New Section of Trail OpenedBy Penny Redward 18th June 2011
Otaki Forks to Reikorangi : via Pukeatua
A new section of the 3000km Te Araroa trail – Cape Reinga to Bluff – was opened today; 18th June 2011. 14km of brand new track for the Department of Conservation and a great connection for the Kapiti community.
The Hon Kate Wilkinson aided by Nathan Guy, Geoff Chapple (Te Araroa’s leading light and inspiration), Wellington Trust members, local DOC senior staff, Mary and John Carter (who so graciously gave permission to cross a section of their private land), and 100 interested and keen trampers were there to formally open the track at Otaki Forks.
Despite the dire weather warnings 9 local trampers set off in the dark and rain at 7am from Mangaone South Road t0be the first official ‘through walkers’. They arrived at Otaki Forks to much acclaim just as the new sign was unveiled. In the meantime, 30 of the assembled crowd (including 4yr old Jack) had walked the first section up to the ridgeline where there are great views back across the Otaki River and the Tararua peaks and valleys.
The track is a ‘tramping track’, steep, narrow and slippery in places but through some beautiful mixed forest and a short section of pine plantation. It takes 5 – 7 hours depending on your fitness, and the half way point is Pukeatua peak. At 812m Pukeatua is exposed and despite a covering of leatherwood can be as wild as anywhere else in the Tararuas. However bush cover is not far away and the views on a fine day across to the Kapiti Coast are just superb.
This trip needs planning, and maybe a bit of training, – vehicle pick up and drop off at either end. However it is a great addition to our Kapiti selection of walking experiences. I’m sure it will be well used and was certainly well supported today with generous donations of chocolate from Whittakers, liquorice from RJs, apples from Penray, and gift donations from Ice Breaker and Kathmandu – all local stores. The Army provided tents and the Otaki Rotarians put on a sausage sizzle and music to give the finishing touches to a successful launching.
Detailed track notes plus maps can be down loaded from Te Araroa web site: http://www.teararoa.org.nz/index.cfm
Start training –
walk it. Dee and Tim Armstrong w grandson Jack