Kahui Hut

Sat-Sun 13-14 July 2019 Scribe: Shane McCulloch

The weather did not look too good, but six of us set off for Egmont with the usual coffee stop at Hawera. The track was pretty muddy but at least it didn’t rain on us and we made it to the hut in 2.5 hours. Because they had done a 1080 drop and the hut water supply was from a stream, DOC had flown in a large amount of bottled water for us to use.

After lunch we headed up the mountain. Just past the hut there is a track to the right that takes you to the tops. It was clagged in all the way to the tussock. I was keen to push on to the pyramids and with two keen followers we made it only half way because of the erosion in the streams.

We had a good dinner, then went to bed listening to the rain pour down in the night. We didn’t set off till about 10am, to avoid the rain. Most streams were running high and the track was a bog but it was only two hours out. A stop at a Hawera pub for a beer (lemonade for the driver) and back in Wanganui around 3pm.

Members – Alex Gates, Derek Barrett, Mike Cole, Andrew Milham, Shane Wilson, and Shane McCulloch (leader).

Sledge Track crossover

Sun 7 July 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

History was made with our first crossover of the Sledge Track by Team Dave (Brigitte Hund, Kim Whyte, Helen Atkinson, Richard Rayner and Dave Scoullar) and Team Roger (Maura Skilton, Mike Cole, Dorothy Symes, Andrea Bunn and Roger Kealey).

It wasn’t the greatest day with low cloud and a brisk westerly wind and pretty muddy underfoot but the ten participants enjoyed their outing. Team Dave, which came from the Wairarapa side, completed in 5hr 45m with Team Roger taking longer from the Manawatu side as they found the descent from the Otangane Loop slippery and slow going. A trip worth repeating under summer conditions.

He Ara Kotahi Bridge and Path to Linton

Wed 3 July 2019 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Sue Haden and I led on this walk that had been opened only a week earlier. I-Site Palmerston North provided information about the new track and the new bridge, He Ara Kotahi, an elegant structure spanning Manawatu River on the south eastern edge of the city. The walk/cycle bridge leads to the start of the new 7 km track 7 km, ending at Linton Military Camp. Along the way there are four substantial wooden bridges, one a substantial ‘San Francisco-style’ swing bridge. The landscaping and boulder placements beneath the bridges were impressive.

Walking into Linton township, we were met by an inquisitive group of children who raced over the school grounds to investigate our colourful group. When asked who they thought we were, the loud response without hesitation was “Old People” !!!

We found a small green space for our lunch, and started back to the bridge. We learned that the ongoing planting was planned by Massey University. Seeds were collected locally and raised at a prison until the shrubs and trees were ready for planting. Planting was under way this day, thousands of plants. Volunteer groups and schools have helped, and we were invited to take part too which we did.

I imagine this track now will display many changes over time. For trampers looking for a bad-weather alternative, this could be a good choice.

Eighteen enjoyed the day, finishing with ice-cream from Earle’s favourite shop in Bulls with the nice lady - but she wasn’t there!

Whangaehu to Turakina Beach Walk

Sun 30 Jun 2019 Scribe: Phil Thomsen

Bustling Brian Brought Busloads of Bounteous Beach Bunnies for Breathtaking Bisions of the Briny. (“Bisions” is sometimes started with a “V” by pedants, but my alliteration was faltering.) There were two vanloads with 20 trampers that drove down through a rough track through several gates (“Two gates, plus another gate”, as Brian put it). It was a sunny and warm day, and the outlook spectacular (“This is absolutely magnificent!” Adrian said as he gazed at it).

A highlight for me was the birdlife. There was a flock of black swans taking off from the Whangaehu lagoon when we got there, a spectacular sight, plus large numbers of Canada geese, as well as interesting native birds such as dotterels and stilts. I sorely regretted not bringing my binoculars. Off the shore there were gannets and terns, and scads of gulls. I have to say, trampers’ awareness of birds could do with a wake-up call. “Look at the magnificent flight of spoonbills taking off!” I gasped. “What are they? Ducks?” warbled Dorothy. Dear oh dear.

The walk along the beach wasn’t very long or tiring (we did 11km in total), and after morning tea Basil took us cross-country to meet the Turakina River, which runs parallel with the coast for some way. The purpose of the tramp was scoping possible options for crossing the Whangaehu and Turakina Rivers along the Te Araroa Trail, a beach path being preferred to the current SH3 route. At each river mouth, a trio of Wise Men (Brian, Basil and David) prognosticated and pontificated sagely, with oodles of animated gesticulations, as the rest of us gaped awestruck at their ageless erudition.

We arrived back at the vans about 2.30pm, and were back in town by 3.30pm. It was a fabulous day; we should feel privileged to have such a vast, wild and empty seascape at our doorstep.

Tama Lakes

Wed 26 Jun 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

A crisp winter’s morning with an early start but 17 enthusiastic trampers signed up for the trip to Tama Lakes in Tongariro National Park, some for their first visit there. A seven-hour day took us from Whakapapa Village, along the RMT, around the top of upper Tama Lake, back to the RMT and home. Conditions were perfect all day, summed up in this ditty …

The Wednesday gang was totally in awe

Snow-capped mountains were all they saw

The air was clear, not a cloud in the sky

“What a fantastic day” went up the cry

“Great to be here, who could ask for more?”

Turakina Reserves

Wed 19 Jun 2019 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Turakina Reserves are a favourite of mine. First we went to Big Sutherlands Bush, one and a half hours, on to Archies Bush, approximately three-quarters of an hour, then on to Little Sutherlands Bush, approximately three-quarters of an hour also. Lovely trees and bush.

On the trip were – Adrian Pike, Brenda Collins, Bruce Thomas, Carlos Sotet, David Scoullar, Diane Glennie, Dick Mitchell, Dorothy Symes, Earle Turner, Esther Williams, George Neil, Graham Ellett, John Baxter, John Hamling, Julie Kearse, Juliet Kojis, Margret McKinnon, Rozie Rawlinson, Sandra Rogers (leader), and Terry Mullins.

Bushy Park

Sun 16 June 2019 Scribe: Brigitte Hund

Ten of us, plus four members from the Rangitikei Tramping Club, enjoyed a cold but mainly sunny day at Bushy Park. Esther led us on a few different tracks through beautiful bush and birdlife. Morning tea was at the pond shelter.

We were invited to have a look at the historic homestead before most of us had Devonshire tea for lunch. It was served on best china and silverware. It was a great day!

On trip: Esther (leader), Chris, Janice, Julie, Trevor, Sue, Margret, Fred, Carlos, Brigitte, plus four Rangitikei Club members.

McIntyre’s Hut

Sat-Sun 8-9 June 2019 Scribe: Julie Kearse

An early start saw seven of us heading off to spend the weekend in the McIntyre’s cosy little hut in the Mangapurua Valley beyond Ruatiti. After two hours in the van we began our walk uphill on a gradual metalled track. The forecast was a bit dodgy and we needed our raincoats on, just a fine drizzle. We arrived at the hut in time for lunch and soon warmed up by the fire. A yummy tea was enjoyed thanks to Dorothy (our leader) and Esther.

Sunday we made the most of the great weather and walked up to the trig. We admired the recently installed monument remembering the WW1 soldiers who were allotted land. The harsh conditions meant that most became disillusioned and eventually walked off the land. We had lunch at the nearby lookout with great views over the valley. Returning back to the hut we packed up and headed back to the van. Another great trip, good company, great food and an interesting area.

On the trip – Dorothy Symes, Margret McKinnon (our driver), Esther Williams, Julie Kearse, Catherine Carr (a student occupational therapist visiting Wanganui for work experience), Garry McElwaine and Terry Mullins.

Magnificent Mangaweka and Beyond

Sun 2 June 2019 Scribe: Margret McKinnon

After a very wet and wild night, 12 hardy souls surprisingly turned up to board the van. On our way to Mangaweka, we met with a further three in Hunterville.

