Makaretu/Leon Kinvig Huts

Sat-Mon 21-23 Oct 2017 Scribe: Tracey Hooper

This was the planned trip, but due to high winds on top of the ranges we had the luxury of changing our route as there were choices in the area.

Once on the tops to Longview Hut the wind was severe, making it difficult to keep upright. The majority of the group had not experienced such strong gales before but we agreed later that it was memorable. After lunch we carried on along the tops with increasing sheltered spots to gather our wits, and stayed at Makaretu Hut. During the night at river level the winds increased with the hut door flinging open periodically but as there was someone sleeping on the floor he sacrificed his body and lay across the doorway. Discussion in the morning was based around the safety on the tops where we had to go to Leon Kinvig, and all agreed to take the river route to visit Happy Daze Hut and carry onto Awatere Hut. The river was enjoyable walking with a little wind, and made for some fun navigation.

Awatere Hut slept six, perfect for us with no other visitors. The last day was just an hour’s pleasant walk up the hill along the ridge to the carpark at Kashmir Rd, and nice early return home. Trampers were: Cherry, Mark, two Shanes, Mike and Tracey. 

Atiwhakatu Hut

Sat-Sun 14-15 Oct 2017 Scribe: Shane McCulloch

Holdsworth car park was the fullest I’ve ever seen it, and a bit of a worry how full the hut would be. It was a very easy three-hour walk to the hut – full, but we still got a bed. There were a lot of family groups with kids. A large group of about 20 hunters turned up in the afternoon but they were on a training exercise and just passing through. It was evidently a very intensive 10 week course.

It was very stormy at Atiwhakatu Hut that night, but when I got up at 6am it was calm. I woke the others and they were all keen to go to the tops. We were on the track by 8am with a large 800m climb to Jumbo. There was even a light snow shower just before the hut. We then had an 11am lunch. After lunch we headed off for Powell Hut. It was a pleasant afternoon with light winds and pretty good views. We got there in about four hours; after a rest and food it was a downhill leg to the car park.

In total it was an 11-hour walk from the hut but we were all happy with the day and after Subway in Masterton we were back in Wanganui by 10.30pm. On trip were Shane McCulloch (trip leader), Andrew Milham, Shane Wilson, Brigitte Hund, Dorothy Symes, Linda Hart and Petra Czerwonka. 

Dawson Falls –Plateau Area

Wed 18 Oct 2017 Scribe: Barry Hopper

Departed at 7am for two-hour drive to the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre, with a pick up at Waitotara on the way. Weather forecast was for fine and cool, maximum temperature of 8o and 1% precipitation. At the Visitor Centre we picked up a young couple from Peoples Republic of Czechoslovakia, doing a gap year and working their way through New Zealand. We headed off into the bush at 9, crossing a very nice and very new pedestrian bridge on the way to the Plateau.

Arrived at the Plateau at 10 to find the weather very cool, very windy and that 1% precipitation a very wetting very heavy mist. It was too exposed on the Plateau for morning tea so we retreated back onto the track for some protection from the elements. Then everyone put on their coats and we set off down the Enchanted Track, with very little visibility because of the wet mist which was even thicker now. I had forgotten the number of steps involved in this track down off the mountain and around to the Waingongoro Hut, where we arrived at midday for lunch.

Following lunch in the hut, we returned to the Dawson Falls access road and down to the falls for a look through the mist which by now was starting to clear. Returned to the vans at the Visitor Centre where we farewelled our Czech visitors and back down the road to Macas in Hawera for coffee, back in Wanganui 6.30pm.

On this very enjoyable tramp were: Bruce T, Cherry C, George N, Jacky E, Jeanette P, Kathy O’D, Margret McK, Shane W, Susan H, Kevin R, Tracey H , and joint leaders Graham S and Barry H, not to mention our Czech visitors Valdi and Johnathon. 

Taranaki Weekend

Sat-Sun 7-8 Oct 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The 25th anniversary of the annual Taranaki visit was very much a tramping weekend of two halves.

Day 1: This was a day of sedate tramps in mainly drizzly weather. First we did the Te Henui Walkway in central New Plymouth, a beautiful walk which winds inland from the coast. There and back over Te Henui, which is gazetted as a national walkway, was about 12km. The paths were mostly in great shape and there were many interesting reserves and extensive plantings of camellias, magnolias, native and exotic trees. Moving on to Bell Block, we did the Hickford Park Pathway through farmland and coastal plantings, hooked up with the Coastal Walkway and then did part of the Mangati Walkway. The evening was the usual meal and movies combo.

Day 2: An early start to meet five members of the New Plymouth Tramping Club. Together we drove around the coast to Kiri Rd and over a rough farm track to Kopac Lodge on the edge of Egmont National Park. From there NPTC led us into the park on a two and a half hour walk in showery weather along a rough track to the scene of a Ventura bomber crash site where the total crew of five airmen died in 1944. The track had many windfalls but worse was battling through the supplejack the windfalls had dragged down. Secateurs and loppers would have been very handy. The NPTC crew were surprised at the state of the track which is usually in much better shape. (It isn't a DOC track.) Lunch was at the crash site where the wreckage of the aircraft, which crashed on a training flight from Ohakea, was spread over a large area. We returned to our van rather sodden for a total walk of 5hrs 20min. A stopover at McDonald's in Hawera was the opportunity for hot drinks. Another good Taranaki visit and thanks to NPTC for their hospitality. On trip: Shane W, Jacky E, Ken H, Dorothy S, Diane W and Dave S. 

Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Wed 4 Oct 2017 Scribe: Cherry Channon

Rotokare Scenic Reserve, 12km east of Eltham, is a 230 ha forested hill country area which includes wetlands and a natural lake. Nine trampers enjoyed walking the upper track along the predator proof perimeter fence before descending through mature native forest which provides habitat for many bird species including Tui, Bellbird, Kereru, Grey Warbler, Hihi (Stitchbird) and the recently translocated Tieke (Saddleback). The highlight of the day was spotting a Saddleback who seemed to be just as interested in us!

The new boardwalk and viewing platform on to the lake gave us a different perspective of this pest free sanctuary and is an ideal place to sit and contemplate the surroundings, watch the wildlife and be entertained by bird song.

No visit to Eltham would be complete without stopping at the Eltham Cheese Factory to buy some excellent, well priced cheeses then on to Patea for tomatoes and the obligatory ‘tramper’ ice cream. Great weather and an interesting day. 

Mangaehuehu Hut

Wed 27 Sep 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

We lucked a terrific spring day for the wander into Mangaehuehu Hut in Tongariro National Park, just the odd light shower. The track was amazingly non-muddy despite a deluge the previous day. Lunch at the hut, which was very tidy. In all we covered 19.2km in a six and a half hour tramp.

On trip: Shane Wilson, Bruce Thomas, Cherry Channon, Jeanette Prier, Esther Williams, Margret McKinnon, Jacky Evans, George Neil, Dave Scoullar and Juliet Kojis. 

Rotokare / Cardiff Walk

Sat 23 Sept 2017 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Another trip to Rotokare, frequently featured in Tramper’s trips pages. Six of us left at 7.30am, and met the Stratford Tramping Club members – 18 of them. Audrey Thompson, one of the enthusiastic volunteers with the community-led Rotokare Charitable Trust, briefed us on the history and establishment of this predator-free scenic reserve and what it takes to keep it that way.

We were shown the new walkway on the lake’s edge. This track is supported by district and regional councils, and there are other sponsors for the numerous projects undertaken. Each time you visit there seems to be something new and interesting. The reserve hosts abundant bird life and Audrey talked of the introduction of the hihi, or stitchbird. And how do they keep the birds from straying from the reserve? Feeding stations – regular feeding and the work of committed volunteers. Audrey had just finished making 300 nesting boxes.

After our talk, it was on and up the famous 1220 steps to take in wonderful views of Lake Rotokare and her lowland native swamp forest where the lake’s edge pathway meanders. Up the steps close to the predator free fence and beyond a little, we diverted downwards at the ‘honeymoon lodge’ to the top of the lake below and continued on the path back to the carpark. We were treated to many sightings of the hihi, which were not at all shy of visitors. (The ‘honeymoon lodge’ is a shed for holding all the stuff required for the maintenance on the upper levels of the reserve.) We were too late to do the Cardiff, but everyone enjoyed a good day and good weather. 

Burttons Track

Wed 20 Sept 2017 Scribe : Dorothy Symes

Cherry and I were aiming for something different and chose this track with help from Esther. We learned it was possibly 14 years since our club had explored the area. We expected to simply find the Scotts Road turnoff between Palmerston North and Shannon, but no signpost. Eventually we found Scotts, a good uphill climb with nice views. It took 13⁄4 hours from Wanganui, with 45 minutes from the SH1 turnoff; just as well we left at 7 am.

The start of the track featured an interpretation board and a bridge with locked access - we got through via a platform at the side. Onwards now over the network of forestry roads: few signs and none pointing to Burtton’s track but, with powers of deduction, we eventually made it to places we could identify from the info we had. An hour’s steady climb saw forest plantings change to native bush regrowth. Along the forest park boundary the gradient increases until a signpost and style marks entry into the Tararua Forest Park. The track then descends 300 metres to the No 1 stream – which we didn’t quite make. After lunch we retraced our steps through some deep mud and beautiful native bush, before reaching the forest roads again.

It was a really good day out with fine weather. For next time, Burttons may offer a good crossover tramp. Beyond our endpoint, there are river crossings (The Tokomaru) and 15 minutes over private land before re- entering the forest park. From here, the track is the historical trail built by Jim Burtton himself over 100 years ago.

The day was enjoyed by 18 trampers. Thank you to Cherry for help and our drivers Bruce and Earle. 

Sutherlands Bush

Thur 7 Sept 2017 Scribe: Jan Pavarno

In spite of an extremely adverse weather report, nine hardy souls lined up for the Sutherlands Bush, Lairds Bush walk.

Conditions underfoot were muddy, but the bush was lovely with lots of bird life and amazing fungi, no doubt due to the warm wet spring weather.

The rain held off until lunch time, and we made it to the van before we got too wet. It was decided, given the conditions, that for health and safety reasons we should adjourn to the Yellow House for coffee and cake, and leave the mud and the rain to sort itself out.

Leader: Earle. Team: Jim, Barbara, Sharron, Sandra, Kate, Julie, Carolyn and Jan. 

Otaki Forks

Sat 2 Sep 2017   Scribe and Leader: Dorothy Symes

Seven of us left the car park at 7 am, planning three separate walks in the area. The first was the Arcus Loop, named for the Arcus family who farmed there in the 1930s. After crossing the Boille Flat bridge, we had an early morning tea at a pleasant little hut - quite old, with a concrete floor. The loop took an hour, with easy gradients.

We then drove about 1.5km past the caretaker’s house to the next walk, Fenceline Loop – not that we could find a fence or anything about the name’s origins, although there was an information board. The track climbed gently from 150m and flattened off at around 290m in lovely native bush along the side of a hill. The bush opened in several places, allowing views down to the river below and across the Tararua Range. There were several stream crossings but nothing too tricky and we completed the loop after two hours. We decided to venture on to the third walk, Waiotauru Track, in spite of a notice “Closed”, to see how far we could go. This track shares the start point with the Fenceline Loop. We didn’t get too far before meeting two young fellows who told us we were close to the slip. They’d just come over the slip but advised us to ‘give it a miss’. We had a look though – it would have been very tricky - and returned to the carpark.

