Kaipaitangata Waterfall SF
Wednesday 31 August 2022
In October 2014, a TTC party on an off-track route to Waiohine 818 stumbled across what appeared to be a large (or at any rate high) waterfall in Kaipaitangata Stream. The leader made a mental note to return and investigate at some later date and, almost eight years later, that date finally arrived.
For this trip our party was fortunate to be granted permission to cross private land bordering Mangaterere Valley Road extension. We travelled in over Bump 517, new country1.
Arriving at Kaipaitangata Stream we enjoyed lunch in the sun (a rare treat in recent months) and then proceeded upstream, to find the base of the falls just around the first corner. Although the falls’ top was obscured by foliage and a deep pool made close inspection difficult, the drop was evidently quite big. A Suunto barometric wrist altimeter read 328 m. We then climbed the very steep toe of the spur on the stream’s TL, hoping to descend to the stream above the falls and thence obtain a measure of the drop. Sadly, due to a mix of steep, greasy terrain, flagging enthusiasm and strength and thoughts of an impending sunset we did not make it back down into the stream, so a measure of the falls’ height is yet to made2.
Return to the cars was to be along the route the 2014 party came in on. Apart from a rather inept sidle, this journey proceeded more or less to plan until we came to descend the spur running north-eastish off Bump 667. At the bushline, some 80 vertical metres below the bump, we were dismayed to survey an expanse of thick scrub, dense young beech and no doubt lawyer and other nasties. The 2014 route appeared no longer to be viable3. We floundered along below the spur crest, then dropped eastward in a search for more open going, before finally making it back out.
1 The route is shown in red dots. The 2014 route is indicated by a black hashed line. 2 Using GIS techniques Robin was able to obtain a profile of the stream in the falls’ vicinity. The waterfall height appears to be greater than 20 m. His results and discussion are given below. 3 It’s possible that the removal of stock from the area is responsible for this dramatic change. Kaipaitangata Stream actual route and profile near waterfall In the Wellington region, ground elevation has been measured on a one metre matrix to an accuracy of less than one metre using aerial laser scanning. Elevation accuracy is 0.15 - 0.2m in urban areas and less than one metre in rural areas. One metre contour maps that correlate to Topo50 maps are available for download. The contour maps are derived from a one metre digital elevation model which is also available online as a series of tiles with over 5000 tiles covering each Topo50 map. Using the 1 metre contours and the elevation model it was possible to determine the actual stream course. Stream courses on Topo50 maps are derived from aerial photography and are often a few metres off course when hidden by vegetation, as indicated on the waterfall route chart. The vertical profile chart of the stream and waterfall was created using an open-source plug-in tool. (RC)
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Karen Baker, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Wayne Perkins, Janette Roberts, Chris Ward, Mike Wespel-Rose, Lynne White.