Waikanae River headwaters MF
Wednesday 24 August 2022
The trip participants meandered through four distinct land designations, travelling in a counter-clockwise direction shown on the accompanying trace: private land (prior permission granted); Tararua Forest Park; a QE Covenant on private land; Tararua Forest Park; Kaitawa Scenic Reserve.
Initial travel was through a logged forestry block. I was introduced to this access to Tararua Forest Park in the 1990s by Michael Bartlett and Peter Jagger. Beyond the forestry block is a still-distinguishable route that leads eventually to Kapakapanui Hut. We dropped off that route (at a spot Tricia and I were familiar with from previous meanderings), looking for random permalat indicators leading into the eastern headwater of the Waikanae River that drains off the Henderson Track ridge. We crossed the stream and clambered up a spur with occasional permalat markers to meet the Pukeatua Track at about the 500 metre contour, where morning tea was taken.
Refreshed, we headed north for about 500 metres on the Pukeatua Track (Te Araroa Trail) to the saddle south of point 422 and then turned east down into another headwater. Despite recent substantial rain, the watercourse was easily negotiated as we went upstream about 100 metres, to the broad toe of the spur that rises to near point 535. Travel up that unmarked spur was enjoyable, with numerous mature trees of character.
At the ridge crest just northwest of point 535 we encountered ribbon markers of various colours. Those ribbons became our 'beacons' as the party headed northwest with the assistance of electronic devices and compass. That territory of the Waikanae River headwater system, with its rolling broad landscape and numerous shallow stream beginnings, is navigationally challenging.
We ended the dryboot part of the trip when we reached the significant headwater that flows in a southwest direction. After several hundred metres of downstream travel we joined the Pukeatua Track for the final trudge out to the cars at the South Mangaone Road car park.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock (leader and scribe), Karen Baker, Tricia French, Sieny Pollard, Mike Wespel Rose.