So, with a little time on our side, we decided to take a look at Lake Papaitonga, south of Levin and 4km west from SH1. We spent about 45 minutes on a maintained pathway through native bush, with lookouts over the lake and the lush stands of young Nikau palms which should grow to become quite spectacular.

We stopped for the usual ice cream at the honey shop and were home by 4pm. Andrea, Roger, Barbara G, Margret, Ross and Margaret C all enjoyed the day with me. Another great day - and no rain!!! 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Sat 26 Aug 2017 Scribe: Linda Hart

It was a cold, frosty but cloudless morning when we set off from Wanganui Base Camp at 6am. Everyone was pleased the forecast was brilliant and we were looking forward to getting some lovely views and photos on this Winter crossing.

At Raetihi we stopped at the 'facilities' and Esther handed out the ice axes and crampons (oxygen masks, defibrillator and stretchers might have been handy too!) and we eventually set off from the car park at 9am. It was a brisk walk across the Mangatepopo Valley and a not so brisk walk up to the base of Ngauruhoe where, after recovering, we put on our crampons as there was serious snow here. This is where the fun began....

We must have looked like the eleven dwarfs (all knobbly knees and whiskers - and that's just the women ...), wielding ice axes and looking determined as we went onwards and upwards out of the fine weather and into cloud and strong icy winds - although we were all pretty ‘Happy’ at this stage! It was a long hard slog along the ridge to the Red Crater, the crampons ("gin traps" was one description!) making our steps very heavy. The cold wind was whipping at us, trying its best to dampen our spirits. We huddled by a large rock to have a 'picnic lunch' which lasted about 10 minutes - it was so cold our teeth were chattering too much to chomp into our sandwiches!

The steep descent to the Emerald Lakes (barely visible) was easier on the heart but harder on the knees and it was still very exposed to the wind. It felt quite surreal being surrounded by the smell of sulphur and the Snow White landscape. It was odd to have the place just about all to ourselves - clearly the DOC warning signs of avalanches and thermal activity had put other hikers off!

We passed Blue Lake - (which was white of course, being covered in ice, snow and cloud) and carried on in near white-out conditions, until we started the zig-zag descent to Ketetahi Hut. Out of the snow, we removed the crampons and our pace increased with the lightness of feet and knowledge that we had survived, and civilisation wasn't too far away. The sun appeared (hoorah!) and the view over Lake Rotoaira and beyond was stunning. Knees and hips complained as we made our way through the forest and eventually to the Ketetahi car park where our van was waiting to whisk us off to the pub for a well-deserved something or other. There wasn't a ‘Grumpy’ in sight!

Dwarves on this trip were: Leader - Esther Williams, Mike Cole, Rachelle Enderby, Linda Hart, Ady Gilbert, Sally Gray, Royce Johnson, Cat Mellows, Shane Wilson, Pippa McLay and Derreck Barrett. 

Waiinu Beach

Thur 24 Aug 2017 Scribe: Julie Kearse

EAT now EET : On a perfect, almost-spring day 16 keen beach walkers arrived at Waiinu Beach to be met by Graham Ellett. Graham, who lives at Waiinu, proved to be a very informative host. Walking towards the Waitotara River, a fascinating find was the Ventifacts. These interesting cone-shaped rocks at first glance appear to be shaped by humans. However they are naturally formed by a combination of wind and sand. Essential ingredients are two or three opposing winds, suitable stones and sand. ‘Ventifact’ literally means ‘formed by the wind’.

Lunch stop was by the Waitotara River and we returned along the beach. Then began Earle’s Escapism Tours (EET) - previously Earl’s Adventure Tours (EAT). Firstly one of our members was locked in one of the public toilets. Fortunately Barb was on hand to offer moral support, however no amount of banging, pushing and pulling could dislodge the lock. The trapped person was terrified that by time she was freed the rest of the group would have demolished the afternoon tea provided by Earle and pikelets made by Graham.

Meanwhile back at the vans was another trapped member. The van’s back door was unable to be opened, so someone kindly offered to climb through the opening made for that scenario. Unfortunately she too became stuck, straddling the opening with one leg in the passenger compartment, the other in the luggage compartment. Her tights were firmly lodged on the metal spikes, and there began an exercise in lifting and juggling. With three support people they were able to help her balance, and dislodge the tights several times only to become stuck again. Eventually she was freed.

Then it was time to try and free the person still waiting patiently in the toilet. Ray and his trusty pocket knife came to the rescue, making short work of the jammed lock. I noticed on my next trip in the van that Earle had placed a piece of hosing over the offending metal, the stress of helping to free the trapped lady obviously proving too much for him. Rumour has it that this was the second day in a row that Earle was observed ‘holding ladies’ legs’. Finally we were all able to enjoy our afternoon tea in the sunshine. An enjoyable and entertaining day out. Thanks to Earle for driving and leading, Ridgy for driving and Graham for hosting. 

Mangawhio Lakes, Waitotara

Wed 23 Aug 2017   Scribe: GrahamSutcliffe

This is a great walk and the lake can be accessed from two areas – Waitotara Valley, or Lakes Road which was used on this occasion. All were impressed that, since the main lake blowout when it lost a depth of up to five metres, the forestry company has concreted not only the ford but also the sides of the outlet, preventing further erosion.

Earle, our pathfinder for the day, took us over a section that none had previously walked (I’m not sure that Earle had either). There is still a lot of pinetree windfall over the track but nothing that can’t be circumnavigated – just slows the team. Weather was fine and warm and the fifteen out on this excursion – Andra Beck, Margaret Chainey, Cherry Channon, Graham Ellett, Glenda Howarth, Ken Howie, Royce Johnson, Juliet Kojis, Kathy O’Donnell, Kevin Ross, David Scoullar, Laurel Stowell, Earle Turner – had a really good day. The leaders were Dorothy Symes and Graham Sutcliffe. 

Snowcraft 1

Sun 20 Aug 2017   Scribe: Shane Wilson

The weather forecast was pretty murky, but we ended up making a break for the mountain on Sunday morning. The Wanganui crew met at Blind Centre in the rain and we made our way pessimistically up the island in the dark. As it got lighter the rain lessened and by the time we reached Ohakune Visitor Centre, where we changed into our snow gear, things looked promising. Not ideal...but the cloudy day was gentle and there were glimpses of sun.

We arrived at the Turoa carpark as a convoy. Once we were ready (wearing our helmets), Grant led us up to the lodge area where we put on our crampons - and instantly got swooped on by ski guides who were concerned we might want to crowd their slopes. Once they were assured we were only interested in finding a quiet corner somewhere, we headed up to our little valley to the north west of the main ski area. The day was slightly spoiled by a powdery topping of snow on the mountain. But the videos we'd all watched and Grant and Dwight’s confident instruction (assisted by Dieter and Malcolm) saw us all happy to test ourselves in ideal weather conditions...not too windy, not too wet and not too cold. A bit more sun would've been good but there was enough to make the goggles seem worthwhile.

Once we all got our confidence up we were soon to be found hurtling ourselves off, or climbing up, any slightly steep slope we could find. Rounding us all up for the next lesson was sometimes difficult as WE JUST WANTED TO GET OUT THERE! We learnt how to use crampons and ice axes for walking up, down and across slopes. Self-arrest techniques were a challenge as the powdery snow meant that gaining any meaningful speed was restrained, but with practice most of us figured out how to get adequate acceleration.

A session on sampling snow and ice for avalanche risk gave us all a bit of a rest late in the afternoon, as did a quick look at how to find someone who may have been buried after an event. Once the learning was over we all went for a bit of a walk that involved looking desperately for a challenge. I guess the fact we didn’t find much of one meant that those of us who were booked for the next session were ready.

The day ended with a bit of café confusion in Ohakune, but eventually we all ended up in the one place for a feedback session and group photo. Those of us booked in for Snowcraft 2 were chomping at the bit and the rest were more than happy with the skills they'd developed. On the course were Michelle Mackenzie, Ady Gilbert, Andrew Beck, Derek Barrett, Phil Kirkwood, Pippa McLay, Shane Wilson and Mike Cole. 

Tongariro River Loop Track

Wed 16 Aug 2017 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Where could we go this time? Difficult choice, with all the recent rain. Winter hasn’t been too kind and has forced tramp cancellations, hence the decision to pick the river trail which is not normally affected by bad weather. Heavy, pouring rain overnight until 4.30am and I was on the brink of aborting plans. We had to consider road conditions: ice on Desert Road and slips on Parapara. Then abruptly the rain stopped and all eleven were at the carpark for 7am departure.

At Turangi I-Site (start of river trail) we checked track conditions: all sweet – go! Forecast was cloud with a shower or two. We were on the track at 9.30 am for the 16.5km walk. From I-Site, the trail goes south, over SH1bridge and up to viewpoints overlooking the river, then swings left to overlook Turangi itself. Then onwards on the true left of the river down to the Red Hut Bridge, about half way. The walkway itself is well formed, through patches of low scrub and native forest with a range of species from manuka to tall totara. The track followed the true right of the river back to I-Site.

Back by 2.30pm, we chose to skip Rotopounamu and make for the Railway Café at National Park to indulge those yum cakes and hot drinks, and share Shane’s chips. The day out was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and concluded with lots of stories and banter on the way home that kept us awake. And no rain and not even that cold. 

Gourmet Meal Trip

Sat-Sun 12-13 Aug 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

On trip: Juliet Kojis, Shane Wilson, Sandra Rogers, Margaret Lankow, Kate Jones and Dave Scoullar.

A great weekend started with the short walk to Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge (what a mouthful!) in the western Ruahine. A young couple and a six-year-old girl were in residence doing a jigsaw puzzle. They had a fire going, so we had a warm hut.

We did a short walk towards Tunupo trig, noting the many branches broken by snow, and collected wood for the firebox. Our return to the hut coincided with thunder and lightning and a short but heavy hailstorm.

The couple and child departed with the jigsaw two-thirds complete and the women in our party picked up where they left off. Happy hour began at 4pm and this is what you missed:

Cheese, crackers, dips, fig relish and nuts
Choice of soups -- pumpkin and vegetable
Garlic bread, salad, Moroccan lamb
Fruit crumble
After dinner mints

The evening ended with a lively quiz.
Sunday dawned sunny and the jigsaw was completed apart from onemissing piece. We did two walks -- along the track towards Iron Gate Hut and then down to the Oroua River camping sites before lunching and packing up. Gourmet Meal Trip 2017 was declared a great success. 

Waiaua Gorge

Sat 5 Aug 2017 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Expectations ??? With storms, bad weather and rain, rain and more rain the week preceding the trip, the day before I contacted the DOC ENP to check out our chosen track. DOC advised there could be storm damage and tree falls on the western side of the mountain. Evidently less-used tracks aren’t on DOC’s agenda for urgent attention, but as we “were taking in a tramping club outing we should be okay”. Also they’d appreciate any photos and reports we could bring back. The weather forecast was good and we now had another reason to go - to report back on track conditions.

Despite advising people of the beautiful native bush and magnificent views to be had, we could only muster five. But off we went, all aware the trip could be aborted if there were undue risks; there was also a river crossing to consider.

Well, what a day - absolutely magnificent!! The track was wet but not much wetter than usual. The terrain, easy – can’t change that. The river crossing easy, and the hut in perfect sunshine for our lunch stop. It seemed we could put a hand out and touch the mountain’s wonderful glistening peaks. There was little storm damage to report to DOC. A super, fabulous day was enjoyed by Andrea Bunn, Linda Hart, Cat Mellows, myself and our driver Ross McBeth. 

