Pukeatua Crossing M
Wednesday 18 June
Last time I tried to lead a crossing trip (Whareroa Farm to Battle Hill) swapping keys near the top of Mt Wainui, it was a real hassle. That was because I tried to tell people where to go. This time I decided just to organise the cars, four of them taking 4 passengers + driver, and just let people find their own car. So two cars went to Otaki Forks, and two to Mangaone South. Fortunately only 20 people wanted to come so I did not need to turn anybody down. The plan was to swap keys during lunch on Pukeatua, which is exactly halfway and has beautiful views of the coast and Tararuas. We timed it so that both parties started at 9am. The weather was surprisingly good given the poor forecast, which included 40 kph winds and showers. In fact we had beautiful calm conditions with some mist patches drifting across the bush, lots of sun and not a drop of rain!
This track is part of Te Araroa so has seen a lot of traffic especially over the summer. It is very well marked with DOC orange triangles and sometimes blue poles. We found the track surprisingly free of mud but there were a few windfalls, which were easy to get round. We met the Mangaone party at the pipe on top of Pukeatua (not the best lunch spot, which is located on a little side track running SE but still in the sun with a view). They were sitting having lunch and couldn't resist asking, “What took you so long?”. They tried to persuade us they had been there for half an hour, but we worked out that it was only 5 minutes, probably owing to our generous stop for morning tea. The views of the Tararua foothills, the Waiotauru Valley, Rae Ridge, Tregear Spur and the Southern Crossing are all superb from here. There are not many places where you can see the country so clearly.
We found parts of the track further on to be quite steep and there are hardly any views because of the bush. Further on the neighbouring hillsides were logged pine forests with very steep valley sides which must have made logging very difficult. We crossed a piece of private land owned by the Carter Family, who have kindly allowed access across their land. Overall the trip took about 7 hours. The four cars met up afterwards in Elizabeth Street, Waikanae, just outside the cafe (which unfortunately was closed) but not far from a dairy which was selling ice creams. We had to wait about 20 minutes for the party coming from Otaki Forks, so naturally asked them why they had taken so long.
- Party members
- Mangaone party was: Susan Guscott (leader), David Castle, Helen Beaglehole, Glenn Bush, Brian Hasell, Jude Willis, Lesley Haines, John Hill, Bob Stephens, Mike Crozier.
:Otaki Forks party was Ken Fraser (leader and scribe), Ian Cairns, Doreen Launder, Lynne Pomare, Dave Reynolds, Jan Nye, Alison & Bill Stephenson, Jane-Pyar Mautner, Lyn Taylor