Trip Reports for 2018 from Tramper Magazine
Thurs 19 July 2018 Scribe: Di Harries
Another beautiful sunny day tramping, this time at Scott’s Ferry. Morning tea in the dunes to start with, then walking northwest up the beach initially, meeting horses and a seal. We couldn’t find a way through to the forest, so returned along the beach. It was much warmer in the afternoon with wind behind us. Helicopter passed over. We stopped at the original ferry on display by the road. Houses in township are labelled as different “INN”s e.g. “settled inn”, “rowed inn”. Very clever – and a bull statue of their own. Thanks to Earle
Field Hut Otaki Forks, Tararua Ranges
Wed 11 Jul 2018 Scribe: Cherry Channon
A promising weather forecast to Field Hut was a good start to the day so 10 trampers had a chilly 7am departure from the club rooms arriving at Otaki Forks just after 9am. Otaki Gorge Road follows the Otaki River and the last 6km is a narrow, winding unsealed road with steep drops on one side and precipitous cliffs on the other. From the carpark we crossed the Otaki river by the swing bridge and quickly ascended to 500 metres on a wide gravel track. The track enters the bush and is a constant but gradual climb to Field Hut at around 850 metres. It took us three hours to reach Field Hut, one of the first purpose-built tramping huts in the country, built in 1924 of pitsawn timber from trees nearby.
Diane Harries’ son, Ieuan from Wales, joined us today and was a charming addition to our eclectic group with a ready smile and interesting conversation. Our descent to the van after lunch was a speedy two hours, followed by the obligatory ice cream at the Honey Shop, arriving back in Wanganui a bit after 5pm.
Thurs 5 July 2018: Scribe Earle Turner
Perfect weather for a walk along the beach and back through the forest. Along the way we had an addition to our group in the form of a rather hungry dog. Several donations from our lunches were welcomed! A follow-up phone call found he was being collected by the pound. The local dairy supplied the obligatory ice-creams. Twelve on the trip.
Sat 30 Jun 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
This trip, part of the Te Araroa Trail, retains its popularity. Sixteen signed up for the escarpment walk from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay in pleasant, sunny mainly wind-free conditions. A nice mix of first-timers and returnees all agreed it wasanother great day out of about four hours’ walking, capped by the short train tripback to the van at Paekakariki.
On trip: Esther Williams, Glenda Howarth, Graham and Glenys Ellett, Jennie Anton, Brigitte Hund, Kelly Darby, Karina Harper, Kay Lee, Heather Mackenzie, Graham Sutcliffe, Diane Harries, George Rajoo, Harvey Palleson, Dave Scoullar and Juliet Kojis.
Sat 23 Jun 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
Let’s get this straight at the start. It’s the Deerford not Deerfoot Track, which has been the way it’s been promoted. Call it what you will, it’s a beautiful easy/moderate circular trip in the western Ruahine. A big group of 16 thought so after an enjoyable day out.
While there was low cloud and the threat of rain, the worst we got was a bit of light drizzle. The leisurely walk, completed in under four hours, attracted a number of new faces and potential members.
On trip: Dave Scoullar, Barbara Gordon, Kelly Darby, Karina Harper, Valda and Murray Lilburn, Chris Rothman, Andrea Bunn, Helen Adams, Nicky Bates, Anne Condon, Diane Harries, Ross McBeth, Val Wackrow, Pat Gallagher and Julie Kearse.
Thurs 21 June 2018
Twenty-two headed to Manawatu Gorge walk. It was fine but with a cool breeze, however there is quite a lot of shelter on the track. On the way home we stopped in Bulls at a place where you can have a free coffee if you buy something to eat with it and you are old enough. A very enjoyable day.
Waiinu to Ototoka
Wed 20 Jun 2018 Scribe: Graham Ellett
This was just a beach walk, but as time goes by more local knowledge and history is gained. Barry brought the van out to Waiinu beach. The settlement was developed in 1986. The campground was cleared of lupins and mown, a round concrete tank was installed for toilet facilities. These days the new toilet area is well used by tourists, travellers, surfers and trampers. This year was wetter than usual and has created more of a 'duck pond' than a camping area. We have been told that surplus soil from the proposed new coastal road will fill and solve the problem of our 'bog'.
The 12 walkers headed east to avoid the stream that is now running out in front ofthe beach access. This may have been called “Wainui Stream” in the past and hasbeen a confusing issue on many early maps. Our botany lesson for the day featured a small clover plant which had leaves with a bright orange spot in the centre. No, not lucky enough to be a four-leaf, but also no explanation as to why? Perhaps a mineral deficiency?
We headed over Lookout Hill and along the beach to Earthquake Point. Viewing the cliff we could see 10 metres of fault line, where the west side of the plate had pushed land up one metre, probably only taking a million years! Our Australian tramper surveyed some of the many fossils embedded in the rocks driven up by the movement beneath.
We went on to Waikaramihi marae, where we saw the small shelter 'Herehere Moana', used more often in summer. The concrete foundations of the shelter which had housed the fishing waka can still be seen but the canoe is now housed at Maxwell. We climbed over Nukumaru Rock (Snapper Rock). On many a calm day it lives up to its name and is well used by fishermen.
We paused at a notch in the cliff tops where in the 50’s a wooden fishing boat, “The Marjorie H”, went aground after being stolen from Wanganui. Some localsbulldozed a track through the cliff to retrieve it. A new track has since been made for access to Forsythe Bay. Bike access mostly, but also used to retrieve stock fallen over the eroding cliff side. The seal we observed had the good sense to stay out of the weather.
The strong easterly wind made the next 3.5km of beach walk a hard slog. A brief stop at the end of the bay where I had seen some historic metal parts firmly embedded in the rocks a few weeks ago - a wheel, some steel ribbing and perhaps a propeller base - now all hidden again by sand and a puzzle for others to solve. A short time later we reached our destination. The wreck of a car at the bottom of the cliff greeted us. This, not caused by the eroding cliff, but by the modern world ...
