Is North Mangahao Biv the hardest Tararua hut?
Is this biv the hardest one to get to? I used a description on the net to get down to the place with the deer antlers. All good there. The track was cut as per this description - followed the track to pt 686 and straight along the ridge, to then drop down - a very good track. https://tramper.nz/7445/route-guide-scotts-road-to-north-mangahao-biv/ From there there was a marked track (pink tape) that took me too far SW from the location where Nth Mangahao is (incorrectly marked) on the topo. So instead I went up the creek that runs up towards the ridge where the biv is (to top of the creek is at approx at E1819500 N5508500). Of course, once I hit the completely impenetrable scrub, I gave up. The ample lashings of bush lawyer in the scrub also made continuing not a great option. Has anyone done this route recently and has a good idea of how to access this hut, that they could share? I was considering the more palatable option also of finding out who the landowners are on the Kopkopiko Rd side and trying to negotiate access with them.
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Apologies for reactivating a fairly old post, but did anyone come across a route to Ngawhakaraua on their wanderings past Mt Scrub (ie point 686)? There is meant to be a trail south down to the stream from 686 but I didn't notice the junction when I was there a while back. Have had some experience with the vegetation nearby, and am not keen to make acquaintance with scrub entwined with bush lawyer, so would only make an attempt on Ngawhakaraua if there is a reasonable chance of coming across a trail. PS Does anyone know if there has been a general tidy up of Maori place names on Topomaps? I heard about Rimutaka/Remutaka but I am pretty sure Ngawhakaraua used to be Ngawhakarara.
Bagger - I followed the route as marked in my first post above - that is a cleared & marked track that starts at the forestry road, takes you over pt 686 and south from there to drop down to approx E19 435 & N09 540. From that point however I was s*&t out of luck, I found more marked trails, but they seemed to be going off in weird directions, unfortunately not towards North Mang Biv. The track I was on was hover heading SW from the point I referenced above - it may well have actually been heading towards Ngawhakaraua - I never found out as it was going in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go. I will second however that this is defo a fairly manky corner of the mighty Tararuas.
Thanks si-dog. Read somewhere that there is a trail down the spur to the west of 686 that reaches the stream at least. Like you, I have taken the trail over 686, but don't remember a junction before 686. My query was just a speculator, given its not a long distance to Ngawhakaraua, but you're right, it's tiger country and there are plenty of other more pleasant walks.
Made it this weekend. Fricken nightmare. Getting to Punga was easy - ironically the most well-marked part of the track - with DOC orange triangles!?!?!? (compared to the route to the official DOC hut not being marked at all (or not being marked logically, at least). On the way there I got to the face on the other side of the valley from Punga and mostly ignored the plethora of snippets of marked tracks that are there. Got to about 600m and contoured from there. The bonus was at that height you are mostly below the scrub and above some of those full-on creek canyons, the bugger was that the bush was generally smaller & lower at that height, which made travel slow. At one point I startled a very large deer that went crashing off thru the bush - unfortunately I didnt see him. Getting the final 400-500m to the biv was an event in itself, at times I was on hands and knees under the dense scrub, dragging my pack thru it. I still dont really know of the best final approach to the biv. Eventually I ended up above it and was able to drop down thru bush to it. Once there, the biv was toasty and warm and I could dry some of my gear out. Returing the next day was much better - I stayed closer to the 500m contour all the way but the bit closest to the biv at around 600m was still scrub-hell - however I found an old creek-bed that I could slip down between the scrub. The bush was otherwise nice travelling - lots of deer trails. But the ground was a lot more up and down - especially where some of those creeks spectacularly turn into very large canyons. My best advice for anyone doing this trip - stay close to 500m, but you will need to gain a bit more height for the creek shown on the map starting at E1820103, N5508680. Take a compass and GPS, and dont go too high. And dont beleive the bull that there is a marked "superhighway" in there. Thats talk from old hunters sitting there polishing their rifle barrels. There are snippets of a marked track that I kept finding, but if you follow it, you end up going the wrong way, so eventually I gave up. Better yet, find out who the landholder is at the Kopikopiko Roadend is and get access permission. I called the Kihfusses and their number wasnt conencting - I think they have moved on. The track from this end is sheer bliss compared to the way I went. It took me about 3.5 hours from Punga to get there (yes, slow), and coming back took about 2.15 hours - much better.
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