Saturday 26th June 2021
Due to bad weather the previous Sunday we postponed this tramp for 6 days. This Saturday it was overcast , a little sunshine, and a northwest breeze which was more evident at 950 meters on Wharite Peak. At 7 a.m. nine trampers left Havelock North and travelled in the van, picking two more up as we went south, through Dannevirke, and on to the Coppermine Road car park.
From the car park it was a 30 minute walk to the signposted junction for the Wharite Peak track. This was a well marked easy track above the Coppermine Creek. Information boards told of the copper mining in this area. From the junction, one group ascended towards Wharite Peak.
The second group walked up the right branch of Coppermine Creek to the old mine site. This was initially on a track but quickly changed to a river route which would not have been passable in last Sunday’s deluge.We passed the magazine site and climbed up hill a bit to the mine site, arriving 30 minutes from the junction. Not a lot to see there, just a sign and some railway irons. After a quick look we made our way back to the magazine tunnel where cave weta were seen at the end of the tunnel.
Returning to the junction we followed the loop track which took 2.5 hours. After crossing the Coppermine Creek the track ascended steeply for about 300 meters through bush. A very diverse native bush with large podocarps and lush regeneration of Matai. The track was slippery in patches but the surrounding bush sheltered us from the wind. Emerging from the bush there were grand views across southern Hawke’s Bay. Here we were more exposed to the southwest wind as we walked down a slippery fenceline, a farm track and back to the car park. Two minutes before the car park we crossed the Coppermine stream once more and with wet feet eagerly awaited the Wharite team to arrive.
After scrambling up the steep incline from the junction, the rest of the 520 m ascent became less vertical. The canopy soon turned to low hardy plants like Leatherwood which later provided shelter from the chilly wind. The track was well maintained, sometimes slippery or boggy. A few breaks in the foliage allowed us to appreciate the views and remark on our progress. The track ends at the transmitter tower that dominates the skyline on the most southern tip of the Ruahine range. Low clouds on the horizon did not diminish the amazing view across Southern Hawke’s bay.
Finding a sheltered spot we had lunch and then began the descent to the car park. We arrived back at the car park at about 2.45 PM making the whole tramp 5.5 hours . It was a two hour drive home in the comfort of the van.
Party: Simon W, Murry A, Glenda H, Anne D, Susan L, Anthea C, Derek B, Dave M, Jo P, Vivien X, Janice L.