Mt Tongariro Loop

Sat 5 Aug 2017 Scribe: Tracey Hooper

It makes a very memorable day when you get a blue sky day in the middle of a run of terrible days. Our snow trip ended up a day walk starting from Tongariro Crossing track turning left onto Mt Tongariro. For newbies to cramponing Andy Beck and Shane Wilson, it was a perfect place to have a play around without getting into really serious stuff. With half of the walk in snow, it took seven hours to complete our loop, coming down off the ridge behind Mangatepopo Hut. 

Hostile Natives Waiinu Beach

Wed 2 Aug 2017    Scribe: Shane Wilson

Nine trampers set out from Ototoka Beach to Waiinu Beach. The day was overcast with a moderate south-east breeze which helped push the trampers along the beach. After walking about 4km on deserted beach, two young seals were spotted resting above the high tide line. Then further on near Snapper Rock, was a group of five adults and two young seals resting on the rocks. Some of the group moved into the sea when we arrived. They stayed swimming just offshore, keeping a close eye on us. Two large adults remained on the rocks, guarding their territory. It was then decided we should turn back, rather than disturb them any longer. With the wind in our faces and passing rain showers, we arrived back to the van unable to complete our walk to Waiinu Beach.

On the trip were Cherry Channon, David Taylor, Dick Mitchell, Esther Williams, George Neil, Laurel Stowell, Margret McKinnon, Nelson Tizard, Shane Wilson. 

Kaiparoro Track, Eastern Ruahine

Wed 26 Jul 2017    Scribe : Barry Hopper

Leaders were Graham Sutcliffe and Barry Hopper. A 7am start - and what a beautiful morning to go tramping. Two hour drive over into the Wairarapa where the weather was, as expected, clear and sunny but a little on the cool side. Drive to the end of the Kaiparoro Track and a pleasant surprise at the start of the walk: the forestry company had constructed a heavy duty steel bridge across the stream, so no wet boots today.

The track immediately starts uphill at a very acute angle which very quickly sorted out the men from the boys and had everyone looking for their second wind within minutes of the start of the climb. Once up onto the tops there were some very good views out across the Tararuas and eastern Wairarapa. Excellent clear track all the way up to the trig station at 808m where, because it was so warm and sunny at the clearing, we decided to have an early lunch.

We headed back down from the trig about 300m and to the destination for today’s tramp, the crash site and grave of RNZAF Pilot Officer David Leary. This off-shoot track was very well marked unlike some previous trips to this site. After about 40 minutes we were down at the crash site and grave which was marked by a polished aluminium cross with David Leary’s details and the date of the crash, July 5th 1952, 65 years ago.

There is still considerable wreckage at this very isolated site, both aero engines are still visible although with some 30m of vertical separation between them. There is still cockpit instrumentation panels and even one of the pilot seats is near to the grave site.

All of this is on a very steep southern side of a very heavily forested ridge line which would almost never see the light of a lovely sunny day.

Return to the vehicles and on to Eketahuna for ice-creams, then the Downtown Mall Food Hall in Main Street in Palmerston North, and from there return to Wanganui.

Those enjoying the beautiful hike and weather were: Andy Beck, Barry Hopper, David Scoullar, David Taylor, Dick Mitchell, Dorothy Symes, Esther Williams, George Neil, Graham Sutcliffe, Jacky Evans, Kevin Ross, Margaret Chainey, Margret McKinnon, Rozy Rawlinson, Shane Wilson, Sue Haden, Tracey Hooper and her German guest Lars, and Murray Laing. 

Paekakariki Escarpment Track

Sun 23 Jul 2017    Scribe: Margaret Chainey

Eight trampers left Wanganui at 7am. Cold and raining on the way down, but fine and no wind as we neared Wellington. We knew there was a slip further along the track but with Esther’s instructions we climbed over the rope that said “Track Closed”. Track in great order although maybe a little steep at times. There was a series of up to 20 steps at a time with stunning views across to Kapiti, and the rail line and main highway far below. We thought we would be able to get across the slip which was about 6 km along the track, but decided against it, taking our time on the return walk. By doing this we missed out on the train trip back. We met a number of locals also walking the track.

Back at the van, a book sale was in progress in the village hall, and some of our group bought all of the Wilderness magazines on sale.

When the slip is cleared we should consider this tramp again. A really enjoyable day, thanks to Esther and Juliet. On this trip: Esther Williams, Juliet Kojis, Dorothy Symes, Margaret Chainey, Dave Scoullar, Shane Wilson, Ross McBeth, and Roger Kealey. 

Fishers Track

Sun 16 Jul 2017  Scribe and Leader: Dorothy Symes

A full van of hearty Wanganui trampers left at 7am for the Railway Café at National Park where we had arranged to meet Peter Panton and eight Taumarunui trampers. On the way snow was visible on the hills close to Raetihi and then on the ground as we travelled on. It was a stunning day, with sunlight enhancing the snow-white countryside, really pretty. All were well prepared and equipped with poles, spikes, warm gear and coats.

From the café our two groups headed north to the start of the track. Fishers Track is part of the Te Araroa trail and a popular bike track. It is well-constructed with a decent four-wheel drive surface. But today the track was covered in at least 200 mm of snow. It was slow going and care had to be taken on the ice.

At the turnoff to the Tupapakurua Falls track on the left, our group split for those wanting to reach the falls. Time, and the condition of that track, didn’t allow for any risks. The trees were heavily snow-laden, weighing down on to the track and preventing passage. The entire track is 17km and normally on a day trip the leader can choose how far to go, taking into account the return time.

Despite being slower and with some hold-ups, the wonderful views could be taken in at leisure. The central plateau was just magic, the three mountains snow-covered to their bases. We could see Hikurangi (the one near Taumarunui) in the distance and Mt Egmont/Taranaki too, in all its snow- covered splendour.

Despite some of our party having been coerced into this “no snow up there” trip, all thoroughly enjoyed the day and were pleased they had done it. I may not live it down - it will be remembered! Finally, it was hot chocolates and lattes and farewell to our Taumarunui friends 

Castle Rock

Sat 8 Jul 2017   Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Castle Rock in Kaimanawa Forest Park was our destination and Andy Beck our leader. Entry is inland from the Desert Road opposite the track to Rangipo Desert and hut. As we parked and kitted up, we were optimistic of some great views. Mt Ruapehu was spectacular, then we turned our backs on her and went the opposing way to “The Rock”. Gradually ascending, the occasional peep behind brought doubts that it was going to stay a great day. We left the track and high-stepped through heather, climbing to the first high spot for morning tea and to take in the views. Following the defence area boundary, marked by poles, we wandered through pretty moss-covered trees, emerging half an hour later into the open again - and cooling down. Then into another small bush area and finally out on to the last open space.

We could see Castle Rock and decided there might be a good lee-side spot for lunch. The Rock itself is a rather like a grand fortress - surely there would be a place around it where we could shelter from the icy breeze. This was not to be. We all upped sticks, hurriedly lunched and quickly retraced our steps down to where it was warmer. Fortunately we were all well attired and were soon back to the van.

The views? No. The clouds had come down just as fast as we were going up. Disappointing, but still a good walk - maybe a better option for the Springtime. The cold we encountered could have been dangerous, but all safely achieved. 

Manawatu Gorge Track

Wed 12 Jul 2017   Scribe: Diane Harries    Leaders: Diane Harries and Esther Williams

The weather forecast was for a savage winter storm, but we managed to sidestep that threat by retreating from the planned walk to Tupapakurua Falls near National Park, and instead heading for the Manawatu Gorge. In the carpark we came across a local DOC ranger who commutes over there from Whanganui every day, and enjoyed listening to his wealth of knowledge about the gorge. The track was open again, after being blocked by a huge rimu tree that had fallen near the amazing Maori metal sculpture now presiding over its forest domain. It had taken a team of workers five hours with two chainsaws to move all the rimu timber and reopen the track. With the roadway through the gorge now closed indefinitely, the only traffic noises we heard were from trains and planes, and the ever-present windmills that were really swooshing with the high winds coming over the tops.

Our group of nine hardy souls included two lads escaping the tedium of school holidays confined indoors with winter weather. Nathaniel and Tristan thoroughly enjoyed being out with the group of oldies and studied every toadstool, earthstar and fungus along the way and were intrigued by tasting a peppery leaf of the kawakawa tree. Our lunch at the picnic table in sight of some huge windmills proved somewhat draughty and we made a hasty retreat back into the shelter of the forest, finding the conditions mild and sunny for our return tramp. After a coffee in Feilding, our arrival back in Whanganui seemed to be way chillier, and heralded the arrival of the nasty winter storm that cancelled the following day’s tramp and blocked the roads at National Park. 

Sledge Track

Wed 5 Jul 2017 Scribe: Cherry Channon

Twenty-four keen trampers turned up on a perfect winter’s day to enjoy the day’s outing to the Sledge Track, including the newly opened Arapuke Forest Park Track. We began our walk from the road end at the Kahuterawa carpark through forest,

towering native trees, a series of steps and past rocky swimming holes. We walked over the newly opened swing bridge where the track climbed steeply up into the Arapuke Forest Park. The views at the top were stunning and we sat in the sunshine to have our lunch, enjoy the scenery and the excellent company of like-minded folk.

Our return trip was a very pleasant forest walk via Back Track and past the half- way point of the Te Araroa Trail which is marked by a large sign. The Sledge Track never fails to disappoint and once again provided an excellent day’s tramping. 

Mike Cranstone’s Property

Thur 29 Jun 2017 Scribe: Earle Turner

Twenty-one set off on a mild winter day for Mike Cranstone’s farm. We headed off in a direction we hadn't been on before, with a warning that we may have to turn back if things didn't look right. Well, after no more than 100 metres we turned back as we were heading up a valley that was very soggy and muddy.

We stayed on the main track until we found a drier track going off to the left. This turned out to be quite interesting as we disturbed a Samba stag, with a great set of antlers, and his harem. To get away from us he made a run for it, making a clean jump over a fence and leaving his five females to look after themselves. They panicked a bit and ran up to the fence but didn't make the jump. They milled around in the corner of the paddock until we moved up the hill and gave them more room to run past. Something we hadn't seen before – but unfortunately those at the back didn't see this.

By now it was lunch time so we found a spot in the sun on a high point with great views overlooking the countryside. Lunch over and we set out to find our way back to the vans. A very pleasant day had by all - that's what they said anyway. I know I enjoyed it, finding a different way to go. It was good to see John and Fred out there again after their time out. 

Tunupo Trig

Wed 21 Jun 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

Weather out of the box for the challenge to climb to Tunupo Trig in the western Ruahine. Nineteen signed on for the day trip and 10 of these made up the Greyhounds, heading for the top. While the nine Tortoises were content to have a leisurely morning tea at Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge and then to plod towards the bush line, the Greyhounds had a more serious intent.

In the end only one of their number made the top but all the Greyhounds did enjoy magnificent views of the nearby mountains and countryside. A good day enjoyed by all on a newly-trimmed and mud-free track through beautiful beech forest. On trip: Barry, Bruce, Cherry, Dave D, Dave T, Dave S, Dick, George, Heather, Helen, Jacky, Kathy, Margie, Pat, Rozy, Shane, Sue, Tracey and Jeanette. 

Mikimiki Walkway

Sat 17 Jun 2017 Scribe: Barry Hopper

Departed clubrooms 7am: two hour drive over to the Wairarapa and the Kiriwhakapapa Road and a further 10 minute drive to the DOC site at the end of the road. The forecast was for fine sunny weather although cool temperatures.

