28-Dec-2016 -- I got to visit this Degree Confluence point during a rare (for me) visit to the Wellington area. The previous recorded visit to this point was in July 2003, by Joseph Kerski et al. As I drove to Whareroa Farm (the closest access point), I first thought that - like the previous visitors - I would need to ask the owner of a private farm for permission to pass through his property to access the ridgeline above. However, when I got to the farm, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, in 2011, the farm had been sold to the New Zealand government, and was now public open space, for hikers and mountain bikers. No permission was needed; I just needed to hop on my trusty mountain bike!
Another noteworthy fact about Whareroa Farm is that, during World War II, it was the site of Camp Mackay - a base for more than 5,000 United States Marines, training for the war in the Pacific. After the War, the area reverted to being a private farm, before becoming public open space in 2011.
Although (unlike Joseph Kerski et al, 13 years earlier) I was not able to drive up to the ridge, I was able to ride my mountain bike. There was even a custom-built mountain bike trail specifically for climbing (gently) up to the ridge. After a ride of about 4 km, I found myself at the top of the ridge. At this point I was still almost 3 km north of the Degree Confluence Point, but was able to continue southward on a gravel farm road - Campbell’s Mill Road - which runs north-to-south along the ridge.
The elevation kept gaining slowly as I continued southward along Campbell’s Mill Road. Eventually I crossed a gate, and continued into the Akatarawa Forest - a commercial pine forest, whose land is also used for high voltage electricity lines. From satellite imagery (plus the report from the previous visitors) I knew that the Degree Confluence Point lay in a patch of forest, next to a clearing for a line of power pylons. In fact, I was able to ride my mountain bike all the way to one of these pylons, which lay just 50 m east of the point.
However, this last 50 m was by far the most difficult part of my visit. The point lay down a steep slope. Furthermore, several large pine trees had recently been felled at the edge of the clearing (apparently in preparation for a planned upgrade to the electricity lines in January 2017). This made it very difficult to ‘bushwhack’ through the forest to reach the point, even though it was so close. But eventually I made it.
After (again, with difficulty) climbing out from the forest back to the clearing, I got back on my mountain bike, and rode quickly downhill along Campbell’s Mill Road, and then back down to Whareroa Farm. From the ridgetop I had a great view westward of the town of Paekarariki, and Kapiti Island beyond. (Kapiti Island is a wildlife sanctuary, with no permanent inhabitants.)