Central Whirinaki Hut, Solstice Trip
Saturday June 29 2013, and a weekend trip Sat/Sun 29/30 June
It is a two-hour drive to the car park at the Plateau Road end, where the Whirinaki Track has one of its starting points. The track options are: to Upper Whirinaki Hut, Mangamate Hut, Upper Te Hoe, and of course Central Whirinaki and beyond.
As the days are short at this time of year, we had planned a trip into Central Whirinaki and back. A weekend party of three was also going our way, but would stay the night in Central Whirinaki Hut.
The day was a blue sky one with little wind. There was evidence of a hard frost, but we soon got going at around 9.25am. Murray Goss and I had a schedule and we were already 10 minutes behind it. But no pressure, as the Whirinaki Forest Park deserves to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. We soon heard Kaka, which was great.
Here and there the sun shone on the track, but it is an easy track going gently downhill. At the junction to The Caves, we decided to have a reminisce, as Gossy and I were in the Whirinaki six party which had to camp out by the caves on a similar Solstice trip in 2006.
The cave itself is up the small creek which your reach on the side-track, about three minutes from the junction.
We continued on the main track, crossed the two bridges, and made our way around to Central Whirinaki Hut. The hut does not get any sun until midday, and then only for an hour. So we set up on a spot outside in the sun, using the benches from the hut and some logs for seating. Our shared lunch, which is the tradition for Solstice trips, was laid out on the ground. Cheese scones, olives, crisps, lolly cake, chicken liver pate and salad were some of the fare.
Simon was persuaded to put on the Santa suit, and we got to sit on his knee and select a gift from his sack.
We all enjoyed the sun, but it was cold in the shade. We packed up, and walked out again at 1.15 after having enjoyed the long lunch break. This time, it was a steady gentle climb, and we again heard the kaka, when nearing the Plateau road end.
Trampers: Murray Goss, John Russell, Colin McNatty, Kay Russell, Jude Paton, John Marshall, and Julia Mackie
Saturday/Sunday June 29/30
The weekend party included Simon Hill, who had a goal to hear eight different bird species. I think that he made his target, but am not sure what the species, apart from the kaka.
According to Paul, it took the weekend party three hours to warm the hut, after starting the stove. There was plenty of firewood ready on the verandah. They also had a walk to see if they could find the biggest tree. Off-track, the bush is very dense, and they did find several big specimens, but not the one they remembered from a previous trip.
Weekend trampers: Simon Hill, Paul Exeter and Sue Marshall