From the old railway embankment on the Te Kapua Rd, we looked down onto Mangaweka and the surrounding papa cliffs. Following descent into the township we admired the various old buildings and local paintings. Brenda C tickled the ivories of an organ sitting under cover in the main street! Graham E then showed us and explained the building of what was once his log cabin.

Morning tea was had under cover at the site of the now demolished Mangaweka Power Station. Information panels explained the history of the dam and had several interesting photos. The Mangawharariki river, source of power, was running high and noisy as it twisted and tumbled down to the Rangitikei river. The old dam face was a wall of water.

Traveling east up the Kawhatau Valley we came to the McKinnon farm, tucked in between the Rangitikei and Kawhatau rivers. Farm tracks took us up then down to the Rangitikei river where lunch was had. The return to the van and then homestead was via a loop track where normally one would get wonderful views of Mt Ruapehu and the Ruahine Range - just not today. The rain did hold off for us, though.

Obligatory ice creams were enjoyed back in Hunterville before returning to Wanganui.

Old Coach Road

Wed 29 May 2019 Scribe: George Neil

Depending on the weather - Tama Lakes or Old Coach Road? Thirteen trampers set off at 7am for Raetihi where it was decided that Old Coach Road would be the better choice.

We started at the Ohakune end and tramped through and across Hapuawhenua viaduct for tea break, then on to Taonui viaduct for lunch. The weather was fine all day and we stopped often to admire the beautiful bush on the way in and out, huge rimu trees in particular. After lunch some plonker decided to show that it was still possible to cross the disused viaduct, walking on the steel girders. Then a short circuit through the original cutting and back to the vans for a coffee stop in Ohakune and home. The distance tramped was 18 km.

On the tramp: Leaders Cherry Channon and Margaret McKinnon, David Scoullar, David Taylor, Diane Glennie, Helen Atkinson, Juliet Kojis, Robert Lakeland, Sally Gray, Suzanne Roberts, Tracey Hooper, Trish Smith and George Neil.

Shutes Hut

Sat-Sun 11-12 May 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

On trip: Mark Sutherland, Nick Robertson, Andy Milham and Dave Scoullar

The club last visited Shutes Hut in the far north of Ruahine Forest Park in 2008 and none of us had been there, so it was with some anticipation that we headed off from Comet Hut beside the car park. Soon we were grinding up a sharp hill on a well-marked track, past a trig at 1083m and onto a plateau of wilding pines.

We dawdled along until the steep drop to the Taruarau River, then across the knee-deep water, onto a terrace — disturbing some wild pigs — and then completed the 7km to the hut in 4hr 30min.

Built in 1920, historic four-bunk Shutes Hut is a former rabbiter’s hut built of local stone and cement mortar which was packed in. The hut stands in a grassy clearing. The area is popular for hunting and the Taruarau is noted for its trout fishing.

Next day we headed off at 8am with the big challenge, the 600m hill which was a grunt but we still managed to get back in just under 4hr. The trip opened other possibilities in the area. Good tramp, good companions, good weather.

Possum Lodge

Sat 11 May 2019 Scribe: Bruce Thomas

A day trip to Possum Lodge to farewell the place. Is it really going to happen? By the amount of interest shown in it, it looks like it is. A van full of us day trippers left at 8am and caught up with the overnight group at Raetihi. We all arrived at Possum Lodge together and soon both fires were lit, generator going and morning tea began. The kitchen was full of people as was the lounge and verandah, with everyone talking at once. Some went for a walk up the road from where Mt Taranaki can be seen on a clear day, but not today.

It was soon lunch time (after all it was a social day) and as usual the food did not run out. After lunch one group went over to the reserve, over ‘THE’ bridge to some of our tracks, while another group went up to the airstrip. This airstrip never ceases to amaze me even though I have never seen a plane there.

All too soon it was time for us day trippers to load up and head for home, but it had been a wonderful farewell day to Possum Lodge.

On the trip – Bruce Thomas, Margaret Chainey, Kate Jones, Carolyn Shingleton, Doris Hamling, Colin Watson, Jeanette Prier, Ann Fulcher, Jude Harrison, Irene Back, June Wills. Also visiting - Winston Oliver, Brian & Rae Doughty and Dorothy Symes

Brenda Collins’ Farm, Mangamahu

Thur 9 May 2019 Scribe: Fred Verschoor

An 8am start on a lovely autumn day, seasonal colours still around although past their best. With Brenda leading, we began with a gradual hill climb with a morning tea stop half way up. One tramper turned back with a troublesome knee, accompanied by Ray.

We paused at a lovely sunny spot with an impressive view, and continued upwards through bush with many colourful toadstools - “very trippy”. At the top, our reward was a great view of Ruapehu. The mountain had a good cover of snow, enhancing our beautiful surroundings.

From the top, our descent took us on a steep farm track, finishing with a few minutes’ drive to Brenda’s farm where we were treated to a delightful afternoon tea - jam and cream scones! Thank you Brenda, icing on the cake to end a wonderful day out.

It was close to 6pm when we returned home. What a great day for fifteen from Wanganui and two Mangamahu locals - Liz and Julie.

North Egmont Loop

Wed 8 May 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

“Watch out for the mud,” we were warned by two lasses who had just come from North Egmont to Maketawa Hut. What mud, we asked ourselves? In fact this was a mud-free day — almost unheard of in Egmont National Park.

Our loop walk took us from the North Egmont visitor centre, up the RMT, over to Tahurangi Lodge, down the Puffer to Maketawa Hut for lunch and then back to North Egmont.

The 5hr 15min trip enjoyed by 18 members was mostly in low cloud with occasional glimpses of the landscape. There were light winds but not too chilly, except around Tahurangi Lodge.

All of us particularly appreciated the benefits of the dry spell which the national park has been enjoying. Sorry girls, we never came across that mud!  

Hutt Valley Weekend

Sat-Sun 27-28 April 2019 Day one scribe: Dave Scoullar

On trip: Jacky Evans, Reti Pearse, Marilyn McGlone, Esther Williams, Anne Royle and Dave Scoullar.

The first day of our combined trips with Hutt Valley Tramping Club was over a 6hr circuit around the Butcher, Cattle Ridge and Orongorongo tracks in the Catchpool Valley, Remutaka Forest Park, near Wainuiomata. Distance about 15km.The weather was overcast but we were warmly welcomed by ten HVTC members. A beautiful native bush area laced with well-formed tracks and very popular.

That evening they hosted us at a pot luck meal at the club rooms — a thoroughly enjoyable event. We overnighted at Wainuiomata with Anne Royle (a former WTC member who we knew as Anne Hills).

Day two scribe: Graeme Lythgoe from the HVTC.

Twenty-three trampers gathered at the Oakleigh St entrance of the Belmont Regional Park. The forecasted overnight rain did not eventuate and the day produced fine weather. Most of us had enjoyed a pot-luck dinner at the clubrooms so it was a good chance to burn off some of that great food.

We took the gentlest route down to the dam and enjoyed the magnificent nikau palms and other trees in the area. After a look at the newly-renovated dam viewing platform we scrambled up the shortcut. It was hot work rewarded by a snack break at the top. Then it was up to the wind-swept trig at 457m where we enjoyed clear views in all directions except the southern Tararua Range. We walked down the 4WD track before cutting back into the bush. Lunch was overlooking Stratton St and the Old Coach road areas. Then into the bush and the steps both up and down before rejoining the track we entered on. The tramp took just under 5hr.

