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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Days 24-25 Tararuas part one

Another cold night in the tent. We are right on the limits of what’s comfortable, so I’m pleased we’re not heading higher up into the Tararuas at present. A little mishap with a lost tent peg and then we were off.

Today was full of river crossings starting right as we left camp. There were countless crossings and our feet were wet all day. Luckily nothing higher than the knee.

With all the streams and rivers we also saw the first waterfall of the trip. Probably a bit of a stretch to call it a waterfall but I was impressed.

Burtton’s track was beautiful and thanks to Mr Burtton who created it when he lived alone here in the early 1900’s. He had a fall from his own suspension bridge but managed to get back to his house to feed his dogs then dragged himself 12km to get help. Unfortunately he then died in hospital from his injuries.

We came across a massive slip. Fortunately it wasn’t to hard to get over. It had obviously been here for some time and there was a bit of a path across.

We passed the Tokomaru hut mid afternoon. We would have been staying at these huts if we’d been able to manage a 30+km day the first day out of palmy. But we chose not to. Getting in the swing of leaving notes in the hut books now.

After Burtton’s track was a bit of gravel road walking alongside Tokomaru No 3 reservoir.

Then into the Mangahao-Makahika track. Our plan was to camp about 2km in where the first stream was if we could find a flat spot there. The first km was pretty steep and I was getting over it and just wanted to be there so was eyeing up flattish spots. Then we met our 4th TA walker Ramona. That perked me up!! She’s heading nobo from Wellington. And she’d just done the Tararuas. Huge respect for her getting that done and on her own too. She’d been following our blog and Instagram so it made us feel famous.

Soon after we got to set up camp as planned by a lovely babbling brook which I’m hoping; a) doesn’t flood in the night and, b) doesn’t make me need to pee more than usual.

For those wondering how our feet are doing - great. I’m not sure if it was the rest day, new socks, doing up laces differently, walking bush tracks up, down, and sideways, or likely all of the above. The blisters are all still there but they’re getting no worse and don’t impede movement anymore. Happy days.

After dinner blog writing

Day 25

Luckily the babbling brook didn’t break its banks last night but I can confirm it’s diuretic properties affected us both. We also solved the mystery of the previous days missing tent peg. It had snagged into the mesh on the back panel of my pack when I’d stowed it for the night in the vestibule. How I hadn’t felt it there or seen it when taking my pack off several times over the course of a whole day I don’t know. Anyway it was good to be reunited with it.

We were both looking forward to the return to civilisation today. It’s been four days without phone coverage so are looking forward to catching up on news. Particularly the covid situation and how it may impact our upcoming travels. There were a couple of elevated spots on the trail over those days where I checked for coverage and did manage to get a couple of (pre-prepared) Instagram posts sent off.

The Mangahao-Makahika track was as nice as Burton’s the day before. There were a lot of rimu in parts and I loved walking on the coppery carpet of rimu fronds. The bush was so lush and green and dripping with moss. It was even more vibrant once it started to drizzle around lunchtime.

It was a bit of a social day after the solitude of the previous three days. Firstly we crossed paths with Andrew who we begun the same day as from Cape Reinga. He’s heading north so has just come out of the Tararuas. His stories of that adventure reinforce our decision to postpone for now for us. It was a good catch-up comparing notes on what’s happened since we last saw each other on 90 mile beach, and what our upcoming plans are.

Three quarters of today we literally went up and over a huge hill. There were supposed to be good lookouts at the top including this one where you could see kapiti island and the South Island. The rain had set in quite well by this point. Oh well we should be seeing both of them up close very soon.

Shortly after lunch we were met by Darlene and her friend Margaret who had walked in to meet us and walk back out with us. They were great company and didn’t mind that we slowed them down a bit.

From here on it was stream crossing and recrossing countless times. We managed to keep our feet dry almost to the end.

Finally there was a bit of farmland then road walking including a diversion around a huge slip.

Slip covering Gladstone road

We walked to Poads road which will be where we renter the Tararuas on our return.

Warning sign on entering Tararuas in background
Cute monastery at Poads road

Darlene then kindly drove us on to Waikane which is where the Tararuas section we’re skipping comes out.

Day 24~ Walked 14km, ~ Start: Burttons track ~ End: Mangahao-Makahika track, Tararua Forest Park (km 1524)

Day 25~ Walked 16km, ~ Start: Mangahao-Makahika track, Tararua Forest Park ~ End: Poads road Levin (km 1540)

Here are some videos to give an idea of the terrain we covered over the last four days.

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Philippa Moor
Philippa Moor
Oct 26, 2021

Glad its all going well. Some great photos - good job there Gerard. Safe dry walking x


Oct 24, 2021

Great videos, wow looks like you were getting to 700m high, that's quite the climb !

Loved the 300 in the Silver Ferns - cool. Glad to hear you found the tent peg.

But most of all great that your feet are OK, I guess they will just get better and better now.

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