Mt Barton and the Karapoti Rata SF
Wednesday 23 August 2023
Our initial plan was for seven of us to meet at Manor Park at 8.30 a.m. and carpool to Karapoti Road end to meet Colin Cook for a 9 a.m. start. However, Manor Park car park was full well before 8.30. Sieny managed to squeeze her car into a small area with white hashes and we all continued to Karapoti. Colin, having opted to take the Akatarawa Road, was blocked by a slip and had to turn back and abandon the trip altogether.
So seven of us set out from the road end. We ducked into the bush just before the post on the LHS of the main track to follow an old tram line for about a kilometre, before scrambling up a spur that took us on to the ridge that follows a north/northeast direction towards Mt Barton. Just before emerging onto a large, grassy area near the top, we were shocked to discover the last 50m or so of track had been bulldozed, for no apparent reason. The boundary line between the park and private land runs along this part of the ridge.
The trig at Mt Barton is no longer in one piece and the view is long gone as the scrub is now well above head height. From the trig we zigzagged our way to point 537. Throughout the day there were several places where the terrain became very wide and flat, and care needed to be taken to ensure we continued in the right direction. It definitely pays to have more than one person checking the GPS – David McNabb saved us from walking round in a circle and we made it to point 537 in time for lunch.
After lunch we headed down the spur towards the big rata. The track is unmarked but there is a clear footpad for most of the way. Markers appear just before crossing a ditch at the bottom of the spur and lead to the rata. Leonore, the only member of the party not to have visited it before, was suitably impressed. Information on the rata can be found at: notabletrees.org.nz.
After a photo and chocolate stop, taking care not to trample over the tree, our intention was to head over points 386 and 445 back to the carpark. David, Janette and I all had traces of slightly different routes to point 386. We decided to try David’s, but could not find a crucial junction so took Janette’s, which took us to the east side of a small stream south of point 386. We thought we would try crossing the stream and head straight up a spur to our proposed route, but the supplejack thought differently and we ended up back-tracking to the stream and heading up and around the head water to reach our intended path. Again, a good footpad over points 386 and 445 eventually led to a junction with an old tram line that it is obvious trail bikes also use. We turned southeast, soon leaving the bike trail behind and following the tram line down to cross a bridged stream and over the final hill before the steep descent to the ford over the Little Akatarawa before returning to the car. All up it took seven hours 40 mins and was about 14 kilometres.
On returning to Manor Park, we found Sieny had been issued with a breach notice for not parking in a designated parking area, with a warning that photos had been taken and another breach would result in a fine.
- Party members
- Karen Baker (leader and scribe), Leonore Hoke, David McNabb, David Ogilvie, Sieny Pollard, Janette Roberts, Cathy Wylie