Te Mara to Rovers Hill MF
Wednesday 25th March 2015
Kiriwhakapapa Campsite, about 20 km north of Masterton and perhaps the most attractive of all Tararua road ends is over two hours by car from Wellington. Our reward for such a long drive was to be a traverse of Rovers Hill 823 m, an outlier of the Blue Range1 and a first ascent for most of the party.
Ambling along the old tramway soon dispersed travel fatigue and brought us to the Kiriwhakapapa/Mikmiki saddle where we went off track up the ridge to Te Mara. Good travel but at the pipe you must climb a tree to get the views. Then north to join the DOC Kiriwhakapapa/Blue Range Hut/Cow Creek track, along it towards Blue Range Hut then off track again along the northern Blue Range. Barely a minute's travel before we left the track was a great lunch spot with views of Mitre and both Table and Cattle Ridges but with the Waiohine Pinnacles, Waingawa and the Bannister ridge all in cloud. An extended lunch break allowed some of the party time to visit Blue Range Hut 50 m lower and the terminus of this stub track.
Easy tramping and navigation brought us to the Rovers Hill turn off and an initially steep 100 m descent to a saddle, passing on the way a huddle of seven fairly recently shorn sheep! A climb on to Bump 810, a scrubby dracophyllum-bashing ridge walk, and we finally arrived at Rovers Hill 823, about as non-descript as you could get.
The western flanks of Rovers Hill offer myriad routes to Reef Creek through quite grand open forest that appears to be relatively supplejack-free lower down. We soon found a well marked pad. Various turn-offs to the south were refused due to the leader's fearing that since Rovers Hill and the obvious descent route over Bump 480 are private land, cutover forest (with abundant lawyer and other unpleasant vegetation) might be encountered. Naturally then we eventually found ourselves on no pad at all. No problem, although some may have felt our descent ended further up the creek than desirable.
Eight hours tramping, four hours driving, such is the life of a Wednesday tramper.
1Blue Range runs from the true left of the lower Waingawa 15 or more kilometres northeast over Blake, Bruce Hill, Te Mara (at 1104 m the highest point in the range) and nine other un-named bumps over 800 m (four are over 900 m) finally to subside into the Ruamahanga River. To traverse it in a day would be a fine challenge
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Howard Larsen, David McNabb, David Ogilvie, Anne Opie, Bob Stephens. John Thomson, Warwick Wright