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Tararua Footprints Ngatiawa, Waikanae, and Mangaone Valleys

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13 Ngatiawa and Waikanae Rivers and the Mangaone Valley

Much of these areas lie on map sheet NZMS260 R26 Paraparaumu [Ed. Map ref??]

Access: The road-ends for Waikanae River and the Ngatiawa River can both be reached from the Akatarawa Waikanae Road, or more directly from Waikanae on SH1. These roads have some narrow gravel reaches that require care.

Trampers planning to use the Akatarawa Road for access to this area are advised to consult the Kapiti Coast District Council road status page. This is also accessible as a quick link at the bottom of their homepage.

Waikanae River road-end: Along Akatarawa Road 4.7 km from Waikanae, Ngatiawa Rd branches L and 700 metres along this, Mangaone South Rd branches L for 5.3 km to the car-park at its end. From this car-park the Mangaone Walkway heads N across a stream (the Waikanae River).

Ngatiawa River road-end: This is 4 km beyond the Mangaone South Rd turn-off. Trail markers will be seen through the left-most gate marking routes that lead to Kapakapanui. These cross private land which should be treated with respect. Park your car well clear of the gates.

Overview: These two minor valley systems, headwaters of the Waikanae River, contain the popular Mangaone Walkway, and tracks to Kapakapanui, Renata and Waiotauru. The infrequently visited Waikanae River branches contain considerable areas of lowland forest, much of it still in original condition.

13.1 Mangaone Walkway (south to north) QFG

This is the better direction to travel the Mangaone Walkway, with the first half of the journey through pleasant regenerating bush. The second half of the track at the N end is over formed road. About 40 minutes to the halfway point.

In the Kaitawa Scenic Reserve, there are a number of old logging roads. These disused roads are neither maintained nor marked, but visitors are free to explore these at will. Old bridges may not be safe.

Northwards: From the Mangaone Walkway carpark (at the Waikanae River) the track drops past the signs to cross the Waikanae River east branch, then climbs the spur between the two branches and follows the road for a 100 metres. Once in the bush the track is well defined and crosses the Waikanae River North branch in a few minutes. From here the benched track stays on the TR of the stream until the halfway point is reached. There is a washout about 30 minutes into the trail, bypassed by a short scramble.

The regenerating bush is pleasant and cool, with glimpses of mature forest on the skyline. There are many private grassy or flat areas alongside the track for picnics and recreation. On some of the sharper curves on the track, radial grooves on the track edge indicate the position of the sleepers of the old bush tram line.

Putaputaweta trees are common here and on them the old burrows of the Puriri moth are easy to spot. This moth grub excavates a hole in the tree and feeds on an extended area of sap layer; this excavation well-camouflaged with a layer of silk. Once the large green 'ghost moth' emerges, the hole is often taken over by the weta - thus mistaken as the makers of the holes.

At the halfway mark, (Topo50 BP33 815 746, NZMS260 S26915363), the route crosses the stream to the farm road on the TL, which it follows to the northern end 40 minutes or so away.

Mangaone Walkway (north to south) QFG

Access: From Te Horo on SH1, the Hautere Cross Rd towards Otaki Forks leads R across the railway. Mangaone North Rd branches off this after 3.2 km, and leads 4.1 km to the carpark at the N end of the Mangaone walkway. This narrow gravel road needs care, and this road-end may be less secure for cars than the southern one.

Southwards: Mangaone Walkway from the N is a formed road till almost the halfway point. For the first 20 minutes it climbs steadily to the saddle, then drops gently alongside farmland paddocks for another 20 minutes. At this point the road trifurcates. The track servicing the powerline climbs the spur to the L, and a similar branch follows the stream's TL to the first pylon down-valley.

The walkway track now swings R and down-valley to cross the stream and over a stile to the halfway point sign. The route now stays on the TR almost to the Waikanae end. Five minutes or so over grass brings the start of the Waikanae Scenic Reserve, through which the Walkway leads. Ten minutes down the track is a scramble around a washout, but the track is otherwise well benched. Forty minutes from the halfway point to the road-end carpark.

13.2 Kapakapanui from Mangaone South Road QOT

Due to changes in land ownership, access through this property is presently forbidden. Two hours to Kapakapanui Hut, and an hour further to the summit.

