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The Desert Road

We decided to tackle ZL1/MW-034 which is on the eastern side of the desert road. Not knowing what we would find we brought all our winter gear to keep warm however the day turned out to be a bright clear day. The puddles were ice but there was no snow on the ground.

All the way up we were treated to magnificent views of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe mountains covered in snow. Where else can you lie in the grass play radio and get such great views?

Take care not to venture off track as on the southern side of the track is military training ground. This fact is well marked and signposted. The summit marked on SOTA is at the radio site however the activation zone extends out to the track. That said from the track it appears it is higher than the radio site so the true summit may yet be moved. Either way activation from the track summit is valid.


10 contacts were made from this summit. 3 on 14 MHz, 2 on 7 MHz and the balance on 5 MHz including a summit to summit with Soren ZL1SKL on Maungakawa ZL1/WK-125. We were both activating summits for the first time. This activation was my first to collect winter bonus points.

There is no real infrastructure here to mount an aerial however the track marker posts were enough to stretch my aerial between and my walking pole held up the centre.

This is a good walk and a relatively easy 8 points to add to the score (11 in winter).


Summit – ZL1/MW-034 (unnamed)

Height – 1366 m ASL (250 m ascent)

Access – At the northern boundary of the military training area is a carpark for access to the Kaimanawa forest park. The track takes you over this summit.

Nominal time to summit – 2 hour walk.

Mobile and internet coverage from the summit – Vodafone is OK at the summit.

Summit Marker – Unmarked but there is a radio site nearby. The radio site is in the military training area so access is not permitted.

Land Access Permission – DoC land – provided you stay on the track.