Ōtaki Gorge re-opens

Ōtaki Gorge road is open again and it was a busy road on Saturday as sightseers made their way into the Gorge for the first time after a seven month road closure due to a large slip on the Blue Bluff.

Kāpiti Councillor and Te Horo resident Jackie Elliott and her children made a special trip up into the gorge on Saturday morning to bring fresh bakery bread and the weekend newspaper to the Campbell family and DOC ranger Steve who have been living behind the slip since before last Christmas. The Elliott children had missed a whole summer camping in the Gorge and were just chuffed to see where their mystery tour was taking them. “10 year old Ruby asked me when the Gorge would be open again, just two days ago”, said Cr Elliott. ” The girls are already organising family and friends to join us on this summer’s camps.”

David and Kathleen Campbell were pleased to have the road open and visitors again. They had even put a hand painted sign out on the roadside to welcome visitors to what they say has been an unusually quiet place. They have been able to use their quad bike to drive to the foot of a walking track built across the slip sight, in a very full days work getting out to town for essentials and back again.

For those looking for a special new experience when visiting the gorge, contact Kathleen and David for permission to take the 40 minute bush walking track across their property to ‘The Gate’ a very beautiful and serene waterfall on the slip way to the Arcus dam. “This is a place of prayer, and often groups of monks will come here to ‘The Gate’ for meditation and prayer,” David said. He can be contacted on 027 229 4569 or 067585413.

They were very grateful at finally having a visitor from Kāpiti Coast District Council, not having heard a thing from the Ōtaki Ward Councillor or the Mayor since the slip, but they were full of praise for the liaison with Ōtaki Community Board Chair James Cootes and K.C.D.C. staff over the seven months. The site works removing the slip were done by Goodmans Contractors, their signage is still on the road, along with a huge new gravel terrace across a nearby paddock where some of the near 70,000 cubic metres of removed loose fill was moved to.

“The re opening of the Ōtaki Gorge, the gateway for the entire Southern Tararua to Wairarapa ranges, is something for Ōtaki residents and businesses to celebrate,” says Cr Elliott, who as a retailer in Ōtaki’s Outlet shopping precinct knows the busy vibe and economic benefit when local campers, trampers, hunters and tourists stop to buy new outdoors equipment and clothing either before or after their trips into the Tararua Rangers.

“Shop owners have missed this whole group of people and its going to be great to have them back,” Cr Elliott says.

Editor’s Note: Here is some of the response from David Campbell:

It was great having Jackie, Ruby, Frankie and Nikita visit on Saturday.

For the walk she mentions to the “Arcus Dam,” it is wise to allow two hours in total. Wet underfoot at this time of the year, the beautiful bush walk has been rewarded in recent years after rain with a waterfall coming over the spillway.

Permission to walk the dam track is rarely refused but if there were a group of monks or hunters in the area we would ask people to seek permission to hike on another day.

KCDC staff have been terrific. Jackie I love your enthusiasm ! Our property is called ‘The Gate’ after Jesus who said, “I am The Gate.”