Panatewaewae Circumnavigation MF
10 February 2016
Panatewaewae Stream, the largest tributary of the Waikawa, is yet small enough that it’s possible to walk around its watershed in a day – or so we hoped.
The stream is accessed from the end of DoC’s North Manakau Road extension *1. From the Waikawa-Panatewaewae forks we passed over Waitewaewae 939 and 969, following a known route to Oriwa Ridge, a route which is also used to access an airplane wreck *2 just north of .955. Beyond .969 there were permolat-like markers as far as the Oriwa Ridge turnoff, but as the GPS trace shows, we still managed some circular tramping where the East Waitewaewae River headwaters push northwards, buckling the western end of an otherwise east-west ridge line.
Past the Oriwa Ridge turn-off the markers disappeared but travel was easy for a while: fairly open forest and good animal trails. Then, as the ridge height declined, undergrowth became thicker and the trails weaker. We twice found ourselves descending in an area where twin spurs calve off the ridge, first to either side then, beyond .775, both to the right (east). The first time we blundered off the main ridge until a sighting of .755 well to our right suggested we were ‘off off-track’.
From Panatewaewae 728 a reasonable track leads SW then NW, joining a logging road at about 550m altitude. This road continues about 8.5km back to North Manakau Rd extension.
1 This extension has been blocked by a large slip about 150m from its terminus at a the toilet/parking area. However 4WDs may still drive most of the way with an adequate turning area to be found just past where the logging road joins the extension.
2 The airplane wreck, some 20 - 40m below the ridge top, dates from 1941. A full account of the loss of the plane and the discovery of its wreckage almost 40 years later is given in http://www.parawaitc.org.nz/Other/Oxford1302.pdf (Thanks to Kim for this reference.)
- Party members
- Tony Black, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Kim Livingstone, Peggy Munn, David Ogilvie, Marilyn Richards, Bill Wheeler, Warwick Wright