Kaimanawa Forest Park from Clement Mill Road 15-16 Feb

We arrived at the road end around quarter to 10 after an uneventful drive from Havelock North.  Here Janice, Derek and Scott booted up and with packs on back were headed along the track towards Cascade Hut just after 10.  We noted the DOC sign at the road end said 4 ½ hours to Cascade – don’t believe it!  After a quick look around the camp area the rest of us were back in the truck travelling to Army Camp for our first walk.

The only tracks shown on the topo map for this area were the Te Iringa and Cascade tracks but we were hoping to find some unmarked ones.  We were lucky at Army Camp as we found a sign for Kens track beside a little memorial for Ken Follows who, a google search suggests, was an old guy who used to live in a campervan there (he died at Tokoroa in 2016).  We followed this track for about an hour until it came to a small clearing, the other side of which we spied pine trees.  After a spell there we retraced our steps to the truck enjoying the birds and vegetation as we went.  We had a early lunch at the camp site before driving down the road to Clements Clearing which was to be our camp site for the night.  

From Clements Clearing we walked a short distance along the road to the Kaimanawa Wall. The credulous believe that this wall is evidence of an ancient New Zealand culture and that the stone wall is at least 2000 years old and was created by the first settlers of New Zealand, the Waitaha, who were subsequently nearly exterminated by the Maoris, who arrived only 800 years ago while the sceptics and DOC believe that the rock formation is part of  large ignimbrite outcrop formed naturally 330,000 years ago. The wall is not as impressive as we had imaged and we accepted the latter theory.

We then explored the frost flat area around the camp site and then, leaving Peter behind to sleep, we walked up the road to the Kakapo Camp site.  This is a lovely site with a small stream beside it but had no obvious tracks to follow so we returned to Clements Camp via the road.  The bird life in this part of the Kaimanawas was great, nearly all the usual bush birds were seen or heard as well as the Kaka and Long tailed Cuckoo. The robins posed patiently for their photos to be taken while the Kaka obediently responded to Peter’s melodic “Kaka” calls.

In the past there were a series of huts and cook houses along the road but these have long since disappeared. The beech trees in this area of the Kaimanawa were milled for fence posts and battens up until the 1970s when tanalized post became readily available.

There were a few other groups at the clearing, one group of overseas young people and the rest were hunters – all very friendly.  Around 5 we had an exhausted hunter collapse at our site with a very heavy pack full of venison that he had caught around mid day.  After recovering a bit he boiled himself a brew and had a chat with us and then Peter offered him a ride back to his car which was about 5 km up the road.  After dinner it started to rain so we had a game of Quiddler in the back of the truck before retiring for a quite night.

Sunday dawned overcast and after breakfast we drove back to the road end and started along the Hinemaiaia track to Cascade Hut.  This is a very pretty track with some areas of virgin bush, very friendly robins, a lovely stream and is mainly flat for the first hour or two. At one point there is a landbridge, Peter explored below it and found it to be a pumice cave. After walking about 2 hours we stopped for a break just short of where the track starts it’s first major climb, left a note for the Cascade party and headed back, diverting off-track to take photos of a waterfall we could hear below us and for Peter to swim in the Hinemaiaia Stream.  We had lunch back at the truck and waited for the Cascade Party to return before heading home.

Cascade Hut Party:

The track followed the Hinemaiaia stream for about 1.5 hours along cliff edges then we started to climb several steep slopes and drops using tree roots for hand and foot holds. An interesting ancient native forest showing evidence of previous logging -large tree stumps with clinging vines ferns and moss. The moss and lichen looked very dry but fine drizzle on the Sunday refreshed it a little.

After 4 hours of climbing Scott returned to a camping site by the Hinemaiaia Stream where he waited for our return on the Sunday. He was lucky enough to see a  hind come very close as it drank from the river. The next 3 hours the track was visible with plenty of summer leaf fall but we did manage to divert off the track on occasions. Careful placing of the feet was required as there were many tree roots to avoid.

Once on the “top’ there was a very long descent to the river where the Cascade Hut was only 2 minutes inland. Here we had an evening meal, breakfast then returned the same way.

Deer hunters were out this weekend so it was always good to chat about their hunting experiences.  We had the company of Kaka Fantails and one Morepork at various times over the two days. Time taken was 6 hours each way.

