Waikato River Trail
This trip was always going to be cruisy (a stroll rather than a tramp) with the incentive of brunch or lunch at the Rhubarb Café in Arapuni at the half-way point. Unfortunately, the aforementioned café decided to take a mini mid-winter break this particular weekend, so an alternative had to be found. Read on to find out more ….
We started the walk at Jones Landing, a few kilometers past Arapuni. From there we climbed up to a lookout point with great views back over Lake Arapuni. It wasn’t much of a climb, but it did warm us up, so we were happy to shed a layer or two at this point.
From the lookout the trail is gently undulating all the way to Arapuni, where we took advantage of the picnic tables for a snack and cuppa. We then took a short loop walk over the Arapuni swing bridge, looked down on the Powerhouse, and rejoined the track a few hundred meters downstream.
From this point on the trail is almost flat, and therefore much more popular with cyclists than the previous section. It includes the Huihuitaha Boardwalk over a wetland area and takes you right by the river’s edge for most of the time. It’s only about 5.5km from Arapuni to Little Waipa Reserve, so we made it there by early afternoon and chatted away amongst ourselves while we waited for the van to collect us.
We then headed back towards Hamilton, taking a detour at Karapiro to visit the Boatshed Café for coffee and snacks; a very smart establishment, right on the banks of the lake. The menu was enticing and reasonably priced so while some of us enjoyed a coffee (or a wine!) others tucked into some of the more substantial dishes on offer. A very nice way to end a pleasant day in a very pretty part of the Waikato.
Participants: Anne, Janice, Kathy, Carl, Ian, Sharon, Annie & Tony, Lynda, Lea, Christina and Lynne.
TRAMP 1122 - TIMBER TRAIL
Tramp 1122 - Trip Report Piro Piro – Timber Trail
The plan for this trip was to walk the second half of the popular Cycle Trail in Pureora, with a camp overnight along the way. Eight keen people had booked in and Mike & Wendy were also driving down and planning on doing a day walk in & out.
We were fortunate enough to have the luxury of staying at John & Debbie’s in Waimiha on the Friday night, this meant we didn’t have to start the day with a damp tent nor get up really early on Saturday morning.
With a dinner stop in Te Kuiti (at Tiffany’s – who did a great job getting our tasty meals out really quickly, even though they were super busy) before heading off the remainder of the way to Waimiha.
An early start in the morning we were on the trail walking just after 08:00 from the Piro Piro campsite. We had 23 km’s to cover on day one so a reasonably big day on hard surfaces.
The Timber trail (particularly the second half) has lots of interesting history or the Ellis & Burnand timber company and the logging history of the area, including settlements ‘camps’ that were big enough to even have schools at one time. It boasts some fantastic suspension bridges, a rail spiral and information boards with all manner of stories and history on them. And of course lots of beautiful bush and scenery along the way.
We made it to “Historic Camp No 10’ around 15:30 so had plenty of time to set up camp and relax prior to it getting dark.
After a nights rest, the aches & pains from the day before had faded and day two was only 16 km’s. Although we had a reasonable shower this didn’t last long and the promised forecast of rain didn’t arrive.
Anne had walked out yesterday, and this morning driven the wan around to the Bennet Road car-park and walked in to meet us with Debbie. We all arrived back at the van somewhere around 13:00 so it again had made good time – perhaps it was the call of hot food & coffee that spurred us on. A stop at Bosco café certainly was certainly appreciated.
TRAMP 1111C: WAIPAKIHI
Written by Lorna
January 26-28 2019
The names Urchin Umakarikari and Waipakihi have always resonated with me so I was keen to visit this area. I first took the opportunity with the club in Feb 2017 where I experienced a hard and sometimes off-track experience, I think my trip report of the time even put some people off but not me - I was keen to return to the Kaimanawa.
The C group of 6 were dropped off on Saturday am at the bottom of the Umakarikari ridge and faced two hours hard slog with full packs thru humid hot bush – we all shed a few litres of sweat and were happy to get beyond the bushline and benefit from the breeze. Then we started to get the views – expansive across to the central mountains of the Tongariro National Park, traffic on the Desert Rd, Turangi and Tokaanu at the lake edge and Taupo, Tuahara and Wairakei steaming in the distance.
