A historic crash site among red tussock
In 1952, RNZAF officer David Leary hit significantly bad weather on his flight from Masterton to Ohakea. He crashed in the Tararua Range and for over a year, nothing of the plane or pilot was found. Finally, hunters came across the wreckage on the east side of the Mount Kaiparoro Range and, over 60 years later, this spot has become a memorial and significant place to visit while traversing over the Kaiparoro Ridge.
If you’ve got a spare day in Palmerston North and want to get out of the city, this is the absolute perfect getaway. The solitude of nature, interesting history, physical exercise and incredible views make this a well-known local favourite. Join me and Bushdog Coda (who knows this track better than most people) on the Kaiparoro track, hidden among native bush and dense forest!
This pleasant day hike features a variety of scenery including red tussock and turpentine bush. We’ll explore the summit of Mt Kaiparoro, which offers a beautiful lookout over the Tararua tops and get a chance to visit the nearby plane crash, while I provide some history and education on the unique ecosystem. A short, but rewarding backcountry adventure with excellent, local company!
I am Emma and if you want a true NZ bush experience and education, I’m your person. Native New Zealand bush is my passion, I know it well. I work protecting our native plants and animals from introduced pests and believe education is the key. Join myself and my amazing canine sidekick, Coda, on a backcountry adventure in the ranges we call home. My aim is to support and guide people into areas of the New Zealand bush that wouldn’t otherwise be easily accessible to them. I want to share the landscapes, flora and fauna of my most cherished places to those who want to know them also. My canine companion, Coda is well behaved, friendly, an excellent track finder and loves having her photo taken with people! I work and volunteer in pest control, helping to control introduced predators and know many of the best places you can see some of this country's rare birds and plants. Meeting new people and passing on my enthusiasm for the bush is one of my favourite things, I’d love to have you walk with me.
- Extensive knowledge of the Tararua Range and NZ bush.
- Mother of 4 children.
- Strong experience in taking out families for overnight stays in huts and easy hikes.
- Qualified veterinary nurse.
Ever explored with a Bushdog?
We’ll start the day with a scenic drive around the east side of the Tararua Forest Park, before reaching the hidden start of the track. There is a high chance we’ll be the only ones here, as this is a local and unofficial track. Plenty of private tracks and routes head up the hill, but we’ll find the safest and most relevant for us.
After some rock-hopping across the Makakahi river, we’ll start the ascent through dense forest and changing terrain, until we reach the summit of Mt Kaiparoro, covered in red tussock.
Here, we’ll have stunning views over my home, the Tararua Range. I can point out nearby peaks and tracks Coda and I have explored over the past years, including some unmarked routes deep in the bush and sections we’re currently working on for conservation activities. We support local conservation efforts by maintaining the trapping system in the range, which is also one of our bookable Adventures. I can explain more about the trapping methods going on in the area before we continue to have a look at the nearby plane crash site.
This easy but rewarding trip is perfect for families or those who love the outdoors but not the demanding exercise that can sometimes come with it. Perfect for all ages.
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
750ML Water Bottle
Sunscreen & hat
Top Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Cutlery & cup
Personal First Aid Kit
Warm hiking layer
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
No hike is the same without a bushdog! Select this option to explore together with Coda, Emma's furry companion and well-trained border collieFree
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
How fit do I have to be?
The track features some steeper climbs and the at times unmarked terrain makes for slower progress, however, this will be enjoyable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness.
We can take breaks along the way and soak in the views before pushing onto the summit. I know you can do it!
Is this an official track?
The track is not officially maintained but is well used by local hikers and there are unofficial markers along the track. Don’t worry, I know the safest way to the summit and can show you the best lookouts around. Please bring hiking boots or trainers with enough grip and I also recommend using hiking poles.
When will I be back in the city?
It’s best to plan a full day for this trip, allowing us to enjoy the scenic drive, explore the area and take breaks on the way up to Mt Kaiparoro. We will be back in Palmerston North around 5 pm.
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
Need more help?
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