The track was a little damp underfoot in places but apart from that an excellent day out in fine conditions. Two hours across to the Mikimiki Road end where we all enjoyed our lunch before returning via the same track. Amazing Redwood plantation in this area, planted in the 1930s and quite rare for the New Zealand bush. And the forecast lived up to expectations.

Back to Palmerston North and a refresh stop at the Food Hall in the rear of the Downtown Mall, Main Street. Excellent variety of food and drinks for everyone plus great toilet facilities.

Returned to Wanganui 6pm. Really excellent 11-hour day out for the following : Diane Weeks, Barbara Francis, Margaret Chainey, Andrea Bunn, Helen Adams, Barbara Gordon, Dorothy Symes, Jeanette Prier, Ross McBeth, Barry (leader) and Michael Hopper. 

Tarn Kayaking

Sat-Sun 17-18 Jun 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

Kayaking on a tarn in Egmont National Park? Surely not. Yes, it happened on our weekend trip around the Pouakai Circuit. Read on and find out how this came about. On trip: Tracey and Basil Hooper, Pippa McLay, Michelle Mackenzie, Shane Wilson, Mike Cole, Ken Howie, Esther Williams and Dave Scoullar.

Day 1: A snow-flecked Mt Taranaki is clear as we reach the national park and make our way over to the Kokowai Track. It takes three and a half hours to reach the RMT. The Kokowai is getting rather overgrown in places. Now we are in low cloud for the final one and a quarter hours on the RMT to Holly Hut.

After a brew it's down for a look at Bells Falls, a first for some party members. Back at the hut we fire up the wood burner and after our somewhat strange dinner (DS is still learning how to cook pasta), the cards come out. We share the hut with two couples.

Day 2: Another clear day following an overnight frost. The board walk over the Ahukawakawa swamp is icy and treacherous. The mountain is clear and magnificent as we puff up the hill, lamenting some truly awful muddy sections. Pouakai Hut is reached in two and a half hours. Lunch is taken beside the tarn.

The big question is how to get an original photo of the tarn with the mountain background. Then we find a small kayak in the tussock and Michelle goes for a ride using walking poles as paddles. That's original! Mt Taranaki is shrouded off and on as we puff up Henry and eat lunch at the lookout.

After that it's down the boardwalk (some in bad condition) and on to regroup at the Kaiauai shelter. More ups and downs for numerous stream crossings until, when almost back, we are treated to the sight of two whio busy feeding. Their loud whistles announce their presence. The van is reached to complete an eight hour day.

Verdict: A good circuit of approximately 25km offering superb views but probably better done over three days with a second night at Pouakai Hut. If DOC wants to promote the circuit, it needs to eliminate muddy sections on the Ahukawakawa Track and fix the board walk below Henry. 

Ratamarumaru, Tokomaru West

Thur 15 Jun 2017 Scribe: Sandy Gibbard

We didn’t quite fill two vans, but a happy lot headed out to Ratamarumaru, Di and Dougal McIntosh’s property on Tokomaru West Road, Brunswick. It was a chilly morning and we started out well wrapped up. Di, and wee dog Toi Toi, kindly escorted us around and Di added bits and pieces of interesting commentary as we went. One of these snippets was about the water-driven pump that pumped water from a stream up to the top of the hill for stock water – all without electricity.

The terrain was mostly up and down and provided a good workout. Much of the property is in forestry at various stages of growth. The tracks were in very good condition; maybe the forestry needs accounted for this. Best farm tracks I’ve come across. We also saw cattle and sheep also in very good condition.

Small though Toi Toi was, she enjoyed rounding up the odd deer and surprised and delighted some of our party with a close encounter.

We covered approximately 151⁄2 kilometres this day, although Toi Toi covered at least three times that, with legs about one-eighth the length of ours. Our gracious hostess even ensured we had a hot drink at the end of our tramp. 

Marton Sash and Door Tramway

Wed 14 Jun 2017 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Fifteen left the club rooms at 7am for the start at National Park’s Railway Cafe. The weather was questionable but we decided to brave the elements. Vans were parked south, parallel to the main trunk line at Pehi Road. A gate signposted “Cycleway” led to the old road quarry and a bridge over Otamawewa stream, up a small hill with views, before reaching the gentle slopes of the old tramway. We had planned the longer option, 22 km. It was not a hard tramp, and the loop track was new to many.

We passed through some very pretty bush cuttings with lush ferns. Rail tracks and sleepers were visible and information boards told of tramway activities in the past. This section took us to a metal road to the left and down a short distance to Erua road, then through the trees and over the swamplands – good views here – to Waimarino stream, again reaching Erua road. The wooden bridge near SH4 was the right place for lunch, in warm sunshine. Some low cloud inhibited the views we had in the past, but no wind or rain.

The next section took us onto the cycle path, contrasting with the native bush. We left the track to cross SH4 before entering pine forest and a maze of cycle trails, finding a dilapidated hut from the past. Leaving the forest for our return was less pleasant with ballast on the railway line to be negotiated, but we were treated to a friendly toot from a freight train passing close by. A most interesting day concluded with a good coffee at the Railway Cafe. 

Mana Island

Sun 11 Jun 2017 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

This unique trip took much organizing and preparation, with biosecurity regulations to consider. Cost was a consideration too but I went ahead, made the bookings and then established who wanted the opportunity of such an experience.

Seventeen enthusiastic people departed clubrooms at 5.45am, in the dark. The plan was to meet Peter Funicane at Mana Marina by 8.30am, for a 9am sailing to Mana Island. We were briefed and checked for anything that could breach Mana’s biosecurity, with a further boat safety briefing from the skipper. After a delightful 20- minute boat ride, we disembarked on to a stony beach and looked back at the mainland.

A short walk brought us to the historic 1887 woolshed where, over morning tea, the ranger told us what we could expect. Look after ourselves or do the whole day’s guided walk? We decided on a guided round trip of the entire island, and this provided wonderful views in all directions.

We learned of the early 1870s farming days, starting with 103 merino sheep and 10 cattle. After a suspected scrapies outbreak in 1978, 2000 sheep were destroyed and five years’ strict quarantine followed before Mana became a scientific reserve in 1987.

From the woolshed it was on-and-up to the island’s high point, once the site of a lighthouse which in 1881 was relocated to its present site at Cape Egmont. We heard about whaling days and reafforestation. WTC had participated in the extensive tree- planting, remembered by Esther. We were intrigued to hear about the geckos, birdlife, plantlife, disease and predator protection on this unique island. The whole operation is now run by volunteers, with one resident DOC warden.

We stopped at 22 sites, each with special and valuable significance in maintaining the island it is today.

We had a most interesting and enjoyable day. The weather was out of the box, with full sunshine and a slight breeze at the top. We reboarded the boat at 3pm for our return to Mana. It was a big day – and the icecream shops were all closed. Home by 6pm – and yes, we did see the takahe. 

Turakina farm walk

Wed 7 June 2017 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

A lovely day eventuated after threatened rain. Over the hills, through long grass and through some mud. 16.6 km tramped. Approximately six hours including stops. An enjoyable day. Thank you all for your company. On the trip were Brenda Collins, Bruce Thomas, Diane Harries, Don Gordon, Earle Turner, George Neil, Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Margee Campbell, Nelson Tizard, Shane Wilson, Victoria Kay and Sandra Rogers (leader). 

Waipuku Circuit

Sat 3 June 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The team of 12 headed for Mt Taranaki with high hopes of a good day and sure enough the mountain top was clear as we hit Patea, with a fringe of cloud over the lower slopes. We started from Stratford Mountain House along the Curtis Falls track and stopped near the falls for morning tea.

About 45 minutes later we found the unmarked start of the Waipuku track, which heads straight up to the RMT. This track is no longer maintained by DOC but some good keen men and women have been looking after it. We also found a cave, accessed by a low narrow tunnel.

The track was easy to follow through low bush all the way to the tussock, a bit steep in places. At this stage the lower slopes had clagged in. From the RMT we headed past the skifield to the Plateau car park, down the Enchanted Track and back to Stratford Mountain House. Total time was 6:40hrs.

It was a good workout for all, especially Diane who was on her first tramp for six months after breaking her big toe. The tracks were remarkably dry for an area noted for mud.

On trip: Esther Williams, Susan Marr, Raewyn Sharrock, Hamilton Ngapo, Brigitte Hund, Peter Finucane, Barbara Francis, Adrian Pike, Ross McBeth, Tracey Hooper, Diane Harries and Dave Scoullar. 

Waiaua Gorge Hut

Wed 31 May 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

Some things never change and neither does the track into Waiaua Gorge Hut in Egmont National Park. It's muddy. How muddy depends on how much recent rain there has been but it's always muddy. And so it was on this trip, but it wasn't at its worst and the team of 21 quickly got adept at walking around particularly noxious parts. 

After morning tea at the junction with the RMT half the party went to the nearby plane crash site while the others made for the hut. We regrouped there for lunch with lovely views of the mountain appearing and then disappearing under clouds.

Leader was keen to get away because he wanted to get to town by dark but halfway back it was established his watch had had a brain fade and was now running one hour ahead! Needless to say we did get back before dark. Another good outing. 

Powell-Jumbo Circuit

Sat-Mon 27-29 May 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

Day 1: Starting at the Mt Holdsworth car park, the team of seven wander up to Powell Hut in overcast weather with a bit of drizzle thrown in. The track is great but the many staircases are tiring and we make it in 3:45hr. The hut is half full and it's nice to be able to use DOC-provided cooking facilities.

Day 2: This is the day we cross the tops to Jumbo Hut and we really want to get some views but it's not to be, with low cloud and wet mist all the way. The track is well-defined and marked but muddy in places. We reach Jumbo in 3:10hr. A downer is finding the hut has run out of gas, so we cook on the wood burner top and, luckily, Tracey has brought along her cooker. No one else at the hut.

Day 3: The day dawns fine with clear tops. Darn, we are going down again. The steep descent to Atiwhakatu Hut is over slippery rocks and roots. We meet a man going up to do a repair job at McGregor bivvy but otherwise no other trampers around. The car park is reached in 4.35hr and we note the tops are clagged-in again. Oh well, maybe no real views that day either.

This is a classic three-day tramp covering 24km. I recall doing the whole route in a single day on a club trip a few years ago and they have a race over the route each January with some runners recording ridiculously short times.

On trip: Tracey Hooper, Cherry Channon, Margret McKinnon, Ken Howie, Mark Sutherland, Val Wackrow and Dave Scoullar. 

Mangaturuturu Hut

Wed 24 May 2017 Scribe: David Howard

A 6.30am pick up and all on time and raring to go with a full van load of 12. We set off in light rain and cold conditions with patches of snow on the ground. A small trip-up at the first creek saw one lose his pole - dunked his face but somehow managed to keep his hands dry and nobody saw it so well done.

Landscape in and around the cascades had a look all of its own in the mist and the rain, and quite high water levels made it look spectacular. The walk down the cascades was quite slippery and slow but all made the bottom without too many bruises. We arrived at our hut late morning for early lunch or late morning tea - in George's case, both. Very impressed with the hut as this was the first time I had seen it being a newbie in the club. Firewood situation is getting pretty low but DOC is due to fly some in soon so hopefully all will be good. With the toilets and housework done it was time to head back.

The trip out was a lot easier and the weather lifted enough to give a completely different view of the landscape. Back in the van and off to Ohakune for a coffee. What a great way to spend a Wednesday. I will be back. 

