Tararua Tramping Club

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Tararua Footprints Kiriwhakapapa Valley

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3 Kiriwhakapapa Stream

Kiriwhakapapa road-end

Access: The Kiriwhakapapa Rd turn-off is 6.3 kilometres N of where the Masterton bypass rejoins SH2. From here, it is 7 km to the road-end. The last 4 km of narrow gravel road require care.

Overview: There is about a hectare of level grass at the road-end, several fireplaces and picnic tables in the forest margins, and plenty of camping space. A large shelter and a toilet block complete the facilities. There are no electric power points or caravan facilities, and the road is rather narrow for towed vehicles.

One of the smaller catchments in the Tararuas, this stream has two branches, Reef Creek flowing from the north, and the main Kiriwhakapapa Stream headwaters from the south-west. There are plenty of forested terraces in both branches, but the only significant grass flats are at the road-end.

Running into the foothills is the ground formation of two principal tramlines and a number of their spurs. Both tramlines lie on the TR of their respective streams, and their formations offer short easy walks in the bush nearby. They also give access to the Blue Range, the Mikimiki Valley, the upper Waingawa Valley, and the Northern Tararua tops somewhat more distant.

Kiriwhakapapa Campsite
Kiriwhakapapa Campsite

Kiriwhakapapa Campsite

Kiriwhakapapa Campsite is a Standard campsite, located at -40.807989, 175.546117, set in an forest and rivers and lakes landscape. Access is by campervan, car, and caravan. Activities include walking and tramping. It has 15 unpowered sites with fire pit/place for campfires (except in fire bans), non-powered/tent sites, shelter for cooking, toilets - flush, water from stream, toilets, and water supply. Dogs on a leash only. Other pets on conservation land rules. are allowed. Bookings are not required, usage is first come, first served.

 3.1 Kiriwhakapapa road-end to Mikimiki road-end Family Group

Two hours of easy travel between road-ends; less in the reverse direction.

Follow the tramline formation up the SW valley (the Kiriwhakapapa headwaters) from the carpark; cross neither the Blue Range footbridge, nor the Loop Walk bridge. Old tramway formation is followed for about 25 minutes to just beyond where the stream takes a northerly bend. The well-graded trail now climbs to the saddle, 20 minutes distant, in the vicinity of (Topo50 BN34 130 783), at the edge of the map. Fifteen minutes of gentle downhill leads to the first crossing of the northerly branch of Mikimiki Stream, about (Topo50 BP34 124 776), where its old logging formation is picked up. This logging track keeps to the TR, except for a pair of stream crossings some 15 minutes on. Five minutes downstream of these, the westerly branch of Mikimiki Stream is crossed on a good wooden bridge, and another 15 minutes brings the Mikimiki road-end.

3.2 Kiriwhakapapa loop walk Family Group

A 30 minute or longer local walk along well-graded tracks.

Cross the footbridge and follow the Blue Range Track for 2 minutes to where, past a tiny stream, the loop walk departs L. This gentle trail, benched and graded, reaches its high point in 10 minutes or so. Good views are obtained of the surrounding forest, and many rimu can be seen on the higher hillsides beyond the reach of the older-style valley-floor logging. This country was milled in the 1930s and partially replanted. Five minutes or so of gentle downgrade brings you to the bridge at (Topo50 BN34 143 789) across the SW stream branch. Turn L and a further 10 minutes returns you to the road-end.

3.3 Kiriwhakapapa to Blue Range Hut and Te Mara Family Group

A good 100 minutes from the carpark to the Blue Range hut, over a trail that is well padded and well marked.

From the road-end cross the footbridge and follow the level Reef Creek tram-line formation N for 10 minutes. A good hour of climb then brings a small dracophyllum-fringed clearing, and 20 minutes beyond this is the Blue Range Hut turn-off.

The hut, which has 4 bunks, two of them wide, is located 10 minutes down a northerly spur off the main ridge, through regenerating beech and grass trees.

Five minutes up-ridge from the hut turn-off, the main track turns R. The route to Te Mara, 20 minutes distant, continues up the spur. It is not well padded; take care on your return. [revised January 2020]

Blue Range Hut
Blue Range Hut

Blue Range Hut

Blue Range Hut is a Standard hut, located at -40.793307, 175.518629. It has 4 bunks with heating, mattresses, toilets - non-flush, water from tap - not treated, boil before use, and water supply. Bookings are not required, usage is first come, first served.

 3.4 Blue Range Hut turn-off to Cow Creek Hut and Cow Saddle Ordinary Tramper

The direct route from Blue Range Hut vicinity to Cow Creek is well padded and marked. A good 2 hours to Cow Creek Hut via the ‘direct’ route, and 30 minutes or so longer via the gentler ‘Cow Saddle’ route.

Five minutes beyond the turn-off to Blue Range Hut, the route to Te Mara continues up the ridge, and the track to Cow Saddle, etc., swings R through the headwaters of Paddys Creek to regain the main ridge in 15 minutes.

Two minutes beyond is a highpoint giving views of the Waingawa watershed, from Mitre opposite to the slopes of Waingawa more to the N.

From here the trail descends for a while, and then, 60 minutes from the Blue Range Hut turn-off, the 'direct route' drops L down to the Waingawa River (see 5.11). From this point on the main ridge, .970 is 5 minutes further along, and is followed by a gradual descent to Cow Saddle, approximately 60 minutes distant. The pad along this part of the ridge is sometimes indistinct, but navigation is not difficult.

From Cow Saddle the trail to Cow Creek Hut turns L and drops across the crush zone of the Cow Creek basin to emerge on the TL of the Waingawa just opposite the hut, 30 minutes down from Cow Saddle. [revised January 2020]

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Live life at the full ;
blend dream with the deed ;
drink deep of the draught.
The men who moved before us,
the mountain maids who bore us,
dared the roar of the pool,
raced from the hills of speed,
hunted the high winds, and laughed
as they drove their sea-freight home
slant to the fall of foam.

Geoffrey Winthrop Young, from Motion

Page last modified on 2021 Sep 27 22:28

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