Whakatikei, Akatarawa River West Circuit
29 August 2015
With rain forecast for later in the day, we headed off from Bulls Run Road across the concrete ford, which was running deeper than normal. At the Whakatikei River rain gauge we crossed the river and headed up onto the main bush-covered spur leading in a NE direction. There are numerous logging tracks on this spur which can assist or distract from the direction of travel. On reaching point 435 at 11.30am, the decision was to head NE on an old logging road down towards the Akatarawa River West, rather than heading North into a steep supplejack-covered area as on a previous trip. The logging track descends north of McKies Bridge above the Pram Track junction. Here we turned onto another old logging track heading towards the Whakatikei flats. This track quickly becomes a small stream bed and climbs over a small shoulder and down into another small stream heading down to the Whakatikei flats. In the past this route has been used by trail bikes, but is now eroded to a walking-only track. We stopped for lunch on the Whakatikei River flats under the tawa forest and then headed south down river, keeping to the flats on the true left as much as possible. There were signs of recent heavy flooding well above the river along the flats. Nearing the Whakatikei gorge, we crossed the river and searched for the logging road to the west and struck up through the steep pine forest understorey vegetation, onto the road and up to the top of the ridge, where we ran into a pine forest harvesting skid site. Skirting the log piles, we headed down the ridge to the south towards our starting point.
The logging operation had obliterated the known tracks and led us onto a logging terminal face. Once across the debris, Robin picked up the sidle track that led back to Bulls Run Road. In the grassy area near the road end known as the Dude Ranch, clumps of daffodils were flowering where there had once been baches. The rain started as we reached the cars and waited for our female flower gatherers. The trip of seven and a half hours had plenty of variety with fords, river crossings, off track navigation, old logging roads, river flat bush, and once again struggling around pine forest logging debris.
(Thanks to David for supplying the gpx file.)
- Party members
- Robin Chesterfield (leader and scribe), Russell Cooke, David McNabb, Jannette Roberts, Madeline Pemberton, Sieny Pollard