Tararuas Traverse, Otaki - Upper Hutt
Ive never been to the Tararuas, and my aim is take no more than 7 days in late January, stick closely to the hut system, (carrying a fly only), but to see the highlights of the Tararuas esp the alpine areas. Bad wx routes would also be useful to have on standby. All pointers appreciated. Cheers.
basically thats the southern crossing which is 3 days unless you are fit but there are a few detours to make it more interesting
What about an SK? It'd be very achievable in 7 days, would it not? (Insane people complete it in ~22 hours.) And there are several options between the tops and valleys.
'Scuze my ignorance - clearly not up on the jargon. But what's an SK izogi?
Actually correction, our bus drops us at Levin. So i guess well go into either South Ohua or Waiopehu Huts
Much better then - was going to suggest starting at Levin if you had 7 days to spend.
A taxi to Poads Road roadend from Levin station cost me $14 last time I was there - so getting to the park is easy.
I'd head up to Te Matawai, then follow the Tararua Main Ridge south. Depends on your walking speed - it took me 3 days from Te Matawai to Otaki Forks, which would be 6 DoC days. If you want some river travel, then you can make it more interesting by heading up the river to South Ohau and then up the track behind to Te Matawai. Otherwise stright to the hut.
The main ridge south from Arete is covered in:
The weather may have made its mind up what its doing by late January-but the best is in April,May -June.Blowing a fair gale at the present.
If you can get a taxi from Levin Station to Poads Rd end for less than $35 (thats a quote) you will be lucky.
Otaki Forks -Fields Hut -Kime Hut-Winchombe ridge(tent /fly camp)-Cone Saddle-Cone Hut-Tutuwai Hut(but fly camp better in valley)Kaitoke would be a nice walk .Gives a balance of tops and river valley,and gets you out near Upper Hutt.
Not a lot of water on Winchcombe Ridge so best to carry a bit.
SK is i guess the Schorman Hut - Kaitoke valley trip .Now probably more accurate to call it a Putara-Kaitoke.
Schorman Hut was burnt down many years ago , by an allegedly disgruntled farmer.
Putara - Kaitoke would rival any of the South Island great walks and with less people around
For some reason my response to madpom failed to register a few days ago, but yes that's what I meant, although the traditional S.K. as I've heard of it follows the main range along the tops. Graeme Dingle completed an S.K. in <24 hours some time ago, and now insane people who like the Tararuas sometimes try to measure themselves against that feat from time to time.
My main thought in putting it forward, though, was to suggest that a Southern Crossing seems quite short and restrictive and overly walked by others when seven days are available to zig-zag around between north and south.
The Tararua Adventure Guide by Jonathan Kennett lists three routes for the Schormann's (Putara) - Kaitoke.
The traditional SK or tops route is: Putara roadend - Herepai - East Peak - West Peak - Logan - Pukemoremore - Dundas - Arete - Pukematawai - Butcher Knob - Dracophyllum Knob - Nichols - Mt Crawford - Junction Knob - Aokaparangi - Maungahuka - Tararua Peaks - MacIntosh - Yeates - Bridge Peak - Hector - Atkinson - Aston - Alpha - Marchant Ridge - Kaitoke. Phew!!! I did this trip in my 20's and it was 4 long hard days over Easter. I remember water was an issue on that trip.
The valley route is a much easier route. From Putara head to Roaring Stag Lodge then follow the Ruamahanga to Cleft Creek - Cow Creek - Mitre Flats - Atiwhakatu - Pig Flat - Totara Flats - Cone Saddle - Tauherenikau - Kaitoke. A much easier trip, about 8hrs at average tramping pace over 4 days after a night walk into Roaring Stag.
I have heard of variations (probably only theoretical trips, as they all seem harder than the "official" route) of the tops route mainly around how you get from the Dundas ridge to the Main range e.g. Carkeek - Park Forks - Nichol instead of Dracophyum, or instead of turning off Arete follow the ridge south to Girdlestone - Jumbo - Holdsworth then dive down to Mid Waiohine then back up to Aokap.
The Dingle Route (if it ever had an official title) follows the last variation mentioned then followed the valleys route to Kaitoke. His time of 18.5 hrs is just scary. Maybe that's a challenge for Madpom...
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