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Te rōpū hikoi o te pae maunga o Tararua   -   Celebrating 100 years of tramping

Trip Reports 2024-03-20-Tararuas

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Reef C 1

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Reef C 1
Reef C 3

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Jenny Mason, Sieny Pollard,
Mike Wespel-Rose
Photo Janette Roberts
Reff C 2

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Reef Creek.
Photo Janette Roberts

This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 94, no 4, May 2024

Reef Creek and Blue Range MF

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Just inside the Forest Park boundary at Kiriwhakapapa, Reef Creek flows in from the north. Maps of it show gentle slopes and open beech forest would be expected, but I couldn’t find any accounts of trips there. That was good news because it’s not easy to find somewhere new for a Wednesday trip!

Five of us made the long drive up on a chilly morning. Crossing the bridge from the carpark, we entered a grove of redwoods, relics of logging and experimental forestry almost a century ago. I thought that we would find the remains of logging tramways up Reef Creek and when we reached the place where the track climbs to Blue Range we followed a little trail at stream level that soon widened out into a tramway remnant. After a few minutes we found ourselves in a second redwood grove.

It seemed that our tramway would have crossed the stream here to easier slopes on the other bank and so we made the crossing too. However, we couldn’t find any continuation of it and eventually we decided to make our own way upstream. The going was easy, following animal trails through open bush. Soon after a spectacular grove of rimu, that we guessed would have been too small for the loggers back in the day, we descended to stream level. The stream bed had looked mossy and slippery from above but turned out to be excellent and very pretty travel and we were soon at the headwater forks.

The climb up the well-defined spur from the forks was enlivened by a couple of rocky sections. No doubt they could have been sidled but we tackled them head on. At the top it was eerily quiet without the usual Tararua wind and cold enough to remind us that it wasn’t summer anymore. But that also meant it was mushroom season! Following a deer trail and mushroom spotting go together nicely as they both require one to stare at the ground intently. Some mushrooms had been knocked over so I could photograph both top and bottom and have them properly identified on iNaturalist.

When we popped out onto Blue Range Hut’s helipad it was obvious that attempting our second goal of reaching Te Mara and the spur beyond was going to mean a very late return to Wellington. So instead, we went down to the hut for afternoon tea and then back down the track to the carpark. Kiriwhakapapa is a great area for off-track trips. It’s a shame that it’s so far from home.

Party members
Jenny Mason (leader and scribe), Alan Knowles, Sieny Pollard, Janette Roberts, Mike Wespel-Rose.

Page last modified on 2024 May 13 10:18

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