Tramping with my Grandpa - Waitotara River Mouth

Wed 24 April 2019 Scribe: Aidan Muir

The van ride over seemed to take no time at all as we were quickly approaching the Waitotara river. Everyone seemed super excited about this trip. There was a lot of gossip. Once we got to about 4 km out of our destination, we met up with Graham Ellet, the person who was going to show us the way there and around a 13 km trail he made up for us. Once we got out of the van, I realised my pack was too heavy. I told my Grandpa (Adrian Pike) and he said to take some of my spare clothes out and put them in his other pack that was staying in the van. And because he is a way more experienced tramper than I am, I did exactly that.

The first part of the tramp was a 2 km walk next to the river. About half way through the walk we all stopped for a moment so Graham could talk to us about a little history in the area, which I found extremely interesting. I liked the part when I found out that across the river a hotel that was built there a long time ago kept beer cool by making a hole in the hill and putting the beer inside that. Meanwhile my Grandpa was beside me, chewing a piece of long grass in this mouth. We were next to a farm so all I can say is, I really hoped a cow hadn’t peed on it.

Then came the fun part! We had to cross a shallow stream to move on. We all took off our boots and socks getting ready to cross the stream. I looked at the stream and said to myself, piece of cake. But I underestimated the stream. It was FREEZING!!! The second I put my foot in I really wished I hadn’t. I thought, I’m going to get frostbite! I said to my Grandpa “Grandpa this is freezing” but he said back to me with a wide smile and a little chuckle, “Get over it” which was fair enough. During the crossing of the stream I stood in a massive pile of mud! “Eww” Once we all had crossed the stream, we did our best to get all the sand off our feet. Luckily I had a towel in my pack. I did my best to get all the sand off but once I was done I still had sand on my feet. When I pulled my socks on I felt a little uncomfortable as there was sand between my toes. But at least my feet were dry.

We all had a little snack break and funnily enough I ate my chocolate bar first! Once we were all ready again we started to walk. As we were walking we all saw a massive flock of geese at the river mouth. It was an absolutely amazing sight when we saw them take off in two waves. They all took off in the exact same formation so they looked like a massive squadron of little fighter jets. Ten minutes after that we stopped for a real snack break. And it was a good thing too. I was starving (even after the chocolate bar I had earlier ). Before we left for the tramp my mum packed some Shrewsbury biscuits and lolly snakes to share out among the group. For some reason I had to work up the courage to share the biscuits around. I did eventually, although not many people took one.

I looked at the sea. It was really rough. Graham told us about a story in the area. Apparently a long time ago four fishermen took their boat out onto the water to go fishing. But that day the water got really rough. The boat tipped over and tragically, all four men drowned. Once that story was over we all started a massive walk along the beachfront. The walk on the beach was about seven to eight km long. My Grandpa and other trampers were picking up a lot of stuff like fossils and glass that had been curved and smoothed out by years in the water. I grabbed a long stick and quickly drew my name and made a long line in the sand to mark where we had been. I looked back over my shoulder but couldn’t see where we had left off. That’s how far we had walked up to that point.

Half way through the beach walk we saw two men fishing with a torpedo longliner. We could see the torpedo about two km away from where ourselves and the fishermen were. It turned out that Graham knew these two blokes. They started to chat away. We all just stood there for the next what felt like the next three hours (it was actually only about seven minutes). Once Graham stopped talking with the fishermen we continued to walk on again. We walked another half hour when we saw something next to the water. It was the torpedo. It must’ve floated all the way over here .We figured that the two fishermen must be looking for it. We all started to wave our arms in the air so they would see us. No such luck. Graham decided that he was going to walk all the way back to fishermen to tell them about their missing torpedo, leaving one of the trampers in the group in charge.

Ten minutes after he left the group we realised that the waves had pushed the torpedo up the beach. To try and help the fishermen two members of our group picked the torpedo up and put it back into the water. While we were waiting for Graham to come back, we all took a break and had a snack. After twenty five minutes we walked back to Graham and the fishermen. When we were walking back we saw a pack next to a massive piece of driftwood. We had a look inside it. We were pretty sure it was Graham’s pack and assumed he had left it there to walk faster and was going to come back and get it. One of the group members said we should look inside and see if there was any food left and if it was hot. While we were waiting I decided to run up some sand dunes just for fun. Finally after forty minutes Graham came back and we all started to walk up a big sand dune. At the top of the dune we got a great view of the sea and found a perfect place to have our lunch.

It took me a little while to find a good place to sit, but eventually I did. Now it was time to share the lolly snakes. This time it was a lot easier to share them out because I had already shared out the Shrewsbury biscuits. I went round one by one and shared the lolly snakes and this time everyone took one. Even after that there were still more snakes. I went round again but only two people took one this time. There were more snakes left so I ended up eating the rest myself. YUM!!! After lunch we started our walk again. This time instead of the beach we were walking in bush and sand dunes. But before we started with the sand dunes we had to walk over bush. That took around twenty minutes. During that part of the walk, we had to walk past a little sand dune that looked like a mountain. We had to walk to the left of it. Then Graham surprised us all by saying “We have to walk to the left of Mt Egmont” (the sand dune). We all thought that was pretty funny.

Once we had finished the bush part we came to the sand dunes. After five minutes I really started to get into it! I climbed, crawled and shimmied up every sand dune I could find and thought that was a challenge. They seemed as tall as mountains but as slippery as snow. The tallest one I climbed must have been forty metres tall. I was having an absolute ball!!! It was super fun! It was one of the best things I have ever done in my life (well, up to that moment in my life so far). After about twenty minutes of good solid climbing I was pooped and had to catch my breath. After that I decided to call it quits. Once the sand dune walk was done we headed back into a little bush area again. We had to pass a massive thorn bush that was close to the fence. But the fence was electric so we couldn’t touch it. Don’t worry though, no one got pricked or electrocuted. I think?

We then had to cross a piece of wood over a skinny but deep and fast flowing stream. Graham told everyone to be careful. After that it was pretty basic stuff. We went back on the same trail we started on and walked all the way back to the van. Once we were all there we all sat down and took off our socks and shoes. We were all exhausted. We got back in the van and went to the local dairy. At first I didn’t know what we were doing there but it turned out that we were there for ICE CREAMS!!! They were delicious. I got cookies and cream. George told me that his favourite was goody goody gumdrops. Then I said back to him “Goody goody gumdrops are disgusting”. I told him I would give him five dollars if he got something different. He did. I didn’t give him the money because I didn’t have it on me. He has probably forgotten about it but don’t remind him. It was the perfect end to a perfect day!!!

Tongariro Night Crossing

Sat 20 Apr 2019 Scribes: Linda, Margie, Esther, Adrian and Jiri

Easter and full moon go together. Amazingly the report forecast a calm night. Five club members began their trip to Mangatepopo, Tongariro, in the early afternoon to catch the sunset. Jiri, Adrian and Esther planned to walk the entire crossing while Linda C and Margie C tramped part way and brought the van to the northern end, Ketetahi. We set off from the car park at 4pm, calling at the Hut to register our intentions and to exchange cell phone numbers with the warden. Adrian noted "A lovely long-legged blonde Canadian 5593401 0800 Toronto" greeted us. "There's nothing like New Zealand's mountain huts in Canada," she stated.

As we ascended, groups passed, enjoying the ambience. Photographers revelled in the dusk taking images of themselves with distant Taranaki framed by near volcanic slopes, the low ranges in between highlighted with strands of soft yellow and red. Further, we caught up with several Japanese couples photographing the scene. Behind them, the volcanic cliff glowed with a scarlet band. Above stretched a long, low unmoving band of cloud. Above, on the skyline jagged rock outlined the rim of the South Crater. We took a shot of the whole group against this evening phenomenon.

Soon we needed headlights in the dense, dark damp cloud. Two-thirds up to the South Crater we parted company. Linda and Margie reported, "Sometimes we had to stop to get our bearings. Illuminated strips on markers were a godsend."

