Waewaepa Reserve

May 5 2024

We left Havelock North at 7am and got to Makairo Road East (Coonoor) road end around 9am on what was an exceptionally clear & slightly frosty morning. Makairo Road East links up with an abandoned council road that goes across the Waewaepa Range linking up with the Makairo Track road to the west. , The Heretaunga tramping club had been along the abandoned road in both , directions a number of times but never traversed along the Waewaepa Range ridge , to the south.

The road has been cleared of some vegetation and its evident that it gets some use by 4WD vehicles. The road is very rutted and slipping away in places. Again this time we walked from the road end (formerly a quarry ?) for about an hour, along & up the remnants of the road to the saddle. , Our aim was to get to the open area just beyond high point 789 on theWaewaepa Range.

From the road saddle, a track goes to the SE around the head of the valley and sidles around to the hillside, climbing in a SW direction upto the bushline. Looking across from the saddle road in a southerly direction is an old fence post which is a rough indication of where the track climbs over a grassy section amongst scrub. The entire track along the Waewaepa Range is unmarked and the entry point into bush SW from the saddle is not very obvious.

Once into the bush the track meanders before climbing steeply for 15 minutes. Beyond that the track elevation fluctuates by about 20 metres. A large part of the track along the range is over grown, upto knee height with grass, ferns or flax’s making difficult to determine one’s footing and see the direction of travel. But the track also has smaller sections of goblin forest with lichen hanging from tree branches.

Our group experienced some exceptional views from 3 open areas before high point 789 on the Waewaepa Range. Clear views from northern Tararua’s right along to the Ruahine’s with the tip of Mt. Ruaphehu showing above the Ruahine’s. To the west the the Pahiatua area was initially in fog, which cleared later. To the east the marginally higher Puketoi Range and coastal hill country which obstructed any view of the coast.

Just before high point 789 on the Waewaepa Range was a small secluded grassy spot which had been used for camping, perhaps by hunters. Here one of our observant party saw a partly hidden packed tent. Our tramping party arrived to grassy area just south of high point 789 & sort a little shelter to enjoy lunch with further great views. Four of the group ventured a further 200 m through the grassy area looking for sign of a southern track down from the range but without success. There was certainly evidence that this area was frequented by deer.

The return to the vehicle perhaps at a slower pace left us thinking we’d been spoilt as previous trips to the general area and been in windy, drizzly conditions. This Waewaepa Range tramp had been a bit of an unknown before now. Well worth a visit !

Party: Colin J, Glenda H, Peter B, Susan L, Judith M, Murry A, Simon W

Return to 2024 Tramps