A commanding panorama - – Sunday 17 January 2016
A small group of three keen trampers travelled 11km past Takaka, then 2km to the end of Ward-Holmes Road to a small car park, to climb the 1249m Parapara Peak. We crossed the small Pariwhakaoho River then walked along the track between the river and farmland. We soon entered Copperstain Creek, a narrow rugged creek bed, lush with tutu, with the track pushing through some patches well above head-height. After ten minutes the track left the creek and continued through the bush along an old logging road. This soon ran out and the track then steadily climbed a ridge through pleasant forest with an understory of ferns, a few matai and some rugged marble outcrops. There were some breaks in the woods but no views could be seen with a cover of cloud and mist. The steady climb was interspersed with a couple of short steep pinches but we soon emerged from the bush and reached the highpoint after 4½ hours. We continued west along the summit ridge for a couple of minutes to the small two-bunk Parapara Bivvy. This hut is locked and is used by DOC staff but we did make use of the convenient water tank.
There was partial clearance of the cloud and mist giving us some good views of the nearby ranges, but as we were having lunch some showers started. On our descent we spotted an unusual small white wooden cross on a rock outcrop away from the track which we went over to investigate. We later learnt that it marks where the ashes of Jack North, who died of cancer, were scattered in 1957, by his son Nelson North and friend Darcy McPherson. Jack and Darcy lived locally at Puramahoi and were keen trampers in the area, looking for the Lost Reef, a lode of rich gold-bearing quartz.
After two hours the showers stopped, as we were partway down the return journey. It was a full day of 9½ hours return and a steady and steep climb but the reward can be a commanding panorama of Golden Bay. The tired but well-satisfied trampers were Robert Wopereis, Andrew Henderson and Esther McPherson.