We paused at the falls, but not much was left of the flax mill that once operated there (1866). Lunch was eaten under a ngaio hedge before returning with a strong tail wind. The farm track was made in good time followed by a welcome warming cuppa at No 4. A fine but cold day enjoyed by Graham S and Graham E, David and Juliet, Barry H, Helen A, Ken H, Mike C, Sandra R, Sue McB, and Vivien N.
Roaring Stag Lodge
Sat-Sun 16-17 Jun 2018 Scribe: Shane Wilson
On an overcast Saturday morning five WTC members made their way into the Tararuas, heading for Roaring Stag Lodge. After following the river for 45mins from the Putara Rd end, the track steeply rises for a hour until you reach the top and a junction point. Here you can go to Herepai in one direction and Roaring Stag in the other. With light rain falling we continued along bush-covered ridges for an hour, until coming upon two streams not far from our destination. Streams safely negotiated, we arrived at the lodge, nicely nestled beside the Ruamahanga River. Luckily for us we had the hut to ourselves that night, and after a hearty meal we retired to bed to the sound of rain gently falling on the hut roof.
The next morning we awoke to the sound of the river, knowing that steady rain had fallen through the night. This made crossing the two streams by the hut tricky, but eventually we made it through. The track by this time was a combination of mud and puddles, so all I can say is thank goodness for gaiters. At the junction we stopped for lunch, then proceeded back down through slippery tree roots and rocks, eventually making it to river and then Putara Rd end. With the van loaded we headed to Eketahuna for a coffee and something to eat, and then made our way back to Wanganui.
On trip: Mark Sutherland, Shane McCulloch, Sally Gale, Kay Lee, Shane Wilson.
Egmont National Park in rain
Wed 13 Jun 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
The forecast was for rain everywhere so the leaders looked around for the location of the least rain and came up with Egmont National Park, ha! So ten brave souls set off from Stratford Mountain House, up the Enchanted Walk, down to Waingongoro Hut for lunch and back along the lower track to the van. Total walk time, four and a half hours.
The rain was light but persistent and the tracks were water-logged but at least it wasn’t cold and the apres-tramp hot drinks at Stratford Mountain House were greatly appreciated.
On trip: Cherry Channon, Esther Williams, Barry Hopper, Margaret Chainey, Mike Cole, Pat Gallagher, Rozy Rawlinson, Dave Scoullar, Juliet Kojis and Vivien Nixon (Wanaka Tramping Club).
Sun 10 Jun 2018
Scribe and leader: Val Wackrow
With 18 keen walkers we set off to do the Palmerston North City Circuit. Starting at the Botanical Road entrance we followed the Mangaone Stream Pathway through to Milson Line, then followed the River Link route on public footpaths. A well- earned morning tea break at Edwards Pit Park was appreciated. This park is an old quarry being restored into a lovely native park, wetlands, picnic and play area by a community group, a fantastic effort.
Continuing on the Link paths until we passed alongside the Manawatu Golf Club and joined the River Pathway. Meandering alongside the river we took the grass path to the Fitzherbert Bridge for our lunch and loo stop. Following the River Pathway we went past the new walk/cycle bridge construction site, which on completion will provide an alternative pathway on the other side of the river and connecting through to Massey. Sidling past the Awapuni Racecourse we rejoined the Mangaone Stream Walkway and followed that back to Botanical Road exit and the end of our 26.5k.
It is really interesting looking into the backyards of businesses and homes, and pleasant being away from the traffic for much of the time. We had a perfect earlywinter’s day and although there were a few tired hips and legs at the end, I thinkeveryone enjoyed the walk. I believe a cycle circuit is next on Carolyn's list.
Brenda Collins’ Property, Mangamahu
Thurs 7 June 2018
Brenda led us through a forest uphill to an air strip for morning tea as it started drizzling. From here we headed down the air strip to the Mangamahu Church, then their hall for lunch, still in light drizzle. After lunch we headed up into more forest and along a ridge with a junction to either left or right. Brenda said right to go a bit further, or left to shorten up the walk. As the drizzle was gradually building we decided to go left - just as well, as it was raining by the time we reached base. Brenda put the jug on and we had afternoon tea. Thank you Brenda. Another enjoyable day out.
Rata Maru Maru -Tokomaru West
Wed 6 Jun 2018 Scribe: GrahamSutcliffe
Dougal and Di welcomed us on arrival at their homestead. After presenting us with a map of their property and directions, we were on our way about 8.45am. In our party was Rozy Rawlinson who luckily had hiked over much of what we were planning to walk. I’m positive if Rozy hadn’t been there the trip would not havegone so smoothly - many thanks Rozy.
We walked mainly on well-formed and well-maintained farm tracks. Much of the property is in forestry and the rest stocked, although at times we could see stands of mature bush. We saw two features during the day: the first a unique water pumping system which had us all fascinated. The other feature, where we had lunch, stacksof large shellrock slabs placed in positions that resembled England’s Stonehenge.
Although cloudy and misty at times we occasionally had extensive views and tried to identify landmarks. In spite of a very indifferent weather forecast there was only one serious shower, but it was quite cold.
Back at the van Di and Dougal were kind to have us in for afternoon tea – very much appreciated – many thanks.
Those out were: Cherry Channon, Heather Mackenzie, Laurel Stowell, Rozy Rawlinson, Sally Gray, and leaders Barry Hopper and Graham Sutcliffe.
Cow Creek Hut
2-3 Jun 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Val Wackrow, Shane McCulloch and Dave Scoullar.
This was supposed to be a three-day crossover involving Cow Creek and Mitre Flats huts in the eastern Tararua. As we only had three people, it was no crossover and the trip was reduced to two days.
On a decent day we drove to Kiriwhakapapa and climbed steeply 600m on Blue Range. Halfway up several beech trees have tree guards protecting mistletoe from possums. From the Blue Range hut turnoff we turned southwest briefly before sidling and making a gradual descent along a spur to a signpost pointing towards the Waingawa River. The track then went down a steep side spur to the valley, alongside the river and finally over a long swing bridge to Cow Creek Hut, a classic but rundown Forest Service six-bunk hut, in a gloomy clearing. Total travel five and three-quarter hours.
