Extended ANZAC trip 2018
by Andrew Murdoch
Having driven down to the Kiriwhakapapa road end, we wandered up to Blue Range Hut for the night fuelled by Hazel Walton’s most excellent panforte. Blue Range Hut is charming and lovingly maintained by the Masterton Tramping Club with some limited spots outside for camping. 1.5 - 2 hrs tramping.
Heading for Arete Forks today, it was 2.5 hrs down to Cow Creek Hut and then a decision: take the notorious sidle track or an alternative route by way of Table Ridge? No one seemed too keen on spending the rest of the day in a muddy grovel so up, up we went.
Turned out to be a pearler of a plan! The day was fine and windless. The route up the ridge, which leaves the sidle track, to .1390 is marked up to the bush line as is the spur running north off .1478 which virtually takes you straight down to Arete Forks. It took us a fairly leisurely 6 hours up and down from Cow Creek to Arete Forks, so 8.5 hrs tramping for the day.
Arete Forks like Carkeek, Mid-Waiohine and a number of others is very well maintained by the Ex NZFS volunteer group who do a fantastic job not only renovating and maintaining huts but also recutting and marking valuable old routes.
A forecast front had us rethinking earlier plans to check out the seldom-visited Dorset Ridge Hut in favour of getting off the tops before bad weather hit. So we were aiming to traverse the majority of the tops section of the Northern Crossing and get to Mitre Flats by the end of the day. The climb out of Arete Forks up Pinnacle Spur was straight-forward and deposited us on top of the Waiohine Pinnacles after 3.5 hrs. From there it was 2 hours to Tarn Ridge Hut for a scenic lunch break, and a further 2 hours to
get over Girdlestone and Brockett to Mitre.
The legs were getting a bit heavier by this point and after another 3 or so hours down we happily but wearily reached Mitre Flats Hut in the dark after 11 odd hrs of tramping, to be greeted less than enthusiastically by the well-spread-out inhabitants of a half empty hut with “we hope you brought tents!”. Well yes we did but, no, we didn’t particularly want to pitch them if we didn’t have to, especially with a storm supposedly coming in! Happily the initial greeting soon became more welcoming and we all fitted in quite comfortably with a bit of shifting around, as is often the way.
A cruisier day today with a 4hr wander up the Waingawa back to Cow Creek Hut for lunch, then a 3hr climb back up on to Blue Range for our last night of the trip at the little blue hut. 7 hrs tramping for the day.
A wander back down the hill to the cars and drive home, another wonderful Tararua trip done and dusted with thoughts already turning towards the next...
We were Margaret Law, Dennis Brown, Michelle Martin, Tony Walton, Ray Long, Andrew Murdoch (leader)
Photos: Tony and Dennis