Jess is a Wanderer on Mount Tutamoe
Jess is a Wanderer left the town of Dargaville and drove approximately 30km east in search of Mount Tutamoe. Just off SH14, it's well-posted and you follow the logging trucks down a gravel path until you see the sign for the mountain.
I definitely underestimated just how much effort would be required to summit this peak. Having read that it's around 770m high, I thought I'd have no problem getting up and down within the three hours one way time limit... oh how cocky I've become!
The walk starts with following the gravel path for roughly 2km. There's no access for 'civilian vehicles' here, only logging trucks. Fortunately, there was no logging going on during my visit so I didn't have to worry about being flattened by an oversized road-train.
After leaving the gravel road, you head into the bush which definitely feels like you've taken a wrong turn. In fact, it's easy to miss and I ended up wandering around some abandoned tree trunks looking for the little markers. Keep following the orange signs and you'll be fine. It's a bit overgrown to start with and if you're there early in the morning you might get wet feet from the dew in the tall grass but that's not going to phase an explorer. Although, soggy socks half way through a 4.6km hike are never a good thing!
Following the bush, you go really off-piste and wind your way through some pretty dense forest. Don't forget to look behind you before you disappear into the trees, the view really is quite spectacular even at this early stage. It's super soggy (especially if you're there less than 48 hours after a pretty mean spell of rain!). I was slipping and sliding everywhere on the way up. It was also a super sweaty affair.
Different parts require different skills... sometimes it's over a trunk, sometimes it's under a branch, other times it's actually climbing up a tree's roots. Yes, that's an actual thing. I loved the wild-ness of the path and the fact that it was so natural.
Once at the summit, you'll see the trig and enjoy some mighty fine views. Be extra careful on the way down because the challenges you thought you faced on the way up now seem like child's play and you'll suddenly find yourself walking like you've had a double hip operation due to being so cautious.
Extra tip: Do not leave your sunglasses at the top resulting in reaching the summit twice... nobody likes a show off and my legs tonight are aching like never before!
Also, do take your time on the drive to the mountain as there are some beautiful views to be seen.