An Akatarawa Adventure
Day trip 14 May 2023
Nine members of MTC travelled over the Remutaka hill to meet with our guide for the day, Nic Blair at Harcourt park, Upper Hutt, before the short drive to the end of the Karapoti road, where the trip was to begin. None of the party had ventured into the Akatarawa park before, so new red line for all of us was assured.
Nic gave a brief outline of the days plan, promising a “bit of an adventure”, the plan being to cover some track, some old tram route, some river travel, and a bit of a climb down a small crag.
Weather was fine, cool, but with some sun, light wind, and no forecast for rain until well after dark.
The first ten minutes followed the gravel road alongside the Akatarawa river to a ford, where we turned north westerly heading up a small but wellformed track up the spur of the hill. We then contoured around until the track ran alongside the Little Akatarawa river. Following the river north, we passed a zip line that descends into a gorge area on the river, and then we arrived at the first of the days adventure activities!
A crag of about 5m height, that required a climb down. The crag has a fixed knotted rope to assist in this, and Nic had also brought a belt harness, and a belay rope for those that preferred to take things carefully, an option taken by a few of us, including Boots the dog, who appears to have no head for heights when it comes to bluffs!
Five minutes later we reached the first river crossing of the day, where we had a quick morning tea.
This was the start of our journey up the Little Akatarawa river, for a while, criss-crossing the river at times, and walking up the middle of it at others. It is more of a stream, and we were no deeper than knee depth at any time, even in the gorged sections.
We exited the river, before briefly crossing one of its side streams, and then climbing a short distance onto a plateau and on to the Karapoti Rata tree.
The Karapoti Rat has been measured and is registered as the tallest Northern Rata in existence, with a Height of 39m and a girth of 15m, it is believed to be around 1000 years old. A group photo was of course obligatory at the base of the massive trunk.
We all departed impressed by the size of the tree. Travel was briefly North, then South west to point 386 we had good travel over old benched tram tracks towards point 445.
Here we saw some evidence of the logging history of the area, including some old wire cable and a pulley wheel made of cast metal.
We then found 3 young people, who had become lost, and were starting to plan a night in the forest. The 3 were from Wellington, and were new to tramping. It would be fair to say that Akatarawa forest does not have signage anywhere.
We moved on across the ridge top to point 445, our high point for the day, before heading into a saddle and over the final climb of the day, then down the steep descent into the Akatarawa river
This brought us back to the ford that we had turned off at to start the trip, and 10 minutes from the car park.
An excellent day was had by all, nga mihi nui to Nic for guiding us, certainly, it was felt that he kept his promise of a bit of an adventure. A place to perhaps look at some future trips?