For Adrian and Jiri, night tramping was a new experience; starting below cloud, through it, above it into full moonlit mountains. Magnificent. Quietness. No whisper of breeze. Ngauruhoe silhouetted in a starry sky. Beyond, past the Red Crater the moon reflected on the Emerald Lakes. Behind, on the crater wall, light bent its beams with patches of white, slate grey and black patches. In the distance, seven blobs of light steadily came towards us. We passed the Te Kuiti / Te Awamutu friends who had waited five years to achieve a Night Crossing together. Beyond Blue Lake we descended, picking up speed.

"I regretted not being able to take off over-trousers but Esther was not slowing down at any time," Jiri said.

In the distance we saw the bright golden lights of Taupo reflected on the Lake.

At short stop where Ketetahi Shelter stood a fortnight before, Jiri shared brandy. The former hut space is now rubble.

In the forest we used our headlamps. Delicate white moths fluttered by our faces. Square red markers on trees illuminated our path through the lahar rocks. Finally, after eight hours we were finished.

Linda and Margie reported "We found Mangatepopo car park safe, but busy. Different story at Ketetahi at 10.30pm. Five young men were standing in the dark waiting for someone. We decided not to stay, driving to Turangi Lookout till near midnight when we drove back to meet Esther and co. Weather amazing! Moving cloud and no wind. Great to get some sleep at Possum Lodge."

The next morning was warm and still. As we travelled the Kaitieke road from our shelter, views of volcanoes came into view.

"Let's go back!"  "I've left my ski pole at Ketetahi!!" (Jiri)

When we arrived at Raetihi's Angel Louise we found a table to sip our coffees and to collaborate on the trip report.

Café Tramp Manawatu Gorge

Sat 13 Apr 2019; Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Nice weather. Great track. Impressive trees. Good coffee at the Herb Farm. On the trip – Sandra Rogers, Glenda Howarth, Carolyn Shingleton, John Baxter, Janice Handley, Julie Kearse.

Namunamu & Ngaruru Lakes

Sat 30 Mar 2019 Scribe and leader: Earle Turner

It is a nice walk in there. The Namunamu lake is used by the family for kayaking. There is a pontoon built out over the lake with seats to have your morning tea on, and a slide into the lake. The other lake has a lot of black swans, a few ducks and mai-mais. Another good day out with a stop at Hunterville on the way home. Seven of us out there - Esther Williams, Rita Hodson, Kelly Darby, Ray Walton, Barbara Francis, Fred Verschoor, Earle Turner.

"The Island"

Thur 28 Mar 2019 Scribe and leader: Earle Turner

Tramp was around "The Island" on the Parapara. This is over three properties, a nice flattish walk of 11km. Weather was really comfortable, not too hot. Plenty of cattle to keep the odd person twitching. Another good day with a stop for refreshments along the way. A van full.

Taupo Trip

Mar 25 - Apr 1 2019 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

This was a very busy week with very special walks up to six hours long planned for each day and interesting sights around Lake Taupo. Our leader was Helen Atkinson, our driver, Jacky Evans; three other cooks - Margaret Chainey, Jennie Anton and me. Only five this time, with so much else on at home.

Day 1: We set off from Jacky’s at 8.30 am for our base camp, Omori in Pukawa Bay on the western side of Lake Taupo. Our first walk was about three hours, through mostly native forest with impressive bird song - never heard the like.

Day 2: An earlier start this day to accomplish the 26km on the Waihaha Trail, a shared cycleway. A week day so only half a dozen bikes and no other walkers. Easy walk and lovely views of Waihaha river, the waterfall and magnificent gorge rock faces.

Day 3: Tongariro River walk, also popular for cyclists and a lovely walk. Impressive efforts have been made clearing the fearsome blackberry, a significant change from the last visit. The day ended with a visit to the National Trout Centre, an impressive reserve and museum.

Day 4: Another good day from Spa Road in Taupo to Huka Falls, then after lunch along the mighty Waikato to Aratiatia Rapids. Water colour was stunning. Missed the rapids release at the dam though – our timing wrong.

Day 5: We tackled Mt Tauhara east of the Taupo township, a privately- owned ancestral mountain off the Napier-Taupo Road. Track was tricky in places and needed extra care. Magnificent views over Taupo and the lake, ending with a dip in Tokaanu hot pools on the way back to base.

Day 6): A six-hour walk after morning tea on the lake edge. We passed a group of people “Green Taupo” whose task for the day was planting 4,000 trees. On from Whakaipo, up and around the summit and down to Kinloch, quite easy on a wide leafy track. Wonderful views again.

Day 7: Our last day, and a six-hour walk into and out from Waihaha Hut. As we crossed the bridge from the SH7 carpark we looked over the side to see a pair of whio (blue duck) – a treat to start our day. Moved on reluctantly, passing more spectacular views of the gorge’s prominent rocky faces through lovely bush. Some magnificent old trees on the way to the nine-bed hut.

Then home after a great week. We were very grateful to Jacky who willingly dropped us off at a number of start points before driving to the destination and walking in to meet us.


Relay for Life

23 March, 2019 by Dorothy Symes

Well, What a day it was !! Twenty five members from our club participated in this event at Cooks Gardens on 23 March. The Relay for Life is a major fundraiser that enables Whanganui Cancer Society to provide essential services to those on the cancer journey, along with their families. Behind the scenes, Margie Campbell and Brian Doughty were the prime movers and organisers for the WTC team

Each team member pledges a minimum of $100, and donations are sought by sponsorship, morning teas and the like, and straight-out begging. Thank you to all for those generous donations. Throughout the 12-hour continuous relay, at least one team member must be on the track. .

After an opening ceremony, Brass Wanganui led Cancer Survivors on the first lap, then all teams joined in. Proudly was Wanganui Tramping Club’s banner borne aloft!

The total raised by all 33 teams was $48,108. Of this, $3702 came from our WTC team, an outstanding result that won the Society’s trophy for the team that raised the most money. Our team should take a bow and be proud of their individual efforts, showing care for the community while encouraging sponsorship from friends and relatives. Margie and Brian deserve a big pat on the back too for their planning and keeping in touch with the team. The weather was great, the entertainment non-stop and it was fun for everyone all day and into the night. Several club members came along to lend support and enjoy the activities, and the entire event was enjoyable and a great success.

Two special mentions: Brigitte Hund, as a result of a mishap the day before, was taken to A&E where a broken collar bone was revealed. She returned from hospital ‘reinforced’ and saw the relay through to the last lap at 10pm. And there goes Earle Turner, peeling off the laps most of the day. At the end, he took the inside fast lane and RAN the last lap. Iron Man masquerading as Peter Snell.

Rangipo Hut from Tukino Ski Field Car Park

Wed 20 Mar 2019 Scribe: Graham Sutcliffe

Weather conditions were good on this very exposed part of Mt Ruapehu. Panoramic views are obtained from this walk which goes as far as the Kaimanawas. This is a very rewarding tramp and total tramping time is about four and a half hours, making it a very good day trip when you factor in travelling time.

Those enjoying the day were: Andrew Milham, Bruce Thomas, Cherry Channon, Diane Harries, Dick Mitchell, Dorothy Symes, Esther Williams, George Neil, Helen Atkinson, Laurel Stowell, Margaret Chainey, Pippa McLay, Richard Rayner, Shane McCullough and leaders Barry Hopper & Graham Sutcliffe.

Take a Kid Tramping

Sat-Sun 16-17 Mar 2019 Scribe: Margret McKinnon

Three children and three adults left Whanganui 8am for Mt Ruapehu, meeting up with Sarah and Cameron at Ohakune. The carpark on Ohakune Mountain Road had many cars when we set off for Blyth Hut (the destination had been changed to suit the abilities of the children). The morning was a pleasant temperature and we soon found ourselves at the Rotokawa swamp – tadpoles were soon discovered. A quick snack was had at the Waitonga Falls before the first stream crossing. There was some apprehension noted as rocks and logs were negotiated.

