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Tararua Tramping Club

Celebrating 100 years of tramping

Trip Reports 2017-12-02-Mc Gregor Falls

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This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 90, no 1, February 2018

Another b* waterfall trip MF

2 December 2017

My first attempt (in October 2004) to reach McGregor Falls was simply to walk up Holdsworth Creek without any idea at all as to where the falls might be. Since we (a party of two) ended up above the bush line on the East Holdsworth Track it seems possible we climbed out near the upper forks at about 900m altitude when stream travel became more challenging. Almost 10 years later in February 2014, with a better idea of just where the falls were, we (a party of three) approached from above, travelling down the upper TR branch after leaving the Holdsworth Track just beyond the High Ridge turn off. We came to the falls but their true extent was hidden due to a low pre-fall which we judged too dangerous to descend. Instead we sidled down on the true left to the upper forks where the way back to the base of the falls was barred by a further small waterfall, the ascent of which would have led to a thorough drenching. (It appears this is the approach usually adopted by Joe Nawalaniec who takes school parties to see the falls. His photo upper right taken in 2016 shows the nature of the problem.)

This time we again approached from above, passing along the Holdsworth Track, dropping through some tussock and leatherwood then descending some 200m further on a forested spur on the true right of the branch of the creek bearing the waterfall. Plenty of steep ground was encountered and at one point we came too close to cliffs above the creek and had to strike back to the main spur across a very steep and poorly vegetated gut that joins the creek right beside the waterfall.

Finally the waterfall was glimpsed through trees - an enormous drop - and we sidled across to an exposed point offering a ringside view. Lunch. Plenty of photos and videos were shot but we were too close to frame the full drop which was guesstimated to be perhaps 35-40m high with equally high cliffs below on the true left. From our vantage point it was not possible without rope to descend to the fallsí base. Another visit is required to see if dry access might be achieved from a point lower down the spur.

After lunch we attempted to sidle south, vainly searching for a flattish ledge at about 1000m as suggested by an optimistic interpretation of the topographic map. Progress was slow and, edging ever higher in search of easier travel, we came ever closer to Powell Hut until finally the planned off-track route down to Holdsworth Creek bridge was happily abandoned in favour of a trudge back down the track we had ascended that morning.

(Thanks to Joe and John for permission to use their photos.)

Party members
Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Russell Cooke, David McNabb, Sieny Pollard, Janette Roberts

Page last modified on 2018 Mar 05 21:58

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