From the carpark, a private forest road climbs the hill steeply for 25 minutes to a power pylon. From this hilltop the road drops in a large 'S' past a small saddle and, 12min from the pylon and about 200 metres before hilltop 318, a side road drops to the L. Follow this through the exotic forest to reach its southern edge 30 minutes from the pylon. The trail now drops through second-growth to a saddle, which has streams close on both sides; then climbs to soon reach original forest. The track fork at 755 is reached a good 30 minutes from the saddle, with Kapakapanui Hut 25 minutes beyond.

A few minutes up from the hut is point 890. Here an old blaze led L to Henderson's Hut (long demolished), and the main ridge towards Pukeatua, Tent etc. This BN country, muddled by logging tracks in the N, can provide long-lasting memories.

From 890 the trail soon emerges from the forest and continues up past the repeater station on 1094 to the Kapakapanui summit beacon less than 1 hour from the hut.

13.3 Kapakapanui from Ngatiawa Road end QOT

From the left-hand gate at the Ngatiawa Road end, trail markers lead down and across paddocks to the Ngatiawa River. The Ngatiawa Forks are 12 minutes, and 4 crossings, upstream. The last crossing leads to the toe of the spur between the forks, and the Langer memorial tablet. Two routes go to Kapakapanui from here. One climbs the SE spur between the forks directly to Kapakapanui. The other climbs the spur NE of the forks, then swings past Kapakapanui Hut and on to the summit. Both tracks are well padded and reasonably well marked.

Up by the SE spur. From the forks, 2 hours of quick easy height gains the summit of Kapakapanui. The last part is through tall grass covering the burn. The summit is marked by a large trig beacon. Twenty-five metres before the top, the trail from the Ngatiawa-Waiotauru Saddle joins.

Panoramic views extend from the islands off the coast, past the Southern Crossing in the E, to the conspicuous pyramid of Arete in the distant NE. From this angle, its aretes proclaim the name origin.

From the summit, the anti-clockwise circuit can be completed by following the trail N. It soon passes the transmitter station on 1094 to veer NW and drop to the bush. Kapakapanui Hut is reached in less than an hour from the summit. From the hut the track continues NW to 755 in 15 minutes. From here the trail heads W, soon bearing SW, and leaves the gentle uplands 15 minutes from 755, to drop to the Ngatiawa Forks 90 minutes from the hut.

Up by the NE spur. From the forks, the route continues up the TR branch of the stream for 6 minutes before zig-zagging up on the L. It takes up to 2 hours to reach the hut. Five minutes above the hut, on a small knob, the indistinct Henderson route joins from the Pukeatua track. The summit is less than an hour from the hut. [revised November 2015]

13.4 Kapakapanui from Maymorn Junction QOT

The first hour from the Maymorn Junction is over a gentle ridge then drops to a major saddle. From here the trail climbs steeply towards Kapakapanui another 75 minutes away.

The last part of the climb is over alpine wetland meadow resulting from the burn in 1903. The recovery time to full forest may be another 1000 years.

13.5 Renata Hut from Maymorn Junction QOT

From the junction with the Waiotauru/Odlins 4x4 road at the saddle, the track climbs a little over point 822, the actual Maymorn Junction, then drops steadily to join the trail from the Frances Stream. Renata Hut should be reached in 30-45 minutes from the 4WD road.

13.6 Odlins Road/Waiotauru Road: Maymorn Junction from Akatarawa Saddle QOT

This road is un-signposted, and quite variable in its state of repair, with a large slip below the road 9km in; it is not suitable for 2-wheeled vehicles. Tramping time to Maymorn Junction is 2.5 to 3 hours.

From the highway, the 4WD track climbs and sidles east and north around to 581, passing half-a-dozen side tracks on the way. Noteably there are white hydrangeas planted at the roadside every so often.

At 581 a 4WD track continues north toward Ngatiawa, while the 4WD track to Maymorn Junction descends east to climb and and wind its way east and south above Ngatiawa River toward Kakanui. From there it winds and sidles to the saddle called Maymorn Junction (just below 822). At the saddle the 4WDtrack to Waiotauru Hut is straight ahead (the track to Kapakapanui branches off a bit further on), and the track to Renata Hut is up on the bank to the right.

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Page last modified on 2017 Mar 10 04:44

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