There were already three people in the hut. Four more camped beside the river and a hut-bagging latecomer found a place on the hut floor.
We woke to grey skies and on and off drizzle, with the snow-covered main range hidden by low cloud. It was a slog back up the hill to 920m and then down the other side on a now slippery track to the van just as it started to rain properly. Again the walk took five and three-quarter hours. A good leg-stretch but a shame no crossover and, sadly, very little birdlife.
Fords’ Property: Ngarino Rd, Kai Iwi
Thur 24 May 2018 Scribe: Don Gordon
Ngarino Road is reached via SH3. We have had our fair share of rain this month and today promised more of the same. The Ford farm is well maintained with good roading, making for easy walking. We were greeted by the usual farm dogs. An addition this time was a very friendly young male deer that showed great affection for the girls!
After morning tea sheltered behind some boxthorn we made our way via Handley Road to the beach overlooking Mowhanau. We lunched and set out on our return –in a decent shower of rain. We had dried out by the time we reached the van. A good 11k walk.
Coffee at the Pukeko’s Nest completed the day enjoyed by Earle our leader,Barbara, Carolyn, Jacky, Jan, Julie, Kate, Sharron, Tim, Katy and Don.
Wed 23 May 2018 Scribe: Graham Ellett
The weather was fine as Esther, Margaret, Cherry, David T, Laurel, Jiri, Glenys and Graham E set off along Waiinu Beach in a westerly direction. 'Post Point' was the first outcrop of rocks reached. The low tide enabled us to walk on the wet sands at a good pace. Mounded sand still shows where a 20 metre-long pygmy blue whale, which washed ashore in May of 2011, was later buried above the high water line.
After reaching 'Mussel Rock', we headed inland in search of ventifacts, rare rocks shaped to a peak by the constant sandblasting of the wind. At the Waitotara river mouth a couple of locals were slabbing a nice rata log for future table tops for their marae. Many black swans and Canada geese were sheltering in the safety of the river, it being duck-shooting season.
In 1886 a 70 ton schooner “Pelican” washed up on the beach. In 1894 a 103 ft schooner “Christine” was wrecked at the river mouth. In more recent years (1978)five local fishermen were drowned. Their names are remembered on a memorial stone at the Waiinu campsite.
We crossed the Richardson farm to reach a 35 metre high point. Troops were based on this view point in 1865 and 1868 but today there is just a water tank. We observed a very black sky approaching and within minutes the sky flashed and hail pelted us followed by heavy rain for about an hour.
The cellar of the former Rising Sun Hotel (1870-1873) was investigated and was a temporary shelter for some, but the decision was made to get back to base and get the fire going. After crossing farmland, we headed through Pearce's pine plantation and back to Waiinu Beach road in fine weather again. Fresh scones, lunch and a cuppa were enjoyed at No.4 before the van headed back to town.
Waverley Beach to Waitotara River
Sun 20 May 2018 Scribe: Shane Wilson
On an overcast Sunday morning eight WTC members ventured from Waverley Beach to the Waitotara River. Starting out along the cliff tops, they made their way down to the beach and along to the river mouth. Lunch was had with views of the partly submerged totara forest. Then began the journey back up along the beach, made difficult by a stiff headwind. Once back on cliff tops, a stop was made to observe a blowhole - its thunderous noise with crashing waves enjoyed by all. Not soon after a seal was seen, casually lying on the beach and enjoying the afternoon sun. A stop was made at Waverley for ice creams, a pleasant finish to a great day.
25-29 Apr 2018 Scribe: Laurel Stowell
Two vans full of trampers left Whanganui for this trip at 6am on Anzac Day. They headed for Taranaki, then inland from Stratford. Weather - glorious. Arrival at the end of Puniwhakau Rd was later than expected, due to overshooting the turn-off by many kilometres. New landowner there was happy with us parking up, and we set off on a bulldozed track through pines and then gradually uphill through regenerating bush.
Alas the day trippers had to turn back after a lunch near a former mailbox cut into the papa bank. The six long distance walkers - Brian Doughty, Shane McCulloch, Mark Sutherland, Robert Lott, David Scoullar and I - carried on uphill to Charlie's Clearing, an old house site and former paddock on top of a ridge. We settled down for a night in bivvy bags or under flys, with a camp fire to chase off the cold, water from a tiny creek and a half moon in a clear sky overhead.
Next day it took a while to find the track onward to Puteore Hut. When we did there were a lot of windfalls and we had to cast around for markers many times. It took longer than the expected three hours to get there. The six bunk hut was in great shape on the ridge top. Next day the track continued south on the same ridge, through magnificent forest and with fewer windfalls. There were a couple of turnoffs that we didn't take. Tahupo Hut was just as good as Puteore.
The fourth day of walking continued along the ridge, with a drier forest dominated by black beech. Then it plunged abruptly down into lush lowland forest and the Waitotara River Valley. We saw a blue duck at the swing bridge across the river, and arrived in a light sprinkling of rain. Trains Hut was a bit smaller than the others and Australian visitor Phillip Hosking shared it with us. There was also an abandoned tent in the hut clearing, left behind by "Old Mate", according to the hut book.
Sunday was bright and fine again for our walk down the valley to the Waitotara road end. The final few kilometres were on a vehicle track through farm land. Driver Barry Hopper met us and ferried us back to town. The relaxed walk, in good company, through this old and remote forest, was a wonderful experience.
Atene Skyline Track
Sat 21 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
An old favourite proved a hit with the 10 members of the Hutt Valley Tramping Club who we hosted on the Atene Skyline Track on a fine day with a nearly dry track. Our turnout numbered 12. The day went without incident.
We all started from the Pipiriki end and the track was in good condition to the shelter. After that it is getting a bit overgrown with a lot of small windfalls in the beech area but still easily negotiable.
On trip: Dave Scoullar, Ken Howie, Mike Cole, Shane Wilson, Marie O'Leary, Dorothy Symes, Margaret Chainey, Victoria Kay, Mike Miller, Bruce Thomas, Derek Barrett and Juliet Kojis.
