Lake Whalehole – Waipiropiro Hot Springs, 9 May 2015
Lured by the promise of a little known hot spring and a “puddle” called Lake Whalehole, 18 people (including two Wednesday regulars) ventured out into what was unfamiliar terrain for most of us.
A long drive up the Taihape road and across farmland saw us set out close to 9am in cool, breezy and overcast conditions after a few spits on the way in… not what was wanted. Over the hills (aim for those sheep!) and not so far away, we found the landmark river terrace and quickly spotted the steam rising from a little gully. A steady trickle of hot water funnelled its way into a bath tub perched high above the river below.Undeterred by the brackish-looking water, one person scrambled into the tub, immediately unsettling its dubious contents, pronounced the temperature perfect and happily posed for pics. No one else followed… a scrubbing brush and some TLC would go a long way! Not quite the Welcome Flats of Hawke’s Bay, after all.
Moving on, we retraced our steps and headed up the hill to panoramic 360 degree views looking across to No Mans in one direction, the ridge to Sparrowhawk in another and the pine trees on the way to Shutes somewhere in between. Great choice for a morning tea spot and by now it was all blue sky and sunshine. Things were looking up!Back at the vehicles, we endeavoured to offload the surplus sheep and cow dung that clogged our boots before driving further down the road and setting off along a farm road and across paddocks in search of the mythical Lake Whalehole. Expectations were low (a “puddle”) so we were unprepared for the lovely little lake at the bottom of a grassy hillside surrounded by scrubby bush with a couple of ducks. A farm track continued part-way round and an intrepid few completed a circumnavigation to join the others for lunch on a sunny slope overlooking the lake. All too soon, it was back on our feet and off to find the river but we soon backtracked after taking the wrong route and enthusiasm waned. So it was back to the vehicles, a quick change, time to collect two big bags of pine cones (no mushrooms, unfortunately) and off by 2pm.
An enjoyable easy walk and early finish with lots of hilarity and laughter along the way. What fun!
Trampers: Lyn Bowcock, Bruce Hodgson, Paul Hendy, Sue Martin, John Dobbs, Sue Marshall, Juliet Gillick, Frances Bernsten, Maree Patton, Paul Exeter, John Marshall, Peter Washington, Elly Govers, Hillary Heath-Caldwell, Denise Payne, Tony Plymers, Alison Greer and reporter Jude Paton.