We had a few more rest spots on the high points of Sharp Cone which is distinctive as the name suggests and Umakarikari which could be overlooked – though there is a rock pile cairn to mark it. A bit more ridge walking and we knew we weren’t alone on this sunny day, there was at least one group behind us (the Waikato TC we suspected) and two hunters overtook us. It was a steep and rather ugly rocky rubbly scratchy scrub track down to cross a tributary of the Waipakihi river – and a lovely pool some of us returned to later for our wash, then only 10 minutes to the hut. We had made good time, the suggested Doc time had been 6-8 hrs so I was delighted to do it in 6.35. Fortuitously we got a bunk room just for us, awesome no wet packs to carry tomorrow, our packs would be heavy enough as we needed to carry extra water – there was none where we were going on the tops and we didn’t know if we would get down to the river to camp.
The late afternoon was spend talking to the diversity of trampers (some whom we already knew) and hunters who were making the most of good weather and a long weekend. In the evening thermals there were Three large birds (we assumed kaka) entertained us soaring in the evening thermals) – quite majestic. People keep arriving there were at least 40 people in and around the hut but it never seemed crowded as many were tenting and some arrived after we had headed to a restless sleep on the squeaky bunk mattresses. It seemed all routes to and from the hut were being utilized although we were the only ones going up into Middle Range the next day.
We were up early as were others and away in good time. We had to cross the Waipakihi straight away – most of us keep dry feet, and easily found the track into the bush and up the ridge – thanks to Kevin asking the hunters the night before. The day started rather cool and once we got to about 1500 mts we were in a mist – we couldn’t see the ridges and peaks we wanted so paused to check maps against the gps at least twice– in no way is it a straight forward track along the ridge towards Thunderbolt – there are at many side ridges that have tracks leading off – there are no poles or rock cairns. It would be easy to take a wrong spur and waste time on what was to be a long day. The mist wasn’t wet but with the strong breeze it cooled us all down and coats were needed.
Kevin keep us on track – but I foolishly thought I saw good ground trail to the right – how wrong I was, I lead the others into a hillside of hebes and long grasses, maybe I was reminiscing the trip of 2 years ago where we fought the vegetation for ages. We quickly corrected my mistake and summitted Thunderbolt for lunch at about 1240 – No mist now but still the strong breeze. Then it was the long undulating ridge towards Motutere, all along this ridge we had expansive 360 deg views including deep into the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges and the head waters of the Rangitekei River. Each time we stopped we discussed which peaks we were looking at – and then Kevin would share a story of when he had walked in that area.
With tiring legs, it seemed like the afternoon was going on for ever – but we made the collective decision to get off the tops and down to the cool of the river for a night camp spot. These seriously big hills have very steep downs and the trail was almost vertical in parts – we all enjoyed the cooling waters seeping into our boots and as we crossed the river, I told Kevin he had 7 minutes to find a campsite to come in under an 11-hr day – he did it - 10hrs 58.
In the late evening sun, we pitched tents, washed in the river, cooked dinner all the while swatting sand-flies who favoured Michaël over all of us. Then a welcome good sleep, deconstruct our camp site and splash down the river for about 20 mins to the start of climb to the Urchin passing what turned out to be the campsite of the B group. The climb up Urchin is unrelenting steep for tired legs but eventually eases – after a couple of breaks we rounded a corner to see Urchin and some trampers in the distance soon identified as our B group. Delighted to see them (they had the van key) we exchanged a few stories of the weekend and then all made our own pace down to the carpark – some faster than others – maybe too fast as Michaël hit a low branch and sustained a bloody head injury.
A welcome change of clothes- lunch in the carpark and off to Turangi for ice-creams or coffee – and of course some slept on the way home – deservedly so.
It was a great weekend – trip organisers did a great job with driving, planning the pick-ups, accommodation, dinner in the friendly Turangi RSA and organising two trips which resulted in eleven tired sun-weary trampers.
Lorna the slowest – but hey someone has to be.
TRAMP 1110 AONGATETE to WAIWERE FALLS
Written by Janice Eland (first time tramper)
January 13 2019 Aongatete – Wairere Falls
Being my first long tramp, I was looking forward to the challenge but also looking forward to meeting new people. Both a success. What a great bunch of people. Mixed abilities and so welcoming to new comers.
