TRAMP REFLECTION - PIVOT ROCK KARANGAHAKE 11TH JULY 2021

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Eleven of us (Ian , Carl, Cate, Michiel, Anna, Yvonne, Sharon, Janice, Kevin, Alex Deverell ( new member) and Lorna (leader) assembled at Mill Lane on a rather cold and bleak winter’s morning for the relatively short drive to Karangahake and the start of our trip to Tuakane , more commonly known as Pivot Rock. Despite several trips to the area I had never heard of this feature and once we left the main “Windows ” track I realised why! The track was steep, overgrown and pretty indistinct although after 15 to 20 minutes it eased off and followed one of the gold mining tram lines that litter this area. Pretty soon we came across a mine entrance and for the next 30 minutes explored the two main mine passages which evidently extend a lot further than we were prepared to go.

Although following the track we were on looked the easiest option, our leader, who had done her research well, led us up an almost vertical bank to the next level. From here the track eased off although stlll headed upwards until cresting the main ridge. From here it was just a matter of navigating along the ridge, grabbing an old rope which was anchored to one of the numerous trees and dropping down to the base of Pivot Rock. The Rock was rather smaller than I imagined, but a very original shape and true to name, pivoted slightly when shaken. A couple of thrill seekers climbed up and stood up courageously and were rewarded with great views to Mt. Karangahake opposite and the gorge below.

 

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The descent back to the Windows track was via a different route which took us high above the Ohinemuri River and SH 2. The sun had decided to show its face so we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine before completing a loop back to the van via the Windows track. While walking along the track I related a yarn of how, many years ago, I came down this track (then known as the Paeroa Pipeline track ) with my wife, as a warm up trip for a trek to Nepal. We had already climbed Karangahake and completed the full circuit via Dickey’s Flat so it was fairly late in the day and I was reassuring Lorraine that the car wasn’t far away when we were stopped in our tracks by a gate constructed of steel reinforcing rods which barred our exit from a cavern we had descended through. There was no way past the gate so he had to retrace our tracks back to Dickey Flat and walk back along the road to the car arriving around 10 pm. My wife was not amused !

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Lorna had never heard of this cavern so, with plenty of time on our hands, we opted for a bit of an investigation and soon found where the old pipeline left the present day Windows Track. Backtracking along this we came to the large cavern I had described to the group. A good portion had blown out and the whole area looked pretty unstable so no doubt that is the reason that the entrance was blocked up and the track rerouted.

Unfortunately our thoughts of getting home early were dashed when the main highway was closed due to an accident and we had to drive home via Waihi and Tauranga. Nevertheless a very interesting day with a touch of nostalgia thrown in. Thanks Lorna.   <reflection & photos by Kevin Bailey / additional photos by Little Ted>

 

