16-Sep-2000 -- Primary purpose of our little trip was to climb the nearby
Mt Wainui (S41.00.763 E174.58.713). A nephew, Leo Barber, had desired the top of this bush
clad peak for a number of years. I was with him some twenty years ago when, as a 5 year old,
he first climbed the big hill outside his backdoor (Mt Welcome, 440m, S41.02.315 E174.55.195).
Mt Wainui stands invitingly tall behind. I guess there is always a bigger hill, another challenge.
Anyway, at 722 m Mt Wainui is the highest hill up the coast, as locals from Wellington city would
say, and the scrubby top affords a nearly complete view of the notoriously wild Cook Strait. It
is a wonderful vista that extends from the Kaikoura coast on the north east of the South Island
right around to the south Taranaki coast on the west of the North Island.
We climbed the peak via the leading north spur. Access was a little bit of a problem as the
State owned farm/reserve land adjoining the mountain was closed due to lambing. A very
friendly landowner of another adjoining piece of land allowed us access (farmhouse on State
Highway One at S40.59.010 E174.58.291). The farm had been recently converted into a pine
forest/plantation, so there were no concerns about disturbing stock. A bulldozed dirt road was
followed from behind the farmhouse up through the forest to the bush edge of the north spur at
(S40.59.979 E174.59.047). The ridge of the spur was then followed to the summit, taking a
good hour or more, on a formed but largely overgrown track.
The confluence point lies north east of the summit, about 2 kms. It seemed an absurb goal
from the splendid height of Mt Wainui. How bizarre to want to disappear down into the depths
of a dark forest gully to find some virtual point that exists only in our collective human
consciousness. No spectacular view, no difficult physical challenges, no unique floral, fauna
or fossil. I'm not a peace with the concept - I don't think I'm sane. In place of sanity I have the
always convincing and enthusiastic voice of my friend Bob Jordan ringing in my head.
So I dragged Leo and my young son Ollie off on the hunt. Maybe that is it, the joy of a
hunt. It wasn't completely straightforward and we had our moments with a bit of back tracking
etc. It certainly was a relief to finally square up on the place. Coming from the west you are in
a pine forest with the direct route broken by steep gullies. It would be far easier coming to it
from the north. If, heaven forbid, confluence hunting ever becomes popular then I predict this
point will get a right royal hammering. It lies close to a moderately sized city area (30 minutes
drive north of Wellington - NZ's capital), by the easiest northerly route it involves a moderate 1
hour or so walk across open farmland and has some great views along the way. Difficulties of
access will only be encountered during lambing season: then, like us, you will probably need
to get permission to cross up the private pine forest/plantation to the bush edge on the north
spur of Mt Wainui. From there you cross a low saddle to the east and, well, use your brain
and GPS to get to the point.