Mangaturuturu Hut 60th Birthday
Sat–Sun 7-8 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
What an awesome weekend celebrating a significant milestone for a club that continues to flourish and grow. The building of the Mangaturuturu hut was undertaken and opened six years after the WTC’s establishment on 5 April 1952.
Our weekend coincided with the Ring of Fire round-the-mountain run. Two options were offered: a day trip or the overnight stay. We had two full club vans, one private car and Ohakune member, Peter. Starting our trek from Turoa Skifield carpark to avoid the RoF event, Basil Hooper led our group of 28 on a side visit to Tom’s Garden. Many know of Tom’s Garden but not so many have been there, so that was a treat - thank you Basil.
We arrived at the hut at lunch time. Afterwards Margret acknowledged those who had the vision for the hut and saw it through to completion, remembering too, the conditions they lived and worked in. Photos were displayed and left in the hut for all to enjoy and appreciate. Then we enjoyed a celebratory toast and sweet treat.
Around 2 pm the 15 day trippers headed homeward over the cascades while 13 overnighters explored the nearby slopes. On their return it was tent-erecting time for two and happy hour for all. We were treated to special views of clear mountain tops, plus a bright orange sunset. The celebration dinner comprised cold cuts and salads with hot minted spuds. A big thank-you to the day trippers for helping carry in the feast! A lit-up birthday cake followed and the evening continued with stories and banter. Finally it was bed - not late – and up early to the dawning of a bright, sunny day. There was time for more exploration of the mountain slopes before a brew-up and lunch. Then we were off across the board walk and tussocks, across the cascades and up to the skifield carpark, later stopping for coffee at Ohakune. Thanks to the drivers and all who helped make this memorable event such a success.
Day trip to Mangaturuturu Hut 60th Birthday
Sat 7 Apr 2018 Scribe: Bruce Thomas
The weather looked good as we neared Raetihi except for a cloud over the top. The Ring of Fire round-the-mountain run was on, starting from the Chateau at 4am so, to avoid the runners we parked at the Turoa Skifield car park.
Starting from up there was a case of negotiating the rocks until a faint track appeared which made progress easier as we aimed for Tom’s Garden for a brief stop there. Carrying on at the same altitude provided stunning views, even more so than over the normal route to the hut via the cascades. We met up with the track well past the cascades; the runners had already been through and were gone.
We were soon at the hut and as the cloud had not lifted, the chill outside had us assemble indoors for lunch. During lunch President Margret spoke briefly on the beginnings of the hut, followed with a toast and some birthday cake. When the eating was done the overnighters decided to go on a further afternoon walk. The day trippers then began their walk out to the road - half to the Turoa carpark to retrieve the van and the other half out to the Wanganui corner where the sun was starting to appear. A wonderful day!!!
Araheke Cycleway - cum - Walkway and Beyond
Wed 4 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
It was Sue Haden’s and my turn to lead one of our regular Wednesday walks. Fortunately Rozy Rawlinson phoned offering to take us out to South Beach, ending at the airport cafe. A pleasant day, no rain, as 24 of us were delivered to the Lake Wiritoa camp ground. Rozy gave an overview before starting the Araheke mountain bike trails and the interpretation board at the start showed all the circuits. It certainly wasn’t flat, with many ups and downs to remind us what a tramp was all about.
After lunch we made our way to the coast and walked among the grasses parallel to the surf. Eventually with the tide safe, it was down on to South Beach itself. We walked 11 km along the beach into what seemed a never-ending head wind. Eventually we came off the exposed beach back to the airport cafe to be refreshed. Total length of the walk was 19.8km. Thank you to Rozy who knew the route and kept us all together and informed along the way. A great day out!!!
Manawatu Gorge Trip
Mon 2 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
It was a cloudy day as Dorothy (leader), Sandra Rogers, Margaret Chainey, Wendy O’Malley, Margaret Stratford, Linda Clark, Jiri Krivanek and Ann-Marie Harper set off to walk the ever popular gorge track. We took the Saddle Road to the Woodville end, then two of us drove to Ashhurst to meet the group and return with them.
The track was extremely busy with many families enjoying their Easter day out. The track is as pretty as ever, despite the lookout being closed. Still a jolly good walk. A number of our group had never been on this track before, making the trip even more worthwhile. And of course they made the short diversion to a close-up of the spectacular windmills.
Finally, there was no cafe - the bridge cafe is now closed. I remembered the Herb Farm Cafe just north of Ashhurst before Bunnythorpe (signposted right 2km down the road) - lovely coffee and ice creams etc. A special little place with short walkways with herb plantings and interpretation boards. No rain in the end and a lovely day out.
Tongariro Moonlight Crossing
Sun 1 Apr 2018 Scribe: Esther Williams
Derek, Pippa, Andy and Esther wanted to walk the Tongariro Crossing in summer, without crowds and with a full moon. The first of April fitted the criteria and work schedules. With driver Margret, we walked from the Mangatepopo car park to the crowded hut. The patio we had to ourselves. Sunset glowed and light faded as we dined. The DOC Ranger asked leading questions re our intent, experience and equipment. Satisfied, he reported on his role as he saw it: to gain knowledge of both Park history and environment. Soon walkers and driver parted at dusk, one to an emptying carpark, the others to low-lying mist up to the South Crater.
In the mildness, we wore short sleeved tops. At first, the moonlight suffused, drew together a concentration of light, then burst out as a ringed celestial body, the landscape bathed in surreal shades of light and shade. Beautiful. The Tongariro rim stood out whereas Ngauruhoe loomed over us. Derek captured the image. Our breathing created mist. The wind rose, cutting and cruel. Near the top of Red Crater, we passed the growing rocky cairn, a sign pointing directions. The cairn was smaller last year! Relief from the cold came from hot vents steaming at ankle level at the top. We squatted and warmed up. “I could go to sleep right here,” said Derek.
