A weekend near Pahiatua

12 – 13 August

Saturday:  Nae Nae Track.

After an easy run down to Pahiatua, apart of course from dodging the ubiquitous potholes,  we turned inland and drove to the rather soggy end of Nae Nae road, where we parked with an awareness that later in the day we would need to push the van back out again. The weather wasn’t too bad as  the seven of us set off over the farmland, over a stile and immediately into the Otangane stream, which surprisingly, considering  all the snow on the ranges to low levels, was shallow and luke warm, ( and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything ). The track then continues over rough farmland, in what can only be described as a rather muddy fashion, until you enter the bush proper. The track then follows up the rather picturesque Nae Nae stream, with lots of little waterfalls, lots of steps and some real quality handrails.

Up to this point we had assumed that the track was uphill, but in comparison with what was to come, in hindsight it was virtually flat. I’ve heard the Tararuas described as anything under 45 degrees is a swamp and anything over is a waterfall, but it is not true, some of the steepest bits were still swamp. We slid our way though rather attractive low altitude regrowth forest until we reached the top where Paula was waiting for us.  Here we got a brief view of he Wairarapa spread out below before the cloud rolled back in.  Paula had left Simon and  Nic who had had headed off around the Otangane loop track.

We started walking looking for a lunch spot, but it was bloody freezing and windy, so we went back down the track a bit to get out of the wind. After lunch we were all cold so set of at a reasonable pace back down the hill, slipping, sliding and generally having an adventuresome time. As we descended we got warmer, right up until we had to cross the river again. Back at the van the girls pushed it back onto the road and we worked on the weekend crossword for a while until Simon and Nic got back. We then  drove off to Pahiatua for the night, Susan, Anne and Paula stayed in Ward 1 at Masters Hall while the rest stayed in the two cabins at the Carnival Park camp ground.   Masters Hall is the old Pahiatua Hospital, the ambience of which has been retained and is a relatively cheap accommodation option.

Sunday: Makairo Track

Sunday  morning saw us heading east to the Waewaepa  Range  and the Makairo Track. The track end was muddy and the old road was muddier and cut up and after that it  just kept getting worse. However, once we had passed the bridge the road had been cut from rockier ground and is in very good condition. Unfortunately there appeared to be a lot of both possum and deer sign around.

We continued on following the road which is a fair hike (about 8.5 Km to the saddle) , but with a fairly gentle steady gradient, getting some good views out over the bush and back towards the distant snow covered ranges. At the saddle we had lunch in a nice sheltered little dell, the wind was cool and there was the odd skiff of moisture in the air.

After lunch the ladies headed straight back , but the blokes followed a track, which we had found last time,  heading south from the saddle  for another hour before turning around.  There has got to be scope here for a longer trip right through and out the other side.   It was clear and well cut but very slippery on the steeper bits. We did get some views but in general the weather was deteriorating a bit and we just trundled on back down the road getting back to the van about an hour after the others. Apart from an interesting stretch on Waituna Road , courtesy of Gabrielle it was  an uneventful drive home.

Two days of misty cold weather but everyone enjoyed it.

Peter B, SimonW, Nic W, Susan L, Anne D,  Paula K and Glenda H