Mangaone Walkway

Wed 17 May 2017 Scribe: Bruce Thomas

Mangaone walkway is barely into the Tararua foothills, starting east of Te Horo and ending at Ngatiawa Rd near Waikanae.

After turning off the main road, signs did not coincide with the map and nobody’s memory recall seemed to be working, so it was “let’s have a look down here”. Fortunately there was a sign down past the school that said Mangaone Walkway this way.

The walk begins with a few kms of gravel logging road, mainly through regenerating bush, followed by pine trees, a couple of creek crossings, an open area and then the track proper.

The track had its beginnings as a bush tram track and is in good condition with modern-day bridges over some of the streams and gullies.

At the southern end is a small information shelter which served as a lunch spot out of the rain. After lunch the rain stopped for the return trip.

A pleasant day was had by Bruce Thomas, Barry Hopper, Esther Williams, Dick Mitchell, George Neil, Jacky Evans, John Smith, Margret McKinnon, Shane Wilson, Sue Hayden, Sue McBride, Don Gordon and Laurel Stowell 

Opunake Walkway

Sat 13 May 2017 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Fourteen cheerful people headed off to the Opunake Walkway. This was to be led by Dave Scoullar, but due to a knee injury it was now led by Dorothy Symes and Sandra Rogers.

Very indifferent weather: chilly, some rain, strong wind and sunshine. All the same it was a very pleasant day walking around the Opunake Lake and Sea Cliff Tops.

On the trip were Dorothy Symes, Sandra Rogers, Bev Sinclair, Diane Weeks, Ady Gilbert, Barbara and Jim Gordon, Jill Richardson, Victoria Kay, Anne Condon, Anne-Marie Harper, Susan Marr, Brigitte Hund and Ross McBeth. 

Burn Hut – Tararua Forest Park

Wed 10 May 2017 Scribe: Graham Sutcliffe

There were 22 present on this day, two of whom were prospective members. The track starts at the far side of the Mangahao No. 2 Dam behind Shannon. It sidles down the true right of the river for approximately one hour. Care has to be taken, for there are many tree roots and slippery rocks. Unfortunately two members slipped on this day: one onto his knee forcing a return to the van and the other onto the back of his head on the return.

After leaving the river it climbed quite steadily for another hour to the bush line. Once into the leatherwood tops the track follows the ridge for another hour to Burn Hut. When we reached the leatherwoods the party split into two with 11 under the leadership of Barry Hopper making it to the hut, and the rest lunching and then making their way back to the van. 

Hilltops Walk with Rangitikei TC, Hunterville

Sat 6 May 2017 Scribe: Barbara Gordon

Four Rangitikei clubbers led us a merry race up and down, over and across the steep farmland typical of this region. More ups than downs it seemed, but our labours were rewarded with far-away views. On the right day Ruapehu and Taranaki are both visible from one spot, but today’s hazy horizon meant non- delivery.

I thought of the mavellous Shepherds’ Schemozzle, appreciating why local properties are ideal for this bizarre event. Mercifully though, we were spared the challenges of mud slides, curry pies and fizzy drink while attempting to finish the race. But the ongaonga bit a couple and another’s muddy backside brought forth borrowed orange-and-pink trou from Donna, our host.

We lingered in warm autumn sunshine in the Hayes vast bloke’s-shed, enjoying legendary farmhouse hospitality for which Rangitikei club is famous. Loath to take leave of an extremely satisfying day were Ady G, Helen A, Jacky E, Jim & Barb G, Victoria K, Yvonne N, and Visitor-From-Wainuiomata Anne Royle, under the leadership of Andy Beck. 

Castlecliff to Kai Iwi and Back – A Visitor’s Eye View

Thurs 4 May 2017   Scribe: Lola Brown ( from Perth)

The Thursday group led by Earle Turner welcomed me warmly with many trampers introducing themselves. I was presented with the impressively weighty Wanganui Tramper an informative and humorous insight into the activities of this lively and engaging group of people.

We reached Castlecliff beach after a short drive and made our way down to the firmer sand with its unusual black colour. Driftwood trunks and branches lay thick upon the beach like throngs of sun-seeking beachgoers at Bondi. The weather was sunny and bright with a light breeze, making for pleasant chats.

We headed for the nearest massive tree trunk at tea time and perched like sparrows in the sun. An easy camaraderie was evident as we progressed along the windswept coast. I enjoyed hearing about the lives and experiences of some of the members.

A highlight was the church-like arch not far from Kai Iwi beach which offered a great photo opportunity. We had to turn back before the final destination due to an incoming tide. The wind gusted strongly at our backs as we retraced our steps, and I was glad to hear that, although 20 years younger than some, I was not the only one who felt weary for the last half hour. The banter as we made our way back through the Wanganui rush hour traffic caused a chuckle. Thank you all for making me so welcome. 

More Rangitikei Reserves

Sat 29 April 2017 Scribe: Graeme Aitken

This group of walks was a follow-on from the Rangitikei Reserves in September 2016 - two repeated and two different. We first visited Sutherlands Turakina, followed by Sutherland Mangahoe, both through native bush. There was an abundance of birdlife and some were quite vocal. The fungi were very colourful and all different shapes and sizes. Some even looked like muffins.

Further along the road was Laird's Reserve, both farmland and bush. We had lunch on the bush edge. Finally, Bruce Reserve just south of Hunterville. At the entrance you could see where State Highway One was.

The weather was kind to us although there were a few spits. There was some autumn colour but a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves. We had a coffee stop on the way home and arrived in Wanganui about 3pm. Those on the walk: Graeme Aitken (leader), Nikki Wink, Dianne Weeks and Roger Kealey. 

Ngauruhoe Summit and Crater

Tue 18 Apr 2017 Scribe: Shane Wilson

We packed the van and left at 6:10am, arriving at about 8:00am at our destination. It took us approximately half an hour to find a car park, as there were plenty of vehicles already parked up. As we started out on our trek to the base of Ngauruhoe, we encountered many others who were doing the Tongariro crossing. Most seemed to be visitors from overseas, wearing various clothing and footwear attire, one young lady wearing what seemed to be trousers and a bra.

After a couple of hours we reached the base of the mountain, and after a quick water break we started our ascent. This is where we met barefooted Stephen, a fellow tramper from Wellington. After one and a half hours climbing we stopped for lunch on a rocky outcrop, and then proceeded onwards, misty cloud rolling in. An hour later we arrived at the outer rim, to be greeted with magnificent views. Then appearing out of the mist below was a rescue helicopter, landing no more than 50 metres from us. A tramper had injured a leg and needed assistance. From there we traversed through scattered snow to the crater with its orange-red rock scoria and heated vents. After a brief sleety shower we started our descent downwards, moon- walking the loose scree and keeping a vigilant eye out for loose rocks that might be tumbling our way.

After an exhilarating hour we were down and on our way back to the car park. Two hours later, with failing light and a heavy shower of rain, we reached the van and loaded our gear. A blood-red setting sun was to be seen as we started our return journey back to Wanganui. Stopping for a hot chocolate we finally arrived home at 8:30pm, tired and weary from the day’s adventure.  On trip were: Esther Williams, Sue Haden, Shane Wilson, Ross McBeth and Pat Gallagher. 

Harris Farm, Mangamahu

Wed 19 Apr 2017 Scribe: John Newton

A full vanload of trampers set out for the Harris farm at Mangamahu in glorious autumn weather. On the way out the sun lit up the valleys, still engulfed in early morning mist. The tramp covered a 16km route around the high country property.

Mrs Harris had once again kindly attached a couple of pointers at crucial turns on the track so we easily found the correct path and headed straight up. After three hours we arrived at the farm's skyline bach nestled into the hills with views stretching to the far eastern horizon.

After lunch we completed the loop, crossing slips caused by the recent heavy rains, and headed home via the Fordell ice cream stop. 

Around Mt Ruapehu

Thu-Tue 13-18 Apr 2017
Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Tracey Hooper, Dorothy Symes, Cherry and Johnny Channon, Margret McKinnon, Dave Scoullar and Brian Sixtus (days 3 and 4).

Day 1: We set off from Whakapapa Village despite an ugly weather forecast. It rains eventually but the predicted severe winds don't arrive. Waihohonu hut, reached in 43⁄4 hours, is nearly full and during his lively talk the warden congratulates us all on our boldness in venturing out despite the dire weather warnings.

Day 2: Showers dominate the day, plus some wind. We plod on through the desert landscape after a quick visit to the Ohinepango Springs, glad to reach Rangipo hut in 61⁄4 hours. The hut is overfull. High point is a group of Koreans who have a banquet complete with mini-lanterns. Low point is when Dorothy falls at the loo and hurts her left wrist, diagnosed as probably broken.

Day 3: Another showery day to Mangaehuehu hut (63⁄4 hours). Dorothy is helped along but manages gamely. Track is very muddy in places and broken board walks and steps don't help. Brian arrives as we close in on the hut and carries Dorothy's pack. He also provides wine, crackers, cheese, chippies and hot cross buns for happy hour. Hut is again overfull thanks to a large group of air cadets, but we all fit it.

Day 4: The day starts promisingly with our first view of the mountain. A heavy shower arrives as we get to the car park on Ohakune Mountain Rd. Basil Hooper is there to take Dorothy home. Brian ferries us up the road and we walk into Mangaturuturu hut in heavy rain. The hut, reached in 51⁄2 hours, is overflowing. Clearing weather reveals a light dusting of snow on the mountain. Brian's lavish happy hour spread is repeated.

Day 5: Our longest day, 71⁄4 hours to Whakapapaiti hut. We say goodbye to Brian. With heavy rain in the early morning, we worry about crossing the Mangaturuturu Stream, but we cross without difficulty. Again, intermittent showers plus many stream crossings. The track is badly eroded in places and we are pleased to see smoke coming from the chimney and to share the hut with only three others, plus a tramper who arrives mid-evening and camps on the deck.

Day 6: The day begins dramatically with a cooker incident caused by the gas bottle not being screwed on tightly enough. Fortunately, no casualties. A lovely morning with a frost, snowy mountain and full sun for the 31⁄4 hours to Whakapapa Village. Raincoats stay in packs all day. Thus ends our six-

The Wanganui Tramper 40 November 2017- January 2018

day Easter Weekend, 70km trip, enjoyed by all despite the less-than-ideal weather. Returning home, we visit Dorothy with her newly-plastered wrist. She is the heroine of the trip, walking for two days with two broken bones and no complaints. 

Carrington Walkway

Wed 12 Apr 2017 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Third time lucky. My original plans were to tramp the Davis Track near New Plymouth. However with a really bad weather forecast I didn’t see the sense in doing so if we couldn’t get the wonderful views promised.

Plan B: Manawatu Gorge, always a favourite in bad weather. The website said the track was open. However a phone call later – and the Gorge was closed due to windfalls. I do wish DOC would update their websites.

Plan C: Carrington Walkway at Stratford. A favourite four-hour easy walk with shelter most of the way. Yes we did wear our raincoats, but still had an enjoyable time walking along the Patea River with bush on both sides. Well worth doing.

Twelve on the trip: Sandra Rogers, Barry Hopper, Brian Sixtus, Bruce Thomas, Esther Williams, Jacky Evans, Jeanette Prier, John Smith, Kevin Ross, Shane Wilson, Sue Haden and Susan Marr. 

