A long story short ...
The idea to tramp across the Kaimai ranges just happened to come pass really quickly after checking out a topo 50 map of our neighbourhood . The Wairere Falls seemed a really interesting feature being the highest falls in the north island as a goal but it did take some calculations as to how long it would actually take to tramp to make sure we could do it in a day . It does help a little that at the start of most tramp tracks there is a time indication as to how long travel times are generally but sometimes not totally reliable . This time it was - 6 hours .
Before we even pull on any boots the basic preparations are always done - weather , the right maps , plenty of food and water , wet weather gear as weather does change , basic first aid stuff including emergency blankets , torches etc .
To enlarge any image just mouse click on it . Featured images are at the bottom of the page .
Every-one who heads out into the bush must always let a contact know what and where you are going . Check the bush rules on any DOC site . Over prepareing is not a bad thing .
As a rule we have a Topo 50 map which are easily obtained from outdoor shops such as Bivoac or Hunting and Fishing etc . Also i have a hiking app based on the Topo 5o maps with gps on my iPhone which have found to be really accurate even with no cell coverage [ ihikeGPS NZ ] . Very handy for making sure you are on the right track . The next item on the agenda is a personal locator beacon .
For this hike we started at whats called "the blade" by the locals . Its at the end of Whakamarama road [ half way from Tauranga to Katikati up the hill ] and gets you part way into the bush and some really interesting tracks lead from here .Its called the blade because years ago a bulldozer blade was left there for yonks until some-one stole it for scrap . There is a movement afoot to replace it . There is lots of tram trails from the early logging days up there which makes for a easy hiking base which are just awesome to walk if you have some hours to kill . Easy ...
The one we travelled is called the Ngamarama Track which is part of the original "over the ranges" track called the Te Tuhi . It intersects the old tramways occasionally and easy to tell with the big cuttings thru some banks . Some pix to the right . All the images on the right i used a iPhone so as to get some illustrative shots for the story .
As tracks go it was not showing much use at all . No crowds here . In fact we saw only one person all the time and it was on this track . But like all DOC tracks the orange triangles marked the way and that was a good thing as the grasses were getting a bit high . You have to watch where you put your feet .
Talking about grasses the seed heads of one type [ the name escapes me ] are really nasty . If you are a hairy male they really grab as you walk past . My gators weren"t that much use as when you brush past a bank they grab your arm hairs . Ouch ... Makes for some seed pulling from ya socks after-wards !
Lunch at the junction of Ngamarama and the North South track . Yum ...
From here we followed the north-south track northwards . There are no bridges as per the more used DOC trails . Good tramping boots really are a very good idea . So is gore-tex ...take my word for it !... No wet feet !
The terrain is really gentle but to keep to some sort of time-table you need to move along just in case . Just awesome to see some big Kauri trees - see pix to the side .
Next way point is joining the Wairere track itself and following the Wairere stream to the falls .
The falls themselves are preceded by the chatter of groups of sight-seers . Bum . It is really pleasant to be walking with-out anybody around . Really quiet ... so nice !
Its taken 6 hours to get to this point with breaks . Not bad .
The feature images from the falls are at the bottom .
The track down to the carpark and our handy family taxi service is a bit steep to say the least . Probably harder than the tramp along the top . Especially with most of the camera gear !
The path is not really formed - just well compacted over time around the rocks making its own pathway . The steeper bit has a wooden stair system . The stream at the bottom makes for some really good swimming holes and being a tad warm were well used .
Some-how these wanders keep coming up . I only do tramps that lead me to a interesting place or some-thing worth photographing as a goal . A sort of destination thing ...
A word to the wise . Make sure you prepare with good equipment , plan ahead and know where you are as well as some-one else knowing where you plan to be at certain times . People have been lost on the same track and needed helicopter rescue . Partly why i have a blue camera bag . You can see it from the air ...
If any-one wants more info get in touch ...
Happy wandering .