Two climbers without equipment behind us turned back. Sarah, a lone runner came and chatted, warning about more joggers in the same party, way behind. Without torches, we reluctantly left the bosom of the mountain and picked our way down to Emerald Lake, now a sheet of light. Crossing Middle Crater, we noticed human glow-worms descending the steep slope. The runners must have been about thirty minutes behind the first athlete. Cloud covered the moon, but the light was sufficient to see our surroundings without torches. A strong smell of sulphur reached us at Blue Lake, all the way from Te Maire fumaroles. Stiff gusts made us put on more clothing.
A short spell at Ketetahi Shelter to nibble and drink. We picked up three bags of day tripper rubbish. A possum lurked by the track. All the way in the tussock, we were able to continue without torches. In the mild temperate forest we were back to short sleeves. Half an hour before the car park we met Margret. By now it was two and our thoughts were of warm rest at Possum Lodge. Mission achieved!!
A rough guide to times:
3pm left Whanganui / 5.30pm Mangatepopo car park / 6pm Hut / 6.30pm left hut / 9 pm gained South Crater / 10.30pm Red Crater (rest) / midnight Ketetahi Shelter / 2am Ketetahi car park / 3am Possum Lodge. In future, suggest 1pm for leaving Whanganui.
23-29 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
Where does one start when reporting on this adventure into what was to be Cobb Valley and Fenella Hut in the Kahurangi National Park? Leader Brian Doughty was ably supported by Brenda Collins who carefully executed the challenges getting us there. Brian is happy for me to report on the trip and just as well too, as none of us would be too certain of the tales he might tell.
We had six nights away. Getting started was thwarted by a storm three weeks prior, with more bad weather on day one, making that a very long day. Changes to flights necessitated an overnight stay in Wellington to catch a flight on Golden Bay Air in the early hours. Destination Nelson: the original plan was for Takaka on Sounds Air, calling for two flights. Sight flying - no instruments - not the go with doubtful weather and plans had to be changed. Our new destination was Brian Sixtus’s home where he had recently returned after leaving Wanganui. We sipped coffee while waiting for a shuttle over the storm-damaged Takaka Hill. The shuttle took us to the base of the Takaka Hill which had opened for trucks and commercial vehicles only two days before. Our wait was nearly an hour; still raining. The destruction and devastation to the hill was incredible. Finally we were up and overand dropped off in Takaka Valley below. We walked to Brian’s place and were treated to hot date scones and a cuppa.
Cobb Valley tramp was now cancelled, a bridge having been taken out in the recent storm. Despite all influences in his home territory, Brian was unable to get our party past, over or around so there we were at Brian’s, staying put. But we were in for new adventures every day, and what a week we had. Here goes –
Day 1): A day tramp up the Kill Devil Track, up one side of the valley on well- formed tracks in native bush, with magnificent views below.
Day2). Another day tramp to Warariki Beach where we were treated to the antics of baby seals in their rocky playground. Brian guided us off the beach and up to the Puponga Farm Tracks. With fantastic weather along the coast Golden Bay was a real sight, extending to the far reaches of Farewell Spit. Brian returned to the van he had arranged for the week and drove to the end and walked in to meet us.
Day 3). Harwoods Hole in the Caanan Downs reserve. A good hour’s walk to get there. I wasn’t one of smart ones getting too close to the edge, either, again a treat. Back out for lunch after which we set off from Caanan Downs to walk the Rameka Track. Again, Brian drove around to meet us.
Day 4). A trip to the Waikoropupu Springs. Beautiful bush and walkways for tourists who visit the pristine ‘clearest spring water in the world’. Our next walk was Pupu Hydro, built in 1929 and quite a feat in those days. Some time later it was closed down and abandoned until a community group decided it could be resurrected. Today the hydro dam, fully restored, supplies power to Takaka and the valley, with an annual profit of $100,000 for local community projects. The beautiful track through native bush follows and meanders through the waterways to great heights, with impressive views – a special experience.
Day 5). A day trip to Totaranui, the huge camp site on the coastal track of the Abel Tasman Great Walk. On return in the afternoon we took the hour’s walk into the Wainui Falls, a great sight.
What else did we do? Visited Brian’s ‘local’ in the country for tea one night, only open once a week. We met another group of WTC trippers and had dinner with them another night. Went fishing at Anatoki Salmon farm and caught nine salmon that were filleted and manuka-smoked for us to take home. Enjoyed a lunch on the village green, had a brief shopping day and watched the hippies assemble for their big Easter meeting, all supposedly sharing their love!
We certainly loved our trip. It was wonderfully hosted by Brian S and prepared for at short notice. He raided a hut for extra mattresses, organised a van that Bruce had suggested - fascinated by the one million kilometres it had done.
Brian, being a Takaka descendant, knew all there was to know and we thoroughly enjoyed the history and the tales he told. His passion for the Takaka region was evident. One of his tales featured a wealthy Croatian who settled on the hills, encroaching on the environment not only with an ugly castle but also his own power station. It is rumoured he purchased his way out of environmental compliances.
I conclude with a big thank you from all who enjoyed the experience: Brenda Collins, Brian Doughty, Bruce Thomas, Helen Chitty, Barbara Francis, Margee Campbell, Craig Lilburn and myself. I do think Brian enjoyed it all too, despite having his vege garden ‘plundered’. We only had one shower of rain on the first day, with Golden Bay Weather from then on. A very memorable trip, and thanks again Brian.
Sun 18 Mar - Wed 28 Mar 2018 Scribe: Judith Harrison
Eight ladies travelled to Takaka for 10 days. Weather was great, only one very wet day. Left money in the shops. So many tracks to do. One day we joined the local trampers for a morning walk, and while waiting for everyone to assemble a truck pulled up and out hopped Brian Sixtus. What a shock for him as he thought his crew were not coming for another couple of days. On our last night went out for a meal with them all. When asked where we had been, said ‘you have not touched the surface’.
Went on a bus out to Farewell Spit and had tea, coffee and a muffin.
My thanks to Pam, who did a lot of research, to Helen who took over as Pam was unable to go at the last minute (after 18 years), and to Jacky who did a marvellous job of driving. To the rest of you, many thanks for wonderful company. On the trip were Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Jan Parvano, Kate Jones, Margaret Lankow, June Wills, Jennie Anton and of course myself.