Roaring Stag Lodge

Sun-Mon 2-3 April 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The Wednesday group's overnighter to Roaring Stag Hut in the eastern Tararua was moved forward a day because bad weather was forecast to be on its way. This turned out to be the right move and the group of five got away with little more than low cloud and drizzle for the two days of wandering. We diverted to visit Herepai Hut before moving on to Roaring Stag, meeting a number of weekenders on their way out of the hills. So, as was hoped, we had the hut to ourselves. While it rained in the night, turning the Ruamahunga River into a torrent, day two was an uneventful walk back to the van on a now soggy track.

On trip: Margret McKinnon, Shane Wilson, Dorothy Symes, Tracey Hooper and Dave Scoullar. 

Crater Lake Mt Ruapehu

Sat-Sun 1-2 Apr 2017 Scribe: CherryChannon

April Fool's day greeted us with heavy fog as we left the club rooms and detoured via Wanganui East to pick up our fifth intrepid party member – Doris Hamling. Fog was our constant companion so at National Park Doris decided to spend the day at Possum Lodge rather than at the top of the Bruce Road.

After detouring to Possum Lodge we headed to Mt Ruapehu and just before the Chateau turnoff we left the fog behind us, the mountain was crystal clear and remained so for the rest of the day. We duly purchased lift tickets (free for the 70 year olds!) and off we went.

It was a fabulous day with superb views in every direction. We reached the Dome Shelter and enjoyed the uniqueness of the Crater Lake. The downhill trip was fairly quick and we made it to the lift with three minutes to spare.

Doris had been busy at Possum Lodge weeding the garden and keeping the fire going to ensure plenty of hot water for very welcome showers on our return.

National Park township was abuzz with crowds of people and finding somewhere to have an evening meal was rather tricky but eventually after an hour and a half wait we finally had an excellent meal at Schnapps Restaurant.

Brian cooked a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning and we walked the loop track through classic New Zealand forest at Ohinetonga Reserve, Owhango. We were lucky to see whio (adults and ducklings) on the Whakapapa River.

Thank you Brian Sixtus for an awesome weekend. With Brian on trip: Cherry and Johnny, Esther and Doris. 

Wilkies Pools and Kapuni Loop Tracks

Sat 1 Apr 2017 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

April Fool’s Day saw six heading up to Mt Taranaki to tramp the Wilkies Pools Loop and Kapuni Loop tracks. Lovely clear views of a starkly beautiful mountain with no snow and enchanted forests with lichen dripping off the trees. Then off to the Mountain House Café: very good coffee and food.

A nice walk along the Patea River walkway on the way home, with Andra being the only one brave enough to have a swim.

On the trip were Sandra Rogers (leader), Diane Weeks, Susan Marr, Margaret Lankow, Julie Kearse and Andra Beck. 

Rangi Hut

Wed 29 Mar 2017 Scribe: Graham Ellett

Having not been out tramping for a while, a 'moderate to fit' walk up to Rangi Hut was chosen. Fourteen trampers left Whanganui at 7am in dull weather conditions. More misty cloud greeted us at the Tararuas and the cool climb to the hut went well in a quick two hours.

After an early lunch most wanted more for their money so another hour was spent walking further east along the tussock ridge towards Triangle Hut. Two of the numerous stoat cages along the way had accomplished their purpose.

As we descended the track with the sound of frightened birds and the noise of the approaching thunderstorm, we realised we had seen the best part of the day. With more heavy rain wetting the road, Bruce was able to show his driving skills, manoeuvring through the cones on the Ohingaiti roadworks like a vintage car rally driver.

On the trip were Bruce T, Graham E, Margaret, Shane W, Esther, Cherry, Sue H, George, Dorothy, John S, Barry H, Dave S and Juliet. 

Commended Tramper Contribution: Sandra van der Lubbe’s memories of childhood visits to the Burrell’s Road Farm gave her report a novel slant.
— Barbara Gordon 7th June 2017

Burrells Road, Parapara

Thurs 23 Mar 2017
Scribe: Sandra Van Der Lubbe

Hi, I’m Sandra, a relatively new member to the Tramping Club and this was my fifth trip with ‘Earle’s Adventure Tours’. It was drizzling as we headed up the Parapara to Bevan and Mary Proffit’s property on Burrells road but cleared as we travelled north. It remained cloudy for most of the day which was fortunate as it was quite humid.

At the start we were greeted by three fine looking horses. After being patted they let us pass and we climbed steadily uphill, through a pine forest, and then out into the open. We stopped for lunch with a distant view back towards the Parapara Road. Easy downhill from there, then as the track levelled near the bottom we had glimpses of the attractive Mangawhero River, looking rather inviting on this hot day but accessed only by a step gorge.

As always, the pace picked up as we rounded a bend and the end was in
sight. Comfy shoes soon replaced boots, a snack restored lost energy and we all piled into the van for the trip home. I did notice we travelled quicker on the way back and realised why when we pulled up at the Upokongaro Café and fellow trampers headed in for the customary ice cream before closing time.

Another enjoyable tramp ticked off and also a place of special interest to me: as a young girl I remember visiting this valley where my dad and his mate cut scrub many years ago. Mum took us kids up for the day and I can still plainly recall the woodsmoke smell of the old whare, collecting water from the creek for billy tea, and the handsome black wild stallion that lived up there in my imagination but alas not seen today; maybe I didn’t look hard enough.

Those who also enjoyed the day were Earle, Barbara, David, Don, Jim, Margo, Ray, Sally B, Shane, Val, Sally G, and Tim. 

Diary of a Gisborne Trip

22-29 March 2017 Scribe: Katy Gordon

Wed 22nd: An early departure from Jacky’s, along with Kate Jan Pam Sandra June Helen and Katy. A stop at Norsewood for morning tea and by the Mohaka river for lunch, arriving at the Top 10 at Waikanae Beach by 2.30pm. A beautiful day so swim in the sea for some and a short walk for others. Another walk before tea along the bay with a loop back to the camp.

Thu 23rd: An early start for a drive up the coast to Dive Tatapouri to feed the stingrays. Donning waders we shuffled out into the water and with the aid of big sticks formed a human barrier into which stingrays were guided for us to feed, along with large kingfish which we had to take care would not bite our fingers off. Interesting experience.

Onward towards Tolaga Bay and a climb over the hill to Cooks Cove - 229 steps down and up. This was followed by a walk along the 600m Tolaga Bay Wharf

Fri 24th: Drove to Te Kuri farm walkway, about 10 minutes from town. This is a public farm walkway over land originally owned by Murray Ball. Great views over the city and bay. Cruise ship anchored off. Back to the camp after lunch. More swimming - others walked to town.

Sat 25th: Walked into town for the Farmers Market then back near the camp to Kaiti Hill. Great views over the port – loading logs (four hours of walking). After lunch two short walks on the outskirts of Gisborne: Waihere Domain through bush to a small waterfall and Gray’s Bush with some lovely trees and birdsong.

Sun 26th: A 70km drive up highway 2 towards Opotiki to Whinray Reserve. Lovely walk through bush ending at Motu Falls 6km downish. Jan and Pam positioned van so we could walk one way. After lunch another 5km on Otoku Walkway, a railway line until 1959. Track was not well maintained – probably gets little use.

Mon 27th: Wet when we woke so a change of plans for the day. Decided to travel back down SH2 and soak our bodies at Morere Springs – very relaxing. A nice lunch at the cafe across the road. Back to camp and a walk around town guided by Jan, who grew up in Gisborne.

Tue 28th: To Eastwoodhill Arboretum – fine day. Three started out on the round-the- boundary walk and the remaining five climbed the hill to the lookout and back down a shorter track. Great place to view plenty of trees - some just starting to turn for the autumn. A drive further up the road to the pretty Rere falls. Home for some more swimming and a start on packing up.

Wed 29th: Up early for an 8am departure – raining. Stopped at nice cafe at Maraekakaho for lunch and then straight on to Wanganui.

A great week, with many thanks to Jacky organiser/driver and co-driver Jan who guided us over 1300km. The Waikanae Beach camp was excellent and to be recommended. 

Harawera Trig

Wed 22 Mar 2017 Scribe: Cherry Channon

A wet, miserable start to the day as 16 keen trampers travelled half way up the Parapara to Raupiu Road then on to the road end and Sunny Hill Farm.

George our number one navigator led us along Te Komai Road (a paper road) and we steadily climbed farm tracks to the hilltops. The weather cleared in perfect time for morning tea and we enjoyed the expansive views. The derelict house, of interest to many, has deteriorated considerably since last visited by some of our group. The roof had blown off in a long forgotten storm, the veranda had disappeared as had the windows leaving only gaping, sightless eyes. The rain returned to reclaim the dismal scene and we headed for the shelter of nearby trees for lunch.

Intermittent rain stayed with us as we continued along the tops of the hills, passing a large grove of native trees. We saw numerous beehives on our way to the highest point, Harawera Trig. After a brief detour to the hilltop airfield we began our descent back to Sunny Hill Farm.

The farm tracks were hard to discern and in some cases petered out altogether but George kept us heading in the right direction until we eventually came to the pine forest behind Sunny Hill farmhouse. The non-existent track through the forest had us scrambling over wind-fallen trees and around thick undergrowth until we finally reached the Raupiu River. Sharp-eyed Laurel found an excellent crossing spot and we didn't even get our feet wet!

Up the paddock to Raupiu Road we went and after a few hundred metres we were back at the vans. A great adventure! 

Waiinu Beach Tramp

Sun 19 Mar 2017 Scribe: Di Harries

Starting from the carpark before 9 am in a light breeze, they soon reached a great photo opportunity at the limestone shell-rock formations, with arches to walk through, as it was low tide. A chat with a fisherman revealed the good snapper fishing at his favourite spot. Reaching the mouth of the Waitotara River, the group turned upstream and continued to some mud flats with tree stumps. Andy waded out till the mud was above his knees to take photos.

Cutting across the sandhills back to the beach turned out to be an unpleasant exercise with spikes and burs in the long grass. The day was warming up by the time they returned to the van along the beach and the ice cream at Waitotara was a welcome finish to a great tramp. Well worth doing, and trainers would have been quite suitable footwear.
Royce Johnson leading group of six, Gillian and Barry Pickett, Kate Jones, Andra and Andy Beck. Di couldn’t go because of her broken toe, but is the reporter. 

Pot Luck Dinner

Sat 18 Mar 2017
Diane Harries and Royce Johnson, Mount View Road, Bastia Hill
A beautiful calm, mild night and plenty of space on the deck for people to sit and chat; a tasty spread of superb food from all 25 attending; tours of the garden, Royce’s woodwork and Diane’s artwork. Brilliant night. 


Sat-Sun 4-5 March 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

We combined with Hutt Valley Tramping Club, 7 of us and 11 of them, plus DOC supervisors Dan and Matthew, to make up a team of 20 to tackle pinus contorta on Ruapehu's slopes. Saturday was in scrub and we got 450 trees, some quite large. Sunday was up higher, out in the open. Only 42 trees on this day. The weather was sunny but windy and the company was good.

After discussion with DOC we have decided to do only one pine-clearing weekend each summer from now on. We will combine with HVTC for the next outing on the first weekend in March 2018.

On trip: Val Wackrow, Margret McKinnon, Dave and Guy Scoullar, Diane Weeks, Esther Williams and Elvie Chandezon (French woofer). 

Bush Track Station Farm

Thurs 26 Feb 2017 Scribe: Iain Casely

A group of 21 ventured out to Danny McGee’s Bush Track Station Farm on Okahutiria Rd, inland from Waverley. For most of the morning we followed a metalled track along a ridge out to the woolshed. Initially we had good views of Egmont but on a clear winter’s day they would be amazing.