At the junction to the Blyth track, packs were dropped and we moved onto the next bridge. Unfortunately it wasn't a swing bridge as I was hoping so back to the junction we retreated. Many distractions including the 'Stink Bush' got them up the hill to Blyth Hut and lunch. The hut appeared to be pretty full so we decided to return back to Lupton Hut, which proved to be the perfect spot – unoccupied, carpeted, light, and beside the Mangateitei Stream. Rock pools were soon found and the afternoon was spent, by some, getting wet. Such a brave lot!

Quiddler was played before tea then it was back outside to 'dam' the stream. More card games before bed then all fell asleep fairly readily after climbing into sleeping bags.

Breakfast and more stream time was had before leaving the hut for home. The children’s increased confidence was very apparent as they negotiated the streams again prior to lunch at Waitonga Falls. Back to the van and then farewells to our 'Taihape two'. Icecreams were enjoyed in Raetihi and then it was a very quiet trip returning to Whanganui. A great fun weekend with super kids and amazing adults! We hope to do another Kids Tramp in the future.

On the trip – David Scoullar, Juliet Kojis and her granddaughters Ella-Rose, Molly and Olivia. Also Sarah, Cameron and Margret McKinnon.

Pitangi Track

Thursday 14 Mar 2019 Scribe and leader: Earle Turner

Seven of us did the track. It was fine weather but it had been threatening the day before. It was a good tramp but when we got back to the van and boots where taken off, everyone remained sitting on the grass as if they were stuffed. I had to ask them nicely to please hop in the van so we could get to the cafe before it closed - we made it and had our debriefing. All was good. Present: Barbara Gordon, Carolyn Shingleton, Judith Harrison, Julie Kearse, Ray Walton, Sharron Prouse, Earle Turner.

Kapakapanui Hut

Wednesday 13 Mar 2019 Scribe: Juliet Kojis

It was always going to be hard to stay completely dry on the trip to Kapakapanui Hut, near Waikanae, but luckily the weather wasn’t anywhere near as bad as expected. The day began with nine stream crossings and then a steady climb to the hut over a greasy track. But the bush was beautiful and any drizzle soon departed leaving only drips from the trees.

Two of the party stopped short of the hut but the other three got there for lunch and the waiting multi-day party. We all descended to reach the van by mid-afternoon, noting that the stream had dropped since our earlier crossings.

On trip: Juliet Kojis, Esther Williams, Margret McKinnon, George Neil, Cherry Channon, plus five multi-day trekkers picked up at the hut — Lyneke Onderwater, Mark Sutherland, Tracey Hooper, Mike Cole and Dave Scoullar.

Tararua Multi-Day

Sun-Wed 10-13 Mar 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

On trip: Lyneke Onderwater, Mark Sutherland, Tracey Hooper, Mike Cole and Dave Scoullar.

The forecast for the four days in Tararua Forest Park was a bit dodgy but our luck was in and the weather didn’t play a big part in the trek which was shortened from five days because of a running race over the Southern Crossing on the first scheduled day.

Day 1: We hitched a ride with the day trippers to Otaki Forks and walked with them to Field Hut. After lunching there it was on to Kime Hut, a hot climb over the last hour but windy and low cloud at the hut which was reached in 6:30hr. Only one other person at Kime, a Polish-Spanish 19-year-old bloke who was an interesting character.

Day 2: It blew hard overnight but the day dawned calm and clear which was great for the walk over the exposed tops and the views were brilliant. The track was muddy in places, churned up by the runners the previous day. Clag was coming in when we dropped off at Aston peak and descended to Elder Hut, reached in 6hr. We all jammed into the four-bunk hut. Luckily no one else appeared.

Day 3: Raincoats were on as we went down Renata Ridge in misty drizzle. Renata Hut was reached in 4hr and we had lunch and pondered whether to stay or move on to Kapakapanui Hut which was our rendezvous spot with the Wednesday group the following day. With the prospect of heavy rain over the next 24 hours, we decided to go to Kapakapanui which involved a grunty climb, finally reaching our destination in another 5.20hr. Again we had the hut to ourselves.

Day 4: It rained overnight but we awoke to just light drizzle and relaxed until the Wednesday team’s front runners arrived about 12.30pm. By then the drizzle had stopped. Then it was back to the van in about 3hr to round off a great four days in the hills. The only disappointment was the lack of bird life.

Field Hut

Sun 10 Mar 2019 Scribe: Margie Campbell

Ten of us left at 7am, headed for Otaki Forks where we would set out for Field Hut. We had in tow David Scoullar and his four travelling companions who were going further afield. We would leave them at Field Hut. It was great weather for such a walk – not too hot! Vans parked up, packs on and off we went. Across the Otaki River, a bit of meandering through open country before starting the uphill stretch/slog to reach an elevation of 900m and our destination, historic Field Hut. It was a bit of a slog but we all made it which was great. Morning tea and lunch on the track and a bit of R&R at the hut before heading back down again.

Our group: Margie Campbell & Barb Francis (leaders), Marie O’Leary, Sharon Casey (guest), Linda Clarke, Anne Condon, Jeanette Prier, Kate Jones, Margaret Stratford and Brigitte Hund. Let me pay special mention of our two drivers, Linda and Brigitte: They did a marvellous job, both behind the wheel for the first time. Special thanks to you both.

Waipakihi River Valley

Wed 6 Mar 2019 Scribe: Cherry Channon

It was an early start on a fine autumnal day for 14 trampers to head to the Waipakihi River Valley in the Kaimanawa Forest Park, off the Desert Road. The valley provides relatively easy walking with frequent river crossings and often no defined track. There are many excellent camp sites along the way with inviting swimming spots at almost every turn, although the sandflies soon reminded some of us not to dally too long.

The Waipakihi River is stunning with crystal clear water skipping merrily over white stones and rocks. On our return trip after lunch we seven women could no longer resist the desire to have a swim in the glimmering, shimmering water with sun-dappled sparkles glistening and dancing on the surface of a particularly deep pool. The men carried on downriver and after a moment’s hesitation we stripped off and amid shrieks of sheer joy we plunged into the cool depths. It was breathtakingly invigorating!! On catching up to the seven men we discovered that only one had swum, the rest being of the variety of scaredy-cats! Well done, Dave Scoullar, at least you kept up with the ladies!!

Waitahinga Trails

Thur 28 Feb 2019 Scribe and leader: Earle Turner

Nineteen did the trails on a nice day but not as hot as some tramps lately. We entered the trails from the main signpost where Basil Hooper had cut the grass around that area, then out to the pines area where Audrey (Basil’s sister) had sprayed the almost waist-high grass, very much appreciated.

Morning tea was at Croppers Clearing then on to the dam for lunch. The new track down to the dam is a good improvement. I didn’t crash this time. After lunch, back up Harry's Ridge to the vans.

On trip: Beverly Barnett, Jim & Barbara Gordon, Grant Adkins, Sharron Prouse, Jiri Krivanek, Kate Jones, Jacky Evans, Bob Conybeer, Margaret Chainey, Don & Katy Gordon, Fred Verschoor, John McClintock, Ray Walton, Sally Brotherston, Suzanne Roberts, Val Cowan, Earle Turner.

Waione Cokers Track

Wed 20 Feb 2019 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

I remember doing this track about three years ago with Tracey and Basil. It was very wet and muddy then, albeit a new location. With summer weather this was an opportunity to give it another go. The trail is part of the Te Araroa and is located north of Mangatepopo School Camp and past the Outdoor Pursuits centre. Sue Haden and I shared leadership and were accompanied by 19 other trampers.

We parked across the road near a helicopter pad beside the DOC sign marking the track entrance. The day being hot, we expected the track to be dry. It was, apart from a few slippery sections where recent heavy rain had created some deep ruts. The bush provided some relief from the hot sun. Others on the track were a class of young people from St Kentigern’s College in Auckland. We were treated with views of the Whanganui River and arrived at our lunch-time destination by Mangatepopo stream, to find it was now a river. Basil led the team, hoping we might get to the Whanganui River, but this was not to be. The map showed quite a number of other tracks, streams and rivers and we had to decide our direction.

