Day 2 of the 2019 Kawhia Safari and we rejoin Murray Taylor, and just under 80 adventurers as they head South from Kawhia Village, up the Hauturu Valley, before returning cross country alongside the inner reaches of Kawhia Harbour.

Sunday started bright and sunny, and with Saturday’s problem, Land Rovers repaired and ready to go again. A few other trucks were also sporting the odd mark from the previous days’ adventures.

Today’s run was based around Hauturu Road so started with a reasonable road haul to the start point, up the valley, climbing all the way.

It was some distance along the gravel road before the lead truck turned right, through a gate and up a steep track, heading down a gully between rocky outcrops.

Narrow at first, the track opened out as we cut over and down into a gully, before climbing out onto a flattish area, where we all stopped to regroup.

The day had become overcast which helped with the heat levels, but the dust was still with us, although the wind did shift it at times.

The track had become narrow and steep again, with blind corners and ramp overs to keep drivers and passengers looking ahead where that was possible. The morning ended with a very tight gate, as we drop down onto the gravel again before heading to a woolshed and pens for a short lunch stop.

After lunch, it’s along the farm track past the Llamas in their paddock, and an excavator which has seen better days, and goats on the other side of the valley heading away from us at a great rate.

We start climbing a ridge heading south giving us more view out across the countryside and into the headwaters of Ongoiere Stream a couple of hundred metres below us.

It’s slow going, with a steep loose section needing a good line, and then a very sharp blind left turn dropping the front of the truck what felt like straight down into a hollow, with another right turn heading towards a gate.

With a short section of bush/scrub, we end up on Mahoe Road, heading, past the Robert Huston memorial reserve, (some of the land we have driven on this day belongs to the family).

Turning left into Coes Road, we move down past the old farm buildings, which are off the grid, then through a hay paddock as we continue down to the valley floor, across the flats to stop before what seems to be a rock wall.

Time for a walk, as there is a natural tunnel, which leads through the ridge to the Marokopa River, well worth the effort. What little water was flowing was really cool on the feet.

Leaving the valley floor, we climb out via a different track which had the odd tight corner, before joining our down track. A left turn uphill, very steep with a tight gate entrance right on top of the ridge.

As we travel along the ridge edge there’s a view down into the valley on our right. It’s a reasonable distance down!

The afternoon continues on well-formed tracks at times, no tracks at others, and then a very rough old track, slowly heading back into the valley floor.

Looking somewhat out of place is a very new looking weekend place sitting up on the ridge with its back to the bush, and views down the valley.

Then it’s along a good farm track with a left turn arrow as the track sidles along the ridge. At this stage, the radio comes to life as the lead truck admits he’s missed an arrow and is a little off the track. Through the next gate, I note there are arrows indicating a right turn.

The lead crew has worked out they can keep going, as the camera quad has found them a route through the paddock below. Those behind the gate, with a support crew member in the lead, turn right, and continue along the correct route, before a hard left downhill, joins up with those on the other track.

With that all sorted we head up along another ridge side, passing a couple of houses, and woolshed, along with the support crew’s tow wagons and trailers, before exiting the gate back onto Hauturu road.

This was the finish of the Safari, departing entrants turn left for Kawhia and north, right for south and beyond.

A huge thanks to David for running another excellent Safari, (even if there was dust), to all the support crew for their assistance and advice along the way.

And a special thanks to the landowners who permitted between 80 and 100 4wd’s to travel over their land, without these people these events would not be possible.

From myself, thanks to all who assisted David along the way, and to those who allowed me in and out of the convoy over the two days, thankyou….

Since this account of the safari was written, convener David Samuel has advised this will be his last year of co-ordinating the event, and it will not be run in 2020.

However, the good news is that a new group is looking at picking up the reins for a 2021 Kawhia Safari. We wish them luck, it’s a great weekend, they have a big reputation to live up to.

Meantime, to David, on behalf of everyone that has been on any of the many Safaris held in the South Waikato Coast, we would like to add our appreciation to Murrays’ note of thanks. We wish you all the best.

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