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2 April 2008

Chateau Mosquito Track

page 1

The Chateau Mosquito was the name given to a dilapidated bushman's shanty beside the Anawhata Stream. It was repaired and christened 'Chateau Mosquito' in reference to the Grand Chateau being built at Tongariro National Park in 1928. This old hut has decayed long ago but its name lingers on in the name of the access track from McElwains Road (now Anawhata Road) to the Anawhata Stream.

(Recent info from the NSTC website as follows:

"Chateau Mosquito was the site of large cookhouse and dormitory in the logging days. It was used as a shelter by tramping clubs who gave it the name Chateau Mosquito- for obvious reasons! (Thanks to Pam Robinson for this information) "

There's a two car park beside the Anawhata Rd with the usual light dusting of shattered window glass.

[I'd be interested to learn if there was any pattern to these attacks - weekends or weekdays, for example - and whether this pattern was common around the Waitaks as a whole. The only time I was ever attacked was in broad daylight, midweek, while I was in the van, and parked beside the Scenic Drive, when an occupant of a passing westie-car hurled a large Holden tail light assembly at the van as he passed, breaking my own tail-light fitting.]

The track exists in three parts.

The first, to a small clearing, is a very gently undulating 4WD track with reasonably fresh tire marks. It passes through scrubby, slightly scruffy bush, often quite open to the sky. It is fractionally short of perambulator-friendly. The underlying hard, red, clay-rock that surfaces part of this section could be somewhat treacherous in wet weather.

The second part goes from the clearing to the Anawhata Stream. It is a generous track, but one that becomes increasingly steep as you descend. It is demanding, but has few vices. The surface is fine on the whole, there are steps provided when necessary, and so on. On the return trip you may find it extremely steep and extremely long. But it's OK. Just take it slowly and rest when you need to. Probably not recommended for oldies and fatties unless in very good shape and using sticks. (Moi!)

The third section goes from the stream to the junction with Simla and Sisam Tracks. It is vicious, not least because it is presently infested with wasps, and even the thought of lunch beside the attractive stream will draw them in hundreds. I gave up on lunch at the point where I was brushing wasps off my nearly bald head, and Alice was stung twice by one that became lodged in her side whiskers. I did not relish removing wasps from my own sidewhiskers using feel only.

The track along here is rocky, slippery, boggy, narrow, and unstable in various permutations and combinations. A pox on it.




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