Tararua Tramping Club
Tararua Footprints Makaretu Valley
Access: For the lower reaches, proceed as for the Ohau road-end (see 18.). Alternatively, the upper reaches of the Makaretu Stream may be reached from Tangimoana Rd, off Muhunoa East Rd at Ohau. Half a kilometre along Tangimoana Rd, and before the jog in it, a couple of farm buildings on the L mark the start of the route past Spion Kop to the flats in the mid-Makaretu Valley.
Note that the railway overbridge at the main road, 5 km from the barns, has only 3.2 metre clearance.
Much of the Makaretu is private property; until recently inland as far as Edwards Shelter, the old Waiopehu Hut site, and Blackwater Stream. See the 100 000 scale map for details. Recent changes have joined much of the land on the east of the Makaretu into the Park. If you intend crossing the farm front property to or from Spion Kop, please contact the farm manager at 06 368 4119 so as to avoid conflict with either shooters or farm activities.
Overview: The Makaretu Stream joins the Ohau River 200 metres downstream from the Pipe Bridge. The high terraces on its TL provide good going for a surprising distance before you have to drop into the stream.
There are no developed tracks in this watershed, but beyond the extensive and pleasant Makaretu Flats there are routes to Spion Kop, Oriwa and Waitewaewae River. The forests of this valley suffered badly in the 1936 storm.
The route up the Makaretu to the flats, 2˝ hours from the Ohau Pipe Bridge, has some easily travelled gorges. The grass flats are fairly continuous for 45 minutes, though now rather overgrown by pampas/toetoe. Were manuka better established on the W of the ranges, these may have now been better travel. The foot of the well-bushed spur to Oriwa Lake Hollow is 45 minutes beyond the flats. This spur is very obvious as one goes up the valley and close at hand, erosion debris buries its foot. The spur provides good going to the Oriwa Ridge, almost 2 hours distant, 3˝ hours from the start of the flats. At the spur-top turn R, and in 75 metres the scrub-fringe around Lake Hollow will be found.
The stream to the N of this spur also gives fair open going to the ridge and has no notable falls.
From the start of the Makaretu Flats, 90 minutes brings the foot of the obvious spur to Oriwa Lake Hollow. Beyond here the stream to the saddle with the East Waitewae is reasonably open and quick easy height is gained over erosion debris. The route eventually climbs steeply through sapling beech/kamahi to the saddle to the East Waitewaewae, a good 2 hours from the start of the flats. Then see 14.16.
Proceed up the Makaretu to the flats, 2˝ hours from the Pipe Bridge. About 20 minutes up the flats, Goat Canyon stream joins, draining a large basin from the W. There is an old blazed route up the spur on the N side of this stream. In about an hour the route meets a bulldozed track on the ridge. From here you may turn N through a bushed saddle before dropping down to the farmlands, or turn S over Spion Kop itself. A good 2 hours from the flats to the road. A return up Florida Rd to the Pipe Bridge carpark makes this a feasible day trip.
Note. Please seek permission from the manager as above before crossing the farm front land.
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