Wed 14 Mar 2018 Scribe: Barry Hopper
Departed the clubrooms 7am, arriving at the Whakapapa Village car park at 8.45am to overcast skies and cool conditions which was what was forecast, no surprises there.
We headed off on the lower track to the Taranaki Falls at which, by the time we arrived here, there was a light drizzling rain so it was raincoats on and settle down for a morning tea at 10am.
Having missed Tama Lakes several times in the past few years I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the walking track and boardwalks and steps leading up to the Lower Tama Lake, where you have a quite amazing view of this collapsed volcano which has been filled by rain water and snow-melt over the centuries, but because of erosion on the western lip is slowly starting to fill in with soil, rocks and debris.
The drizzly rain had subsided by this time so after photo opps we headed on up the exposed ridge line in quite windy conditions to the Upper Tama Lake which is about 1300 metres in elevation.
Arriving here right on midday in now quite warm sunny conditions, we hunkered down on the leeward side of a ridge and had lunch and enjoyed the fabulous views of the lake and Mount Ngauruhoe which was now clearing from the misty clouds that had been around for most of the morning. Also having lunch with us were tourists from the USA and Australia, everyone just soaking up this amazing vista, surely there could be no better place or experience to be had on Earth at this time!!!!!!
After lunch we headed on down, doing a circumnavigation of the Lower Tama Lake, hooking up with the round the mountain track and heading back to Taranaki Falls where we had our afternoon tea. Yet more international tourists on the RMT and at the Falls.
After our tea break we headed on back to the Whakapapa Village via the upper track with even more international tourists along the route. Once again a very well formed track with great board walks and steps.
Back at the van, we headed to National Park Village for ice-creams and drinks and back to Wanganui, arriving just before 7pm, quite a long day.
Enjoying the fabulous day out were Bruce Thomas, Diane Harries, Esther Williams, Helen Atkinson, Kathy O’Donnell, Margaret Chainey, Pippa McLay, Royce Johnson and a newby to the club, Josh Youn from Kuala Lumpur.
My tramping buddy Graham Sutcliffe stood me up again, so this tramp was led, driven and scribed by Barry Hopper. That’s twice Graham, but who’s counting!!!!!!
Be careful New Zealand, although not as well known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the Tama Lakes is developing an international following. We don’t want this tramp becoming another TAC and ruining our pristine outdoor landscapes.
7-16 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Cherry Channon, Tracey Hooper, Shane Wilson, Mark Sutherland and Dave Scoullar.
Describing a nine-day 100km trip could fill a lot of space so this report will be confined to an outline of our Nelson Lakes National Park saga. Plenty of sunshine apart from a hailstorm on the way to Angelus hut and a cold wind on the second day at that hut.
Day 1: Arrive at Coldwater hut via water taxi over Lake Rotoiti. The 12-bunk hut has 15 trampers overnight, so it's a tight fit.
Day 2: Wander up the beautiful Travers Valley track beside Travers River to John Tait hut in 6:45. Stunning views of peaks all around. A young Canadian fisherman joins us in hut.
Day 3: Shorter day to Upper Travers hut (3:30). The location at the head of the valley is fabulous. Meet a number of Te Araroa Trail walkers out tramping and in hut.
Day 4: A big day. Short climb to the Travers Saddle where we linger to take in the views including a resident falcon. Then the knee-jarring 1000m descent to West Sabine hut in 6:30.
Day 5: Dee Ess stays at the hut while the others go on a day trip to Blue Lake hut to look at the lake. A wandering warden comes by.
Day 6: Down the Sabine Valley -- another stunner -- to Sabine hut in 5:30. The three men celebrate with a swim in Lake Rotoroa.
Day 7: Biggest day -- 20km in 8hrs. Walk to Speargrass hut and then up Speargrass track to Angelus hut. Soggy arrival after getting caught in a hailstorm. See two chamois near hut.
Day 8: Mostly indoors on the Angelus rest day as there's a freezing westerly wind but there are clear views of the peaks and lakes. Wind howls around hut all night.
Day 9: Still windy for trek to the Mt Robert car park, reached in 5hrs. As usual the views are wonderful. Juliet Kojis picks us up and takes us to St Arnaud for much- deserved R and R.
Sat-Sun 3-4 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
Seven WTC members combined with 10 from Hutt Valley TC and 3 DOC rangers on the Great Pinus Contorta Hunt 2018 in Tongariro National Park. Over the two days in which we covered 20km of landscape we killed a total of 330 trees. The weather was superb and we enjoyed a great dinner, including venison steaks, at our delightful camping spot in the beech trees.
Ranger Matt shared stories of the area from a Maori perspective and it was rather sad when we had to go home. Make a note to join us in March next year when we will again combine with HVTC. We are the last two clubs still pulling contorta. It's a great weekend and a chance to take part in a valuable conservation project.
On trip: Shane Wilson, Esther Williams, Dave and Guy Scoullar, Teresa Corson, Ross McBeth and Juliet Kojis.
Sledge Track Linton
Thurs 1 Mar 2018 Scribe: Sharron Prouse
With Earle driving, 12 trampers left Wanganui at 8am arriving at Arapuke Forest car park about 9.30am. We started on the back track as Earle said it was less steep than the other (he was right about that). The walk was a gradual rise through the bush, very pleasant. A stop for morning tea then on to the top where there were great views of the countryside.
We had lunch further on and then began the descent down the zigzag to the new swing bridge and along the bush track to the swimming hole (we found out later the main swimming hole was further on). Katy and Don Gordon gave new meaning to "in boots and all”. Katy led the way, jumping in with her clothes and boots on, with Don following. Barbara Gordon in her swim suit also went in. They all said the water was cold but refreshing. We arrived back at the van where Ray gave everyone another of his delicious apples. We stopped at Sanson for icecream, arriving back about 5 pm. A great day had by all.
Six Discs Track
Wed 28 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dick Mitchell
Five club members set off for Levin on Sat 24th. Only one of us had walked this track before so there was keen interest and anticipation.