Party: Janice L, Derek B, Scott C, Peter B, Susan L, Anne D, Glenda H

Heretaunga Tramping Club 2020 Tramps

On and near Nth Tararua Range 11-12 Jan
Ahuriri Estuary Walk 19 Jan
Tutaekuri Gorge 2 Feb
Pourere Beach 5 Feb
Clements Road Area 15-16 Feb
The Gums and Beyond 19 Feb
Stoney Creek 1 March
Barlows Loop 14-15 March
Sunrise–66–Waipawa River 29 March
Central NI Scenic (Pureora) 10-13 April
Howletts via Longview 25–27 April
Beach walk (Mangakuri sth) 10 May
Makino Hut 24 May
Waikaremoana 30 May–1 June
Wharite to Coppermine Rd 7 June

On and near the Northern Tararua Range 11-12 Jan 2020

I had spotted a new walk in the NE Tararua Range in a magazine so a year ago Peter and I checked out the first part of it and decided the Club should try it.  So on the Saturday nine of us arrived at the Naenae Road end, which is west of Pahiatua and started walking just after 9.30 AM.  The first obstacle was the Otangane Stream (which is a tributary of the Mangahoa Stream – the Mangahoa is the last major river that meets the Manawatu River before the Manawatu Gorge).  Some crossed without getting feet wet but most forwent the balancing act and only received slightly damp socks. The track is a paper road and it initially siddles around some farmland before heading up a small stream.  The track makers have spent a lot of time making steps up the edge of the stream and we slowly made our way up on them.  We had spied a friendly Kereru just before the stream but we saw other few birds during our tramp.  

After about an hour of uphill we reached the Otangane Loop Track, this track can also be accessed from the Palmerston North side via the Sledge Track at the end of the Kahuterawa Road (in behind Massey University).  The Loop Track was fairly flat but the ground was uneven and the hook grass ground cover obscured the track slowing down progress a bit.  The weather was fine, although a little windy, so there were good views to be had , at times over the Wairarapa farmland.  The last of us arrived at the turn-off to Pukenaenae Lookout (which is unmarked on the topo map but is the short side-track on the southern most section of the loop track) just before noon and those already there proclaimed that this was their turn-around point.  Most took in the view at the lookout at the end of the side-track and then settled down for lunch.  After lunch Des and Murry decided they should continue on to our original destination, the Aruwaru Trig, while the rest retraced our steps back, some forgetting to watch out for the white triangles that signalled the start of the track down and had to be called back.

The trip down was uneventful and we hadn’t been back at the truck for long when Des and Murry appeared.  They had overshot the Aruwaru track and when they did find the turn off (hidden off track) the signage there indicated the trig was over 1 hour away still so they gave up their quest and returned back to the track.

It was just a short drive from the end of Naenae Road to our accommodation for the night in an unused house on Fred’s farm at Mangamaire. Mattresses from the truck and picnic chairs that we all brought made for a most comfortable night – thanks Fred. Late afternoon the guys went with Fred to check our some natives growing in a block of trees on the property while the ladies just relaxed.  As it was only 9 km to Pahiatua we all hopped in the truck and had takeaways for dinner.

Sunday morning we were all in the truck before 8 and headed towards the Pahiatua Track and the Manawatu, our destination for the day.  We parked the truck in a posh area of Summerhill and made our way along the Turitea Walkway to Tennent Drive at the entrance of Massey University where the new shared pathway starts. An underpass took us under the busy road and then it was a walk along Old Dairy Farm Road past various research areas to the Manawatu River and a limestone pathway.  We detoured to cross the new 19 million dollar pedestrian bridge over the river, even at 9.30 in the morning there was plenty of people doing the same.  We then walked downstream along the limestone track, on our right he river and on our left mainly farmland, on a lovely sunny morning. Three more bridges and a total of about 10 kilometers since leaving the truck we arrived at Linton and the end of the track. Here my son Daniel (a Palmerston North resident) transported Peter & me back to retrieve the truck while the rest had lunch.

The last walk of the day (after a quick detour to view Fred’s Aokautere farm) was at the western end of the Manawatu Gorge – four walked the Tawa Track while the remaining five walked directly to the White Horses lookout and relaxed there. We were all in the truck again before 3 and headed homewards which included a couple of quick stops, one to view the windmills and one to view the eels at Norsewood when we dropped Murry off.  Many thanks Peter for driving for what was a great weekend.

Party: Glenda H, Peter B, Janice L, Joan R, Anne D, Murry A, Des S, Fred C and Susan L