Access: Up Akatarawa Rd (see Kāpiti Coast District Council road status), 12.3 km from its junction with SH2, is the small settlement of Cloustonville, and just before the Wellesley Country Park (previously the Salvation Army youth camp), a road leads up the TL of the river to the Arawhata Centre. Five hundred metres along this road, at the foot of the hill, a bush road turns off R to enter a gully and gives access to Frances Stream. Cars may be left at the Centre across the river on the TR, in return for a parking donation. Phone 04 526 7524.
Two kilometres before the Salvation Army youth camp is the old Baigent Mill Rd heading up the hill over private land to the logging blocks and Maymorn territory beyond. This is not further described.
Overview: The Maymorn Ridge territory is largely untracked – the comments in 11.5 apply. The only tracks (apart from that to Renata and beyond to Atkinson) are the logging trails of Baigent and of Clouston dating from mid-1900s. Frances Stream itself is a minor stream, and the approach to it is over a low saddle perhaps three kilometres above its junction with the Akatarawa.
(There is another similarly-named stream in the ranges, the male version, Francis Creek, draining the Holdsworth-Angle Knob area.)
A little over 3 hours by either the Frances Stream or the Maymorn Ridge route.
But entry or exit via Frances Stream is prohibited at present.
Inwards: At the foot of the hill leading to the Salvation Army’s Arawhata Centre, a bush road joins at a gate. This road rises to cross a glade and then steepens to reach the saddle 15 minutes from the gate. Just before the saddle, the formed road swings L from the old logging track and re-crosses the logging track at the saddle. The old logging track follows straight across the saddle, down the hill then bends sharp L to cross Frances Stream, about 20 minutes from the gate. Beyond this stream crossing, the track follows up the TL of Frances Stream a few minutes to an open loading area at the foot of the hill.
From here the route along the Maymorn Ridge splits from that up Frances Stream. The track along the ridge follows an old logging road to the end of the logged area and is good going. That up the stream also follows an old logging road but, with washout, toetoe, and windfall, it has now deteriorated to a route, not a track, but is probably OT+.
«» Maymorn Ridge Track
From the Frances Stream loading area, climb the hill road to pass the big bend in the pines in 5 minutes, then veer L 10 minutes later at the track forks (the R branch track heads to the S and the Baigent hilltops). The top of the hill is reached 45 minutes from the loading area, and the ridge beyond is mostly level for the next 30 minutes to the end of the road. These logged-over areas nicely represent the healthy forest remaining after selective logging, as compared with clear-felled areas elsewhere. A few minutes through a fringe of bush brings a second road formation, and in 4 minutes the track to Renata leaves this road R. Forty-five minutes from the second road is the 'old campsite' saddle, (Topo50 BP33 820 617), where the Frances Stream route joins: about 2 hours from the loading area by either route.
From this saddle the track climbs again and follows the well-bushed ridge for another 30 minutes, then sidles across the headwater faces of Renata stream for 8 minutes to join the track coming from the Maymorn Junction. A further 7 minutes brings Renata Hut, lying on the N of the ridge. (If you find yourself in a clearing around a rain gauge, head N to regain the ridge and pick up the track to Renata Hut again). Old loading area to Renata Hut: 2¾ hours.
«» Frances Stream Route
At the L of the streamside loading area this route heads upstream on an old logging road, but after only a little good travel a washout drops the route to the stream edge. Just beyond this is a grass/toetoe flat, and at the far end of this flat the route heads uphill 50 metres or so to regain the old road formation. Ignore the tempting stream-side markers. The road climbs gently to bypass a gorge in the stream, then drops to regain the stream flats beyond. Thus far the route has kept to the TL, but from this point the old road is largely washed out and the route often crosses the stream. Eventually a small flat is reached on the TL just downstream of the headwater forks, 90 minutes or so from the loading area. For a few minutes beyond this flat, the route fumbles up the creek before climbing out to the TL and up a spur. Once on the spur the track is good and in 20 minutes it joins at the 'old campsite' saddle, the track that has come along Maymorn Ridge.
Only the route along the ridge is described.
From Renata Hut the track regains the ridge and swings R for 7 minutes. The sidle to Maymorn Ridge now branches L, away from the track to the Ngatiawa – Waiotauru saddle, which is about 25 minutes distant. The track has some sharp turns that need watching on these faces above the Renata stream headwaters, but it is well padded and marked. About 8 minutes across these faces will bring the Maymorn Ridge. The track then follows S along the ridge and through some small saddles to reach the old campsite, the turn-off to the route down Frances Stream – 45 minutes from the hut.
From here the track continues more or less S and climbs over some bumps to reach an old logging road in 30 minutes. This is followed S for only a few minutes to where the track climbs to the R, away from the road, and passes through a neck of bush to pick up the northernmost limit of the logging road that leads along the Maymorn Ridge. These two logging road segments are not well connected along the ridge. From here the logging road provides good travel along the ridge then down the spur to the Frances Stream loading area, 2¾ hours from Renata Hut. A further 20 minutes brings the sealed road.
At the Akatarawa Saddle is a cross-roads. The gravel road to the W is a private road. That to the E leads in 7 km to the saddle adjacent to Maymorn Junction. Used here, that name includes the saddle vicinity. This road offers neither good vehicular travel nor a guaranteed safe carpark. From this saddle, trails lead to Kapakapanui, Waiotauru, and Renata Hut. The road beyond the saddle into the Waiotauru is not suitable for cars.
The track entrance is well marked where it enters the bush at the N of the saddle (see 13.4).
«» Renata Hut
The track heads S from the saddle over .822 and is well padded (see 13.5).
This is an old logging road that leads down to the Waiotauru Valley, with tracks beyond to Otaki Forks. (see 14.25). The logging bridges in the valley are long gone.
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