We left the van at Poads Road behind Levin, strolled over the paddocks and talked to the cows prior to entering the bush at the foot of Waiopehu Ridge.
One of the ladies led up the ridge at a good pace, all were impressed with the bush, the sound of several unseen noisy kereru (woodies), but slightly less so with the initial steepness of the track. However a short hour up and we turned off to the left then had a lot of fun following the sometimes elusive orange triangles across to the South Ohau River. Track was slippery and steep in places which made the game of spot the track marker more fun. Enjoyed a pleasant lunch stop on the banks of the Ohau which was running at a slightly higher level than usual. One braved the coolish waters for a swim.
Coming back to the van via the lower track we crossed a couple of major windfalls. Also met a couple of young ladies who were going to splash their way up to the South Ohau Hut. Ice cream in Levin completed a maiden Tararua tramp for four club members all of whom want to explore the area further. They were Marilyn McGlone, Kate Jones, Jiri Krivanek, Adrian Pike and Dick Mitchell.
Iron Gates Gorge
Wed 28 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
A team of 13 Wednesday trampers signed on to sample the Stoat Catcher's Track in the western Ruahine, a newish lovely bush track which led to the Oroua River where we had morning tea and then inspected the short but impressive gushing gorge.
We then walked up the river, criss-crossing and rock-hopping and scrambling past a slip to a camp site where it was time for lunch. Upstream again to a stream where the plan was to scramble up to a track. However, the stream had a large waterfall which was too difficult to pass. So it was down the river to the camp site and up a track and back to the van in a tick under six hours.
We were blessed with nice weather and a lovely river which enticed three people to take a quick dip. A bonus was spotting a couple of patches of fully-flowering orchids.
On trip: Barry Hopper, Bruce Thomas, Cherry Channon, David Howard, Dick Mitchell, Dorothy Symes, Graham Sutcliffe, Juliet Kojis, Kathy O'Donnell, Laurel Stowell, Margaret Stratford, Tracey Hooper and Dave Scoullar.
Sat-Sun 24-25 Feb 2018 Scribe: Ken Howie
With a good weather forecast four of us arrived at the North Block road car park and found it fairly full. This is the main route to Sunrise hut, a popular Ruahine weekend destination, so not surprising. We decided to start out on the Sunrise track, at the first saddle turn left and walk down the marked track to the Waipawa River. It is strange how the memory forgets the many zig zags and how much altitude is gained before this track junction is met, but it was nice to eventually walk downhill to the Waipawa river and on to where the river forks. Here we had lunch just upstream from the Forks hut. Our branch of the river widened out to be a large gravel rocky valley with a small river running down it. And it is steep, it made our initial up-hill track climb seem relatively flat.
After an hour-plus of gravel climbing and getting steeper all the way, an orange marker showed the end of the valley and the beginning of another hour-plus climb up a sort of track climbing steeply through scrubby subalpine shrubs to eventually reach the Waipawa Saddle rock cairn and a great view back down the valley we had scrambled up. Now a steep poled route led down through eroding bluffs to reach a headwater stream with a good rock hopping route down. It met the Waikamaka river with the hut on a terrace above it - a welcome sight after eight hours on the go. We had the hut to ourselves until after tea when two young men arrived with no cooker and wanted to light the fire. I lit our cooker for them and they ate outside. We all went to bed and some time later came a commotion on the top sleeping platform: “Are you awake - you’re vomiting all over your sleeping bag you ***** idiot.” Tracey quickly joined us on the bottom platform. In the morning there more vodka bottles than food cans on the porch. We never saw our visitors awaken, and left after breakfast to climb back up to Waipawa saddle. A strong wind was now blowing and Atuaoparapara, our planned route, was covered in mist and cloud. Not much use climbing to see nothing, so it was back down to the Waipawa River all the way to the car park, stopping at the Forks hut for lunch. The lower Waipawa River at normal flow is good travelling with easy crossings and farmland is soon reached with a bulldozed track leading out up to North Block road and 2km back to our car. With Graham Sutcliffe and me lagging behind, a ute appeared and offered a lift - accepted - catching up with Dave Scoullar and Tracey Hooper (lift declined). We all arrived back to the car park to end a fine weekend in the ranges.
Mangapapa Station, Waitotara Valley
Wed 21 Feb 2018 Scribe: Cherry Channon
Despite a grim forecast warning of the arrival of Cyclone Gita, 16 adventurers arrived at the club rooms at 7am for a tramp into the Waitotara Valley, a trail affectionately called the Mistletoe Track on a property owned by Dave Peat.
Our resident Waitotara stalwart, Basil, was our “Leading Man” and we collectedhim at the Waitotara bridge. The 49km drive to the Makakaho road end was an adventure in itself with windfall branches and storm debris threatening to derail our intention of reaching the start of the track.
For the first half hour we walked up a slight incline, a warm-up for the 'biggie' – an hour’s climb up a steep, exposed ridge to a shady spot for morning tea beneath native trees and a stunning flowering rata. A jaunty sign proclaimed itself “Peat’s Rest”. Further on we saw the mistletoe for which the track was named, although itwas past its flowering time.
Our walk continued along steep ridges covered in native bush until we reached Rakaumahi Trig (also known as 3H Trig) where we were treated to wonderful views of the Waitotara hills and surrounding countryside, a perfect spot for lunch. The return loop took us past an old musterer's hut and a picturesque lake complete with a bevy of paradise ducks.
We all enjoyed an excellent day of tramping into one of our favourite areas on a beautiful, sunny day. Our thanks to Basil for making it possible.
Sat-Tus 3-6 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Cherry Channon, Val Wackrow, Mark Sutherland and Dave Scoullar.
Ruahine Forest Park is a fickle mistress -- teasing and tantalising, rewarding and punishing but in spite of everything is a great place to tramp.
Day 1: A leisurely start for the stroll up the Ouroa River past Alice Nash Heritage Memorial Lodge to Iron Gate hut sitting prettily by the river in three and a half hours walking. The weather is overcast and the track, meandering up and down, is mostly in good shape. We are impressed by the number of bait stations -- and we will see a lot more before our four days are over. A whio is seen flying over the river. Two other people stay in the hut overnight.
