DANNE-VEGAS TO HERBY-VILLE 4x4 TREK
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.
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