06-Mar-2014 -- This is a remarkable confluence point, and I'm sure I'll remember this visit for a long time.
The two previous visitors had approached the confluence point from the southwest, via a series of forestry roads. However, during my previous attempt - three weeks ago - I found that the forestry roads were clearly marked with "No Trespassing" signs, noting that entry requires a permit. So I didn't go that way. Instead, I started from the southeast - specifically, from the Kaimanawa Forest park, at the very end of Kiko Road - about 2 km from the confluence point. Three weeks ago, I hiked along the "Kiko Loop Track", but found that it passed no closer than 1.85 km from the confluence point.
Afterwards, I was contacted by Bob Jordan, who had made the first visit to this confluence point (in October 2000). Although he had approached the confluence point from the southwest, he noted that - on his return hike from the confluence point - he had found another track to the east. This track ends up at Kiko Road, without passing through the forestry area (and thus apparently without trespassing). So I knew that I had to make another attempt, using this track.
The secret is to start your hike not at the very end of Kiko Road, but instead at the point - shortly before the end - where the road turns into a one-way loop. At this point 39.01765°S 175.99419°E, 2.03 km from the confluence point, there's a track that heads first towards the northeast, before veering north towards the confluence point. After about 1 km, the track meanders about - to cross a drainage (with a rickety old bridge) - then continues course northwards towards the confluence point. This 'track' is actually an old road. It is quite wide in places, and is still used by dirt bikes (I saw fresh dirt bike tracks during my hike). At one point there's even the wreckage of an old car sitting on the side of the road. This road is also quite beautiful, as in several places the forest canopy has closed above the road, producing a 'tunnel' effect.
After a total hike of about 4 km, the road passes about 100 metres from the confluence point, at which point another narrower track branches off, ending at the edge of a steep cliff - just 50 metres from the point. As noted by the previous visitors, the confluence point lies on the steep eastern hillside of a deep, rugged ravine. Here I was standing just 50 metres away. Although this was close enough to count as a successful visit, I wanted to get closer. But how? The hillside here was very steep, and I could get no closer than 24 meters from the point without risking falling down the cliff.
I was almost about to give up without getting 'all zeros', but I decided instead to try to find a way down into the ravine. By exploring just to the north, I was able to find a narrow, steep path (clearly used by humans in the past) that took me down into the ravine. I then scrambled up the eastern hillside to try to get 'all zeros'. Remarkably, I was eventually able to succeed, albeit briefly. The steep hillside was covered with loose dirt, along with numerous pumice stones - reflecting this region's recent volcanic history. Nearby, next to a downed tree, I saw a white plastic bucket, with "Geocache" written (in faded writing) on the top. I didn't open the 'geocache', because the lid of the bucket was jammed on very tight. But in any case, I don't find geocaches very interesting. I find it noteworthy, though, that so many 'degree confluence points' have geocaches, yet very few geocache visitors bother to record their visit with the Degree Confluence Project. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps they find the reporting requirements too onerous - or perhaps they're simply not aware of this project?
After scrambling back out of the ravine, I rejoined the road to the east, and ended up back at my rental car (on Kiko Road) just after sunset.