The river was too deep and swift, and with so many people to account for we agreed to turn back. We found a good lunch spot and then returned to the start, with an ice cream/coffee stop at National Park. A good day out with good company. Thank you Barry, Bruce and Royce for sharing driving and Basil for your wise guidance.

Lake Rotorangi

Thur 14 Feb 2019 Scribe: John Newton

Two vans with 19 trampers headed inland from Patea. We stopped and parked several kilometres before Lake Rotorangi and began walking uphill through farmland flanked by beautiful native bush on Rotorangi farms.

Views from the top were just reward for the puff uphill. Lake Rotorangi, the longest man-made lake in the country, stretched out 46km below us. After lunch in the lake campground we crossed the earth dam and entered the native forest for a kilometre circuit of stunning views and bird song.

A walk down the road in blazing hot sun brought us back to the vans. But all agreed it was a top tramp.

Top marks to leader Earle. Trampers were Ann, Barbara, Carolyn, Don, Fred, Jim, John x 3, Judith, Julie, Kate, Peter, Ray, SallyB, Sandra, Sharron and Beverly.

Matemateaonga Range to Waitotara Valley

Wed 13 – Sat 16 Feb 2019 Scribes: Amanda Doughty and Brenda Pottinger

Avid adventurers: Brian Doughty aka BD – trip leader, chief cook and beverage thief; Dorothy Symes ‘The Duchess’; Basil Hooper, photographer and wildlife guide; Brenda Pottinger: BD’s daughter-in-law; Amanda Doughty: head daughter.

Day one: Barry Hopper arrived to shuttle us to Puniwhakau Road, to meet with fellow Avid Adventurers and our athletic-looking day tripper companions. Under way, we stopped periodically for snacks, photos and chat, and reached the letter boxes in good time. A right turn after lunch took us towards Charlie’s Clearing. We arrived at the clearing mid-afternoon after much bush-bashing along overgrown ‘paths’ and settled in to set up camp and enjoy the views and the sunset. BD put boy scout skills to use and cooked dinner while BP and Amanda relaxed and Basil scouted the way to water. The Duchess bagged the best spot for her bed under the trees and the rest of us decided to sleep in the open and enjoy the night sky…

Day Two: Awake, damp, swimming in a field of dew! Basil’s makeshift wee plastic tent was, shall we say, not very waterproof. But Dorothy slept fantastically well, warm and dry. We dried off, ate a tonne of porridge and departed, Dorothy still smirking. More overgrown trails, with plenty of breaks amongst the bush. We heard a lot of bird song and met a piglet along the way, reaching Puteore Hut in plenty of time for relaxation and dinner. Basil pointed out the bats that came to visit and we took some lovely photos as the sun went down.

Day Three: After a great sleep and good breakfast (BD stole Amanda’s cuppa and drank half before noticing it wasn’t his), we headed off early into Waitotara Forest towards Tahupo. The terrain was similar to Day Two, with the trail being lost more than once and plenty of circling, GPS reading and yelling of ‘have you found it?’ Most importantly, the snacks were holding out. A rather sentimental day too, finding some trail markers that Harry Stimpson and BD had erected years earlier, as well as reaching a Trig point Basil’s great grandfather had put in. We arrived at Tahupo in plenty of time to look at the helipad and ponder why BD hadn’t choppered in cold beer and pizza for us all.

Day Four: Again BD drank half of BP’s cuppa … and again we had difficulty finding the start of the trail before eventually heading in the right direction to Trains Hut. This was the most demanding terrain so far in terms of increases and decreases in elevation but fortunately we were accompanied by fantastic bird song. And snacks. Striking a few sticky spots - large rocks, ginormous wind-falls - we were inspired by Dorothy who repeatedly, rather firmly, and not always politely, insisted she didn’t require any assistance. We were rewarded for our efforts with spectacular views from our lunch spot atop a ridgeline. We scrambled (BD, Baz and BP) or did the rear end slide (The Duchess and Amanda) down the last steep, leaf-littered section to the hut, crossed the river - and spotted a whio. The first signs of possum just before Trains led to a lengthy discussion on the merits of 1080 poisoning. After another of BD’s excellent dinners we relaxed on the deck under the moon and listened for kiwi. We didn’t hear any but were content with BD’s “And this is why we tramp.”

Day Five: Packed up quickly with BD, BP and Amanda off to visit the old Trains Hut site, while Dorothy and Baz headed for the waterfall for a photo shoot of The Duchess in her natural element. We scrambled along by the river on goat trails, slips and wind-falls and met up with another group of day trippers around lunch time. We made a speedy exit along the road next to the Waitotara River, to find that Barry had come prepared for a group of dusty, thirsty Avid Adventurers having stocked the bus with beer. Bless you, Barry! We relaxed on the way home, dropped off Basil at Waitotara and were safely delivered back to Wanganui.

Many thanks to our team of Avid Adventurers. This was an amazing experience made better by the company and fantastic weather. Thanks also to the support and company of Barry Hopper and the Wanganui Tramping Club day trampers.

The Old NZ Railways Trail - Turakina to Okoia

Sun 10 Feb 2019 Leader and scribe: Dorothy Symes

Leaving at 7am, reaching Okoia was an option – or Fordell. We had a very full day and the early summer morning was fresh and pleasant, the best part of any day. And so thought the 17 others on the trip. Again, I enjoyed the challenge of getting it off to a start after two previous trips. This 18 km walk is not hard, just long – it’s 26km to Okoia. Permission was obtained from 18 land owners and all were gracious and encouraging - one farmer even turning off her electric fences for us.

We started from Turakina bridge and followed the old railway line, beginning with some rough clambering and climbing, watching for ankle-injury pine cones hidden in long grass. From the flat farmland we had the first views of the Ratana Church, where we stopped under shady trees for morning tea. Two church clergy approached and invited us inside where we heard about Prophet Ratana and the significance of the stars and moon symbols. The Ratana Church visit was a privilege and a real treat. We were later asked to pose for a photograph in front of the meeting house, from where we could hear kapa haka practice.

The rail line did not go through Ratana but passed south of the village where we saw the remains of a siding. We walked on in rising temperatures through farmland and a pleasant shaded glade, pausing at the site of the tragic accident Easter Saturday in 1938 (Google for details).

The walk continued to the beach road, across SH3 and Whangaehu bridge, veering right and on to the next farm. We took a lunch break and continued across several farms. We noticed embankments and numerous cuttings, probably manually excavated. Earle was a big help remembering some of the special features. He has a great sense of direction and is an expert at stock control – both needed today. We didn’t get as far as Okoia – Fordell pub got in the way. It was open for a private function and the guests seemed happy for us to partake of cool refreshments there.

The group were interested in the history associated with this trip and pleased with the experience. Now it remains for me to update the list of farmers for next time. Thank you Bruce and Roger for getting us started and waiting for the phone call to pick us up. I would also like to acknowledge Betty Luff, who entrusted me with the history of the rail line that was put together by her husband Tom, a stalwart of WTC.

Harris Farm Walk, Whangaehu Valley

Wed 6 Feb 2019 Scribe: Laurel Stowell

It was Waitangi Day when 17 from the club met up with guide Brenda Collins for a walk to a high point between the Whangaehu and Whanganui River valleys. After a long stretch of sizzling weather this day was cloudy, with light rain, and it was delightfully cool. We headed past the houses in the valley bottom for a climb up a winding stock track to the ridge top. Views were infrequent, due to the cloud and misty rain. But when the clouds parted we could see another spur across the Whangaehu, with all its curves and complexities. We skirted around a fenced area of native bush and had lunch by a little cabin fitted out for overnight stays. Then it was time to head back down to the homestead on a different farm track. Before leaving we were treated to a cup of tea, cake and ice cream on the porch. Cherry and Mike even had a swim in the homestead pool, and pronounced it refreshing.

