Whirinaki Forest Park, Upper Whirinaki Circuit
Saturday February 27 2016
Eight trampers travelled by van halfway up the Napier-Taupo highway, turned into Waipunga Road and followed the logging roads to the Plateau car park.
Everyone set off up the Upper Whirinaki Hut track, climbing to the summit then dropping down to the junction of the rivers. Along the track, we observed many fungi including a large white mesh ball, grey-coloured mushrooms and half-circle-shaped bracket forms attached to the side of a beech tree.
At this point, Paul, Sue and Denise turned back in the direction we had come and the rest carried on a kilometre to Upper Whirinaki Hut. We saw that the rivers had flooded to high levels recently, causing sections of bank to slump down and be lost in the water. Vegetation beside the rivers was also flattened due to high water levels.
Morning tea was enjoyed sitting on bench seats on the front of the hut balcony, looking out at the expansive grassed area and the native tree backdrop.
Leaving the hut, we headed north towards the Tuamutu Stream and reached it around 11.30am. On each side of the stream, we encountered many kamu (Hooked Sedge), commonly called hook grass which painfully attaches to legs, particularly hairy ones, and to gaiters. (Soaking gaiters for about two days will allow easier removal of the many seeds.) Halfway down this stretch, a blue duck was seen flying down, then up, the stream. Logs had built up in one place, leading to a semi-blockage of the stream.
We carried on to the timber pole bridge at the junction with the Whirinaki River and then on heading south. The bridge has developed a distinct slope to the right side; a pole appears to have sagged.
We stopped for lunch at the top of a point where the track runs vertically up a bank, then carried on to the Plateau car park, arriving around 4pm. Along this final section of track, we again saw many attractive fungi, apparently brought on by the humid conditions recently experienced in the area.
The weather forecast for the park predicted fine cloudy weather and this was exactly as it panned out. A most enjoyable tramp in a picturesque area.
Trampers: Rosemary, Jude, Lisa, Christa, Sue, Denise, Paul and reporter Gordon