21-Dec-2014 -- I’m spending much of this Southern Hemisphere summer in my home town of Auckland, New Zealand. Unfortunately, the early-mid December weather in Auckland was very un-summer-like, so I decided to take a break for a couple of days in tourist town of Napier, which happened to have much more summer-like weather. While returning from Napier, I decided to make a detour to visit this confluence point, which had not been visited since Bob Jordan and Andrew McGlone’s single visit more than 13 years earlier.
Like Jordan and McGlone, I ended up on Woodlands Road, and parked at the entrance to a gravel farm road at 38.9866°S 177.0147°E. This was just over 2 km from the confluence point. As I was starting out on my hike, a local farmer came by. I asked him if this was his farm, and if I could hike to the point “where the latitude and longitude lines meet”. As is so often the case in this situation, he looked confused, but gave me the OK to continue.
At first, the gravel farm road was in good condition, and it turns out that I could have driven about 1 km along it (which would have significantly reduced my hiking time). About 1 km along the road, I saw a logging operation in progress: a truck had been loaded with recently-cut logs. (As this was a Sunday afternoon, however, there was nobody present at the time.) After this point, the farm road became less distinct, but continued towards the confluence point, ending up just 90 m north of the point, which lay down a steep grassy slope - across a couple of fences.
Unlike Jordan and McGlone, I didn’t see any sheep (or any other farm animals) during my hike - although the steepness of the terrain makes this clearly a sheep farm. The confluence point lay on a steep grassy slope (filled with clover). Just to the West was a stand of Manuka (or perhaps Kanuka). To the South and East lay the gorge for the Mohaka River, although the river itself was not visible from the confluence point. (I did, however, get a good view of the river as I hiked along the farm road.) Unfortunately, I didn’t see the marked stone that Jordan and McGlone left during their visit; perhaps it washed away during one of the undoubtedly many heavy rainstorms that would have passed through this area in the intervening 13 years.
After visiting the point, I decided to follow Jordan and McGlone’s lead and return via the long and winding road through Urewera National Park, past Lake Waikaremoana. This was a real ordeal, but I’m glad I did it - once. The countryside here is beautiful, but extremely rugged. At first, I planned to continue driving back to Auckland afterwards, but sanity got the better of me, and I ended up spending the night in Rotorua instead.