Te Hoe River – from Mohaka River junction (with permission from Maori Trust land owners), Saturday, February 14 2009, Map V19
Trampers: Ted Angove, Colin McNatty, Jude Paton, Nolene Blair, Les O’Shea, Julia Mackie, Alex Thomason and John Dobbs
Six morphed into eight, so we had an economical vanload as we set out up the Taupo Road. Turning off into Waitara Road, the weather looked benign with some cloud and cooler temperatures than recently in the Bay. The lofty sentinel of Te Kooti’s Lookout loomed not far away.
After driving through Waitere Station, we parked the van just before the flash bridge across the Mohaka. We walked across it and up a forestry road then turned first right, up the river access way lined with delicious blackberries on which we feasted. Then it was into the Te Hoe valley proper, where we made our way up the true right bank.
The river levels had been much higher in the previous few days; damp mud was everywhere and the water was still discoloured as it was reducing. Rock hopping needed concentration. The river closed in with very steep sides and lots of driftwood timbers, and several times we needed to clamber higher around sheer bluff areas. It was slow going and after nearly 1.5 hours, we decided that to go on any further would have involved very deep wading combined with river crossings. The current was too strong to handle safely and so we wisely turned around.
At least the fossilised rocks and interesting driftwood shapes were fascinating, so much so that I collected a lovely rock and several driftwood pieces, but wasn’t the only one collecting!
A small diversion on the way back through a patch of pine trees meant a tricky descent through onga onga and blackberry until we met that forestry road again. Munching on more blackberries here, we were back at the van in time for lunch at the BBQ table.
Afterwards, we headed along the true right bank of the Mohaka to inspect Brian’s Bivvy. Many will remember Brian Daily, a good keen member who passed away six years ago and who was an avid trout fisherman. Well, his campsite, about an hour upstream, is still there and in good condition, with tarpaulins, bunks and all. Getting there involved a little mud and scrambling but it was great to see the campsite again and fill up our day with this little side trip. Apart from one beautiful kingfisher near the BBQ table, bird life was scarce. The weather had been good, the sun poked through clouds and it was not too hot – a very pleasant day in good company, and everyone was back to Napier safely by 4.15pm.