Waitangi Falls – Eastwoodhill Arboretum 2 – 4 June

Left Havelock North travelling on SH2 to Wairoa, to Tiniroto Road, past Te Reinga Falls onto Ereupti and Ruakuturi Roads, finally coming to the entrance of Papuni Station. At this stage Derek had caught up with us in his new, once spotless vehicle. Along the main farm track it was very wet and at times the truck found it hard to get traction – a wee bit scary. Arrived at our destination after three to four hours driving. As we were changing into our tramping gear, a couple of shepherds on horseback rode past, each with a small dead pig slung over the saddle. “Our kai,” was their greeting on being asked if they were competing in the pig hunting competition.

Set off trying to follow the white markers along the route across farmland: up and down, sidling, avoiding blackberry and hawthorn bushes, and inevitably gathering mud. Every time we moved, the mud would act as a suction – I’m sure I gathered a kilo of mud per boot!! Yes, I had been forewarned by the station manager that the ground was a bit boggy – too right it was! After two hours we stopped for a lunch break under a tree and a rock outcrop [the only non-muddy spot] with views down to the Ruatikuri River. After some discussion decided to return to the truck as there was no way we would reach the falls and return in daylight. As we were navigating our way back, the A party of three had made the same decision. To be able to visit these magnificent cascades it needs to be a summer trip and to stay overnight in the nearby packers accommodation.

Onward to Poverty Bay, passing through Patutahi, along Ngatapa back roads to arrive at Eastwoodhill Arboretum at about 7:00pm. We had the two bunk rooms with six in each plus the company of three young people (a couple and one young woman from Napier). Showered, cooked our shared meal and sat around relaxing before heading for bed. Sunday dawned drizzly and we all set out on the long track which took us up to the high viewpoint – about 1-2 hours. Back for lunch then everyone either stayed indoors enjoying the fire or wandered the many tracks. There were still trees with their autumn colours, the camellias and rododendrons were beginning to flower and the birdlife – mainly tuis and bellbirds – filled the air with song. Another gourmet shared meal before board games, and Derek and Annie serenaded us with songs from the 60s and 70s.

Eastwood Hill Lookout
Eastwood Hill

The weather for Gisborne on Monday was terrible with 50+mm of rain forecast from midnight to 6:00a.m. Our thoughts of walking the old railway line at Otoko soon disappeared and, after some discussion, decided to return home via SH1. After a leisurely start we departed for Wairoa at about 9:00am, bypassing Osler’s Cafe [oh, the moans from the back] and drove along the Marine Parade before walking up to the knoll to view the river mouth, estuary, and coastline south to Mahia. I accompanied Lex back to the truck whilst the rest of the party walked alongside the estuary for us all to unite and eat our lunch by the picnic area. Although we didn’t do any serious tramping, there was good camaraderie amongst the group. 

Party: Susan L, Anne C, Debra S, Brent H, Anne D,
Glenda H,, Anne and Lex S, Rodger B, Garry S, Derek B and  
Janice L

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