He had to wait another week as the weather sorted it­self out but that, Mur­ray Tay­lor reck­ons, was a small price to pay for another suc­cess­ful Danne-Ve­gas to Herby 4x4 Scenic Trek.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and pho­tos by Mur­ray Tay­lor.

Satur­day Fe­bru­ary 17 , and af­ter a weather-in­duced post­pone­ment from the week­end be­fore, the sixth an­nual Dan­neVe­gas ( Dan­nevirke) to Herby ( Her­bertville) 4x4 Scenic Trek went ahead, very much as planned. The weather had still been change­able through the week, but with a good fore­cast for the day, it was up ( in my case any­way) be­fore the crack of dawn, ve­hi­cle packed and out the gate head­ing for Dan­nevirke. A quick re­fuel when I got to town then it was along the road to the A& P Show­grounds and reg­is­tra­tion. A few ve­hi­cles were al­ready in the pad­dock when I ar­rived and be­fore long Trevor the or­gan­iser and lead ve­hi­cle driver, was in­tro­duc­ing him­self and work­ing through the safety brief­ing re­lat­ing to the day. He then in­tro­duced the Mayor of Tararua Dis­trict, Tracey Col­lis, who in turn wel­comed ev­ery­one, gave a brief over­view of the dis­trict and ac­knowl­edged the spon­sors and all in at­ten­dance. The Herby Trek is a very pop­u­lar one in the dis­trict, with a re­laxed, ‘all fam­ily 4WDs wel­come/ no M/ Ts re­quired’ vibe ( ‘a scenic tour not a race or bush bash’) is how it is pro­moted) and the pro­ceeds go­ing to wor­thy lo­cal char­i­ties like the Her­bertville Hall, St John Health Shut­tle, Ti Tree Point Play­group and We­ber School. Ev­ery­one then dis­persed to their ve­hi­cles – some 40 odd in­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from your t yp­i­cal ‘ Tuff Truck-style’ Nis­san Pa­trol and 80-se­ries Toy­ota Land­cruiser to a Kia Sorento and Subaru Forester and Ford Ex­plorer from a Hyundai Tus­can, and not for­get­ting the group of off-road mo­tor­bikes and their rid­ers along as sup­port crew, open­ing, mark­ing gates, road direc­tion con­trol and of­fer­ing gen­eral help where needed.

Straight into it

As the crow flies it is just 50- or-so kms from Dan­nevirke in the heart of the Tararua Dis­trict to Her­bertville on the east coast, but we were tak­ing what you could call the scenic route and would cover at least 125kms. Leav­ing the pad­dock where the event was based it was a hard left turn then and di­rectly into 4WD as we headed down­hill to cross the Man­gat­era Stream on a farm bridge. We then pro­ceeded up the hill and did another hard left, be­fore a short on-road haul saw us head­ing north on another cen­tral farm race. Not long af­ter this we crossed the Manawatu River on a bridge, the turned left to head up along­side the river to the only wa­ter cross­ing of the day, a small creek ex­it­ing into the river mean­ing the track went into, then out of, the river. So into the river, back up and climb out, no prob­lems, but a lot of wa­ter is com­ing with the trucks, so it’s not long be­fore a snatch strap is in use. The lead ve­hi­cles head on out fur­ther along the track to wait in the shade of some pine trees; with the tem­per­a­ture climb­ing it’s go­ing to be a very warm day.

Time for a ‘cuppa!

The wait­ing group has time for morn­ing tea and a chat be­fore we are all mov­ing again, in this case along farm tracks across pad­docks, up and down hills with scenery out across ar­eas of land one would not nor­mally have the priv­i­lege to see, let alone travel over. Time seemed to fly along with the dust on some tracks as we en­tered yet another prop­erty, but this one was dif­fer­ent. The driv­ers had to sign in at the gate, then, as we started the long, late morn­ing, ses­sion be­fore the sched­uled lunch break. The route took us down a great cen­tral farm track with el­e­va­tion head­ing north towards a for­est, the track head­ing down­hill and through a gate, then onto a forestry track. By this stage the old MT mem­ory was get­ting into gear and be­fore too long I recog­nised a road junc­tion from a dif­fer­ent approach. Then it all fell into place; this is Tararua For­est, an area I have been in these last few months, although al­ways in the mid­dle of the night ( col­lect­ing bee­hives. Ed). So it was great to drive it in day light and see the for­est be­yond the reach of head­lights, see­ing the old hut be­side the track, it’s a great place. Ex­it­ing the for­est through another gate we then headed down the road a short dis­tance, be­fore turn­ing hard left towards a wool­shed and lunch. The wool­shed is up high on the ridge, af­ford­ing us a great view north with the for­est off to the left. Mm­mmm, lunch!

Lunch was pro­vided by We­ber School and I did love the home bak­ing , don’t get that very of­ten these days. Dur­ing lunch a few spot prizes got handed out, and be­fore we knew it, en­gines are started and we were off again… Still on farm tracks, some rougher than oth­ers, and all re­quir­ing some thought as to how best to them, up and down hill, slowly head­ing east towards the sea. We then had a long climb to the top of “Tau­mata whakatangi hangakoauau o ta­matea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua ki­tanatahu”, at 305m a high point in the area, with great views all around. I felt that the sign at the top could do with a paint, but that could also be re­flec­tive of the weather at times. Once we had all had fun try­ing to vo­calise the sign’s words ( which, by the way, means ‘ the place where Ta­matea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed, and swal­lowed moun­tains, known as ‘ lan­deater’) it was back into the trucks and down­hill on a dif­fer­ent track to Wim­ble­don Road where we turned right, then be­fore one had time to pick up speed, left again onto another track, of which I never got to see the sign on the road re the hill and view, but then there’s al­ways another day, isn’t there?

Time to Tur­na­gain

Slowly head­ing south east we then headed down another ( No Exit) road onto a farm track/ road, this one lead­ing through the prop­erty and past the home­stead be­fore head­ing up a gully be­fore a steep climb to the top of Cape Tur­na­gain at 285m and the ra­dio tower on top. Here there was time to take in the views south to Cas­tle Point in the dis­tance, to Her­bertville the fin­ish­ing point, al­most di­rectly be­low us, and north to Black­head Point. From here it was then a slow trip back down the hill to the road, fi­nally stop­ping at the Her­bertville Fire Sta­tion for, din­ner, a drink and talk amongst friends both new and old. It was a great day out with plenty of coun­try cov­ered, 99.2 km off road and 27.8 on road for a to­tal dis­tance of 127 km and few odd me­tres, noth­ing that hard as it’s for the pub­lic and nor­mal 4WD ve­hi­cles, of which I was not aware of any dam­age done dur­ing the day, and even a Toy­ota Rav4 and 2017 Subaru XV finished the day. To the or­gan­is­ers, the trail crew who kept all in ‘ line,’ to the lunch and din­ner crews, thanks for the ter­rific day out, along with a spe­cial thanks to all the land own­ers for the ac­cess with which the event would not have run... Also, to my fel­low 4WDers, thanks for a great day...

APRIL 2018 WWW. NZ4WD. CO. NZ 27

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