My Favourite Walk: Whariti wandering
A winding, walking, wonder right on the doorstep of a small country town called Woodville
Walking on the road to the top of Mt Whariti last year was an exhilarating experience for Maureen Naylor, Jannah Pettit and Dorothy Johnstone.
Wearing sneakers and thermals with woollen gloves, hat and a jacket tucked into small back packs we set off on the three hour wander to the top. Although the tower at this stage was obscured by heavy cloud this did not daunt our spirits.
The first surprise was to see fossils/sea shells embedded in a bank causing the mind to imagine either the sea or river running at this high level. Further along we were startled to hear gun shots, however, we didn’t notice any ducks falling, this being the season for the sport, while cattle grazing near the pond appeared quite content and undisturbed.
It seemed no time after viewing the windmills above us that we were soon level with, and then above these impressive whirring machines. Trying to count them all seemed impossible so decided to rely on statistics for that information.
Suddenly, a rainbow started to form but didn’t eventuate and faded. With so much activity going on including aeroplanes, and a helicopter flying around plus the flow of traffic on the Saddle Hill nearby the time passed quickly and soon we were casting our eyes down on Woodville, Mangatainoka, Pahiatua to the east with Ashhurst, Palmerston North, Feilding and Kapiti on the west all appearing like match box toys.
By contrast Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe were mighty and majestic in all their splendour. At this level the great divide between the Ruahine and Tararua ranges was clearly apparent as also was the Manawatu Gorge and river. The Manawatu River is very unique in that its source starts north of Norsewood and runs through a mountain range being the Manawatu gorge - the great divide between the Ruahine ranges and the Tararua range. From there the Manawatu River runs right to the west coast entering the Tasman sea at Foxton.
We stopped for lunch at the DOC sign indicating we were just three kilometre from the top of the tower. This last stretch of road took us an hour to wander. By this time it was getting cold and windy so we were grateful to have our woollen gloves and hats etc to ward against these elements. There sure was a feeling of elation which was so surreal when we reached the tower. The clouds had moved on, while the air was crisp and clear. We had “Conquered the B”
It took us two hours to meander back down to the real world, recapturing the spectacular views along the way once more which we had appreciated so much as we ascended.
Above left: The great divide between the Ruahine and Tararua ranges can be seen across the centre of photo. Above right: Dorothy Johnstone and Jannah Pettit congratulate each other at the top of Whariti. Below middle The Whariti transmission tower. Below: Mr Ruapehu and Mt Ngaruruhoe.