Mangapurua Trig

Sat 2 Feb 2019 Scribe: Dorothy Symes

Led by Roger Kealey, this trip called for a 7am start for the two-hour drive to Ruatiti Valley. The track starts 4km short of Mellonsfolley, a western-style ranch established in the last 10 years. The track entrance sign said 4½ hours to the trig. Stopping for morning tea and walking uphill on a gradual metalled track, we made it in 3½ hours and weren’t hurrying. Arrived at trig for lunch in bright sunshine, taking in the impressive hillscapes. The views were a little hazy on this warm day, but far-reaching and spectacular.

We picnicked near the recently installed monument remembering WW1 soldiers who were allotted land, with hopes and promises, only to become disillusioned by the harshness of conditions. The interpretation board displayed photos of many of these settlers, and nearby is a flagpole and memorial plaque installed by the Haworth family. A place for reflection of former hard times when giving up would not have been easy. There is still some evidence of sites where families undertook the challenges.

Returning, we stopped off for afternoon tea at McIntyre‘s cabin which is still maintained and used by WTC members Bob and Maureen.

On the walk were Linda Hart who went the extra distance to the trig, Robert Lott, Pippa McLay, Adrian Pike, Fred Verschoor, Kelly Derby, Anne-Marie Harper and myself - and new to our country from the UK, Nick Andrew.

Smith Stream Hut

Sat-Sun 2-3 Feb 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The Smith Stream Hut foursome of Dave Scoullar, Val Wackrow, Brigitte Hund and Graham Sutcliffe set off early for the eastern Ruahine Forest Park. We drove another 1.5km past the Sunrise car park and parked just above the Waipawa River.

Slightly upstream and on the southern side of the river is a signpost marking the start of the track which follows the forest edge to the park boundary. It passes through open regenerating scrub and forest to Middle Stream (two crossings) and climbs steeply to a 1104m peak. Then comes a steep descent to Smith Stream which is narrow but only ankle-to-knee deep. We picked our way down the stream with many crossings for about 1km before making a steep climb out to the hut.

By now the drizzle we had encountered early in the tramp had become heavier and we were pleased to reach shelter in 6hr 20min, well outside the 4-5hr we had expected. Built in 1958, the four-bunk hut is the best remaining example in Hawke’s Bay of the original Forest Service SF40 designed huts constructed in the 1960s and ‘70s for deer cullers. Luckily, we had the place to ourselves and, in fact, didn’t see another tramper the whole weekend.

The return was uneventful and completed in almost exactly the same time in overcast weather but no rain. As far as I am aware this was the first club trip to Smith Stream Hut since 2011 when Russell Donaldson led a party of five which included Val. They came a different route, via Hinerua Hut. It is a good walk through varied terrain.

MacNab’s Makirikiri Rd

Thur 31 Jan 2019 Scribe and leader: Earle Turner

This was a very hot day and 12 of us went out in the hot sun. They used to say only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. We didn’t have any mad dogs with us but I don’t know about the Englishmen. However we found a good sized tree to have morning tea then another for lunch. Another good walk with refreshments at the local café.

Trampers were Sharron Prouse, Fred Verschoor, John McClintock, Jeanette Prier, Beverly Barnett, John Baxter, Judith Harrison, Margaret Lankow, Don & Katy Gordon, Kate Jones, and Earle Turner.

Waipipi Trip Report

Wed 30 Jan 2019 Scribe: Graham Ellett

A warm sunny start for the 24 trampers set for a day of nostalgia. In 1971 about the time of 'Think Big' days, an American company pushed forward a mining venture, to extract titanium magnetite from Waipipi's sandhills to be used in steel furnaces in Japan. This extended the life of their brick kilns.

We gained access through Alexander's farm and walked to the site where two massive transformers once supplied power to run the mining area. Barry H remembered much of what it was like 40 years ago. The power needed to run the lights and motors was equal to what was needed for Marton township. No wonder the lights at Waverley went dim when the dredge started the 1350 hp motors used to drive the 102,000 ltrs/minute suction pump and the 2m revolving grinder on the front of the two dredges.

Cables and winches steered the floating vessel. One man operated it, digging 8m into the man-made 'pond'. An 18 inch flexible floating pipe shifted something like 150 million tonnes of sand to the nearby concentrator, an eight-storey floating mass of metal and motors.

The sand was passed through a revolving screen to remove debris, timber, large lumps. Next, the ore slurry passed 16 revolving magnetic drums before being pumped through spiral separators. During the years of mining these were modified, modernised and improved. They became so much more efficient that some of the tailings were processed again.

The Conservation Department allowed only a certain amount of land to be uncovered at one time and the land, once mined, had to be restored. About 900ha of land was mined in total.

We crossed the flat land which was formerly sand hills. Many changes had taken place. The scrub was removed, top soil skimmed off, the pond formed, sand sorted, and settled. Hours spent bulldozing, levelling without getting stuck in the liquefaction, and spreading the top soil. Finally, grass and oats were planted. Some years later a mineral deficiency was found in the soil affecting stock health, solved with the application of much fertiliser. Now, holes are being dug on this flat fertile land to test foundations for the 30 big wind turbines that will be arriving shortly.

We headed to the beach for our cuppa then walked along the coast to Snapper Rock. Lunch was eaten up on the cliff tops, after a conversation with a friendly coastal cat, followed by a short walk to where the ore had been stockpiled awaiting shipment so many years back.

The concentrator was at times 9km away from the storage. Twenty-one pumps were needed to shift the ore. Two long concrete walls, some scrap and the sealed hoppers are all that remains. A massive gantry once rode on the wall rails spreading the ore to let it dry. 250,000 tonnes could be stored. The 3.5m wide tunnel beneath housed a 1m wide conveyor belt used to help the ore mix to a slurry with water pumped from the Wairoa stream. Large pumps moved the slurry through the 12 inch steel pipe 3km to the 11m floating buoy held by 14 x 25 ton anchors. The ships, some as big as 130,000 tonnes, could still load in any wind conditions or directions at 1300 tonnes/hour. Fifteen million tons were sold to Japan for approximately $50 million. At peak production, 100-150 people were employed. The safety record was impressive with only one person, an electrician who fell, losing his life at work. Three crew were lost on the 'Wairoa’ mishap.

Our day ended with a short walk to the Waipipi settlement where some trampers swam in the Wairoa dam.

Life’s a Beach

Sat 26 Jan 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

On trip: Mike Miller, Virginia Baillie, Margret McKinnon, Chris Rothman, Helen Adams, Julie Kearse, Sue Campion, Jeanette Prier, Brigitte Hund, Adrian Pike, Juliet Kojis and Dave Scoullar.

Visiting the South Taranaki coast for the day provided an open brief and the 12 keen beach bunnies managed to cover a lot of ground, starting with a 90-minute walk along the beach from Hawera to Ohawe.

Heading along Surf Highway, at Pihama we visited a cemetery and viewed a memorial there for 12 seafarers who drowned in a wreck off the coast in 1901. On to Opunake for lunch on the sea front. Then to Pungarehu to visit the impressive Historic Cape Light and Museum and watch the locals fishing for herrings. The replica lighthouse has been developed into a four-floor museum and educational facility.

Diverting on a back road, we headed beside the sea towards Whanganui and stopped for a look at the real Cape Egmont lighthouse, still in operation.

The attractive Kaupokonui Beach and camp was next to be explored and we even came across a whale burial ground there before we turned for home, pausing briefly to view Dalvanius Prime’s gravestone at Nukumaru. A good day out but no one ventured in for a swim!

