Aorangi Crossing

The October Labour weekend is best to use for something other than the often visited Tararua's, so Aorangi crossing with the added bonus of some hut bagging it was. With a long walk back to the car round the coast, originally planned to walk the beach, but on the day I discovered it was way too slow. So did the road instead, and got to see dozer action.

The huts visited in order:
  • Washpool Hut
  • Pararaki Hut - stayed the night here
  • Kawakawa Hut
  • Mangatoe Hut
Didn't leave on the Friday night which was best as the start of the walk would not have been easy in the dark. And it didn't take three days.

Saturday 24/10/2015
Drove off Saturday morning from Wellington and cruised slowly in the Toyota Sprinter to Pinnacles car park. Stopped at some spot where the view wandered off into the sea with fluffy clouds and some blue. Almost like being on holiday rather than doing some out of office weekend tramping trip.
Palliser Bay from the side of the road
Left my car unlocked accidentally as I'd gone back for a USB cable. No harm.
Toyota Sprinter and pack
Headed off from the car park on a nice sunny day to the look out. Which does have some good views of the formations.
Putangirua Pinnacles
Some k's to go so five minutes of view, and the platform stayed put, no Cave Creek here. Off back onto the track that connected to the four wheel stuff and gorse time.
Gorse track time
Wandering hard and lost the track so followed an old fence line on the ridge untill the big OT.
4WD ends at big OT
Now it was real tramping time on a track with lots of nice bush and the occasional native nettle. Got some clear spots with views.
Looking North
Looking South
Looking NW
Heading down and thru areas of young sparse trees, some parts of this track are jogging material.
Open forest
And then on up again into an area with large old trees. Much drier under foot than the Tararua's. More like the Northen forests in the South Island.
Hammered bark
Got to Washpool hut which is my favorite one of the weekends walk. Had a relaxing meal and a few cups of tea. Will be coming back here.
Washpool Hut
Washpool Hut interior
The hut book is not full and starts in 2007, so its one of those huts where not many come visit and or many that do don't document there stay.
Hut book starts 2007
Left Washpool hut just on six pm and wanted to get to Pararaki hut before dark, so full speed up the hill scaring a few pigs on the way. 3 hours in the tree.
3 hours
Got to Pararaki hut with plenty of light.
Pararaki Hut
Inside the hut there was a shelf of rat chewed food and rat shit every where, spent half an hour sweeping and cleaning. Outside as the sun was going down and the moon was rising I spotted a bat flying away from the trees, no photo of bat, however this was the chunk of tree and sky where it was.
Bat zone
After cleaning up the rat shit and collecting wood I fried my toes before I slept.
fire and feet
Sunday 25/10/2015
Amazing bird song woke me early and I after food and hut tidy I was on my way by eight a.m.
Pararaki Hut 1966
Off across Pararaki stream and uphill before some sidling past an old enclosure. Interesting sign this, as the trees are back however the undergrowth is trashed with the pig rooting in places.
NZ Forest Service Enclosure
Close up of the sign put here in 1959, when the plants where either not existing or up to a height of two inches.
Close up of sign from NZFS 1959
Check out page 105 as there is a picture of the above exclosure being built.
A lot more Urtica ferox in this stretch of the walk.
Urtica ferox
I like the older trees in this part of the forest, and saw a wee bit of fungi later on.
Tree and green
Ear type fungi
Had two pigs snuffling and rooting there way down the hill and wander past me, they raced off when I moved to get my camera out. The ridge down to the junction is one of the nicest bits of the track, then its an easy pasture like walk to Kawakawa hut. Stopped at Kawakawa hut as it was time for food and a cup of coffee and a cleanup of the Seek Freedom detritus.
Kawakawa Hut
Left Kawakawa hut and after a few hundred easy going meters it was into a creek for the next hour, not enough water to get wet feet.
Stream track
Across a saddle with a view down the valley towards the coast.
View looking down valley toward Palliser Road
Then down into Mangatoetoe stream all the way to Mangatoetoe hut.
Mangatoetoe Hut
Lunch time here and another bit of the Seek Freedom detritus, in fact it had only been left that day.
Interior of Mangatoetoe Hut
A short stay
The walk from here was cow paddock material all the way down until out of the river. Then it was up onto the bridge for road walk time.
Mangatoetoe Stream
Heading to the coast road
The start of the road walk along Cape Palliser road is gravel, and a bit dusty as cars drive past. Much colorful flowers.
Cape Palliser Road gravel bit
Got to Ngawi and its a bit of a dozer action place, where dozers go to retire before becoming scrap.
Dozer Zone
Mind you some looked a bit like scrap and others like something out of a tin of paint.
The green one
Looking North along the coast after Ngawi.
Looking North
Kawakawa Bridge
Road between Kawakawa and Pararaki bridges
Pararaki Bridge
More road between bridges
Washpool Bridge

Road after Washpool Bridge
Sea view
Putangirua Bridge
Finally back at the Pinnacles where the previous day I had parked my car, that was four hours of 23 kilometers of road walking just too do a big loop walk. Next time I will walk back thru the forests.
Pinnacles Reserve
Trip Times
1210 Left Pinnacles car park
1232 At the lookout
1608 Washpool hut
1758 Left Washpool hut
1938 Pararaki hut
0800 Left Pararaki Hut
0941 At the forks
0956 At Kawakawa Hut
1033 Left Kawakawa Hut
1236 Mangatoetoe Hut
1320 Left Mangatoetoe hut
1410 On the road, beach was a failure
1547 Kawakawa Bridge
1614 Praraki Bridge
1719 Washpool bridge
1816 Putarangi bridge
1820 Back at the car

Map of Area
NZTopo50 BQ33 and BR33 are required.

1 comment:

Patricia Howitt said...

I visited Pararaki Hut in April 1976 (Yes!) and one of the photos I took then was of the tree shown in your post. In my photo, the tree looks virtually identical to what it looked in yours in 2015 - except in your photo the surrounding bush has grown up more. These mighty denizens of the forest live on! Am writing a book which will contain a couple of chapters about Pararaki Hut, plus some painted illustrations, including this tree. Great to know it is still flourishing.