Tapokopoko – The Peak MF
Saturday 15 Sept
Seven of us set off from Catchpool around 7.30am and followed the Orongorongo Track in to the river. A short distance downriver we passed Paua Hut and headed up Paua Ridge to Tapokopoko.
The latest FMC bulletin says that there used to be a Paua Tramping Club, later incorporated into the WTMC, who now own this hut.
The track is fairly well marked, with a selection of old markers as well as the new pink ones from Moa Conservation Trust for their stoat trap lines. Immediately before the top of Tapokopoko another pink-marked route diverges down a spur to the south. It could be important to not mistake this on the way down Paua Ridge.
We headed south from Tapokopoko following more pink markers along the main range crest. There are some open “fields” of tall tussock-like plants to wade through. There isn’t much to attach markers to here and you still have to use your wits a bit. The mist started to lift and views appeared as we got further south. The last bit of ridge before .743 has rougher vegetation and is harder to follow, with some sidling just off the eastern side of the crest.
After lunch on 743 we decided we probably still had enough time to reach The Peak and so continued south. A short section of uphill struggle through more of the “tussock” eased into more open bush travel. We followed the pink markers until they started to drop SW off the ridge, and then instead headed S to the summit cairn of The Peak; there are some old white permolat markers along here. It had taken us 2.5 hours from Tapokopoko - excluding lunch.
David mentioned that he had previously come up the spur on the TL of Peak Stream, so after catching the views from The Peak we decided to descend via that route, rather than return to 743 and descend the marked route to Peak Stream forks. Picking up the pink marked route we followed it about 500 metres further SW along the range, past a delightful open lawn, to the junction between the ridge route and the marked route down the TL Peak Stream spur.
This spur gave good travel; it is a bit like Paua Ridge with a gentle toe at its foot, and a marked route the whole way. Our entire route from the Orongorongo River until we returned to it followed a line of stoat traps, but interestingly we didn’t see a single dead stoat, only one very dead hedgehog.
Perhaps they get rapidly scavenged, or maybe stoats immediately ascend to stoat heaven at death?
We followed the 4WD track back to near Paua Hut and headed back out to Catchpool.
The whole day took 10.5 hours. I was keen to see whether the marked route made this loop feasible for a MF daytrip and while the time was a bit long the travel was well within MF capabilities.
Thanks everyone for a great trip!
- Party members
- Russell Cooke, Franz Hubmann (leader and scribe), David McNabb, Marg Pearce, Sieny Pollard, Janette Roberts, Sarah White