Footnote: If you wish to visit the lighthouse museum on Bayly Rd, it’s open 11-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Entry is by donation. Everyone agreed it’s a gem.

Paekakariki Escarpment

Wed 23 Jan 2019 Scribe: Shane Wilson

A van load of twelve trampers left Wanganui at 7am for the two hour journey to Paekakariki. With changeable weather on the way down we arrived to clearing skies and a slight breeze. We began our walk along this coastal track, gradually climbing higher and higher with every step. The wind increased as we gained height, so you had to be sure of your footing.

Kapiti Island was hidden under a blanket of cloud, but views of Pukerua Bay could be seen. Further along two swing bridges had to be negotiated before our descent to the railway line. We boarded a train back to our starting point, then began our journey back to Wanganui, stopping on the way for icecream at Waireka Honey.

Kaweka Range

Sat–Mon 19-21 Jan 2019 Scribe: Tracey Hooper

Day 1: After a five-hour drive over to the ranges via State Highway 50, we arrived to start our tramp at 1100hrs. The proposed walk was to take 3-4 hrs to Middle Hill Hut. We passed through Kaweka Flat bivvy site to look over the huge gully standing between us and Middle Hill Hut. The sun (as lovely as it was) was about to undo us (Tracey) on the other side for the walk up again to gain our lost altitude. Most members said they had never consumed so much water before. Once that was out of the way we continued past the junction that we would be taking the next day, to arrive at Middle Hill Hut. The journey had taken us 6.15 hrs. We all had a bed and the hut to ourselves (with campers outside).

Day 2: We made our way to the junction and started our next big climb up to Whetu and were again blessed with a fine day with great views of Ruapehu. The trip to Ballard Hut is to take 3-4 hrs again and we arrived in 5 hrs. The hut is in a lovely location, albeit you have to commit to dropping down a long way to get to it. There was a hunter and his sons who we were able to wave off when a chopper picked them up. Once again we had the hut to ourselves, with Mark sleeping outside.

Day 3: We had to get back up the tops, past Whetu, and enjoy the top of the ranges which were relatively easy walking. The wind was snappy but not uncomfortable, and we were able to find some sheltered spots to gather ourselves. We sidled around North Kaweka (around 1700m) and made our way to Kaweka J. The track took us off the summit, so Mike went and visited the memorial on the summit as we started to make our way down, stopping at Dominic Bivvy for a snack. We continued plummeting down, with scree rolling under our feet, wondering if a track that we viewed to the right may have been the better option. Either way, both tracks had a rather difficult (nasty) section where it is so steep it is hard to remain upright. Finally making it down to the van, it had taken us 6.20h (stated as 5 hrs). We then opted for a different route, taking the Taihape Rd, with the van showing empty for diesel with 54kms to get to Taihape, but we made it. Phew!

Trampers: Tracey, Mark, Dave, Lyneke, Mike.

Three Bush Reserves

Wed 16 Jan 2019 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Three bush reserves were the plan for us today; two were new to me and all in the Rangitikei. First was Pryce’s Rahui Reserve, second Bruce Park, and third Mangaweka Scenic Reserve Track.

All three had magnificent trees: kahikatea, matai, rimu, totara etc. It was lovely to be in bush that wasn’t ‘cut over’. We went down to the Rangitikei River at Mangaweka for lunch. The river was impressively in flood after all the rain we’d had. A really nice, social, relaxing day with a stop at the service station in Hunterville for real fruit ice creams. I recommend the peach and pineapple.

On the trip were Sandra Rogers, Barry Hopper, George Neil, Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Dorothy Symes, Suzanne Roberts, Graham Sutcliffe, Margaret Stratford, Bruce Thomas, David Taylor, Richard Rayner and Graham Ellett.

Pukerua Bay to Plimmerton

Wed 9 Jan 2019 Scribe: Barry Hopper

A great morning as we depart the clubrooms at 7am and head south, arriving at Pukerua Bay Beach at 9.20am. Stunning morning with Kapiti in perfect visibility, no clouds and the water as calm as can be, no wind either as we set off at 9.30am. We had to be at, and past, Wairaka Rock by 12.20pm, the high tide this day. As it turned out all of us managed to get around this outcrop with no problems. We had morning tea in the shade of the outcrop and carried on south along the rocky coast towards Plimmerton where we had options for the return journey. The weather was just amazing with many fishing vessels coming close inshore for set-nets and enjoying the fact that there were basically no waves in a very calm sea. As I said, visibility was amazing with multiple views of Kapiti and Mana Islands and also across to the South Island. We had lunch by a discarded settlement and quarry and proceeded on our way south to Plimmerton. Once we had turned the corner into Hongoeka Bay we were treated to the sight of a seal having a lazy feed off a set-net only a very few metres off shore. It would dive down, grab a fish, surface and roll onto its back and just lie on top of the set-net while having a feed and enjoying the calm sunny conditions. Nice work if you can get it. Arriving at Plimmerton Boating Club early afternoon, it was time for a toilet stop, change into togs and into the harbour beside the Boating Club for a well-earned and timely swim. Although cold at first, it turned out to be very refreshing. This was very relaxing and a shallow spot to go swimming even though it was only a couple of hours after high tide. The womenfolk found there were showers in the toilet facilities here, definitely recommended for future summer tramps. After our swim there were options - two different tracks back overland to Pukerua Bay Beach or a trip on the train back to Pukerua Bay, with four choosing the latter. The remaining group along with myself set off up - and I mean up as it was quite a climb in places to find the ‘Track’ back to Pukerua Bay. The views from up here were amazing, looking back down into Karehana Bay and the Plimmerton Boating Club’s extensive facilities, Mana Island, and out across the water to the South Island. This track took the best part of two and a half hours to get back down to Pukerua Bay Beach to the vans. The views from this track were many and varied. A stop south of Otaki for real fruit ice-creams and back to Wanganui by 6.30pm concluded an amazing eleven and a half hours on a beautiful, stunning summer’s day in paradise. Enjoying this great day were Carolyn Shingleton, Cherry Channon, Dorothy Symes, Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Laurel Stowell, Margret McKinnon and her grandson Luke, Pippa McLay, Roger Kealey, Sally Gray, Sue Campion and Sue Haden. Sorry, Graham Sutcliffe didn’t make this one. Leader/driver was Barry Hopper, and it was my great pleasure.

Otaki River Walks

Sun 6 Jan 2019 Scribe: Sandra Rogers

Twenty-one headed for the Otaki River walkways. First we did Chrystall’s Bend upstream walk, from the northern end of SH1 Otaki River bridge. An impressive amount of planting has been done throughout the walk, which takes you to a very pretty lake. The plantings have been done by various schools, community groups, Fonterra etc and looked to me to be all native plants. About 4k return.

Our second walk was seaward on the northern side of the river, a walk of 8k return along a stopbank to the estuary. There is an interesting wetland at the end near the sea, with more native plantings and another nice lake. After around four hours walking, it was back to the van and off to River Cottage Cafe just down the road. Thank you all for your company.

On the trip were: Sandra Rogers, Jacky Evans and Murray Voss (drivers), Carolyn Shingleton, Jeanette Prier, Fred Verschoor, Kate Jones, Trish Herbert, Bev Sinclair, John Baxter, Barbara Gordon, Anne Condon, Maryanne Sleyer, Dorothy Symes, Bruce Thomas, Helen Atkinson, Dianne Weeks, Earle Turner, Julie Kearse, Adrian Pike and Bridgette Hund.

Remutaka Rail Trail

Wed 2 Jan 2019 Scribe: Dave Scoullar

The New Year got off to a flier with two full van loads on the Remutaka Rail Trail — 12 walkers at each end who met at the old Summit rail station site for lunch. With the big drive it was a long day, but great weather, even if the group who ended at Cross Creek got severely blown about.

This 18km trail is immensely popular, especially with cyclists, and we saw quite young children pedalling along with their parents.