Day 2: A morning of climbing steadily upwards onto the Ngamoko Range in pleasant conditions. We sit on the tops for lunch, enjoy the views over Hawke's Bay and ponder our options -- drop down to Top Gorge hut on the Pohangina River or to Longview hut? Getting out from Top Gorge tomorrow may be problematic so we opt for Longview reached in five hours walking. A number of hunters come by but decide to fly camp elsewhere. Four other people share hut with us.
Day 3: It is very windy overnight and the wind is still with us but the track to Leon Kinvig hut is mostly protected by leatherwood. We figure where our climb-out point from Top Gorge hut would be and are glad we didn't have to take this informal route through the leatherwood. The day ends with the steep drop to the hut by the Pohangina River in five hours walking. Later there is a big thunderstorm and downpour. A pair of whio is sighted just below the hut which we have to ourselves.
Day 4: An early start for the climb to Toka trig (1526m) on Ngamoko Range. After a rough night, it is misty but not unpleasant for the upward plod until within a few hundred metres of the trig when we are hit by furious westerly winds which blow us around like rag dolls. We help each other and quickly deciding not to try to go north to Tunupo trig, we follow the poled route down Knights track to calmer conditions.
Limestone Rd is reached in five and a half hours walking. There we meet some trampers who take us to Petersons Rd where our van is waiting, a kind gesture which saves us walking some 6km of road. A happy ending to an enjoyable four days in the Ruahine.
Wed 31 Jan 2018
Scribe and Leader: Diane Harries
Where do you go tramping when it’s going to be 30 degrees? Tupapakurua FallsTrack to the west of National Park turned out to be the right choice! The higher altitude and the tree cover provided the cooler conditions we all craved. The native bush was pristine, full of soft ferns and mosses and lunch down by the edge of the stream was refreshingly welcome. Standing close to the base of the waterfall was like a soothing rain shower. World traveller, Ian Kirk gave the walk a six-star rating! And I also have to mention the view from the top across to the waterfall surrounded by huge native podocarps and tree ferns. A system of buckets of gravel gave hardy trampers an opportunity to contribute to the track upkeep by carrying them on to the next work station along the track for spreading over the softer sections. The sixteen happy trampers finished the day with ice cream at Raetihi. Thanks to drivers Royce, Bruce and Dick.
Sat 20 Jan 2018 Scribe: Bruce Thomas
This was Vintage Weekend and things in Wanganui were all go, no doubt the reason for a group of only four for this Saturday trip.
Arriving about 9am to an empty car park, Croppers Clearing was right for morning tea then a short back-track and down Harry’s Ridge for lunch at the tableoverlooking the dam.
The ground was damp on the steep section up to the nail tree but not enough to beslippery. The return trip up Tom’s Ridge was uneventful with some drizzle. We didmeet one couple during the day plus one goat. Great tramping weather for a good day was had by Bruce, Graeme Aitken, Barbara Francis and prospective new member Susanne.
Around Mt Taranaki
Fri-Tue 19-23 Jan 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
The Magnificent Seven got mostly magnificent weather for the five-day 57km jaunt around Mt Taranaki. Despite a lousy weather forecast, we had only one day when we put on our raincoats.
Day 1: From Dawson Falls to Lake Dive hut on the upper track is mainly misty and low cloud but there are occasional views of the Taranaki plains. Light breeze only. The back markers get to the hut in 4:30hr. Some glimpses of the peak later. Share hut with four others.
Day 2: A long, hard day over the top track but mostly a clear mountain and lots of sunshine. Track is greasy and treacherous in some places and overgrown in others. Two have unscheduled dips crossing the last stream before Waiaua Gorge hut which the back markers reach in 10:30hr. Hut to ourselves.
Day 3: An even longer, harder day mostly through bush and then alongside the Stony River with some getting to Holly hut in a record 11:30hr! Again lovely weather. Kahui hut lunch stop. A lot of stream crossings and grovelling around and under obstacles. Also slowed down by tutu invading parts of the track. Three others at Holly.
Day 4: It rains hard overnight and we set off for Maketawa hut in mist and drizzle which persists all morning. Coats on finally. Stop at North Egmont for lunch and coffee at the cafe before taking lower track to Maketawa reached in 7:15hr. Happily, the heavy rain warning is a fizzer. Share hut with three others.
Day 5: Make an early start and puff up The Puffer in hot sunshine towards the cloud-free mountain. Join the around the mountain track at Tahurangi Lodge and then on to Stratford Plateau to reach Dawson Falls for a late lunch in 5hrs. After seeing few people in our earlier travels there are lots around today.
Postcript: My fourth time around this mountain is my hardest despite being blessed by the weather gods. A combination of advancing age and deteriorating tracks play a part on a circuit where we joke that our progress isn't measured in kms per hour but hours per kilometre! A great trip with a great bunch.
On trip: Johnny and Cherry Channon, Shane Wilson, Kathy O'Donnell, Val Wackrow, Dorothy Symes and Dave Scoullar.
Wed 17 Jan 2018 Scribe: Esther Williams
Seven people registered to climb Hauhangatahi, something we haven't advertised for some time. The first volcano in the area, it has a brilliant show of alpine flowers. Half the route climbs in native forest, the other half in tussock, hence the nickname Baldy.
Luckily the co-leader googled the area and, to our astonishment, the route normally taken behind Erua Backpackers was notified as private land with no permission to cross. The Department of Conservation had yet to erect a sign re Wilderness category beyond.
Walking across the railway line is also forbidden. What about the rail crossing on the Old Coach Road? Ironically we had to cross the railway line on our second choice, the Marton Sash and Door. Our Walking Commission rep has been notified of these developments as well as FMC.
We did the Sash and Door instead of Hauhangatahi. But a friend more recently climbed the volcano with his son. On their return, their transport was hemmed in by a vehicle and horse float. Try another way to the top, was the advice.