From the woolshed we went down to bottom of gully and had lunch beside a large dam, then up and then down into another big gully. From there we followed the track up to the ridge on bushline. This took us back to the metal track and back to the van.

All enjoyed a nice summer’s day with a stop at Waverley Four Square for ice cream to cap it off. 

Kime Hut

Sat-Sun 25-26 Feb 2017 Scribe: Bruce Thomas

Arriving at Otaki Forks mid-morning on Saturday I was amazed by all the cars and people, then realised I had never been there on a weekend before. It was one of the rare Tararua fine days which made it hot going up the long zigzag section at the start of the track but once into the bush it was quite pleasant. On reaching Field hut for a welcome rest, even though we had already had lunch, a family with three young kids had set up for the night but the kids still had excess energy so Mum and Dad had to take them for a further walk to fill in the afternoon.

On leaving Field hut the cloud came over which made for easier going above the bush line. We arrived at Kime hut at the end of the day to find an almost full hut – full of NZrs! The new hut is a real beauty.

Next morning after breakfast we went up to a high point for the view across to Mt Hector but alas the mist came in. We should have done it earlier. However it was fine and clear all the way down with perfect views. We had a lunch stop at Field hut and were back at the car park about 4pm. A real grunt up there but well worth it. The team were: Bruce Thomas, Brian Sixtus, Esther Williams, Mike Cole 

Rangipo Hut

Sat 24 Feb 2017 Scribe: Andra Beck

Andy Beck's first tramp as leader to the Rangipo Hut was on a gorgeous warm summer day with a little cloud cover after lunch. On the way we saw 1,000 mountain bikers racing over the army land close to the Tukino ski field by the Desert Road. The moonscape scenery was decorated with lovely multicoloured grasses and mountain crocuses. It was not appropriate weather for nude running, however Andy and Helen being at the head of the party were treated to such.

We all survived crossing the lahar zone over the Whangaehu River by the swing bridge. Lunch at Rangipo Hut gave us beautiful views of the countryside. On the return, misfortune set upon us with Brenda falling and injuring her wrist. Luckily we had a supportive splint from my own previously injured wrist.

Enjoying the day were Andy and Andra Beck, Brenda Martin, Dorothy Symes, Heather McKenzie, Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Margee Campbell, Sue Hadon and Ann Condon. 

Red Rock/Mangaturuturu

Sat-Sun 18-19 Feb 2017 Scribe: Philip Kirkwood

With heavy rain and thunder storms forecast, our trip leader shifted to plan B, 1pm departure. So, on Saturday afternoon four happy trampers headed off to Ruapehu. Plan B was to tramp in heavy rain, dry off, enjoy the evening, and hopefully awake to a better day.

Well so much for plan B. When we arrived, the mountain conditions were perfect. Now another plan was needed. We decided to park the van at the top of the mountain road (1620m) and head to Tom’s Garden. This is a stunning place where water squirts out between the rocks. We think this creates a unique climate, as the garden was the only place on the mountain with flowering buttercup. From the garden, we enjoyed the various waterfalls and streams, as we made our way to Mangaturuturu Hut (1250m).

We woke on Sunday with the mountain in full view and were off to Red Rock at 8.30am. Our route up the mountain followed the middle stream towards the foot of the Mangaturuturu Glacier. At about 1700m cloud reduced visibility to about 20m. Luckily we were beside the Mangaturuturu River and the sound of the waterfall helped with navigation. It wasn’t long before the cloud cleared and we made our way to a rock cairn that marks the route down to the Mangaturuturu River. Leaving our packs at the cairn, we descended the steep cliff to the river and saw the first piece of ZK-AGK Kaka, the Lockheed Electra which crashed in 1948. I found myself thinking about the people who lost their lives and also the rescuers who carried their bodies down to Horopito.

We followed the river and the pieces of aeroplane up to Red Rock (1870m). Upon arrival we had a debate about the colour and the makeup of the rock. It was suggested the rock was orange and not red and that it wasn’t rock but iron oxide ? Anyway we had arrived.

From Red Rock, it was down the river and then back up the cliff to our packs and lunch. After lunch we descended to about 1600m and traversed around the mountain to the van.
Four happy trampers left the mountain at 3pm and enjoyed a pleasant trip home via Ohakune for coffee.

Red Rockers were: Brian Sixtus (leader), Basil Hooper, Mark Sutherland, Philip Kirkwood. 

Tongariro Crossing – Impressions of a ‘Newbie’

Wed 15 Feb 2017 Scribe: Sally Gray

The 6am start was a bit of a shock to the system but all 12 trampers arrived on time. The Newbie got a text half way there to say she had left her lunch at home – great start! A heartfelt thank you to those of the group who shared some of their extra food with me!

The number of buses and cars at the Mangatepopo park was insane! Thank goodness we stopped at Raetihi for the loo as the queues here were VERY long. Got started about 8:30am. Huge numbers of people on the track – this being the only fine day for a while – but they didn’t detract at all from the grandeur and starkness of the mountains.

It was a perfect day for tramping – no sun, no wind and no rain. Mt Taranaki was clearly visible as we walked up the mountain, the view of the three mountains in a line (as we walked up the crater rim from the lakes) was stunning and the views over to Lake Taupo were amazing.

Many thanks to our driver, Ross, who had to negotiate the crowds and tour buses at each end and got us home safe and sound.

It was a fantastic day – great walk, great company and a lovely stop-off at a pub on the way home. Thanks Esther (leader) for organising the day. For me, this will be the first of many trips with the club. 

Old Ghost Road / Heaphy Track

Sun-Mon 12-27 Feb 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

As there was a lengthy trip report in the last Tramper by Esther on her recent OGR trip, mine will be brief. Six of us walked the 85km track in six days with light rain on day one only, the gentle climb to Lyell Saddle Hut. We got views when we needed them and enjoyed the backwoods feel of the accommodation. Swims were cold and brief! Met some interesting people on the journey.

After two nights of R and R in Karamea we tackled the 78km Heaphy Track, also over six days. This included two nights at Heaphy Hut. Again great weather. Graeme drove around to pick us up at the northern end.

On trip: Ridgway and Graeme Lythgoe, Val Wackrow, Juliet Kojis, John Fox and Dave Scoullar. 

Old Coach Road

Sun 12 Feb 2017 Scribe: Frances Gibbons

With Dick Mitchell driving, eight trampers departed Wanganui at 8am and were on the track by 9.45. Three of our group – Julie, Chris and Helen B (our international visitor) – were first-timers, and it was gratifying for me as leader to see their enjoyment of the variety of terrain – bush, viaducts, cobbled sections - coupled with the information panels and other enhancements which provide the historic context to the route.

We had heard two trains passing by on the way in then, at our lunch spot over the old Hapuawhenua viaduct, we saw the Northerner slowly traversing the new viaduct. Sadly, we lacked the Sol3 Mio trio providing the operatic backing, as they do for the KiwiRail commercial on TV.

Dick walked in and met us from the Ohakune end, and we were back in our van by 2.30 on a day which, although threatened by rain, actually stayed reasonably fine although cloudy. On the trip with me were Andra and Andy B, Chris R, Helen B, Julie H-G, Dianne W and Fred V. Sincere thanks to our driver for his assistance. 

Bird Grove

Thurs 9 Feb 2017 Scribe: Victoria Kay

This farm tramp was at Bird Grove Makakowai (Robert Stewart's property), Mangatipona Road, Fordell. One of the better days so far this summer with pleasant temperatures, sun, high cloud and no wind. We left the vans at the woolshed and climbed through paddocks up to a high ridge with fantastic views over surrounding farmland.

A noticeable feature was the numerous shades of green, from the adjoining pine plantations, groups of native and exotic trees, duckweed on the ponds, grasses in the paddocks, recently sprouted winter crops, and cultivated greenery around the farm homestead. There were a number of dams on the property, one surrounded by the cabs of four old trucks recycled into maimai. One of our group was delighted to recognise one cab as similar to the Bedford he obtained his driver’s licence in - so I guess they were classic trucks not vintage. It was nice to welcome back Helen from the UK. The surprise reception from the BOMBS at Wanganui airport as she arrived for her present holiday meant she could not stay away from a tramp two days later.

Participants were Anne C, Barbara G, Carolyn, David B, Earle, Fred, Helen, John M, Kate, Margo, Ray, Suzanne, Tim, Victoria. Thanks to Earle for leading and driving, and Tim for driving. 


Wed 8 Feb 2017 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

First tramp: Boars Head Mine

Boars Head Mine is as close as Taranaki gets to having its own gold mine. For more than 100 years hopeful prospectors dug shafts into the Kaitake Ranges, dreaming of striking it rich. From the end of Weld Road the track follows marker poles across farmland, climbing uphill to the bush line. A well-marked track leads 20 minutes into the bush where the first mine shaft can be found. This was about 30 metres long, with glow worms and small wetas. We followed the steep track down to the river to view two more shafts. On the way we passed very large rimu and rata trees and it was good to be in bush that was not ‘cut over’. We returned the same way.

Second tramp: Te Koru Pa

Te Koru Pa is regarded as one of the most important pa in the Taranaki region and is believed to date to c.1500 AD. It is traditionally recognised as being built by Nga Mahanga a Tairi hapu who inhabited the coastal lands and valleys of Oakura. Te Koru Pa has been actively managed throughout the twentieth century, reflecting an awareness of its tremendous cultural, historical, social, technological and traditional significance. It was originally managed by WH Skinner and the Taranaki Preservation Society, and was gifted to the Crown by Kehu Moepuke and her niece Mere Te Waioranga in 1927, being managed thereafter by the Department of Lands and Survey. Te Koru Pa became a Scenic Reserve in 1962 and changed to a Historic Reserve in 1976. This reserve was expanded the following year when the paddock beside the pa was purchased. This is an amazing Pa site, still complete with stone terraces. It is an easy walk across farmland, and great for exploring: from the higher terraces down to a very pretty stony river.

After two tramps of approximately four and a half hours we decided to head home, with a stop at McDonalds in Hawera for coffee and ice creams.

On the trip were: Sandra Rogers (leader), Andra Beck, Barry Hopper, Dorothy Symes, Earle Turner, Esther Williams, George Neil, Ian Kirk, John Smith and Jude Harrison. 

Tama Lakes

Sun 5 Feb 2017 Scribe: DorothySymes

This trip started with a call from Peter Panton of Taumarunui TC inviting us to join them. We were 18, he had 8, and of course we were delighted. We left the clubrooms at 7am and the plan was to meet at Whakapapa at 9am. The forecast was for a good summer day and it was certainly that.

What we expected to be a simple tramping day out turned out to be rather complex, with numerous aspects requiring on-the-spot planning. Firstly half way up the Parapara: ‘Where was Earle?’ With only one club vehicle available, he was driving his own van. Bruce our driver responded with ‘We’ll take it easy for a while and let him catch up’ He didn’t!! So about-turn, back we went and on the way we met part of our crew walking on to Raetihi. We had been anxiously wondering what might have happened and were very relieved to know all were safe and sound. Not so Earle’s van suspension, which he patched up and returned to town with two who collected their own vehicles. We eventually got to our destination at 11 am. And no cell phone coverage - just have to get on with arrangements the best way possible. Peter and his crew did just that and headed off, half an hour later for them.

We finally met with Taumarunui at the lower lake. We had lunch there before forming two groups - one to cross the ridge above the lakes and the other returning to continue on the lower track and meeting at the base of the ridge.