Tramp No (1171) Hunters Track Sunday 6 December 2020 Onboard: Lorna (leader), Tess(co-leader), Anna, Michiel, Ian, Tameem, Carl & Little Ted. Departed Mill Lane 7am with 7 trampers including 1 newbie. Just one no show! The weather forecast was mostly sunny. Lorna drove the fancy Merc van to the starting point on the Old Kaimai Rd in good time. On the way Anna pointed out more men than women on the tramp. Which is quite rare on a day tramp. While booting up at the back of the van, me and Ian had to retrieve bags which blew out, due to gusts of strong wind. Lorna gave a heads up and we were off at 8:25am. A quick look at the map on the DOC sign before descending a couple of animal absent fields via stiles. Another group of brisk trampers passed by as we entered the bush. We followed the well marked Henderson Tramline Track (North), heading for Hurunui Hut for mid morning tea. Within a few minutes of entering the bush we crossed a couple of streams with more to follow. Heading mostly upwards in the bush we warmed up, most of us delayered. The track was a little muddy and stream crossings slippery. We came across a young man with a magnifying glass. We enquired about his business, he showed us something very small. Orchids growing on the side of the track (spider orchids). At 10am a little further on we met up with the brisk trampers having a break at the track junction. We followed the South Track through bush and occasional open sunny clearings, until we reached the Hurunui Hut at 10:40am. We said hello to a young family who had just vacated the hut. A 20 minute mid morning tea went down well with a few photos taken, then back to tramping. This was the start of the hunters track which need care to follow markers in much thicker bush. After a few backtracks we came across what at first looked like a Christmas Tree, with 3 long branches sticking out of the top. Too big for Little Ted to climb. More thick bush with lots of bush lawyer, streams and clearings. We came to a wire fence and scaled it to go up steep farmland. Passing through a gate at the top we followed a short farm track to the start of a steeper hill topped with a rocky outcrop. Beyond that was a bluey green radar ball, our destination for lunch. We walked along a single track road passing various communication towers with hazey views over the Bay of Plenty & the Waikato Basin. At 1pm we reached the ball, which was made up of a patchwork of bluey green hexagons and looked a bit like a football. We had lunch which was well overdue. I shared a bottle of cold beer with Ian. Half an hour later we entered the bush via an unmarked track which followed the ridge heading north. It was muddy with lots of tree roots. The only good thing was it descended most of the way. At 3pm we returned to the South Track junction without the brisk trampers and had a break. Tameem found a GeoCan hidden in a nearby bush. Lorna told us about them, and what to do. The GeoCan was placed back and we started the last leg of the tramp at 3:15. One last look at the orchids, back over the streams and in the van for 4:50pm. I drove back with Ian riding shotgun. Stopped at a new place for ice cream but it wasn't opening until next week, to Michiel's disappointment . So we decided not to wait and carried on home. This was a great tramp with a bit of everything and quite challenging in places. Not hard but long. Tramp was 8hrs 15min ish. Falls 0. Injuries 1 (Ian got a cut). Ice cream stop NONE. Many thanks to Lorna (Leader & Driver) & Tess (Co-Leader) Tramp Reflection by Carl Richards & Little Ted.

The weather can often be fickle in spring with raincoats the order of the day but this year we seem to have enjoyed a dry stable patch, at least in the upper North Island, which has allowed most of the club’s trips to go ahead in the dry.   So, it proved on this tramp which was fortuitous as we had one of the club’s largest turnouts with 17 trampers, including 5 new faces.

With plenty of chat it seemed no time at all before we arrived at the end of Franklin Road and the start of the tramp. After getting our gear sorted and introductions all round, we had barely gone a dozen paces when a couple of observant members looked back to see the door of the van still open. A rather sheepish driver returned to lock the van before we all followed the Waitawheta Tramline for approx. forty or so minutes before branching off to Daly’s clearing hut.

I had forgotten how pretty and healthy the second-growth bush on this track is, clad in fresh spring growth with a sprinkling of Rewarewa flowers on the ground. With only a slight uphill gradient It wasn’t long before we arrived at Daley’s where we stopped for morning tea in the sunshine.

Fifteen or so minutes after the hut we turned right onto the Mangakino Pack Track and followed this through to the Waitawheta River which we had to cross a couple of times. Lynne had warned us that the river could be deep and swift after rain but this wasn’t the case today with Jane, one of our new members, rock hopping across without getting her shoes wet while Janice changed into boat shoes which she had thoughtfully packed. For the rest of us it was wet feet.

The walk down the river was lovely with plenty of huge Kauri to admire. DOC has done a good job of fencing off the trees and rerouting the track to avoid these giants of the forest and hopefully they do not suffer the fate of their northern cousins.

An hour or so later we arrived at Dickeys Flat car park where we organised a couple of car shuttles and then all drove to Paeroa where it was ice creams all round and the end of a very enjoyable day out. Thanks to Lynne and Ian for organising and leading the trip.

