Tararuas track recommendations
Hi all, I am again looking for track recommendations to try and trick my friends into spending time in the bush with me. This time I am looking for overnight tramps in the Tararuas. Since I am from ak and will be visiting friends down in Wellington, I'd like to take them out with me overnight. Could anyone familiar with the area recommend tramps that are: - Overnight to a hut (preferably a crusty old 4 bunker with a fire) - <3 hours drive from Wellington CBD - 3-4 hours from carpark - gorgeous to look at Thanks heaps in advance P.S. I had a look on the DOC website, but the search feature seems to only suggest two tracks...? P.P.S two night tramps might also be good, could push it out to 5 hours.
There are lots of good ridges and spurs for navigation practice, but I think more often than not you'll find old markers or, occasionally, old axe blazes in trees, or relatively new informal markers. Early this year I was with a group navigating up the spur dropping to the south, east of Mountain House which people must surely follow from time to time. There was substantial treefall to climb through near the top and I didn't pick up any obvious markers or signs of others.. that was until we stumbled upon an old abandoned rain gauge seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
And in reply to the original post. My selections that match your criteria: 1. Blue Range. A bit of a climb to bushline, but a character hut with a nice location, space to camp in with beech forest around and a view to the north. 2. Herepai. Again a climb but in a magic location. It's the same hut in my profile pic. Great hut for sitting out a storm, and then if the weather is kind a pleasant day trip up onto the tops above. 3. Roaring Stag is on the same valley as Herepai, a very nice 3-4 hrs womble in, and is in a great spot. Doesn't count as character or rustic, but it is a nice hut and I always enjoyed passing through. Further on is Cattle Ridge, but this a big climb back up to bushline. 4. Sayers Hut. Another character hut in the Waiohine. Get's overlooked because Totoara Flats is so close, but a great spot to get away from the crowd. 5. Cone Hut is unique, the only slab timber hut left, but the location is a bit gloomy and overgrown. An important heritage site, but not charming to my mind. 6. By contrast Mitre Flat is an excellent 4 hrs walk in but it's large and lacks much character if that is important to you. Been there often, nice river flat and camping. 7. Cow Creek doesn't exist. :-)
@PhilipW: thanks for your comprehensive reply. I'm also wondering why the Arete Biv is so easily missed when traversing the ridge? Considering it could have saved a few lives, I would have expected its existence to have been more obvious to passersby in inclement weather. But then again there was never a signpost at the Otehake river to inform trampers that they could cross this river further upstream via a swingbridge (now removed) and Nigel Popplewell drowned when attempting to cross the river in a group of scouts back in the day... I can't recall what the Tararua leatherwood was like when I did my 2 years of moderate-grade tramping there however the Stewart Island Olearia is very easy to stomp through and snap off to form a route through e.g. parts of the Tin Range.
@Honora Well the embarrassing truth is that I've missed it several times. Last time I resorted to just pulling out the GPS and brute forced it. The ridgeline isn't well defined at that point, there is quite a broad and folded shelf between the Park Valley on the west and the dramatic drop into Arete Creek on the east. Last I was there, which is some time back, the route was not poled, and the bivvy is not really visible until you get within a 100m or so of it. Especially in cloud. The older bivvy was even worse, it was about 500m away further down the shelf and while it was more sheltered, it was even harder to spot. The leatherwood common to the North Is ranges is tough and resilient and not at all prone to 'snapping off'. It typically forms a head-high, almost impenetrable band for several hundred vertical metres above bushline; if you don't pick a good line it can take hours to get through. And it's not much better going down through it than up. Nasty stuff.
@PhillipW: ah, that leatherwood is a different beast then. Of course the Stewart Island stuff would be stunted and about a metre high in places. I hope the route by the Arete Biv is now snow-poled with a big orange triange pointing towards the biv.
It's hard to demonstrate a full context from a single photo, but this (picture of Megan of the Wellington TMC) was what a lot of the distance was like for us about 9 years ago, heading down to Arete Forks over Waingawa (.1423) from the Cattle Ridge side. It was quite doable from memory, and there was a ground trail in places that we followed if we could find it (we were finding cairns under head-high leatherwood) before eventually dropping into a creek, but it was slow. I don't know what it's like now. Maybe someone who's been there could give an update. https://www.flickr.com/photos/83154423@N00/5024961691/ I *think* that's Pinnacle Spur on the right in the background. Can someone confirm? In the Ruahine and Northern Tararua especially, it's a good idea to make sure there's a reasonable route through places at that elevation before leaving home. There's a giant ring of leatherwood.
Hi all, Thanks heaps for all your suggestions. I will look into all of them and decide which sounds best. Thanks again, looking forward to my first Tarries mish.
@izogi Yes that's Pinnacle Spur alright. The contour lines match up perfectly.
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