I received my introduction to the Akatarawas yesterday courtesy of Mick Finn. Mick has an ongoing reccie project of the area going on and wanted to check out the "runnability" of a particular gorge. Caspar and I picked him up from Moonshine Road and we headed in. The Akatarawas is one of those great wild (as opposed to "wilderness") areas. It contains a spectrum of plantation forestry, regenerating bush and pristine forest, and is criss-crossed by 4WD tracks, old roads and possum hunter trails. To the outside world it is most famous for the "Karapoti Classic", marketed as Australasia's premier MTB event.
We jogged into the forest and found a rough trail into our river. You would be wise to take a map! I couldn't quite believe how beautiful the river was. Crystal clear and placid, eels patrolling many of the pools. The place just seemed healthy. At one spot a stretch of river lay in the sun surrounded by gigantic red beech and a sapling rimu clothed in scratchy green on the riverside. I was impressed. The runnability was good too, although we weren't in too much of a hurry, stopping regularly to check the map and look at the views.
The gorge closed in; tight disorientating bends. Wading, waddling, rambling and scrambling. A pair of ducks flew away as we approached each time heading further and further up the river. At the tightest point there was a log jam Mick (with his penchant for naming things) named "Bus Stop". From which forthwith it will forever be known. Quickly the gorge ended to strange slopes of Eucalypt and union with the Karapoti course at the bottom of Dopers Hill. I can't wait to check this out on my (make that "a") MTB. After emptying the shoes we headed up Rimu Spur and back over to our carpark. Great run!! Thanks Caspar for the photos.