As the school holidays began we hatched a plan to wear the kids out….possibly for the entire holidays. We need to first of all note, our plan failed and after an unbelievable effort from all 4 of us, making this 18km (yes you read that right) return trip on foot somehow the kids were still running about full of energy after a short car ride to the nearby local seaside town of Raglan for a well earned fish and chip dinner by the sea, meanwhile Warren and I were feeling a tad broken.
I (Emma) had started this walk with an old friend a few years earlier but due to an injury on my friends part we only went part of the way. I knew it was an easy-ish walk but to be honest, the distance was a lot more than I had bargained for. The day before we did this walk, Warren and I had tossed up between a few options and decided this was the most kid friendly on our list of choice’s. That said, the walk its-self is very easy….. the distance is a bit more of a challenge on the other hand.
The track is easy to follow and doubles as both a walking and cycle track to the summit. It is important for the SOTA world however to note that the true summit is actually as we discovered on PRIVATE LAND. We managed to strike it lucky and run into the landowner just as we reached the end of the public track and gained permission to make the last short walk up to the true summit and enjoy our lunch and a well earned rest before Warren got himself set up and on the air. On the topo map below the track T junction just to the south of the summit is where you need to leave the track onto private land.
There wasn’t a lot to tie the antenna to so it was stretched between 2 fence posts in the corner of the paddock with one of our walking sticks used to prop it up. After finishing lunch we started out on 14 MHz and made to contacts to VK. Due to the limited height reports back weren’t flash. Never mind – a contact is a contact. & MHz gained 3 more contacts around ZL and then Warren worked John (ZL1PO) in Hamilton on VHF simplex.
Knowing we had a long walk back to the car, not long after gaining his required contacts Warren decided that was us and we packed up ready to make our way down again. We were rested but yet to discover how tired we were going to feel by about half way back to the beginning of our journey. By about a quarter of the way, the heat of the day was making itself known and although we had hats and sunscreen today it is fairly obvious that we spent the entire day outside in the sun and not among the forest like we often do on our SOTA walks. By half way we were all dragging our feet and stopping for water and little regular breaks before pushing on knowing the car was getting closer. Wyatt managed to almost loose his hat 3 times throughout the day and that kept his spirits up when it was used as a laughing point. For the smallest legged member of our family, the best treat was tucking him into bed that night and him stroking my face and saying “Mummy I am so proud of you today, you walked a long way” – Thing is, I think we are all much prouder of him and his little legs for achieving the 18km walk without too much complaint, he is only 7 after all and that is quite an achievement for him and for Myah – 9yrs. (yea, okay and for us adults too!!).
Where we ended up for our well earned dinner and rest – Raglan.
Summit – ZL1/WK-130 Te Uku Windfarm
Height – 510 mASL
Access – Drive top the carpark near the quary (just after Bridal Vale falls). From there follow the clearly marked track and signage to the summit. Near the top you can see the true summit about 500 meters from the track on the left. With permission, jump the gate and walk to the top of the knob.
Nominal time to summit – About a 2.5 hour walk. Easy but long. Mountain biking is also an option for those that prefer wheels.
Mobile and internet coverage from the summit – 3g coverage from the summit is patchy but there if you hold your phone up.
Summit Marker – None – GPS required.
Land Access Permission – Required to get to the activation zone from the farmer. The track will take you to 30 vertical meters of the summit but you need to enter private land to get to the activation zone. There are signs clearly identifying what is public track and where is private land so ignorance is no excuse here. You pass the farmers house on the way up however a phone call ahead would be safer to arrange access.