19-Dec-2015 -- In recent years I’ve spent a few months - during each Southern Hemisphere Summer - in my home country of New Zealand. This year, I decided to make a road trip - from my ‘home base’ in Auckland, to the town of Wanganui, in the south-west of New Zealand’s North Island. I spent one day of this trip visiting the nearby 40S 176E Degree Confluence Point, which was last visited more than 12 years ago, in July 2003.
From Wanganui, I drove through the town of Feilding, then turned northwards through the beautiful Pohangina Valley. (Along the way, I saw several signs pointing to interesting-looking hiking trails. Perhaps I’ll check out some of these in a future visit, but today, I was focused on the Degree Confluence Point.)
Two of the previous visitors to this point - Bob Jordan in December 2000, and Joseph Kerski/Ann Olsen in July 2003 - had started hiking from north of Horopito Stream, and consequently had a difficult time negotiating the steep gully. Since that time, however, online satellite imagery has improved, and it clearly shows the confluence point to be south of Horopito Stream. Therefore, I made sure to start my hike from south of the stream/gully.
I parked on Umutoi North Road at 39.99775°S 175.98877°E - about 1 km west of the point. From there, it was an easy hike along farm paths almost the entire way to the point. Notice, however, that I said “almost the entire way”. When I got to 28 m from the point, I found myself at the edge of a very steep hillside - almost a cliff. Taking a short detour to the south, however, I was able to find a way down the hillside, to reach the Degree Confluence Point, which lies on the north-east-facing hillside - i.e., looking towards Horopito Stream and the Ruahine Range from the south-west.