New Zealand Walk: If you go down to the woods Ko­hitere For­est ca­pers

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Bob Hodg­son

On a fine win­ter’s day in mid June, 30 Wed­nes­day tram­pers headed to Ko­hitere For­est near Levin, in­tend­ing to ex­plore the moun­tain-bike / walk­ing tracks through the for­est.

With an 8.45am start, three groups formed, and the fastest group set off to­wards the hill at such a pace that they missed the turn-off and had to be whis­tled back. Find­ing the right trail, we climbed the hill on an easy zigzag path through ma­ture pine for­est. Com­ing out onto the forestry road, we turned left to­wards Ara­paepae look­out.

Trip leader had ad­vised group one to con­tinue on this road be­yond the look­out, as far as Makahika, be­fore re­turn­ing to the look­out for lunch. But ei­ther her in­struc­tions and maps were not clear enough, or the group had not lis­tened, we were sur­prised to see them re­turn­ing to­wards us be­fore we had even reached the look­out!

The sec­ond group con­tin­ued along the road, and down the hill al­most to Makahika, while group one ex­plored a side road which went nowhere. Both groups re­turned to the look­out for lunch, and en­joyed the ex­ten­sive views.

The third group had ven­tured only as

far as the look­out, then re­turned south to the Trig for their lunch stop.

Most of us took an­other off-road trail to­wards the Trig, but some mem­bers of the party chose the road and raced ahead. From this point we de­scended firstly on a forestry road. Trip leader had cau­tioned her troops to fol­low their guides, as the track to re­turn to the car park was one of sev­eral side-tracks from this road, and could eas­ily be missed.

Four ea­ger tram­pers raced ahead and were well past the turn off point when we tried to call them back. Three re­turned, but Evan was out of range and could not be re­called. While four of our group stayed be­hind to try and contact him, the ma­jor­ity fol­lowed the cor­rect trail, and voted it the nicest trail of the day, pass­ing by some im­pres­sive tree ferns.

Apart from a few slip­pery wooden bridges, these tracks were in good or­der and not too muddy. A nice al­ter­na­tive to walk­ing on the forestry roads. All tram­pers had re­turned to the ve­hi­cles by 2.30pm, even the way­ward Evan had found his way back by then.

Above: The view from the look­out with the town­ship of Levin in the mid­dle of the photo.

Below: A fine spec­i­men on the zig zag track.

Above and middl e : The group en­joy­ing l unch at the look­out.

Below: The brief­ing at Den­ton Road.

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