 

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 Reflection for Tramp No. 1180 Surprise Tramp (Karakariki falls river tramp) 7/3/21 by C Richards

 

It was a muggy morning with light rain in the air. Not what I wanted. At 8am nearly everyone was in the car awaiting a surprise tramp, not knowing what to expect. After picking up a small tramper on routine we arrived at the starting point after half an hours driving. I gave a short briefing about what they had signed up for, and things to watch out for. Then we crossed the cattle grid to the start.

 

Over a stile, then a swing bridge, 10 minutes later a second swing bridge followed by views of Karakariki falls for a photo op. Then the hard bit, a grunt up the ridge. On route more photo ops for fungi and a Kererū (native wood pigeon). A variety of trees named by Christina, some entangled with thick vines. At the turn off point we took a left past a blue tarp bivy. Following a hunters track marked with white squares and orange ribbon, we headed towards the river. On the way down Lynne enjoyed a cheese and tomato toastie while Jane got stung by a wasp, we think. After a little cream on the sting we reached the river for mid morning tea.

 

I tend to avoid wet feet but this river walk was nice. Not too cold, not too deep, not fast. (the goldilocks of rivers to walk). We meanded down the river sticking to the shallows. Occasionally climbing banks and following orange ribbons, to navigate around obstructions like dams, deep pools and waterfalls. The first and highest waterfall had a monitoring station above it. To get below we took a tricky very narrow path on a steep bank. We stopped by the waterfall for a photo op and Lunch. Know one went for a dip in the pool under the waterfall.

 

After Lunch we soldiered on down the river occasionally going to land until the next waterfall. This was not as high but split into two distinct flows, another photo op and more water walking. Further down stream I came across a very small freshwater Crayfish. Lynne spotted a few more fungi on tree trunks which had fallen across the river. We then ascended to a fence which we climbed, and followed the farm track in the direction of the river. This got a little muddy, especially when the track went to an open field. After reaching a thick wooded area we climbed the fence again and headed for the river down the bank. After half an hour of wet foot walking we came out at Karakariki falls.

Then after another 20 minutes we arrived back at the car park.

 

Wet things off, dry things on. Everyone seemed to enjoy the little adventure. Despite the stings, cuts, mud and wet feet. An ice cream on the way home as promised completed a surprisingly successful tramp.

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This trip was always going to be cruisy (a stroll rather than a tramp) with the incentive of brunch or lunch at the Rhubarb Café in Arapuni at the half-way point.  Unfortunately, the aforementioned café decided to take a mini mid-winter break this particular weekend, so an alternative had to be found.  Read on to find out more ….

We started the walk at Jones Landing, a few kilometers past Arapuni.  From there we climbed up to a lookout point with great views back over Lake Arapuni.  It wasn’t much of a climb, but it did warm us up, so we were happy to shed a layer or two at this point.

From the lookout the trail is gently undulating all the way to Arapuni, where we took advantage of the picnic tables for a snack and cuppa.  We then took a short loop walk over the Arapuni swing bridge, looked down on the Powerhouse, and rejoined the track a few hundred meters downstream.

From this point on the trail is almost flat, and therefore much more popular with cyclists than the previous section. It includes the Huihuitaha Boardwalk over a wetland area and takes you right by the river’s edge for most of the time.  It’s only about 5.5km from Arapuni to Little Waipa Reserve, so we made it there by early afternoon and chatted away amongst ourselves while we waited for the van to collect us.

We then headed back towards Hamilton, taking a detour at Karapiro to visit the Boatshed Café for coffee and snacks; a very smart establishment, right on the banks of the lake. The menu was enticing and reasonably priced so while some of us enjoyed a coffee (or a wine!) others tucked into some of the more substantial dishes on offer. A very nice way to end a pleasant day in a very pretty part of the Waikato.

Participants: Anne, Janice, Kathy, Carl, Ian, Sharon, Annie & Tony, Lynda, Lea, Christina and Lynne.