Due to arrival time at the summit, the only photo taken from this trip can be seen in the cover photo for this entry. Light faded much quicker than we had anticipated and we arrived about half an hour over our expected time, in part due to missing the true summit and having to backtrack about 1km. This was a drive to summit with no identifying marker so GPS was a must, and there is no cellphone coverage in the area. The Summit can be found by traveling along a very narrow mostly gravel road into the hills between Pio-Pio and Awakino with the summit itself being near the roadside edge, meaning if you visit the place, you will need to ensure vehicle and personal safety is at the top of your list.
With the lack of cell phone coverage of any sort combined with our lateness to site, soliciting contacts proved difficult. Starting on 40, the usual frequency of 7090 was busy so I QSYd up to 7095 and called CQ. And called and called. I dived on to a local 2m repeater to try and hail someone to send a text. I managed to get hold of ZL1AAF on 715 and he graciously sent a text to a chaser. However short skip on 40 had evaporated so no contact was made. More frustration. However 7090 was now free so I called there. I managed to raise one VK, then another and then another. Finally what was feared as being a failed activation I managed to make 4 contacts on 40 into VK. After a few more minutes of calling I thought I would try 20. After about 15 minutes calling but no bites, I accepted that I had the required contacts and should head home.
Some lessons here on pre-planning when there is no phone coverage were taken on board from this one. A good view into the lights of new Plymouth from the summit and a clear night sky were added bonuses.
Summit height – 445 m
Access via Taumatamaire Road (just off to the side of the road)
Nominal time to summit – 90 minutes drive from Te Kuiti.
Summit marker – Nil (GPS required). Ignore radio masts to the North.
Land access permission – Public land – not required.
No cell phone coverage from summit so arrange a ground watch via 715 7375 or 705 repeaters. National system accessible via Egmont. HT coverage marginal so vehicle mobile radio will be an advantage.