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