Beyond, above Stoney Creek, mingi-mingi (also called bushman’s friend!) flourishes; the ridge is narrow and travel is rough right through to Blake 930. No sign of the old route but we did stay near the ridgeline whereas it may have passed lower down.
As we travelled south from Bruce Hill we detoured to search the two spurs for possible Lookout Points. Dropping about 100 m down the first we did come upon a small local dimple on the spur, strewn with remains of long fallen forest giants – perhaps once you could see out from here and view…Mitre? Not now with the canopy restored. The second spur running slightly north of west off southern Bump 865 bears markers and the odd massive axe blaze, remnants of the old track We descended to a point where the route seemed to turn left (SW) and fall away more steeply but again found no obvious lookout points.
From Blake we followed a spur east. A delightful animal trail down to about 800 m suddenly veered NE, leaving us to probe our way down a steep featureless face, then through a broad saddle and up to Bump 632. We returned to the road end via Mount Dagg thereby completing a circumnavigation of Mikimiki Stream west branch.
Thanks to John Thomson who found the same point on his 1936 edition of this map. On some older maps it appears as if the track went only as far as the Lookout Point and other routes were used to access Mitre Flats. Such a scenario might favour the Topo50 position as the “true” Lookout Point.
Note added 1 Mar. 2012. I agree with the comment in John’s report regarding the location of Lookout Point. I simply didn’t descend far enough in March 2010. Now to convince the Geographic Board!.
- Party members
- Tim Stone, Colin Cook (leader and scribe).