Off Track to Akatarawa Tramline MF
25 May 2013
The direct route to the bush tram line through private property was not possible due to logging operations and a longer alternative route was proposed through Greater Wellington Akatarawa forest. We left the Akatarawa Road north of Staglands at the Akatarawa River, Bull stream intersection at 08:30, climbing up a steep spur to the north and then sidling and dropping to the south west crossing the Akatarawa River at a horseshoe bend.
The river was low and with dry feet we pushed on to the west crossing numerous old bush tramways, reaching the main tram line before 11am. In many places the steel rails and wooden sleepers are visible; we also came across tram wagon wheels. Travel along the tram way was fast and closely followed the contours, twisting in and out of every gully. By 12:30 we were North West of Mt Deadwood near point 551.
After lunch we struck off north east along what showed on the map as a long flat ridge with gentle contours towards point 440. In fact it was a long ridge with many small unmarked gullies and further on, as we moved out of the more open old bush tram forest into the later bulldozed clear fell, we ran into a nightmare of lawyer, logs and thick scrub. Once over point 440 the ridge was more pronounced and the going easier, we crossed the Akatarawa River and headed west but somehow managed to bear too far south, hitting the main river again, which meant a steep slope slow sidle to the side stream we needed to cross. Another half hour and we were on the ridge that would take us back to the car. It was 5pm and initially the trail was open, but in the gloom, staying on the ridge was a challenge and with the aid of head torches it took a further two and a half hours to cover the last 1.5km to the car. The route to the tram line was reasonable going, but there was little interest in repeating the chosen return route.
- Party members
- Robin Chesterfield (leader and scribe), Colin Cook, Sieny Pollard