Starting with a toilet run and can gladly say it was clean + a bonus of running water, the small things in life. The weather was cooler than the previous day so ideal tramping conditions.
First sign at Aongatete Loop track – 6 hours to Wairere falls. And we all set off in good spirits. Walking though the lovely bush with a slight incline, path way dry with only a few wet patches. We hit the first river crossing and we have a walker down, the lovely Jane takes a little dip, but the guys are to the rescue to assist. All good and we are off up a more steeper incline. After an hour in we have a sarnie (sandwich) and water break. The group stays together well, and we set a good pace. Walking along the riverside was just lovely and so peaceful walking though beauty of the bush. I was amazed that we didn’t see any other trampers but that’s the beauty of New Zealand.
Quick dip and a cooling of the feet at the next quick stop, what a spectacular dive from Ian. Nature at its best, such clear water surrounded by the bush.
We then begin the uphill, motivation is lunch and a nice view so onwards and upwards we go with Kathryn leading the way and Ian bringing up the rear. Bit of a climb but a good pace to make it comfortable. Few slippy bits and whoops we are a man down, good job Jane has a large bag to land on, she‘s a trooper and loves her tramping trips. We make it, a few tired legs but we are all in good spirits and ready for a feed. Having a lovely lunch and natter while taking in the views.
We then make our way through the bush with a bit more of an incline until we reach a nice long stretch to ease those legs off. Oh no we may have lost the driver, not at meeting point. Let’s have a break by the stream and leave a note. Moving on with only 20 minutes away from the falls we bump into our driver, Michiel, good we are not walking home.
Wow - now that’s a tall tree and a great picnic spot at the back of the falls (approx. 15 mins away)
We reach the top of the falls but not a lot of water as not so spectacular as I’ve seen before but still amazing views. Bit of a bite to eat and a snooze for Jane.
We start with the descent. Nice steady pace meeting lots of people on the way up. All looking forward to a dip at the bottom, bit of a muggy day so a cool swim will be appreciated. We stop at the viewing point for the falls, breathtaking! You can’t beat it.
Last leg and we pick up the pace to get to that cool water. Wow Wow Wow the water looks amazing. Tessa is the first in with no messing, quickly followed by Debbie. Me being a novice I need to take my boots off first. That felt amazing, what a great way to end a great walk with great company.
TRAMP 1089: McBRINNS TRACK / MARATOTO
Written by Brenda Peterson:
It was a wet, wintery and slightly chilly day when two van loads of chirpy trampers left Hamilton for a trip to explore McBrinns Track.
The foreboding grey skies meant we donned jackets from the start and set off on our journey. We passed an old disused quarry and followed the track with McBrinn’s Creek flowing off to our right. Some parts of the track were a little narrow and rocky requiring a bit of care to scramble across.
We ventured up a side track and viewed an old tin shack and then retuned to the main track.
The track evened out nicely as we continued on our way, stopping for a very welcomed morning tea to refuel.
There were a few concrete foundations and odd relics along the track before we reached the old amalgamation plant. We saw a steam boiler, water tank and three big amalgamating pans among other bits and pieces.
From here we climbed steeply up to a higher level on a slippery bank covered in vegetation. We went left at the top of the bank and explored another relic before retracing our steps and climbing up another level to view two mine shafts. One was totally accessible, and the other was just a very deep, dangerous looking hole.
We then came upon another large shaft that we could stand upright and walk into. There we are few cave wetas on the ceilings and walls that didn’t look at all disturbed by us visiting. Lucky we all had torches as there were some quite large openings in the ground that were unguarded!
A little further on we dropped down and crossed the creek a number of times - some of us getting wet feet, others were lucky (and clever enough) not to. We passed a stunning waterfall that was surrounded with beautiful, damp greenery.
The turning point of our tramp was a very interesting old wooden dam that was very picturesque and historical.
We returned to the van on the same track stopping to view a few more caves/mine shafts along the way.
The trip was finished off in style with two delicious cakes for afternoon tea… one very special one celebrating a birthday.
I truly enjoyed this trip so much, would have to say it’s been the highlight of my winter walking this year! Was a little bit of everything and the rain didn’t put a dampener on an awesome day out. Thanks so much to Lorna for leading us.