Eventually all 26 made their way back via Taranaki falls after a very long and hot day. We were out all day in extreme heat, exposed with little bush canopy. Arrived Wanganui at 8.30pm - all pretty tired, but agreeing it had been a fantastic day. That’s tramping. Despite all good efforts in planning you never know what might happen. 

River Road / BOMBS

Mon 30 & Tues 31 Jan 2017 Scribe: Victoria Kay

Mike Cole kindly helped us load the bikes on the trailer for this inaugural overnight trip. Our trusty driver and photographer, Earle, drove us to Raetihi where after a coffee stop we rode our first 27km to Pipiriki. The weather was calm, warm and overcast which was a great relief after all the recent wind. An overturned trailer from one of the numerous logging trucks made us aware of the dangers of back country travel. We had lunch at the picnic area at Pipiriki and after watching the canoeists' activity at The Landing we set off for Jerusalem, a further 12 km away over a quite steep hilly road. Earle later drove us a further 10 km on to Ranana where most enjoyed a swim in the school pool which had been prearranged by Dorothy. We were most impressed by Earle's Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation in the pool.

The night was spent in the Convent at Jerusalem where Barbara prepared a delicious meal. The peace and tranquillity of this setting appealed to us all. The weather was still and clear with stars being highly visible and providing a spectacular sight. The next day dawned with similar weather to the first and bikers keen for action got pedalling early at 8.30am. The calm waters of the Whanganui River made a spectacular accompaniment as we rode the 45km of undulating road to Gentle Annie. The steepness of the gradient was too much for some but there were six very determined individuals who managed to ride to the summit while some of the others were more interested in fraternising with the road workers. Road works meant we had to transport the bikes for the rest of the journey back to Wanganui.

Pedallers: Barbara (leader) and Jim, Carolyn, Dorothy, Kate, Julie, Trevor, Margaret C, Ken, John K, Victoria. 

Basil Hooper's Waitotara Farm

Thurs 26 Jan 2017 Scribe: Sharron Prouse

Twenty seven departed on a sunny day with a cool wind for Basil's farm, with Earle and Jacky driving. We met Basil - and Storm the dog who was most excited to be going on a tramp with us. We set off along the road, walking quietly past some young skittery cows and down a farm track. Morning tea was part way down the track, before continuing down through swamp, across a stream and into a bush area for lunch. We carried on through the bush and began to follow a stream, crossing backwards and forwards, climbing up and down steep banks. Three people slipped or tripped over but thank goodness were not injured. We reached the lovely waterfall, cascading into a pool. Photographs - then a climb up the bank towards the top of a ridge and on to Basil's house. A bit of excitement as we crossed a paddock, with a rather large bull and some cows standing in front of the gate watching us. Basil instructed us to climb over the fence which everyone gladly did. We finished with a BBQ of sausages on bread, very nice!

Thanks to Earle for organising the BBQ, Ray for cooking the sausages, and Basil for the use of his BBQ and deck, and hospitality. A lovely day enjoyed by all. 

Waipakihi Valley

Wed 18 Jan 2017 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

Only three of the 16 on the trip to the Waipakihi Valley in Kaimanawa Forest Park had ever visited this particular area accessed off Waipakihi Rd, halfway along the Desert Rd from Waiouru. We scored a beautiful day for the leisurely walk beside the river and had no problems with several crossings. Half a dozen trampers could not resist a beckoning swimming hole on the return leg, completed in five hours.

On trip: Dave Scoullar, Juliet Kojis, Andra and Andy Beck, Bruce Thomas, David Beech, Dick Mitchell, George Neil, Heather and Michelle McKenzie, Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Jeanette Prier, Laurel Stowell, Margret McKinnon, Rozy Rawlinson. 

Rewi Alley’s Cottage 

Sat 14 Jan 2017 

Scribe: Dorothy Symes

A rescheduled tramp after one aborted last year because of wet weather. I set out with a perceived understanding of the destination in the Moeawatea, having lived my early childhood inland from Waverley. I always knew ‘The Mo-ee’ was way beyond our home and Rewi Alley was often talked of among our ‘olds’. After passing the old Post Office, it was clear we had better ask for directions. Back we go to SH3 and turn right into Kohi Road just north of Waverley. So, an adventure to start with. 

From Kohi Road there was more guesswork and still an hour to destination. There is a network of roads, not easily defined even with the aid of a googled map. We were warned too, not to take too much notice of any Navman. A good hour later we arrived at the destination, a fork that Barbara Gordon recognised from an earlier trip, heading down on the left. Ernie Mathews’ letterbox is another landmark. Cut into the ferny bank, it can be hard to spot. The sign “Closed in winter” had gone too. 

At 11am, a good hour later than anticipated, 17 set off downwards to Rewi Alley’s cottage, an 8km journey on a well formed clay 4WD road. Roadworks were underway and we learned from the workmen that three weeks earlier there was no access due to numerous slips. The roadworks are being done privately for landowner access, particularly with the growth of beekeeping and the road will remain closed in winter. Weather-wise, our day was perfect. It could have been extremely hot had there not been some cloud and a pleasant breeze. 

We arrived at the cottage at 1pm for lunch on the verandah. Old farm buildings were explored including the woolshed, remains of vehicles, and a building being renovated for weekend visits. 

Unfortunately, the cottage was locked but we could look through the windows. It would be good to see the photos and displays inside. Rewi Alley’s family apparently visit the site at least twice a year. 

Then time to make our way back up the 8km hill, nearly two and a half hours on a constant easy gradient. Everyone, including guests Rory and Barbara Smith from Tamara Backpackers, thoroughly enjoyed the day. 

Anyone wishing to repeat this experience could contact Whanganui Historic Places Trust or Moeawatea Rewi Alley Trust (Google!) for key access to cottage. We also have a more concise log of directions on hand. Finally, thank you Ross, for very careful driving dictated by some narrow and high gravel roads and tricky corners. 

Blyth Hut 

Sat-Sun 14-15 Jan 2017 

Scribe: Dave Scoullar

This was a weekend of two halves -- great weather on Saturday and not so great on Sunday. Led by the four young boys, the party of 10 wandered into Blyth hut in Tongariro National Park, with lots of stops on the way. From the hut we followed the poles up onto the open mountain for well over an hour, almost reaching the Turoa ski field facilities. 

On Sunday we took off after breakfast in poor weather but expecting heavy rain which never came. Still with plenty of fuel in the tank, most of the team diverted down the old Blyth track and the boys still had energy to tackle the climbing wall in Ohakune. 

On trip: Dave Scoullar, Philip Kirkwood, Margaret Silverwood, Bruce Thomas, Aaron, Bronwyn, Jaiden, Ethan and Noah Toy, and Darcy Johnston.

Paloma Garden Picnic 

Thur 12 Jan 2017

Scribe: Esther Williams

A van load of people plus after-work cars visited Paloma gardens for our first social get-together for the year. While Margaret L and Esther beat out the smoking flaming barbecue, members followed Bev round the gardens: the beautiful dell, succulents and garden of death (meaning the plants). Bev's grandsons loved kicking an oversized ball on the lawn, felling the rows of plastic chairs like skittles. After our feed of salads and sausages, we revisited the gardens taking in the sculptures and marvelling at the changes over the years.

Commended Tramper Contribution: Sandy Gibbard wittily described encounters with an electric fence, under the stewardship of a “livewire leader”
— Barbara Gordon 7th June 2017

Western Line 

Thur 12 Jan 2017 

Scribe: Sandy Gibbard

Two vanloads set out for Jim Chesswas's property on Western Line, Brunswick, for the first trip of the New Year. A shorter walk than normal and close to town as the club BBQ at Paloma Gardens was in the evening. Led by our live-wire leader, Earle, and his jokes. 

We walked the boundaries, skirted fields of waving barley, waded through grassy paddocks, nodded in passing to well-fed sheep and cattle, and circuitously meandered gullies. An easy walk for a hot day. Throw in good company and expert farming wisdom that ensured the trip was anything but boring - in fact it was electrifying. This threw some of our number and they were quite shocked by the experience of negotiating rural fences. 

A good day, good learning, good to be alive on a great summer's day.

Taukoro farm on the Parapara and the Harris farm, Mangamahu

Wed 11 Jan 2017 

Scribe: John Newton

Trip leaders were John Newton and Kevin Ross. Two full vans of trampers set out for a crossover from the Taukoro farm on the Parapara to the Harris farm, Mangamahu. The track winding up from the Parapara proved to be a bit of a puffer but gave good views of the large tract of covenanted native bush. 

There was one senior moment when the wrong set of van keys were exchanged at the summit. But Margret, in inimitable fashion, managed to rescue the situation. 

After days of blustery, wet weather the day turned out to be near perfect for the tramp. Special thanks to farmer Phil Harris, for stapling colourful track markers on the route through his farm

Trampers were: Ken, Barry, Bruce, David B and David S, Dick, Sue, George, Graham, Helen, John S, John N and John and Cherry, Juliet, Kevin, Laurel, Margret, Mike, Nelson, Pippa, Rozy, Victoria and Brenda.

Totara Reserves 

Sat 7 Jan 2017 

Scribe and leader: Graeme Aitken

We left Wanganui at 7am, arriving at start of the track 8.45am. The day trip consisted of two walks on Pohangina Valley East Road, plus a visit and small walk at the Totara Reserve Camp. First was the Fern Walk through native bush, taking about two hours. Some new structures were noted, including a new bridge. The track was quite muddy – unexpected, as it was dry when I was there last July. 

Second was the Pettifar and Gilchrist tracks further up the road. The first carpark was full while the other was empty. Again, mostly through native bush with some exotic trees near the Pohangina River. We had lunch by the river, watching people on the river banks and swimming. 

Finally we moved onto the camp ground with a choice of short tracks. We did some, and this was a good way to finish the day. There were a number of people camping. 

Just before 3pm we left the Pohangina Valley, realising how calm it was there as it was a windy drive home. Ice creams at Feilding then back in Wanganui by 4.30pm. 

Those on the trip were Graeme Aitken, Nikki Wink, Phillip Kirkwood, Margaret Silverwood, Fred Verschoor and Jan Pavarno.

Parapara to Mangamahu 

Wed 4 Jan 2017 

Scribe: Bruce Thomas

Only just into the New Year, with some people on trips away or otherwise tied up, we still managed enough for a crossover from Okapua on the Parapara to Mitre Peaks on the Mangamahu side. 

Having people in each group familiar with the route is sometimes easier said than done but it also meant that quite few people went somewhere new to them. The eastward group had a reasonably easy walk up zigzagging farm tracks with a few communal decisions on the way. The westward group took quite a different route from the usual one, going up through the centre which they all agreed was easier going with better views. We met right at the top, had lunch together, swapped keys and went on our respective ways. Another good day. 

Those taking part were; Bruce, Cherry and husband Johnny, John Newton, Dave and Juliet, George, Helen, Brian Sixtus, Ken, Margret and David Beech

Waitahinga Trails 

Mon 2 Jan 2017 

Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The first trip of 2017 was headed for Castle Rock in the Kaimanawa but when a poor forecast ruled that out we reached for Plan B and had a pleasant day on the Waitahinga Trails despite occasional drizzle. Though a little overgrown in places, the track to the dam is in mostly good shape. However, the steep downward section from the nail tree is definitely dodgy after rain and rerouting should be a priority. 

The nine on this trip were: Dave Scoullar (leader), Ridgway Lythgoe, Kate Jones, Barbara Francis, Dorothy Symes, Sandra Rogers, Shari and Ian Thompson, and Susan Marr.