The Fertiliser Bin to Hinerua Hut, Saturday, April 25 2009. Map: U22
Trampers: Denise Payne, Rosemary Jeffery, Colleen Pereau, Russell Greer, Alison Greer, Sue Marshall, Matt Green, Julia Mackie, Colin McNatty, Russell Kulsdom our English visitor, and Gordon Tapp
Travelling down highway 50, we noted dark clouds and it appeared we might get the forecast rain. The Transit van handled all three fords on the farm road admirably and got us safely to our parking spot near the airstrip, despite driver Colin’s superb attempt at mustering the sheep. Deer abound on the property and we saw a beautiful stag, in a commanding position above his herd.
As we set off up the hill from the fertiliser bin, the sky had brightened and light-coloured clouds were passing. We seemed to be in for a good day.
Just above the fertiliser bin, we stopped at a dwelling that has been built in the last three years. The farm owners, Peter and his wife, came out to greet us and even encouraged some to sign their visitors’ book. It was nice to be made so welcome to tramp through their farm and to be told about the new farm roads they have recently bulldozed over the hills. The previous occupant was very negative and discouraged everyone from passing through. Carrying on up the new farm track, we came to the original walking track branching off to the left and up into the bush. It was a pleasant climb up the spur to the ridge and along to the Foots Mistake junction.
A kereru flew through the bush and settled above our visitor. He was lucky to get a good photo. On reaching Hinerua Hut, we sat out on its wooden deck and had morning tea. Some decided to climb up to the tops, but soon returned to announce that mist was closing in.
We decided our return journey would be via the Foots Mistake track, then alongside the Tukituki River, and up a spur to the van.
Lunch was enjoyed in the sun on a flat section of track a little before the high point (908m).
As we got under way again, the darker clouds came over and temperatures dropped. At the lower and flatter open grassed section of the ridge, we searched for the continuation of the track where it ran back into the bush. The advice given was that we should turn left on exiting the bush, but we noticed a yellow plastic tape marker on a log along towards the South, and this was where we decided to re-enter the bush. Following further yellow tape markers, we made good progress down to the river flats.
On the other side of the river, we spotted the track winding up the hill towards Mill Road. Heading north-west along the farm river flats, we passed through paddocks until we reached a high bank where a farm track led down to the lupin-covered river shingle. Further downstream, we found a track running up a spur and we crossed to the adjacent spur, up a track and back to the fertiliser bin, and our van parked beside.
We may have taken the wrong route to get back to the van, but it was a most enjoyable day, with fine weather throughout.