Waiohine and Tauherenikau Peaks
3 and 17 November 2010
Both the Waiohine and the Tauherenikau Rivers have peaks named after them above their lower gorges. Wednesday groups visited both tops in a fortnight.
Tauherenikau is commonly climbed by crossing farmland and a pine plantation to reach the spur beyond Taits Stream, thus avoiding the river. But to make a round trip of it we took the River Track from the end of Bucks Road to a point due south of Tauherenikau Peak, forded the river and climbed the spur on the TR of a small side stream. The bigger beech trees didn’t last; fire long ago took out the forest nearly to .883, but long enough ago for regrowth to make for reasonable if scratchy going. Only occasionally did we have to wriggle through branches of scrub on the eastern side of the spur and at about 730 metres the scrub on the crest of the spur was low enough for superb views. From .883, to Tauherenikau at .889, and on to .885 is over a kilometre of delightful bush travel. Tauherenikau is marked by a small cairn and a broken china mug; .885, important for the descent, by a brief but distinct climb and a couple of coloured ties. From .750, instead of taking the usual spur to the southeast, we tried the spur to the south-southwest. It proved excellent, having a track once well used if no longer cared for, and bringing us out by a small stream near the western edge of the pine plantation (there is an old brick fireplace up on the bank at the top of the pines). Two of us had a dip in a wonderfully temperate Tauherenikau River to wash off the sweat of a beautiful but very warm day. A bit under 8 hours
We had tackled the Waiohine peak in a similar manner, walking along the Totara Flats track from Walls Whare as far as Makaka Creek and making a crotch-deep ford of the Waiohine River at the confluence. There are better places to cross just around the corner downstream; in fact, dropping down from the splendid lookout 400 or 500 metres before Makaka Creek and crossing to the mouth of Deep Creek would probably avoid the 20 minutes of supplejack-infested river terrace we encountered before we got on to that creek’s TR spur. Hereabouts are bats: DOC has stoat traps up the spur and along the main ridge above, though windfalls and other obstacles ensure travel is not quite as easy as that might suggest. The top of Waiohine, as the few remaining stumps attest, was once clear-felled for surveying, and little has grown back to its north, making for great views. The journey south along the main ridge requires observant eyes to pick up a small cairn at about 700 metres where the usual route drops down a face to the southeast. Last time I was in these parts, in cold drizzle, I missed that cairn and it took us a lot of casting about to find it. The map suggested the mistake might have some potential, so this time we carried on to the southwest, dropping into Rocky Stream when we were at about 630 metres and climbing up – southeast would be about right – to join the lightly marked track to the east of .532, and so down – the track sometimes a little too lightly marked for quick travel - to Fern Stream and the car park. A fairly quick 8 hours: Paddy had a birthday dinner to get to.
- Party members
- Waiohine: Colin Cook, Ken Fraser, Paddy Gresham, David Ogilvie, Bill Stephenson, John Thomson (leader and scribe) and Bill Wheeler